Workplace Benefits of the Side Hustle: Exploring Your Passion, an Interview with Jen Fisch
In the typical agency world, the average turnover rate is one and a half years. In the creative department at BeCore, the average tenure is five years. The difference? BeCore encourages and celebrates creative endeavors outside of the office. Allowing people to explore their passions is a very real strategy for keeping people happy and productive in their work.
“For a really long time, I felt like I had to keep all of my worlds really separate. But the entrepreneurial mindset of BeCore is different from other agencies says Jen Fisch, BeCore’s Executive Creative Director and Entrepreneur. “Side Passions are expected and encouraged. I’m so lucky to have landed at BeCore and to work here for the last seven years. BeCore invites, accepts, and celebrates those passions.”
In addition to her role as the Executive Creative Director at BeCore, Jen Fisch is also the founder of Keto in The City and the author of the Amazon Best Seller: The Easy 5-Ingredient Ketogenic Diet Cookbook. Over 100K people follow @ketointhecity_ on Instagram for her recipes and lifestyle tips.
Recently, I got to sit down with Jen and ask her some questions about her life inside and outside the office, all things Keto in The City, and the importance of having a creative outlet outside of work.
Why did you start Keto in The City? What motivated you to start publishing content?
“I started cooking a lot more when I moved to LA and started at BeCore. Blue Apron meal kits and Pinterest had just become popular. I started getting more creative in the kitchen and a lot more interested in new flavor combinations.
After a long day at work, it was so nice to spend an hour just focused on cooking. I wasn’t checking my email or worried about work for that hour. It became a creative escape for me. Even though I’m creative all day at work, I find a lot of creative people I know need a creative outlet outside of work. For some that is painting or working on cars. For me it was cooking.
Three years ago, I went from cooking normal healthy meals to needing an anti-inflammatory solution for two autoimmune disorders that I have. I started researching Gluten Free recipes and the Bulletproof diet and I came across Keto. Two and a half years ago, I started Keto and then about a month later I started the Instagram because I didn’t think my friends on my normal Instagram would want to see food pictures all of the time. I really just wanted a place where I could hold myself accountable and post food that I love. Within a couple of months, the Keto page had more followers than my regular page and it kept growing from there. A few months later, I started a keto blog. It really helped me stay on track, and as other people started finding Keto, they also started finding me which led to a bunch of other opportunities. “
How do you find time to fit it all in, has your schedule changed at all?
“Not really. Weekends are my food time. When I’m home, during good natural light, I make recipes and take pictures. I’ve gotten more particular about how things look. I now think about Keto in The City as a brand and apply the things I’ve learned in the 18 years as a creative director to myself. It’s strange to think of myself as a brand, but that is where it has gotten to over time. I love experiential marketing during the day. On the weekend, I get to relax by working on the food stuff.”
What was the motivation behind the book?
“I had never thought about writing a book. I definitely never thought that I would write an Amazon Best Seller. One day, I got an email from a woman at a publishing house. I thought they were contacting me to write reviews on other cookbooks, so I asked her how many books she wanted me to review. She said that she didn’t want me to review any books, she wanted me to write my own book. They had been following my Instagram and blog for a while and wanted to publish a book that had simple easy keto recipes. I loved that theme because I remembered trying recipes when I first started keto that seemed really complicated and intimidating and used a lot of ingredients I had never heard of. As a single mom with a busy job, I could relate to people who wanted simple recipes. I love a new challenge, so I said yes. Writing the book was a very fast process, but luckily because of my experience in the advertising world, I was used to the world of aggressive deadlines!”
Is it easy to eat Keto at Work?
“One of the best things about Keto is that you can cook really easy meals, but you can also easily eat out. My creative team and I love exploring downtown LA and trying out new lunch spots. Brainstorming over food is always better than brainstorming without food! My go-to meals when I eat out are Cobb Salads with Salmon on top, poke bowls with lettuce instead of rice, and bunless burgers. Plus, Bulletproof has a coffeeshop less than a mile from BeCore for all of my buttered-up coffee needs. It’s easy to eat keto in LA.”
What are some of your favorite recipes from your cookbook?
“Bacon Grease Roasted Cauliflower is my favorite. I could eat this every day for the rest of my life. I like to add something briny like capers, olives or pepperoncini. I also make Cream Cheese and Coconut Flour Pancakes and Waffles about once a week. My daughter’s favorite is Chicken Milanese. It’s a really thin pounded chicken breast “breaded” with crushed pork rinds which acts as an amazing breading and gets super crispy.”
What’s Next for Keto in the City?
“Blogging and the world of Instagram continues to be a really fun, secondary creative challenge for me. I never thought that my book would do as well as it did. I just found out that by the end of the summer it will be carried in every Costco and Sam’s Club location. My little side project has turned out really well, and I’m excited about the fact that I’m able to balance both things that I really love: experiential marketing and being able to lead an incredible team at BeCore while also being able to recharge my creative juices with Keto in the City on the weekends.”
“Public speaking on the topic of Keto and auto-immune disorders is also something I have started getting into more. Recently, I was asked to speak at a cancer fundraiser in El Segundo. At the end of this year, I will speak at a Metabolic Health Summit in Long Beach. The speaker list is packed with MD’s and PHD’s and me, which is crazy and exciting! People keep asking me if I’m nervous and maybe if I hadn’t spent my whole life pitching to clients, I might be nervous. Because of my career, I feel very comfortable sharing the Ketogenic Lifestyle with large groups of people. “
“This year I also began as a contributing blogger for Ayesha Curry’s blog, GoInspo, as another fun new challenge. For me this is a place to talk about everything that inspires me like art, family, and traveling. Recently I wrote a piece on 2 artists that were featured in one of our BeCore art shows.”
Do you have any advice for people feeling stuck creatively?
“Find something you’re passionate about outside of work that can spark those creative juices and allow you to learn more about yourself. Use what you have learned in your job to be able to bring yourself some success and joy. Personal achievement will boost your confidence and creativity at work as well.”
“Being a “creative on demand” in the world of marketing and advertising is really taxing and after 18 years of that it’s so exciting to be able to think about this for myself and my own brand as well. Having a creative challenge of my own keeps me fresh and helps me think of better ideas for my own clients at BeCore.”
A final word on creativity and passion projects
BeCore is at the front of a small movement of agencies and companies that understand the importance of flexibility and freedom to their employees so that they have the time to pursue their own passions while also working hard to kill it for BeCore’s clients on a daily basis.
For example, Lyla, a Creative Director on Jen’s team, is also a fine artist and wasn’t interested in a Monday through Friday 9-5 career. Painting sparks Lyla’s soul and allows her to be more creative in her job, so she works less days each week, for longer hours, in order to have extra painting time.
Roger (VP of Business Development) and wife Nikki (CFO) both work at BeCore, but they also just bought a music festival, the Huck Finn Jubilee. They are both passionate about music and are also able to use valuable skills they learned from their careers at BeCore to be successful entrepreneurs in their own right while also helping BeCore grow.
Jen added that what the workplace looks like is always evolving,
“This is the era of the side hustle. There are more options than ever for people to pursue their passions and share them with the world. I’ve met lawyers that design lingerie on the side. Doctors who want to become bloggers. Accountants with a passion for travel photography. Creative outlets keep employees happy and companies that support and encourage those passions get to hold onto valuable team members with a wide range of unique sets of knowledge. In my opinion it is a major competitive advantage in the agency world.”
Hit us up! We’d love to partner with you.