Good Hustlers: Alice Hansen || Tailored Tasmania

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Alice Hansen is a writer, adventurer, lover of words and good hustler to the max. Her byline can be found in all kinds of places, and you may have even stopped for a chat with her at Salamanca markets and been inspired to write your own story. I asked her to tell us about her good hustle journey...

"I've been writing stories since 5 when my poor Prep teacher had to keep bringing me new pieces of paper. Two decades on, I still didn't believe I could make a living from my written words. It would be a tennis scholarship in the United States and living away from Tasmania for five years that led to a reconnecting with writing. Working as a pharmaceutical rep back in Australia and quickly learning how greatly I wasn't matched to sales, it would be a close friend who insisted I move into a writing career. I dipped my toe in the water, spending tens of thousands publishing my first book on Tasmania. It turned out a good dip and I've written many more. For seven years I enjoyed the delights of being Destination Journalist and later Creative Services Coordinator for Tourism Tasmania.

Today, I freelance. I feel grateful to continue writing regularly for Tourism Tasmania - these days in my uggs rather than in the office. Stories and commissions and websites and kids book ideas and script writing and magazine features and all manner of commissions flow my way. I've written about train trips for Lonely Planet, I've tackled the world's highest commercial abseil for Australian Traveller Magazine (swearing the entire descent) and written several more titles. Some have raised $10,000+ for the Tassie Devil Appeal, some have been reprinted four times, and others have moved folk to tears at Salamanca Market, all good reasons to keep tapping away. I feel rather blessed to do what I love and call it work. I'm also grateful that my work in the Tourism industry ensures I get to hop on boats, meet people for coffee, escape for weekends away and generally not EVER become a writing hermit in a dark, dusty attic somewhere."

1. Describe your business in one powerful sentence. 

I share stories of people and place through the written word.

2. How do you integrate service to others in your business model?

I believe giving is key to happiness. I'm often smacked on the hand by family members at Salamanca Market when I give away a book. When the opportunity is right to give though, I can't help it. Beyond this, I continue to donate to the Tassie Devil Appeal through the University of Tasmania, generated by sales of my children's books. I have reached my $10,000 commitment goal but continue to donate. Those little fellas need help. I give books to charities, to schools, to those who request them for suitable causes. I give of my time to aspiring writers ranging from 8 to 80. I read to primary school children and await their technical questions after the final page. I support small business through my Tailored Tasmania brand, showcasing more than 200 local wonders through digital and print channels.

3. What were some of the highlights and lowlights of your journey to where you are now?

Rejection is always fun as a writer. I think I got most of it out of the way when I was living in America. Some say they have a shoebox full of rejection letters. I wrote a terrible non-fiction book in my early twenties. I didn't keep those letters. I threw them away. Highlights are much more merry than lowlights. There have been many joys in my writing career but most come from quiet emails of thank you or impromptu hugs at Salamanca. I'm fortunate to have direct feedback to my writing every Saturday as some 25,000+ filter through Australia's largest outdoor market. What a gift.

4. Do you have a spiritual practice? 

I try to do yoga. Last time at Ratho Farm during a yoga retreat I was writing about, I was the only person to get into some 'crow position' and bang my head on the floor boards while my arms were till awkwardly wrapped around my legs. Needless to say, yoga isn't my strong point. I try meditation but struggle with long periods of inward-looking. I have recently found 10 minutes of being grateful in the morning does me wonders. That's my spiritual practice.  Small steps. Admittedly, I find that writing takes me to a special place. When I begin, I never know where it will take me.

5. Advice for others who want to start their own good hustle?

Do it. Every Saturday someone says to me at Salamanca that they'd like to write a book or that they have a story in them waiting to be told. I encourage every one of them to follow through. What's the worst that could happen? If you've been thinking about your own good hustle for a time, clearly it's something that captures your thoughts and imagination. Why not take the path? And why not now?

Polly McGee