Starting a Side Hustle with Kelly Stanze

If you’ve ever felt as if something is lacking from your day job, than a side hustle may be the perfect solution to your problem. But how do you start? Kelly Stanze is a search strategist for a corporation with a background in both agriculture and non-agriculture related industries and agencies. Kelly is also able to successfully manage a side hustle and provides her advice on getting started and managing a side hustle with a day job.

Using Surprises as an Advantage in Your Career

“My life is nothing like what I thought it would be. When I graduated high school, I thought I would get a graphic designer or communications degree, marry my high school sweetheart and move back and live on a farm.”


While she may not be living the life that 18 year-old Kelly predicted at her high school graduation, a cornucopia of surprises, both in and out of the agricultural community, has allowed this passionate workaholic an opportunity to work both her day job and her side hustle.


Surprise #1: Twitter Lands Kelly an Ag Internship

Interactive design accidentally landed Kelly her first ag internship. Although she had spent her life around ag in some capacity, even serving as her High School FFA Chapter President, Kelly never thought that ag was going to be a part of her career. That all changed when Illinois Corn approached her on Twitter looking for ag blogging interns who would want to run sites for them.

Surprise #2: Twitter Lands Kelly ANOTHER Ag Internship

Approached by Katie Pinke on Twitter, Kelly was asked to interview for an internship traveling around California to teach farmers how to use Twitter. Hesitant at first, as her degree had been in graphic design not social media management and curriculum, Kelly now describes the experience as the “best thing that ever happened to me.”

Surprise #3: Everything Happens For A Reason

Kelly was offered a full time job upon completion of the California internship, but would now be located in Kansas City. A year and a half later, Kelly was laid off. With a necessity for a job more important than the industry she was working in, Kelly left the agriculture world for a position in the advertising industry.


It’s a common mantra in the face of negativity that “everything happens for a reason,” and Kelly can attest to this as her job loss and career switch was the “biggest blessing in disguise.” Switching over to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work proved that she liked doing social media work but absolutely loved search work.

Leveraging Social Media to Advance Your Career

Social media can continuously provide opportunities for internships, jobs and freelance clients. Historically, most positions entered through a “gatekeeper” for a company but now, thanks to social media, you can expand on those social media relationships for resume experience.


Kelly recalls about her initial lack of social media strategy and her focus on her passion:


“I tried to bring the best version of myself to the community because I cared about it – that reaped rewards for me.”


Find “Pockets” of Conversation

Really get involved with Twitter hashtag chats or communities in your passion.

Find Mentors

Even if it’s just someone you tweet with, email with or message with on LinkedIn now and then.

Be A Good Person In Your Professional Network

  • Don’t talk down about city consumers.
  • Don’t put down organics or specialty methods of agriculture.
  • Do not face different segments of agriculture against each other; unity and respect is key.
  • Build bridges with others out there that are passionate about your industry.
  • Have a thirst to learn and reach out to people with questions.
  • Seek out people who have something to offer and, instead of expecting free mentorship, know that their time is valuable and know what you can give to them in exchange for their mentorship.
  • Build up your social equity by lifting up others where you can.
  • Put value out in the world and good things, inevitably, will start coming your way.

Getting Started in a Side Hustle

For a side hustle to be successful, it must ignite your fire and passion. A side hustle is a great for learning new skills that can be used to add value to your day job, as well as indulge into a new subject that interests you that your day job doesn’t provide. This, in turn, could lead to longevity at your day job.


Find the opportunities for your side hustle by doing research through either casual face-to-face conversations or by Googling local forums to see if there is a demand. Sites such as Craigslist or UpWork can also help build your clientele. Do not worry about being “the best” when you start out. Be upfront with clients and price them reasonably; just get started!

Managing a Side Hustle and an Employer

Understand that when it come to dealing with your work employer in regards to your side hustle has everything to do with managing “conflict of interest.”

  • Read through the paperwork for your position; these are set up as a security blanket and will help you understand the extent or type of side hustle you can book.
  • Know what conflict of interest would be for your job as freelance clients should have no interaction with your day job.
  • Know that your side hustle will only be in the evenings or on weekends and therefore not interfere or compete with your day job.
  • Have open communication with superiors to discuss your side hustle and potential clients to avoid conflicts of interest.
  • Know where the boundaries are and the window of what is “allowed.”


To pick up important nuggets of information on agriculture, SEO and Social Media Strategy tips, follow Kelly on social media:




To learn more about career opportunities in agriculture, follow AgGrad online:


Snapchat: @AgGrad

Twitter: @AgGradNation

Facebook Page:

Facebook Group:


YouTube: (

Katie Schrock