Balance and Business: How to Make Your Side Hustle a Full-time Success… (and Keep Your Cool!)

Capsule x Schmidt’s

From the laid-back beachy vibes of her home in Mt Maunganui, Hannah Mellsop has managed to turn a little Instagram hobby account into a fully-fledged business, which is not only going nuts online, but she now has her products on shelves in stores right across NZ. Oh, and she’s only 24 years old!

You’ve likely seen her decadent (and delicious!) treats pop up on the gram, as Real Rad Food, or tasted one of her slices or balls in the numerous cafes that stock them – or you may have spotted her mixes for sale in supermarkets or specialty stores.

Hannah is all for making healthier choices in life – which is why she’s also just aligned herself with natural deodorant brand, Schmidt’s.

I gave Hannah a call to find out how she turned a hobby into a burgeoning success, how she finds balance in her busy life, and her advice for turning your own side hustle into a bustling business!

Okay Hannah, you have this wildly successful business, Real Rad Food – can you tell us a bit more about what it’s all about and where the idea came from?
It’s really evolved into something I never thought would happen! I had a foodie Instagram account and I was working at a café and studying at the time and just sharing everything I was making. After I finished my degree – which was in Geography, super random, I know! – I started the business and just went all in! We are all about making healthy choices more accessible to everyone, whether that be through our RAD ball mixes in supermarkets, our protein powder or picking up slices and balls from cafes or online.

Your food is all allergen friendly and very health conscious, which I love! It isn’t always easy finding gluten-free/dairy-free food that actually tastes good, so thank you! Why is that something you’re passionate about?
I’m really into healthy food. I was vegan for a really long time – I’m not anymore, which some people find quite controversial now, but I’m still into plant-based, very healthy food, I just needed a bit more balance in my life.

Fair enough! You’re in Mt Maunganui, so in my head I have all these ideas of what your life looks like – going for a surf before work, being in this lovely relaxed setting – but what does a typical day actually look like for you?
A good day is waking up at 5am, having coffee, going to the gym – yip, I’m an early riser! From there Cooper – my dog – and I go for a walk along the beach, which we’re lucky to be very close to! I get to the office at about 7.30am, and then I’m in full work-mode. I process my emails first, orders, wholesale orders, sometimes I’ll give a hand in the kitchen, otherwise I’m mostly doing social media, marketing and sales. Then, I’ll go home around 4pm, chill out, take Coop down the beach again, cook dinner, watch some Netflix, then I’m in bed pretty early, because I’m a grandma!

Running a business is hard work, you need your sleep! I imagine you have days where you work really long hours too. What do you do to take care of yourself, or get a bit of balance?
There’s been times over the last four years where it’s been incredibly full-on and times when it hasn’t been so full-on. I’m not someone who is constantly trying to find balance, I believe it comes more in ebbs and flows. I’m quite happy being in the seasons when I’m hustling, when I’m working so hard and am exhausted, but also enjoying the process of growing the business, because I know there will be a time just around the corner where it will quieten down again a bit. I’m all about making hay while the sun shines!

Exercise is really important for my mental health though, spending time with my family and partner are really important too – otherwise I get quite frustrated. Sometimes I feel that I don’t have a lot of balance, but I’m happy that I’m getting everything done while I’m at this stage of my life.

It sounds to me like you’ve got a great deal of balance in there though – you do regular exercise, make time for friends/family and you’re very mindful about what you eat. I’ve heard you’ve recently become very mindful around what products you use on your body too, and now primarily use natural products?
Yes! In the last year I looked into what is actually in my skin care. Then I read an article about conventional deodorant and all the chemicals involved and how easily they’re absorbed into your body through the skin in your armpits, which really opened my eyes. That’s when I really started to look at what my options were for deodorants too, and that’s when I found the brand Schmidt’s.

People can get nervous about switching to a natural deodorant – how did you find it?
To be honest, I felt like I was a little bit sweatier at some points of the day when I very first started using it – weirdly though, it didn’t seem like a smelly sweat, if that makes sense? Then, the more I used it, I found I didn’t notice anything different to how things had been before. I’ve tried a few different natural deodorants now, but I really love the smell of Schmidt. Some of the others are quite earthy, whereas Schmidt’s actually smells like perfume.

So true – I think my favourite is the Bergamot & Lime!
Oh, mine is the Rose and Vanilla! It’s beautiful.

Since I made the switch to natural products, now the first thing I do is flip a new product over and read the ingredients list. It seems quite shocking to me now that I used to just blindly put anything onto my skin.
100%! For me, it just didn’t make sense to me anymore because I’m so focused on what goes into my body, but I’d never thought about what I was putting onto my skin that is also going into my body! I want people to eat nourishing food – and I feel like skincare is similar in that you can pay big money and have beautiful bottles, but at the end of the day it’s so important to know what is actually inside.

You’re pretty young to have created a business of this size. Do people get surprised when they find out it’s you behind it all?
People are quite shocked, and I’m like, literally half the time I feel like I’m walking down a dark hallway with no idea what I’m doing, so it’s really hard to associate with that when people say those things. But I’ve never had people be like, ‘Oh you don’t belong at this table!’ sort of thing. Normally people are so impressed and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m just on Instagram doing a few things!’ – so there is a bit of imposter syndrome at times! I just try to always be myself, and people know what they’re going to get, I’m just Hannah from Real Rad Food.

What’s in the pipeline next for Real Rad Food?
I would love to extend our functional foods range – so our Rad Protein – Hormonal Support powder and from there just grow through those supermarket lines. We have a Christmas release coming up which is so exciting.

Oooh, I’m looking forward to that! Finally, do you have any advice for others who are perhaps looking at starting their own business, or trying something new?
Yes, if you can in whatever way you can, utilise social media. Even prior to launching something, maybe try it out as your side hustle, utilise social media and see what people think about your product. You can really ask questions and interact with them. From there, I’d say, just give it a crack!

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