Make Your Side Hustle Your Main Hustle

Connect with Francesco Tills on LinkedIn

Age: 21

Job: Audit Associate at Ernst & Young (EY)

Location: New Delhi, India

Jagriti, a YoPro we interviewed at the beginning of 2020, connected our team with Francesco, and if you read Jagriti's story, you'll see that the two are quite similar in their ambitions and work ethics. A question of mine is whether or not they sleep at all! Read on to find out how Francesco pushes himself every day to be the best.

Tell us about your background.

I’m a Bachelor of Commerce graduate from Delhi University. Currently, I’m working as an Audit Associate at EY. Outside the office, I am part of a small, but effective group of marketing and branding enthusiasts who help brands catapult into new levels of visibility, likability, and eventual success. I hope to start my own Marketing and E-commerce firm by the end of 2021. Being someone who has had a keen interest in the e-commerce space, I also keep on the lookout for opportunities that might pop up in the status quo. I am also in the process of writing a book that talks about day-to-day life challenges, and the effective and applicable ways to deal with those challenges. I've documented my journey and “The Grind” by creating lifestyle-related content on my Instagram, which adds value for my followers. The best part about it is that it’s completely candid. The authenticity of what I put out as content is what makes the documentation of my day-to-day life much more interesting and relatable.

How do you balance your job at EY with your other side work?

Honestly, I freestyle all of it. First off, I have this rule where I use my weekends to the maximum. When I get Saturday and Sunday off, I barely sleep so I can get the most done out of those two days. Secondly, I make it a rule to do at least three hours of priority work after my office work hours. Thirdly, I’ve made peace with the fact that I have to make a lot of sacrifices in terms of sleep, or in terms of giving up on activities that won’t push me further. Some of those activities may be a social event, the premier to my favorite show or weekend football that I’ve been looking forward to for the whole week. These three principles are my guidelines for my productivity all week. Having said that, I think it’s also important to maintain a balance between things that you need to do and things that give you happiness. In my opinion, it keeps you young and enthusiastic.

Has anything been surprising to you about being a young professional? Have there been any hardships?

The most surprising part about being a young professional is that when you’re driven, your interactions become more clear. You can easily tell who the people rooting for you in your inner circle are, and who are the ones that are not. It has honestly been a blessing in disguise. Although you may be disappointed with the fact that a lot of your friends and family aren’t supportive of you, it helps you to identify the people that want to see you win. I can also guarantee that during this, you will also meet like-minded people, who will want to succeed alongside you. They will inspire you, and you will inspire them. Your new friendships will turn into bonds that are built on principles of mutual growth. It’s almost poetic with how well it will turn out. Right now, the biggest hardship I continue to face is the time crunch. It’s hard to make peace with the fact that the life I’ve chosen is tiring, and that the fatigue I face will be my best friend on many nights. But, I guess that’s a bitter pill I will have to swallow. With this, there is also the bitter truth that half of my social circles were toxic to my growth and needed to be audited. This was something that took a lot of strength for me to internalize and execute. This hardship taught me the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people.

Why did you decide to pursue Marketing and E-commerce?

The idea of helping brands level up and succeed through catching the public eye in all the right ways is thrilling. Imagine helping business entities succeed by changing the way they are perceived by potential consumers. I was fortunate to be in the network of people who felt the same way. And soon enough, we went from being friends to becoming driven co-workers with a burning desire to accomplish things. In addition to this, the e-commerce space and the freedom it provides is something I see massive potential in. Somewhere towards the end of 2019, I started to explore the limitless potential of the digital world, and now, I’m on my way to make it big in the industry, regardless of how many years it will take.

Tell us something about your Marketing and Branding consulting side hustle.

I started as an online fitness influencer who helped people realize their fitness goals while I was on the journey of reaching my own. I learned a lot about building one’s brand during those 2 years that I did it. I’ve used that knowledge and the newly obtained skillsets for various marketing and branding projects. I’m a firm believer in doing things yourself and then showing people how it’s done. What legitimacy do I have if I haven’t built something of my own? The people I work with have a plethora of unique strengths, ranging from content creation to creative brand solutions. Together, using our strengths and areas of expertise, we help brands reach their marketing needs through comprehensive and well-rounded solutions. My forte is digital marketing (the technical side of the field) and written content creation (the creative side of the field). It has been just a few months since we started working together, but we’ve poured every fiber of our being into what we do. There’s no doubt in my mind that we can do big things in the future. What’s the best part? We still grow and learn every day, so the face of what we do might change in the coming years. Who knows. All that’s certain is that every goal I set, I’m going to give it my all.

Have you ever been criticized for your age in the workplace?

That doesn’t really happen a lot. For some weird reason, I seem to get a lot of trust from the elders I work with. I think that’s a product of my enthusiasm and willingness to go the extra mile. Of course, some people think I’m just a 21-year-old talking out of egotistical thin air, but I’m used to seeing their perspective change once they interact with me.

What motivates you and helps drive you forward?

When I was a kid, there was an anime series that I used to watch called, “Dragon Ball.” There was a character named Vegeta, whom I idolized. His zeal and obsession with being better than his yesterday self and being the greatest warrior that ever lived is what inspired me. I’ve tried to use that ideology in everything I do. As young people, we can make an impact in the world. I have always believed that I am destined for great things. I think it becomes an implicit need for me to push myself and make sure that I make the most of life. It’s what makes me wake up every morning with a will to seize the day.

Do you have any last-minute words of advice?

Explore. No matter your age, you don’t know what you’re good at until you try it. If you have a day job, come back home and explore things that you haven’t done yet. Learn another skill, show up at an unfamiliar event. Take that risk. You never know what you’re good at, what you could build a career out of, or what you’re proficient at until you do it. You need to explore what’s within you. Once you do, it’s just a matter of time before your greatness manifests itself in the outside world. Be young, be curious.

YoProKnow's Takeaways:

-Keep a balance between things that you need to do and things that give you happiness

-Surround yourself with the right people that will want to succeed alongside you

-Take risks and explore things that you haven’t done yet because you never know what you could build a career out of

Check it out: Delhi University, Ernst & Young (EY)