It used to be that a two-income household meant that a husband and wife were both working. These days, it seems like we’re all more than two-income households – making almost as much money off of side hustles as we do from the main gig we’re holding down. Whether out of fun or just plain necessity, lots of women are holding down two jobs, so we sought out some of the more interesting dual income women in town.
Network News Producer + Gemologist
Jodie Nicholes spent 15 years hopping on planes to cover all of the biggest breaking news stories in the world as a field producer for NBC. She’s produced coverage of 34 hurricanes, the New Year’s Eve Times Square ball drop and tons of royal events. For the last five years, she’s stayed close to her Charlotte home, while still producing some of the big coverage like Mardi Gras and the Kentucky Derby (and did we mention she covered The Royal Wedding?!). While that all sounds amazing and keeps her busy more than 40 hours a week, she also makes extra money as a gemologist and jewelry designer.
Jodie tells us, “My side business is all word of mouth and referrals. In 20 years, there’s rarely a lull, and it provides a nice supplement to this single mom’s income.” She says that she has always loved things that sparkle. “I would get fine jewelry as gifts from a young age, and the gemstones just fascinated me.” And she says it’s a great escape. “Balancing the heartbreak and devastation we see day in and day out takes a toll on you. As hard as it is to disconnect after a tough day, there is a ‘no TV news’ rule at home. My 12-year-old daughter and I watch a lot of sports, Food Network and HGTV. I’m also always designing something – it’s a creative release and expensive hobby!”
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Dr. Michelle Rivera
Radiologist + Artist
Dr. Michelle Rivera has been a well-respected radiologist in the Charlotte region since 1998. She’s a breast imager — the doctor who reads mammograms and often has to deliver the bad news. So she was looking for a creative outlet and stumbled into a wildly successful side act.
Michelle says, “I didn’t know that there was an artist in me until about 13 years ago when I felt the need to paint. I literally said to my husband, ‘You know, I think I can paint. I’d like to give it a try.’ That’s when I started taking classes with a beloved Charlotte art teacher.”
Her paintings are sold in galleries around town, and major retailers (Walmart, HomeGoods and Amazon) have licensed her work and sell her prints to the masses. Rivera recently took a job as a professor at UNC-Chapel Hill but says she’ll continue to paint at least three days a week.
“In my world as a breast imager, the goal is not to make a mistake. If I make a mistake when I’m painting, it’s just a canvas. Who cares? It’s not a human life at stake. That is very liberating to me. It helps me keep my balance. It’s just paint and a canvas. There’s no negative consequence. In fact, my best paintings started out as big mistakes that I had to set aside. I find that I paint more during my most stressful weeks at work. Art provides that great counterbalance for me. Unlike the rules of breast imaging, which are rigid, art has rules that are meant to be broken. When I’m painting, I make the rules. If I want to paint a painting with a green sky, no one is going to stop me! Good doctors don’t break rules, but great artists became great by breaking rules! That’s what I love about painting!” Check out her paintings here.
Jimmie Johnson’s Communications Manager + Owner, Charlotte Candle Company
Amy Walsh admits she set her hair on fire during the trial and error phase of founding her company, Charlotte Candle Company with her now-husband. The couple loves candles, and on a whim, Amy bought a candle making kit. After a year of research and development, the two started the company out of their home in September 2017. The thing is, Amy has a pretty busy day job. She works as Jimmie Johnson’s manager of communications, which is more than a full-time job. Amy says, “I probably work 40-60 hours a week when it’s all said and done. I’m basically on call 24 hours a day because I work with a high-profile athlete, and things happen at all hours of the day – some good and some bad. I always have to be prepared to deal with anything.”
Amy says while her work with Jimmie is obviously her focus, she’s passionate about selling candles too. “I make a lot of to-do lists! I am ‘off’ Monday and Thursday before we fly to the city where the race is that weekend, so we make candles when we get home from our full-time jobs until it’s time to go to sleep. When we land Sunday night from the race weekend, I usually pack orders that came in throughout the weekend and make a production list for the week. We spend much less down time floating on Lake Norman now that we opened the business, but it’s been a good sacrifice.”
Family Law Attorney + Fitness Studio Owner
In 2015, Irene King left a partnership at a top Charlotte law firm to open her own family law practice. She spends more than 50 hours a week in that role. And yet, just three years after starting her own law firm, she also opened her own fitness studio with her husband.
“Opening my law firm in 2015 gave me the confidence that I am really in charge of the path I take in this life, so in January 2018 my husband and I opened the doors to Budokon Academy Charlotte.”
Budokon Academy is a fitness center based on a mixed movement arts system that integrates martial arts, yoga, calisthenics and animal movements.
Of her newest endeavor, Irene says, “I’m learning a retail and services business from the ground up, but I like a challenge, so I enjoy learning the business. Budokon means ‘the way of the warrior spirit.’ There are many beautiful elements of this martial arts-based practice and way of life, and unifying the warrior and the yogi within myself leads me to always want to grow, learn and leave this world better than I found it.” She says that translates in her other life as well. “Both jobs are challenging, at times, both mentally and physically. Given that I am working with people who are under a tremendous amount of stress, my law life has more conundrums and variables, but I also enjoy that about my job. I have never been a particularly gifted athlete, so the stamina I need to be present at Budokon is a challenge, as well as my patience with myself as I grow stronger in the practice every day.”
Network News Correspondent + Rollergirl
She barely knew how to roller skate, and yet Liz McLaughlin, a special assignment producer and reporter at NBC News, was dead set on being a part of roller derby. “I first became interested in roller derby when I did a short-form documentary on the Carolina Rollergirls for a school project at UNC-Chapel Hill. I thought to myself, These women are incredible – that looks fun. I WILL do that one day! And when I moved to Charlotte, that day came! The only problem was that I had no idea how to roller skate. I had maybe been to a seventh grade birthday party once and that’s it!”
Since 2012, Liz has spent her days focusing on consumer and tech stories for the network, and her nights serving as the coach and captain of the All-Star team. The A-team travels for games and competes against roller derby teams around the world. “Roller derby is unique because almost every other sport, especially in the contact/extreme sport category, is male-dominated. But not roller derby!” But Liz admits, both her day job and her side hustle are very time consuming and very demanding. “Someone in college told me that what you choose to do with your time is the most important decision you make, and I have no regrets about the (massive) amount of time I have devoted to NBC or Charlotte Roller Girls.”
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