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Sick of million-dollar success stories? Here's what it's really like being a Slasher.

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

Joyce Tsang as a Slasher
Joyce Tsang as a Slasher

I had a Slash/ Slasher/ Slashie/ Slash Identity since I was 18 years old.

I introduced myself to others as a dancer/ singer/ actress/ choreographer/ reporter/ editor/ hair braider/ nail artist/ entrepreneur for a good portion of my life.

Different from many other Slashers, I didn't opt for such a career choice because I hated my 9-to-5 job. I actually loved my full-time jobs. But I wanted to do more, and I wanted to cultivate them all into professions.

Joyce Tsang as a Slasher - Dancing and Acting
Joyce Tsang as a Slasher - Dancing and Acting

People have started to realize the potential for success in being a Slasher, and businesses are more open and accepting of the idea because of our uncertain future. With the rise of remote work and coworking spaces, it is only a matter of time before society sees slashing as a norm.

However, such a lack of confidence in the world is nothing new. Coined by Marci Albonher in her book, One Person Multiple Careers: A new model for work/life success back in 2007, teenagers have been adopting a Slasher/ Slashie lifestyle as an option to build their identity. Apart from being a way for young people to attain their desired life, it's also an opportunity for those who want a fruitful retirement.

But, as the article title states, being a Slasher is not all rainbows and butterflies. And neither is it for everyone. Here are some facts I would like to share with you, having been a Slasher myself.


1. Being a Slasher is not the same as being a Freelancer

By definition, a Freelancer is "a person who pursues a profession without a long-term commitment to any one employer" (Merriam-Webster), and a Slasher is "people who have multiple concurrent careers and identities instead of a single cohesive career." (Marci Albonher)

Though both roles are not confined to one employer and are regarded as self-employment, they are very different.

Here are 4 things you must know before building your passion into side hustles!

A Freelancer's goal is to acquire the most client within their field of work, offering their specific expertise in the form of a product or a service. On the other hand, a Slasher's goal is to guarantee career longevity by being involved in multiple sectors. Slashers can, therefore, quickly adapt to achieve greater confidence and resilience, while Freelancers cannot.

In short, a Slasher is much like a Swiss army knife, capable of tackling highly different tasks with different skills. So if one skill fails to convert profit, they can rely on something else.

2. What is being a Slasher about? The Pros of being a Slasher

Slashers enjoy a high level of flexibility because they are their own bosses and their own managers of the different departments of their skillsets.

i) Learning new skills

Becoming a Slasher is enrolling yourself in life learning. The best part is you're learning about what you love. You can spend the time to master your craft and become an expert on your passion because you're working on it every day. By becoming a Slasher, you get to recognize your full potential through practicing the skills you are interested in and ultimately, have the option to build them into side businesses of your own.

I love nail art but found it too expensive to do at a nail salon. It was when Youtube had just started, and there weren't many nail art tutorials online. I bought Japanese nail art magazines and started learning that way. After trial and error, I created nail art for myself at home. I started shooting and uploading my videos on Youtube and landed my first branded collaboration.

ii) Jumping the career ladder

Instead of waiting for a promotion or having to move from job to job to ascend the career ladder, being a Slasher means you are simultaneously growing different skill sets and moving yourself up the traditional hierarchy. You may be approached by different companies at the same time, offering you jobs at different levels.

Joyce Tsang as a Slasher - Professional Dancer
Joyce Tsang as a Slasher - Professional Dancer

I was teaching as a dance instructor while being hired as a dancer for a concert and appointed as the choreographer for a branded event. Viewing it under the common company hierarchy, I was the staff, the manager, and the department head, all at the same time.

iii) Attain a higher level of freedom

A Slasher is not strapped to a desk every day for 8 hours. They can arrange their work to have days off or enjoy sleep-ins during the weekdays. Though they still have to report to their client or customers, they have the flexibility to decide when and how to manage their communications.

Joyce Tsang as a Slasher - Reporter
Joyce Tsang as a Slasher - Reporter

I was very lucky to remain a Slasher while having a full-time job. My full-time job employer and I agreed to a pay cut to free up my mornings for dance rehearsals. I did not have to report to the editor or the team when I was at my dance rehearsals. I had the autonomy to travel to and from the office according to my schedule, as long as I finished my work for the day.

iv) Everyday can be very different

There was no Monday blues or TGIF because weekdays were different every week. A Slasher might have to teach a class this Monday and do paperwork the next. They can fit in new tasks as long they have the time and reject them if they prioritize other arrangements instead. A Slasher can commit to project-based services, as well as one-offs.

Joyce Tsang as a Slasher - Hair braider
Joyce Tsang as a Slasher - Hair braider

I remember regularly teaching dance lessons every Wednesday evening, but I also had hair braiding appointments here and there. I could well be creating a Youtube video on nail art one Tuesday afternoon and then find myself conducting an artist interview out in the city the next.

v) Seek out different career opportunities

Committing to a full-time job is a big decision. You spend 5 days a week at that job. If you decide that the job is not a good fit, you have to search for a new role. That testing-and-learning process can be lengthy. As a Slasher, you are doing that simultaneously for several jobs. You get to experience the opportunities and struggles of different jobs that your skill sets point you to in one go.

Joyce Tsang as a Slasher - Entrepreneur
Joyce Tsang as a Slasher - Entrepreneur

I am someone who loves to write. But I did not know what topic I had the most interest and potential in writing. I was writing fashion, food, and entertainment articles at my full-time job while experimenting with art and culture articles on my own website. By being able to access all backend data on my website, I see that my artist interviews performed much better than any other articles I've written. I also only understood how much I enjoyed writing them because I was a Slasher and had the opportunity to explore outside of my full-time job. That, in turn, helped me look for careers and pitch clients services related to this skill set instead.

vi) No office politics

Being a Slasher doesn't mean you work by yourself all the time. But it does mean you get to choose who you work with and experience different working styles. You are not confined to the same team of people every day. A Slasher learns about their working preference every day, which is beneficial when assessing company cultures that fit them as they extend their career.

Joyce Tsang as a Slasher - Educator
Joyce Tsang as a Slasher - Educator

I was trapped in a highly toxic environment at my last full-time job. Being a Slasher gave me an escape after work and the option to remove myself from the full-time job because I had other ways to make an income.

3. What is being a Slasher not about? The Cons of being a Slasher

But being your own boss as a Slasher comes at a cost.

i) It comes with risks

Becoming a Slasher is a leap of faith. Nothing is guaranteed. You can only plan so much because so many things are going on. It's not the best career choice if you like stability and a set timeline for your day-to-day.

ii) Need to have a good amount of savings

There will be months where you have very little income - or none at all. To be a Slasher means you need to prepare for such situations. It is best to have at least 3 months' worth of savings in your bank account before jumping into slashing.

iii) Being fully responsible for all mistakes

Slashing is not for you if you don't want to own up to your mistakes. If you like to remain in the backdrop and are uncomfortable handling different business relationships, slashing is not for you.

iv) Instability

Slashing means long working hours on some days and no work at all on others. It means waking up even earlier than you do at your 9-to-5 or having nothing to do. A Slasher will suffer from unstable income, and it is up to them to figure out what to do on their own.

"We have been working so hard, I would say thrice as hard, but earning maybe half as much."

v) The spiral of self-doubt

All Slashers are doing what they do based on their interest and passion. But what if your passion gets criticized? At a full-time job, you get to clock out and forget about it. But as a Slasher, you put what you love to do on the line. Being a Slasher can become a nightmare if you can't handle comments on your work.

Here's more on what this entails:

vi) It's not just about doing what you love

Being a Slasher means doing what you love, plus many other things you don't love. You become your own manager, accountant, marketer, and sales. You are the person who earns the recognition and also goes throw out the trash.

4. Should You Consider Becoming a Slasher?

Here are some things I believe. you need to ask yourself before jumping into the idea of becoming a Slasher:

  • Is there no way for you to do what you really love to do at your full-time job?

  • Do you really love to do the things you want to slash for?

  • Are you looking to realize your personal growth, or are you just looking to escape?

  • Do you want to actualize your potential through work, or can you do the same through further education?

  • Are you open-minded?

  • Do you like to solve problems?

I understand many people conclude slashing because they have been spending more time at home and doubting their current career path. But slashing is no easy task. It has to come from the heart, and it cannot be driven by the desire to earn more money or become famous. Being a Slasher is all about building your identity through hard-earned growth. It is not easy to own multiple career projects, demonstrate varied talents, and earn a living all at the same time.

Joyce Tsang as a Slasher
Joyce Tsang as a Slasher

If I had the chance to choose again, I'd still be a Slasher. But if I had a mentor along the way to teach me the skills of fostering my passion into opportunities, I would have saved a lot of time and not made the mistakes I've made. Many families and friends still see slashing as an excuse from working like everyone else. I don't see it that way. But if I had a figure there to tell me I wasn't alone, I believe I would have doubted myself less and been happier during the process. In short, having someone who has gone through the slashing process would make a big difference. If this article has got you thinking about becoming a Slasher, but you don't know where to start, click below.


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