Sector Side Hustlers – Tyler Colburne

Tyler Colburne in front of a colourful background
Photo of Haley Moriarity in front of the ocean

Haley Moriarity

Digital Marketing & Administration Coordinator

In January’s blog What do you do? Side Hustles and the Meandering Career Path, Jody Nelson writes about the prevalence of “side hustles” in the Community Impact Sector, the equity considerations for employers, and how these “gigs” can contribute to our wholeness, creativity, and autonomy. We were curious about Nova Scotia’s “Sector Side Hustlers”, this series of stories highlights just some of the creativity, innovation, and skills that make up our sector.

Tyler Colburne (he/him) – Photography and Teaching

Executive Director – Healthy Minds Cooperative

Tyler Colburne started his journey with photography in 2008, which quickly grew from a hobby to a professional service he could provide for a stream of additional income. For Tyler, his side hustle allowed him to leverage a passion while filling financial gaps for periods of uncertainty during his career. Wedding and event photography requires a high-level of coordination and organization, so Tyler has been able to juggle a lot while also managing for burnout. Ensuring he continues to find drive in the work that he does has been a challenge at times, especially when the money motivator is at play. However, Tyler is in a position where he can turn down projects when needed (while recommending clients to other photographers in the area) and seek inspiration from creative projects. Something Tyler has been thankful for throughout his career has been the accommodations and flexibility his employers have allowed him while pursuing photography. Now, as the Executive Director of Healthy Minds Cooperative, he does his part to offer the same support to his team.  

“I think no policy can replace good relationships though, so if someone was considering a side hustle or had other opportunities that might require shifts in work schedules, I think a conversation about accountability and impact is required.” 

Tyler Colburne (he/him)

Tyler Colburne Portrait
Tyler Colburne takes a picture of his reflection in a car side mirror with the sun in the background.

Photo Credits to James MacLean

As part of her writing process, Jody wanted to learn more about the variety of creative work and talent within the sector. We had the opportunity to connect with Tyler Colburne to learn more about the inspirations and aspirations behind his side hustle. Here’s what Tyler had to say:

Q 1. What is your side hustle? Can you paint the picture? 

Well, I do a mix of side hustles for money, and then other things that are for fun and community building. I try to honor the side hustles that are also not for money, even though I know for many it is about the money. However, so many of my side hustles in life have come about because I started something for fun. This is also something that invites some risk because I have overdone it on the “for-money” side of things and then the joy has been sucked out of it.  

For side hustles, the biggest one is photography. I started photography in 2008, after using my first paycheck from my job with Katimavik to buy a digital SLR. It started quickly as something that was more than a hobby. People started liking my photos and giving positive feedback, then people started asking me to photograph events. It sort of snowballed from there. Now I do portraits, events, and weddings, but I have been also trying to scale back and fall in love with photography again. It has been so focused on weddings and headshots that I have started to forget that I had a creative interest in it first. I do photography through Tilted Studio, and also through Elope Halifax, a joint venture between myself (the photographer) and my business partner Jennie (the Justice of the Peace). 

Besides photography I have also had side hustles as a tarot reader, facilitator, and most recently, as an educator. I started working as a part-time casual faculty member with the Nova Scotia Community College. This has just started but I do hope it is something that is ongoing.  

Q 2. How do you juggle the commitments with your life?  

I have to be pretty organized and principled in my approach. I used to say yes to anything and everything and I would often burn out. For photography, I often do a lot more in the summer. This year my business partner and I decided to take a wedding break in the winter, and it has been really helpful. However, I am not teaching this semester. It can be a lot to juggle, but I try to only take on things that make sense for my schedule and time, I try to say no by offering up other amazing photographers in the city to work with (shout out to James MacLean, he does some stellar work), and trust that just because I say no now doesn’t mean that other opportunities won’t come around later.  

Q 3.  How does it impact your work presently or your career? Are there challenges, benefits, learnings, etc.? 


A photographer (Tyler Colburne) takes a picture of a person in a white dress and a person in a suit kissing while cheersing glasses.

I can burn out for sure. That is something I have to be aware of. Before, when I was struggling, it was more about survival, so I said yes to a lot. Now, I have to take a more principled approach, and that is a privilege. It is important to note that many side hustles are the “main hustles” for many people.I am incredibly lucky to be able to do photography on the side, and there are many amazing photographers who do this day-in and day-out. I try to support them as much as possible. With teaching, it is aligned with my work as an Executive Director, so they complement both roles well. I also get to use my photography skills at work which has been incredibly helpful in my career. Most non-profits need comms support and being able to bring that into my work has been rewarding, but it is also risky. At times I have felt like my side-hustle became something that was too easily requested in my day job, when the organization should have paid for that expertise, labour, and resources.

Curious to meet more of Nova Scotia’s Sector Side Hustlers? Stay tuned for the upcoming stories!

Written by:

Photo of Haley Moriarity in front of the ocean

Haley Moriarity

Digital Marketing & Administration Coordinator

Haley supports many aspects of IONS’ work including communications, events and learning, and operations. Her organization, tech-savviness, and creativity is a huge win for the team!

1 Comment

  1. Extremely well written. Tyler is awesome and Haley did an excellent job of capturing that awesomeness in words.