When you first hear the words “side hustle,” what likely comes to mind is a part-time gig spending countless hours of your down time slaving away for a few extra bucks. Or, I assume that’s what comes to mind for most people because that was my first presumptive thought upon hearing the words “side hustle” and “extra money” strung together in the same sentence.
I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that a side hustle is easy, because it isn’t. Familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs of earning extra income, numerous hours spent researching “how to start a successful side hustle,” doing it all on a small budget (or with no budget at all)…it can be confusing. But side hustles can also be quite straightforward if you’re serious about getting serious about your side hustle. Sound complicated? Well, it both is and isn’t.
A version of this article previously appeared on JacalynBeales.com.
The first thing you need to know before you continue reading this how-to spiel is what side-hustles are and the main purpose behind starting your own. Simply put, a side hustle is a project or job you perform “on the side” of your regular, everyday job in order to earn extra income whilst working on your true passion. The purpose of a side hustle is to allow you to literally work on a passion project or your dream job while making a few extra bucks and gaining the experience necessary to truly follow your passions. It’s called a “side hustle” because you do it on the side, spending downtime (such as weeknights or weekends) working on your hustle without sacrificing your day job or dependable income.
There are, quite literally, hundreds of articles on side hustles, ranging from how-to pieces like this one or guides on the best advice for starting a side-hustle from award-winning designers, creatives, or independent makers. In a world where entrepreneurship is growing ever more popular, side hustles are providing self-starters and would-be creatives the opportunity to actually pursue their passions without giving up a day job. But not everyone’s side-hustle will get them noted in Vogue or interviewed by some obscure-yet-insanely-popular digital platform. You can read article after article on starting your own side hustle, and certainly, those articles will be helpful. This piece is meant to give you a simple overview of how you can create and earn money from a successful side hustle as a freelance writer or content creator.
Before we dive in, it’s important to recognize that side hustles don’t work unless you do (sort of like how dreams don’t work unless you do; clever, right?). You have to be willing to put the time, effort, and work into building your side hustle, especially if you are looking to pursue and become successful with your true passion. If you’d like to be a content creator, freelance writer, or copywriter, a side hustle could open up many doors for you while earning you some extra cash. So, now that you know it won’t be easy to start a successful side hustle but that it is totally worth it if you’re willing to put the effort in, let’s get started.
Step 1: Figure out what you can offer the world.
Before you even begin setting up a side hustle or sinking lots of money into advertising your hustle, you need to first figure out what it is you can offer potential clients that would be of value to them. When starting my own side hustle, I began by sitting down and making a list of my creative talents/abilities in one column, with the benefits and value of each ability in another column. I took the time to really consider what I can offer to people that would not only provide the client with value but which would also allow me to practice and pursue my goal of being a full-time content creator. It turned out to be that my ability to create beautiful copy and content for the web and print were my two greatest creative assets; once I figured that out, I knew the type of services I could offer clients: copywriting and content creation.
It may be that what you’re good at is graphic design, but you love focusing specifically on logos, business card design, or creative templates for media kits. There’s a seriously rich variety of niches out there today for creatives, so regardless of what you’re good at, chances are you can find a marketable side hustle and clients to meet your creative abilities and area(s) of focus. For writers, it’s important to consider what type of writing or creative work you enjoy doing most, and pursuing that as a side hustle. For example, if you love blogging and already blog either for yourself, for brands, or for publications (digital or print), your side hustle could entail offering blogging services to brands in need of regular bloggers, businesses looking for blog ghostwriters, or magazines searching for niche bloggers to keep their online platforms up to date. The old adage that you can’t make money writing, even on the side, is dead. You simply have to begin by figuring out what kind of writing or content creation you love.