If you’re a millennial, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about the value of having a side hustle. After all, there’s only so much we can cut out of our budgets before we start to feel like we’re suffocating. Earning more is the other (more valuable) side of the equation.
Side hustles can help balance that equation out. If you’ve cut all you can out of your budget, it’s time to start focusing on making more money. And it doesn’t have to be hard.
Are you kidding me? You might be thinking. It’s hard enough just to find a regular job. How am I supposed to earn more on top of that?
I have one piece of advice for you: get out of that mindset, because it won’t help you.
Yes, the economy has been rough. It’s difficult to find a job. That’s why so many people are creating their own jobs.
I can talk from experience here. I started out in an entry-level job making $12/hr. It was a typical office job. That streak of being an administrative assistant didn’t end until I decided to try freelancing.
Now? I make more than I did at my old job and I can do it on my own terms.
There’s a lot of value to be had in side hustling, especially if you’re struggling with employment right now. Actually, if you are struggling, I’d argue now is the best time to start side hustling as you have more time to dedicate to it.
Interested now? Good. Let’s go through how you can start side hustling.
Step 1: Figure Out What You Can Offer
We’re going to assume you already know what side hustling is and are committed to putting in the hard work to be successful at it. Because while it is hard work, it shouldn’t necessarily feel like hard work.
That’s where figuring out what you have to offer people comes into play. Do you have any hobbies you can monetize? Do you have a particular skill that someone would be willing to pay for?
Get creative here. It will seriously surprise you what people will pay for. There are many different businesses out there with unique needs. You could be what they’re looking for.
If you don’t already know, online marketing is a huge area people are getting into right now. That means freelance writers, virtual assistants, blog managers, social media managers, content marketers, graphic designers, and community managers are all needed.
Being able to work remotely is a great bonus if you have to juggle a full-time job on top of your side hustle. You don’t want to be stressed out ping-ponging back and forth between two different locations.
However, if you have a special area of expertise, you can become a business consultant. Getting local clients is sometimes easier than trying to break through the noise online.
Additionally, you can go the more traditional route and babysit, petsit, or help out with landscaping.
If you’re having trouble, ask friends and family what they think you’re good at. Think about what you enjoy doing, too. If you’re an organizational freak, you could start a business based around that!
The sky is the limit.
Step Two: Getting Clients
Okay, now that you’ve decided what kind of service or product you’re going to offer, the next step is getting paid. That means finding clients.
This can be the toughest part and it will test your commitment. If you have a viable side business idea, you should gain traction. It just might take a few months. Side hustling wasn’t meant to be an overnight success.
The best thing you can do is simply get the word out. Tell your friends and family about your plans, and see if they have anyone they can put you in touch with that might be interested.
You can also share your side hustle on your social media platforms or create a website for yourself. The goal is to make it easy for people to find you.
If you decided to go the online marketing route, it’s also wise to show you’re good at what you do. If you want to be a social media manager, have a good amount of followers and engagement across your platforms. If you want to be a freelance writer, start a blog that showcases your writing.
If you already have a website or blog for yourself, make sure you put a “Hire Me/Work With Me” page on your navigation menu. Detail what services you offer and how you can help.
Once you get your first client, the rest will come easily. It’s one of the biggest hurdles to cross. Do an amazing job, and you might find that one client is referring you other clients in no time!
Step Three: Networking
Networking goes along with step two. If you’re having trouble finding clients, you should take the time to network with those in the field you’re targeting.
However, you should also be looking to network with fellow side hustlers and entrepreneurs. While they might not be potential clients, they could be turning clients away and looking for people to recommend. Enter: you!
Just don’t go to a networking event, such as a conference, with that as your only goal. It’s important to be friendly and eager to learn from your peers, too. Asking for advice is a great way to break the ice, and many freelancers enjoy talking about their work and the journey they took to get there. Connect with an awesome community and you won’t regret it.
Step Four: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
This is something I personally struggled with. When you strike out on your own, you think you should handle it all. Side hustling coexists with the term “solopreneur,” but that “solo” part doesn’t have to apply.
Sometimes, you might need to ask for help. The key is to go about it in a professional way. You don’t want to be whining about your side business not gaining traction.
There are many freelancers who want to see others succeed. I’m always happy to refer a potential client to someone I trust if I can’t take on the work. You just have to make it known you’re available. Send emails out to your connections and be personable. Ask how their business is going, and see if they can use any help.
Additionally, if you’re completely new to side hustling, you might feel a little overwhelmed or lost. That’s normal! While there are many tutorials, ebooks, and courses out there to help, nothing beats having a coach or a mentor. They’ve been there and done that and can give you customized advice to help you build your side business.
Overall, remember it’s important to invest in yourself. You’ll gain knowledge as you go along (getting experience is the best way to learn), but there’s nothing wrong with having someone guide you along.
Do you have a side hustle? How did you get started? What are your biggest fears about side hustling?