Curious about what it would be like to work for yourself one day? As many budding entrepreneurs wish to one day give up their 9:00-5:00, many prefer to first dip their toes in shallow end before diving in. Building up a side hustle or side job is not only helpful in developing your own business, but also a great way to earn more than just your annual salary! Beyond driving for Uber, a side job can be any part-time job that you do to make extra money, whether that's pet sitting, being a personal assistant, freelancing, renting your space or even starting a small party planning business.
Nearly 47% of Americans have ventured into the world of side hustling in some shape or form, and you can too with these simple steps in mind.
Step 1: Decide the “What” without reinventing the wheel
When deciding how you’d like to earn your extra income, Dorie Clark, Marketing Strategist says “to look at what people are already asking you for. If you listen to what your network consults you on, you’ll realize that you’re probably already considered their local expert in something”. While some skills might seem inherent to you, others may struggle in those same areas.
Many people suffer from imposter syndrome and question whether they can really add value to someone’s life. What they often forget is that people will happily pay someone to do work that they don’t enjoy. Rather than getting overwhelmed by thinking of the perfect product or service, think, what task can I take off someone else’s hands?
If you’re having trouble deciding where your skills lie, browse websites like Fiverr or Upwork to see what kinds of work organizations are looking to outsource. Come up with a list of 3-5 basic tasks you could offer in your everyday life that might be useful.
Step 2: Start small, create focus
Clark explains that in the early phases, the best thing you can do to develop your expertise and launch your side job is to start with 1 thing at a time. She says that when your attention is scattered in so many directions, it’s easy to get distracted from your goals. Once you have the wheels turning, you can do multiple things well, but when you start out, be disciplined about 1 thing at a time.
Another advantage of starting small is that it removes the overwhelming feeling of not knowing exactly “what you want to do”. Rather, you can achieve a greater goal by chipping away at one piece at a time while staying motivated and on track.
Step 3: Set yourself some goals
Decide upon some goals you can lean on to help guide your business venture. Once you have goals in place, you’ll be able to create some direction and plan around your business. If you’re committed to your goals and ideas, it will help keep you more committed, as trying to create a business when you’re already working from 9:00-5:00 can be challenging and requires sacrifice.
For example, you might tell yourself, my goal is to earn $10,000 this year in extra freelance work. Or you want to get hired by 3 new clients in the next 6 months. Having this in your head will help guide your efforts and amount of work you need to put in.
Step 4: Build your confidence
Imposter syndrome or lack of confidence can be a major hindrance when getting started. One thing Dorie recommends when trying to build up confidence in your offerings is to practice what you’re selling and getting testimonials. She recommends reaching out to friends and offering your services for free in exchange for referrals or testimonials. This can be a great way to establish your expertise, get comfortable with your offering, and create something meaningful for clients.
Once you’ve successfully done something once, you can it as a service you provide! Even if it means doing it for free a few times, you can use this experience to build your skills and confidence, and help you create a pricing plan based on value.
Step 5: Get your first client and sell yourself
Figuring out who will foot the bill can feel daunting when thinking about building any business. To get your first client, you’ll have to do the leg work and get your message out there! Sites like Fiverr or Upwork create a marketplace for you to sell your skills. Natural word of mouth, networking, and keeping your eye on different online networks (alumni pages, LinkedIn groups, social media) are other great ways to look for new clients.
As the gig economy continues to grow, it's important to always reinvent yourself, and acquire new and marketable skills. Whereas the generation before us took on the mindset of “What kind of professional will I be”, our generation can benefit from thinking “What skills can I leverage in different settings and new projects?”
When I first started freelancing, I was offering resume, LinkedIn, and cover letter writing. I got my first client by posting an ad on Craigslist! Once I had a better grasp on that, I moved on to blogging for different HR websites by simply reaching out to editors with some article pitches. Recently, I’ve added quality assurance testing for training modules, a contract I found on my university alumni page. The best thing about side hustle building, is the organic growth of each project. By providing great customer service, chasing new experiences, and staying self-disciplined, you’ll be able to create a steady flow of extra income in no time!
Stacy Pollack is a Learning Specialist with an MA in Educational Technology. She is passionate about building leadership programs that engage and contribute to the success of her organization. She loves to share her perspective on workplace development, career building, and networking for success. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or at www.stacypollack.com