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How to Start a Side Hustle

Benefits beyond the financial

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Image: Justin Veenema
Image: Justin Veenema
Image: Justin Veenema

Interested in starting a side hustle?Welcome to the club! Taking on additional work, separate from your day job, has become increasingly common in recent years. Aside from the monetary benefits, side hustles can offer a creative outlet and a sense of fulfillment that you may not have at your full-time gig. 

Let’s start with the basics. What should your side hustle be? It can be helpful to write down your current responsibilities at work and those from previous roles, and highlight what you’ve most enjoyed working on. What do people compliment you on? What has been mentioned in your annual reviews? If you’re going to be spending time working outside of traditional hours, you want it to be on tasks you enjoy doing. 

Next, let’s focus on demand. Do your research by looking at the types of jobs posted on freelance sites such as Upwork. If you want to write blog posts, but are seeing significantly more jobs in social media management, you may want to reevaluate and consider how you can leverage your skills in different ways. For example, strong copy writing skills can be used in blogs, emails, social media and other web content. In the marketing realm, you’ll see many opportunities in email automation, social media management and SEO. In many industries, companies just need a few extra hours of help because their full-time employees are overloaded or they don’t have an in-house person suited for the task. That’s where you come in!

Finally, it’s time to put yourself out there. Promote your services to your existing network on LinkedIn, by email and in person. This is the time for shameless self promotion. If people don’t know you have a side hustle, they can’t hire you or recommend you to others. Use sites like Upwork and PeoplePerHour to find and apply for opportunities. Making a simple website using user-friendly tools like SquareSpace or Wix is worthwhile, as it gives you a space to direct potential clients to and show off your work. You can easily (and cheaply) print business cards and keep a few in your wallet. You’d be surprised by how often these come in handy in casual conversations with friends of friends or even strangers.

It’s called a side “hustle” for a reason. It takes work, time and self-motivation. But when you land that first client, or get your first referral, you’ll be so glad you started. Happy hustling!

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