7 Steps To Starting a Side Hustle DONE

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Ready to start a side hustle? Photo courtesy of Andrew Neel

Okay, you’ve decided to create a side hustle. Great! Like many freelancers and side hustlers before you, you’re now probably asking yourself what’s next and how do I get started?

You might be thinking, “How should I go about marketing my product or service to the world? How will anyone see my product or service? Wait, I also have to manage my invoices too? This is going to be a real problem as I have no clue what I’m doing – and I thought I’d just spend a couple hours a week on this. I’ve never done anything like this before and I don’t know if I’m capable. I still have a full-time job I have to worry about along with all my other responsibilities.”

Breathe. Don’t spin out. Everything will be okay and you’ll be a side hustle superstar soon enough. With the use of all the latest online platforms, your world will become easier before you know it. All those questions will quickly become answered, and those worries will quickly float away with just a little setup work. You’ll be able to allow automation and online platforms to work for you in ways that can easily turn your side hustle into full-time demand, if you want.

We’ll talk about registering your business starting tomorrow. In the meantime, let’s start with setting up a space where you can start selling your product or service side hustle. By the way, just to make sure we’re all on the same page – when we talk about a product, we’re talking about a tangible thing you’re selling whether it’s homemade jams, potted plants or abstract paintings. Everything else that you spend time doing and is likely billed given the hours spent is a service, like providing photography, catering or hair styling services. Cool? Ok, let’s dive into how to get set-up on an online platform.

Selling Using Online Platforms

You should start your side hustle with a presence where people can actually buy from you. If you’re selling a service, the online platforms at your disposal will likely allow you to provide a menu of service options and help you with scheduling, invoicing and payment tracking as well. These used to be things you had to manage all on your own but now they’re all automated! Same goes for products, though instead of a menu of services, you’ll likely enter images and descriptions of the specific items you’re selling and the platform will manage gathering your buyer’s information and any specific requests. They might even have mailing support. Given these differences, you’ll likely come across and use a platform built to accommodate your specific side hustle needs. There are a number of websites to choose from, so here are just two suggestions to get you started. If they don’t fit what you’re going to be doing, just Google your side hustle type (i.e. dog walking) and “platform”.

For Products: Etsy.com

If you haven’t used it as a seller, you may already have used Etsy to buy pillow cases, stationery, prints or potted plants. People use this platform to see just about anything. As a seller, it’s just as easy to register with and use. Just go to Etsy, where you’ll be able to register an account to begin the process of getting your products posted and sold. The process looks like this:

  1. Create your shop’s preference (i.e., language, country, currency)
  2. Name your shop
  3. Stock your shop – This is where you’ll be able to add all of your different products, price them, create delivery times for each, and more.
  4. Select your payments preference – Decide which payment option works best for you (i.e. Paypal, personal bank account).
  5. Determine your billing methodology – This determines how you want to bill your customers.

And that’s it! After that it’s a matter of your creating and shipping your products on time. Etsy really is a great all-in-one place to help get your products-focused side hustle started.

For Services: Fiverr.com

If you’re looking to sell a service, like writing content, creating websites or bookkeeping, you might want to check out platforms like Fiverr and UpWork. Other sites out there are also more specific to in-person services, like Rover for dog walking or BeGlammed for beauty services. Signing up in any of these platforms is fairly similar to the Etsy process – there are just questions more specific to the services you’ll be providing and rather than products you can offer different types or durations of your services. With Fiverr as an example, you just go to their site and click on the option to become a seller. Next, simply follow these four steps:

  1. Enter your personal info (i.e., name, profile picture, location)
  2. Enter your professional info – Describe the services you’re able to offer your clients.
  3. Link any relevant bank accounts – Sync the payment options that work best for you (i.e. Paypal, personal bank account).
  4. Create account security passwords – Make sure your bank account and Fiverr account remain secure.

That’s it! If you budget out a few hours over the weekend or after work one day, you should be able to take all these steps and provide really great descriptions of all the products or services you’re offering. The few hours of time spent are well worth the effort – especially if you do just a little research into what the top sellers are doing around you on the platforms. With just a bit of effort, everything else will be automated for you and you’ll be selling whatever you can dream up in no time!

Marketing Your Side Hustle Using Social Media

Marketing, marketing, marketing! Once you’ve set up your virtual storefront, it’s time to look at how you get yourself out there beyond a couple emails or posts amongst friends and family. Using social media platforms to market yourself and your products or services can go a long way in gaining clients and publicly showing how what you’re doing is unique. Using social media effectively does require a little bit of a learning curve, but it provides such an opportunity for you to learn what your clients want and to educate your target market about why they should choose what you’re selling.

There are numerous websites and social media platforms you can use to be the most market friendly to your customers. In choosing which websites and social media platforms to use, it’s most important to think about your product or service, and where your clients are likely to be spending their time.

Is what you’re selling visually appealing? If so, then creating an Instagram account could be the perfect fit. If you feel the best way to depict your product or service is by using words, then Twitter or LinkedIn could be more appropriate. If your potential clients are scattered, create one social media account first where you’re most comfortable, and then expand across more.

As part of setting up your social media handles, make it easy for your customers to buy from you. With Twitter and Instagram, all you have to do is your website or platform profile page in your bio. Make sure to talk about where people can find you and your wares in your posts too (i.e., “Link in bio” should be at the end of most of your posts.

Remember, it really comes down to two simple steps:

  1. Choose a social media platform you think your clients are already on – and that shows off your products or services well.
  2. Make your product easily accessible from your social media handle and reference it often in the comments or posts.

Now, You’re Ready to Sell!

By choosing the right combination of sales platforms and social media sites, you’ll be able to start and make the most of your side hustle quickly. What may have seemed complicated at first, I hope is much clearer now. While you do have to put a little work into the setup – not just what you’re selling, it’ll all be worth the automation you’ll be taking advantage of very soon. Next, we’ll post about how to start a side hustle when you already have a strong network in place.

Here to keep you moving – Team Lance

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Should You Start a Side Hustle? DONE

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Are you ready to juggle and get ahead with a side hustle? Photo courtesy of Brad Neathery

Whether it’s through Instagram posts or conversations with friends, you’re probably hearing more people talking about working a side hustle. In addition to holding down full-time jobs, your friends might be spending their nights or weekends walking dogs, renting out their apartments or consulting for corporate clients. And they’re not alone.

Working a side hustle has become a way to both make some extra money – if your full-time job allows it – and test the waters with whether you’d like to turn a skill or passion into a new full-time job on your own.

Just like with freelancing, side hustles allow for more flexibility and freedom in how and when you work – as well as space to negotiate your rates with various clients. Over the last couple decades, there has been a significant and growing shift amongst people moving from working more traditional, 9-to-5 jobs to freelancing full-time for themselves. In fact, freelancers and side hustlers account for 57.3 million Americans today. In the next decade, freelancers will account for over half the workforce in this country and others around the globe.

Who Should Consider a Side Hustle

The type of people who pursue a side hustle do so for multiple reasons. Often they are motivated financially – to start making multiple incomes streams to save for a big purchase, secure more retirement savings or pay off debt. But just as often they’re now looking to further develop passions, expand upon budding skill sets and reinforce their hireability across multiple job types as well.

When pursuing financial reasons, people are now largely looking to diversify and add to their full-time income. They’re not alone – one in four people in the US already have a second source of income. Side hustles and the gig economy are not only for people of a certain income range. People making over $100,000 in annual incomes are using gig employment to quickly boost their retirement nest egg – and now able to do this much more flexibly thanks to online platforms, like EtsyLyft and Airbnb.

When passion-driven, people typically feel their full-time job isn’t aligned with their interests or not very purpose-driven. Side hustling allows for people to keep their full-time job along with its stability while allotting some time to these passions. These side hustles may include picking up writing, photography or house sitting for animals on a regular basis.

Increasingly, people are also looking for a way to further develop their personal growth. When surveyed, 40% of freelancers reported they got into side hustles and freelancing to keep learning and supporting themselves through new skills. These people often look to side hustling to also expand their network and reputation through these new or additional skills.

A demographic increasingly taking to side hustles is baby boomers. They’re often looking most immediately to increase their retirement savings, having experienced the impacts of the last recession and often still paying off their children’s student loans. Along with the financial benefits though, side hustles allow baby boomers to stay involved in their communities through this part-time work or develop skills they can take and charge for along their upcoming travels.

Why Side Hustles Are Beneficial

All the reasons side hustles are taken on as listed above are the reasons they’re beneficial. They can net immediate and long-term increased income. Side hustles allow for someone to keep a day job as well as pursue passions and interests without having to go “all-in”. These gigs can help grow social network and create a forcing function to learning new skills. These benefits are particularly invaluable to growing a resume and keeping it fresh. And by working in another environment or context, there are constantly new opportunities to learn, expand and get exposed to different people and ideas. This final point is significant to what is now being referenced as the future indicator of success: adaptability quotient. Defined as the ability to adapt and thrive in a fast-changing environment, this is quickly replacing long held respect for IQ and EQ.

When Side Hustles Can Pose Challenges

While there are many benefits that come along with side hustles, there are also disadvantages. Side hustling can leave one with very little down or free time. Once a side hustler is done with their full-time job, it’s off to the side hustle – creating an almost non-stop work life. If not monitored, a side hustle can also begin to intervene on a full-time job. Time management skills are critical to balancing a full-time job or pursuits along with a side hustle. It’s often best to wade into the side hustle waters slowly, so there’s the opportunity to increase or decrease the workload as needed around a principle income or family needs. Stress or feeling a sense of overwhelm around juggling jobs should be monitored and adjusted for accordingly.

What to Ask Yourself Before Diving Into a Side Hustle

Given the pros and cons  of taking on another job or set of clients, there are a few questions you should ask yourself before determining this is the right time to start a side hustle:

  • Do I have an idea or passion?
  • Do I have the time to learn? Whether it’s a new skill set, platform or networking medium?
  • Am I willing to fail a little bit along the way as I learn?
  • Do I want more freedom and flexibility in how and when I work?
  • Could I use some extra cash?

If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, you’re ready and capable of taking on a side hustle.

It’s going to take a lot of elbow grease but if you apply yourself and search out the right communities, you’ll start gaining more than just another income stream. Whether it’s those new skills, turning your side hustle into your main income or growing your AQ, you’ll be well on your way to joining the growing ranks of side hustlers and freelancers. Throughout this week, we’ll post more about how to setup your side hustle using all the online platforms available to manage your invoicing and even marketing yourself through various social media channels.

Oona from Lance

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4 Reasons We All Should Become Freelancers DONE

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Freelancing is a juggling act – that’s well worth the hustle. Photo courtesy of @rawpixel on Unsplash

Freedom. That’s the top reason freelancers say they left their 9-to-5 and the key benefit they enjoy today. But why else should we all incorporate and set up shop as individuals? 30% of workers in the US and across Europe are already freelancing today.  We’re supposed to outnumber traditional workers in less than a ten years. Here are the top four reasons you’ll likely start freelancing in the coming years.

Keep Learning

About a third of all freelancers have taken an online class within the last week. That’s three times the number of traditional workers who have done the same. And within the last six months, it’s 60% of freelancers! The world and technology we all work with is changing rapidly. We all know we need to stay ahead of the evolving knowledge and tools of our trades. It can be daunting, but when you’re a freelancer you pursue this, because you know staying up-to-speed is critical.

Not only does all this learning provide for a healthier income, but there is such a strong connection across freelancers teaching each other how to be better and manage their businesses as well.  This benefit will only get magnified as more people become freelancers. Those who know unique skills will be able to share their insights about the industry. Those who understand how to market will be able to teach others about how to bring on more clients and income. And finally, those freelancers who know how to manage their finances, when to buy supplies, and how to supplement their incomes across freelance types (i.e., a photographer can also market online website templates via their blog and might drive for Lyft occasionally) will be able to coach their peers in money management.

Own Our Benefits (and Finances)

Let’s face it. Medical insurance premiums are getting more expensive for both employers and employees. You can now buy them directly – and write off a majority of them in your tax deductions. So, why be tied to what your employer deems beneficial? Retirement and 401(k) programs are also largely going unmatched these days. And with programs from Vanguard, Betterment, Wealthfront and Ellevest, we all have more control over our saving for and tracking the benefits of our own investing.

The benefits aren’t getting any better in full-time gigs, and they’ll start to get worse over the next few decades. Why? As more of us become freelancers, companies and governments will increasingly hire distributed workforces (and learn along the way the benefits of releasing their HR operations onto individuals). We’ll have to wear more hats individually but have more flexibility in platforms competing for our sign-ups and usage.

Decide Who We Work With

Ever gotten frustrated with work politics? Or struggled with a beyond challenging client for the good of a company’s balance sheet? Those clients and colleagues are not only a drag, but we know they’re also typically more work than they’re worth – costing extra hours and sometime even team members.

As an individual freelancer, you get to decide who you want to work with amongst clients and peers. There have been several instances over the years where I’ve decided not to work with someone because they didn’t seem like they were ready for a marketing consultant. I’ve also gotten to bring friends who are designers and branding specialists along to collaborate on projects.  Creating these networks of referring clients and peers has been so rewarding for my business, and a fun way to stay connected personally as well!

Work When We Want

Work better at 10pm than 10am? Or are you most productive when you’re on a 6-week project than a 6-month campaign? That’s no problem when you’re freelancing. And it’s also why we’re seeing a wealth of books and courses coming out, like Gretchen Rubin’s “The Four Tendencies” and Charles Duhigg’s “Smarter Faster Better“. We’re all working to understand how to manage ourselves better, because part of marketing yourself is sharing how you’ll work best together with your clients. And there are endless clients and all sorts of needs you can solve for across industries. You can work on a marketing campaign early in the morning or drive for Lyft midnight. You can do your photography over the weekends and run errands and your blog during the week. As a freelancer, you get to determine your on and off hours. Of course, you have to account for when your clients might need you. But there is so much more flexibility when you can work from home or a space you determine.

Tax Write-Offs

Financial stability is definitely a fear that keeps a lot of people from freelancing. But here’s the big secret: there is so much you get to write-off when you’re working for yourself. You get to write-off your workplace (which can be a part of your home and utilities), part of your health insurance, your supplies, your marketing costs (in the form of meals and client gifts), driving costs, and more. Everyone underestimates the impact of these deductions until they get to see them in action. If you’re worried about this, go to an accountant or bookkeeper to walk you through your possible deductions. If you don’t have one handy, I’m happy to connect you. In the meantime, if you’re considering the switch or are already freelancing and worried you’re not getting the most out of your deductions, download the Lance app to start tracking your business expenses.

Have I convinced you yet? Next week, I’ll write about how to incorporate yourself for the maximum benefits as you explore freelancing – or if you’ve been at it for a bit and need to button things up!

Oona from Lance