Side Hustles are About the Hustle!

By on November 21, 2013

Side HustleLike many people who take up a side hustle, my experience was very slow and gradual.

It started about two years ago when I wanted to pay off my credit card debt. I had cut out so many expenses and was living in a 300 sq ft apartment, yet it still wasn’t enough. The only thing left to do was to make more money, so I started a small writing business online.

That writing business over the last two years grew quickly. I feel so fortunate to be able to call it my full time job now. At the same time, I know that it wasn’t luck that got my business to where it is today. It was an insane amount of work.

After all, people forget that side hustles are about the hustle!

Finding Clients

The hardest part with any business is getting that first set of clients. The reason is that you don’t have a reputation yet!  You really have to hope that you are able to be professional and convincing enough that someone gives you a chance. It’s just like your first job out of college. So many jobs want someone who has experience, but you can’t get the experience until someone gives you a job! It’s the same way with a side hustle. Whatever your hustle is, whether it’s freelance writing, cutting grass, or babysitting, you have to work 10 times as hard to secure the first client than you do to secure the 100th client.

I found my first writing client through a large blogging job website. I had an online portfolio in the form of my own blog, and they took me on for a 6 month test, after which they doubled my price per post. I wrote over 150 posts for that website before I moved on to a different niche (It was a beauty website, and I decided to focus solely on finance.)

However, I was always grateful that they gave me a chance and a larger portfolio to showcase my work. In many ways, even though it’s still the lowest paying job I’ve had thus far, it gave me the biggest boost of confidence that I could actually make my business work.

Keeping Clients

Working hard to secure your first client is one thing, but keeping them is another. Many side hustles are quite competitive, and lots of people make the mistake of treating them like they are just a hobby.

If you really, truly want to make some extra money for the long haul and you enjoy your side hustle, you have to pretend like it’s your 9-5.

This means being reliable, showing up on time, etc. Everyone gets sick and everyone has bad days, just like at your day job. However, as long as you are reliable and communicative for the vast majority of the time with your clients, they will come to trust you and rely on you and your work.

The Biggest Lesson

If there is anything I want to impart to others who want to do what I did in terms of taking a side gig and turning it into a full time income, it’s that it will take about 5x more work than you currently expect it to.

If you want to do well and you really, really want to make it work, get ready for some long nights and some stressful moments. I can promise you that it’s very worth it, but there’s definitely a reason they call it a side hustle, so don’t forget to work for it!

Do you currently have a side hustle?

Photo Credit: Reid

About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a personal finance writer who received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. When she is not writing for other websites on all topics frugal and fabulous, she enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog, Follow her on Twitter @BudgetBlonde or like Budget Blonde on Facebook.

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