Do you dream of kissing your current job goodbye and starting a freelance writing business where you actually get paid to write?
That’s a great dream- being a paid freelance writer is awesome.
However, the nature of freelance writing work is that it’s not always consistent, especially in the beginning.
But don’t let this discourage you- instead, it’s time for some creative thinking about how to make extra money as you start your freelance writing business.
Side hustles, side gigs, night jobs…whatever you want to call them, this extra work can help add to your bank account and take the pressure off financially as you build your freelance writing business.
One thing I’ll say before we get into how you can make more money is that it’s important to be clear on how much money you need to make.
A part-time income where I live in the Bay Area, CA may be your idea of a full-time income; what I need to bring in to support my family and our needs will be different than yours.
Be clear on your financial goals (and your bottom line needs), look at what income you have coming in, and how much more you’d like to bring in.
Then, get to hustling!
What we hope you take away from this is that there are ways to supplement your income, apart from a traditional full-time or part-time job, and these types of side-hustles can help with your transition to freelance writing.
A quick note:
If you search for “side hustles” you’ll find list after list of things you can do to make extra money. These lists have great ideas and include things like selling items from your home, rolling up all your extra change, cutting back on expenses, and money-making ideas like taking surveys and using apps.
While there’s nothing wrong with these types of activities to help you make money, we wanted to give you a list that includes side hustles that are based on the skills you have.
Hopefully the ideas on this list provide you with a bit more opportunity and earning power
Oh- one more note.
If you’ve done the Google thing, you’ve seen blogging listed as a side hustle. As someone who started a blog and does make some money from it…keep in mind that blogging will likely take a lot of time, energy (and money) to make money.
So, while blogging is amazing, as a side hustle, it’s not one I would necessarily recommend, at least in the beginning.
Blogs are helpful, and have their place for freelance writers, but as a side hustle…probably not the best bet as a guaranteed money-maker.
Your time is better spent elsewhere. Check out our list:
11 Money-Making Side Hustles for Freelancers
(Make sure you do your research and check to see if you need any permits, licenses, etc. for these jobs).
- Be a V.A. V.A. stands for Virtual Assistant and basically means that you take over tasks for a person or a business from your location, not theirs. This is remote work at its finest. V.A.s get hired to do anything and everything from answering emails, handling customer service, writing newsletters, managing sales, tracking statistics, and more. The pay will vary with the job(s) that you do. Think about the skills you have that you can outsourced to you.
- Social Media Management. Sometimes a V.A. will take care of social media posts, but a Social Media Manager is a bit more specialized. They often focus on a specific platform and help to create strategy and implementation of that strategy (for a blog or business, for example). If you’re well-versed in a specific platform or an aspect of a platform (such as Facebook ads), you can start working as a Social Media Specialist.
- Provide domestic services. While our own chores may not be enjoyable, if someone is paying you to do them? I can get on board with that! Depending on your interest (and tolerance levels), consider spending a few hours a week providing child care (date night sitters are in HIGH demand where I live), cleaning homes, or walking pets. Maybe you have an elderly neighbor who needs someone to do their grocery shopping. These tasks, while simple enough, are often the ones people want to outsource.
- Uber or Lyft driver. I’ve heard good stories and bad stories from drivers for these companies. But, the bottom line is, if you have free time and a car, this could be a way to create more cash. You also never know who you’ll meet, so the networking opportunities are endless here!
- Build an Etsy biz. Now, this one isn’t for everyone. Like me. I’m crafty and creative, but 1) What I make probably isn’t high quality enough to be sold, and 2) Trying to make a business from it would suck the fun from it for me. However, if you have something you can create, like designs that can be screened on t-shirts or a skill like logo design, Etsy can be a great way to create passive income.
- Teach a class. People love to learn, so if you have something to teach, this can be a great way to earn more money. You can teach in person, through places like the Learning Annex or your local community college, or you can create an online class through platforms like Udemy or Teachable. Think about areas that you know a lot about, or that people often ask you for information about- you might be closer to having a course than you thought.
- Become a Rabbit. Now, I don’t know from experience, but if you have time and skills (or willingness to take on tasks), then TaskRabbit could be a great way to make extra money. This is a great approach because you might find it’s easier to start finding work right away.
- In-person lessons. Think piano, SAT prep, tennis, tutoring…people often need help and support in areas like these so if you used to be in a band, or were a Calculus whiz, you can probably help a family in these areas. Connect with parents you know because chances are they’re in groups (either on Facebook or IRL) where other parents are asking for these types of recommendations.
- Selling photos to stock sites. If photography is your hobby, consider selling some of your photos to sites like depositphotos. While this may not be a huge money-maker, once you have photos submitted and accepted, this is passive income.
- Draft and edit resumes. This sort of job would be appropriate for someone who works in H.R. or recruiting; people who are good at this are in high demand because your resume often has less than one minute to stand out. If you can craft a strong resume, let people know!
- Manual labor. Depending on the time of year, you might be able to make some quick cash with some hard work, doing one specific task. For example, flyer your neighborhood offering to clean gutters or hang Christmas lights. These are tasks people can do on their own, but they might be happier to have someone else do it for them.
Now that your head is spinning with all these ways you can make extra money, which will hopefully help you reach your freelancing goals, how do you go about finding this work???
How do you promote a side hustle?
- Use your network! Depending on what the job is, and who you know, share about it. Do a Facebook update that you’re available to watch kids or that you have space for five new clients for resume overhauls. Let people know about your side-gigs and tell them to spread the word.
- Consider creating a landing page or website. This option might not make sense for every side hustle, but if you’re trying to work in the online world (for example, Social Media Manager, Editing Services, or even manual labor, where people use the internet to search), you want people to be able to find you.
- Share in FB groups when appropriate. Chances are, you’re in a whole lot of Facebook groups. Check the rules of the groups you’re in, and share about what you offer. I’m in a lot of blogging groups and they usually have a specific day or thread where people can post about their work/services, or where people can ask for recommendations for things like V.A.s and help with social media. Watch for these and share what you do.
- Use community-based sites like Nextdoor. If your work is hyper-local, like dog walker, then make it known on any local webpages that you’re open for business. Last summer I found a mother’s helper because of a post on our Nextdoor page.
- Pitch yourself; just like you’re pitching for freelance writing, add in time to research places you can contact. For example, if you’re going to try dog walking, reach out to local pet stores to see if you can put up a flyer; connect with the local temp agency and see if they outsource resume review. Don’t be afraid to make new connections related to your side gig.
Side hustles are great as you grow your freelance business, and are also great to have “in your back pocket” if you hit a slow patch with your work. Typically with this kind of work, though it’s also unpredictable, you can accept or decline it when it pops up.
If your freelance writing has picked up, you don’t take on more work as a Social Media Manager; if you have the time, then you do. It’s up to you.
Having a few options for side gigs is a smart way to transition into, and even maintain, your freelancing career.