That’s the staggering number of Americans who freelanced in 2019.
That’s 35% of the US workforce.
And those freelancers earned nearly $1 TRILLION last year.
Mind-blowing, isn’t it? But not exactly shocking, in my opinion. Why?
Because with the number of people out there with student loans, credit card debt, healthcare bills, and mortgages combined with the general dissatisfaction with “traditional” jobs, it’s no wonder the number of freelancers is so high!
I think it’s pretty safe to say that freelancing isn’t going away anytime soon; in fact, I bet it’s going to grow even more.
Why not snag yourself a piece of that trillion dollars?
I started freelance editing back in 2013, and I expanded my business into organizing and productivity consulting in 2019. For the past seven years, I’ve been 100% in control of my schedule, the projects I work on, the people I work with, and the income I earn.
It’s been pretty freaking fantastic. 😊
Now I want to encourage YOU to start your side hustle if you’ve been hemming and hawing about it.
It’s not as hard as you might think. I promise! Sure, it requires planning, hard work, and dedication (anything worthwhile does), but the results are SO worth it.
Here are six steps you can take to get started NOW.
1) Define your why
Before you do anything with starting your side hustle, I want you to clearly define your why. Why do you want to start a side hustle? What’s the point of all this?
Do you want to pay off student loans? Do you want to contribute to your family’s income? Are you dreaming of a once-in-a-lifetime vacation? Do you want to quit your full-time job and replace it with your side hustle? Do you want to spend more time with your kids? Do you need flexibility to care for an aging parent? Do you want to prove to yourself you can do XYZ?
The answer might be clear and simple to you, or it might take some thinking on your part. But figuring out your why is what is going to help motivate you and keep you plowing ahead when things get tough.
Know. Your. Why.
2) Start small, but START
Saying “I’m going to start a side hustle” is a bit overwhelming. So overwhelming, in fact, you might not start at all.
I’m all about taking small, tiny actions toward your goal, so instead of “I’m going to start a side hustle,” try “I’m going to spend five minutes researching ideas today.” Or maybe “I’m going to open up a business checking account today.”
Make it something you can do in under fifteen minutes. After a few of these small wins, your momentum will increase and you can start churning through that to-do list with confidence!
Bonus tip: If you plan on keeping your day job, be sure there are no conflicts of interest with starting a side hustle. Check with your HR department or someone who can give you solid advice to avoid any potential issues.
3) Brainstorm your side hustle options
Think of this as a massive brain dump of all the things you enjoy doing, special skill sets you have, or services you already provide to friends and family for free. If you get stuck, hop on Google and Pinterest for inspiration.
Do you always get asked to plan parties? Start an event planning company.
Are your colleagues always asking you to check their writing? Start freelance editing.
Are you the go-to person for friends to help with moving, unpacking, and organizing their homes? Become a professional organizer.
No idea is stupid or too much or too hard. Write everything down!
4) Narrow down your options and research for money-making potential
Take that brain dump from #3 and start narrowing down your ideas. Maybe some ideas are too big for right now, or perhaps not feasible for your current season of life. Save those for later, though!
Once you narrow your list down, do a little research. Things to look for:
- How much of an investment will this need to get started?
- How much can I charge for this product/service?
- How many hours a day/week/month can I dedicate?
Circling back to #1, I suggest starting small. Pick an idea that requires very little startup costs, can start earning you income pretty quickly, and that can fit into your schedule. Be realistic, but also don’t let fear get in the way!
5) Keep your business finances separate
This is SO simple to do, but many people don’t do it because finances and budgeting and accounting can be intimidating. But not separating your personal and business finances can be a huge headache down the road, not to mention get you into a heap of trouble with the IRS.
As soon as you start your business, set up a separate checking account. Use that account to pay for business expenses and to pay yourself. That’s it. Check your current bank to see if they offer business accounts, or try online-only accounts. The Small Business Administration is a great resource to use as well.
I also highly recommend using budgeting software to keep track of your income and expenses. I use You Need a Budget (YNAB), and I’m not being dramatic when I say it totally changed my finances for the better. You can use YNAB for personal and business (you can create multiple budgets within your account), and their free classes and Facebook group are incredibly helpful.
6) Find your first client
Now let’s start making some money!
This is a great time to circle back to #3. If you have friends, family, or anyone who already asks for your products or services and you usually offer them for free, tell them about your new business. They should be happy to support you and help get your business off the ground. (If they don’t, well, at least you won’t be working for free anymore!)
You can also join Facebook groups, start posting on social media, or join local and national organizations applicable to your side hustle. Be sure to offer value and don’t ever spam. No one likes spammers.
Bonus tip: Focus on revenue-generating items to start. Do you need a fancy website? Nope. Branded T-shirts and swag? Nope. Just a simple website (if at all) and business cards (you can design and print for cheap with Canva). The fancy-pants stuff can come later once you start bringing in income.
If you’re interested in learning more about the tools I personally use for my business, be sure to check out my Resources page! I recommend only the products I use myself and love.
You got this!