Set Up a Side Hustle To Make Full Time Self Employment Easier
While so many of us want to make the jump to being a full time entrepreneur, freelancer or consultant, there are a lot of practical things holding us back.
There’s the uncertainty that comes with being self employed and never having 100% assurance that projects and contracts will materialize.
You have bills to pay and a pressure coming from all directions for your money, time and resources.
So deciding to take the leap so to speak, can feel more like throwing yourself off a cliff with no idea where you’re going to land - or if you’ll just keep falling.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
To make the transition more manageable one of the easiest things you can do is to set up a side hustle or side gig. More and more people are picking up short term project or contract work while working at their day jobs in order to pay bills, pursue a passion, or build a network of clients.
Decide What You Have to Offer
If you’re dreaming of being your own boss and leaving behind the daily grind, you need a clear idea of what you have to offer a prospective client.
Ask yourself how can you create value with the skills and knowledge that you already have, and turn it into a product or service that meets the needs of your client?
Take time to get really clear about what your talents and how these can be used to serve your clients. The easiest way to do this is to set your service offering in stone using the following format - I help______do_______.
For example, with my blog and writing on Medium my service offering is: I help talented professionals become self employed and master their productivity.
In my other business my service offering is: I help nonprofit organizations write winning grant funding proposals and make positive change for clients.
Find Your First Clients
Once you have your service offering down, the next step is to find your first clients. You might already have connections through your job or professional network where you can look to for business. If that’s the case, start to let people know that you’re available for contract work.
It could be that you’re completely starting from scratch and this feels overwhelming, but landing your first client can be easier than you think.
Some good suggestions for getting started include setting up and building a complete profile on LinkedIn. Make sure that you use a decent photo of yourself and really use your profile to highlight your skills.
Upwards of 80% of B2B (business to business) leads are currently generated from LinkedIn networks, so this is a powerful tool that often gets overlooked.
Also think about registering on a gig-based website like Fiverr or Upwork. While these sites tend to have a lot of jobs that pay a notoriously low wage, there are good clients and great paying work available. It’s also important to note that each site will take a percentage of your contract as a condition of using their services.
Remember, you don’t have to stay on either of these platforms long term. Put some proposals in on a few jobs and get your feet wet. Start building your portfolio and your reputation.
Market Yourself and Your Services
Self-promotion and marketing can feel really strange at first. Many of us have been taught from the time we were kids that drawing attention to ourselves is something to avoid at all costs.
If you want to have success with a side hustle or full time self employment, you’ll need to work on shifting your mindset in this area.
Getting your LinkedIn profile up and running is a great first step. You can write and post articles, share links and talk about your services right on the platform, and these typically have a high engagement rate.
Consider starting a blog or writing regularly on Medium. Gaining exposure through these type of avenues takes a lot of work, but it can go a long way towards building a solid network of engaged followers and potential customers.
Also look for networking opportunities where you live and try to get to social events hosted by co-working spaces, your local chamber of commerce, or economic development organization.
With a side hustle in place you can still keep your day job while getting closer to your dream of self employment. Taking small, deliberate steps towards your goal can help ease some of the fear that comes along with being an entrepreneur. Whatever your case is, know that you’ve got what it takes to be successful.
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