(Taken from Rebecca Flansburg’s 2019 LAWA Fall Conference and Book Fair)

Originally when I started out as a VA, my focus was on providing social media services and blogging to clients. Seven years later I have shifted away from those offerings and now focus on Project Management work, freelance writing for magazines, business coaching, and helping authors with marketing and book launches.

Despite the steady income and work that I enjoy now, I never forget that I started off slowly and humbly with business that was born from a little Side Hustle.

And that journey is what I want to share with you now.

BUT FIRST, what the heck is a side hustle?

The Purpose of a Side Hustle

Now I completely understand that very few people have the opportunity to say “hasta la vista baby,” to their full-time job to pursue a dream job based on a skill. But everyone in this room has the opportunity to use the writing skills they possess to create an extra stream of income (also known as a Side Hustle).

Getting paid for something you’ve written sounds pretty wonderful, correct?

It’s also very “do-able.”

Entrepreneur.com describes a side hustle as, “A way to make some extra cash that allows you the flexibility to pursue what you’re most interested in. It can also be your true passion – a chance to delve into fashion, travel or whatever it is you care about the most without quitting your day job.”

Or in my case, it allowed me the time to build a business before leaving the consistency of a traditional job.

Whatever path you choose to take, I applaud you and invite you to fasten your seatbelt because this could be a wild ride.

I think it’s safe to say that many people, likely most of the people in this room, take their writing skills for granted. I can’t even begin to tell you how many amazingly brilliant people, people who I deeply admire, have confessed to me that they find the act of writing anything as grueling as a 10K marathon.

As writers, we all have a gift that many people will pay us for and we should never forget that.

So who could use your writing expertise?

Everywhere you look you see ads and articles. Someone paid someone to write those.

The greeting card you bought last week? Someone was paid to write the verse inside.

That new business that just opened? Someone needed to help them with writing their brochures, flyers, press releases, and website content.

Your favorite magazines, TV shows, and even movies, at some point, were created by someone who knew who to write a storyline or pen a script. A writer (like you) was needed to bring the information to light or weave a story that entertains.

Then, there are books. Authors may be excellent writers, but they are also busy being authors they often times are the best at marketing their work. This is when fellow writers need help from other writers; someone that can help them with press releases, blog posts, press kits, website content, and other writer-ly things.

In a nutshell, somewhere in the world is someone willing to pay you for the writing skills you possess.

If this makes you sit up a little straighter in your chair with interest, this next batch of info is the next step in your journey. Let’s look at what you’ll need to take the knowledge that’s in your head and pair it with your ability to write.

5 Ways to Make Sure Your Leap to Writing for Money is not a Crash and Burn

Lay your Foundation: Just as a contractor starts with a strong foundation before building a dream home, writers need to make sure their business is ready (yes, writing for money is like a running a business) before hanging their Writer for Hire shingle.

Do you have a resume that lists your credentials and links to articles/examples of your writing? (P.S. If you don’t have writing examples, otherwise known as “published clips,” don’t panic…I will discuss this more in a bit).

Is your equipment (a laptop or desktop computer) reliable? Is your Internet connection reliable?

Do you have specific times of the day that you can set aside to write assignments and work on building your writing business?

Building Your Foundation

Marketing Materials: Order business cards, have a website or LinkedIn profile that showcases who you are and your talents. I promise your potential customers will scope you out online before reaching out to you or hiring you.

Have decent gear: A 10-year-old laptop and a sketchy Internet connection is a recipe for stress and annoyed clients. Invest in the equipment you need to do your very best work.

Present a Professional You: It is not a myth that first impressions can make or break any business owner. Present a polished imaged on and offline. Have a professional headshot taken even if it’s with your iPhone. Have a professional email. HappyHooker@gmail.com or LizardsAreMyJam@hotmail.com might give the wrong impression to potential clients even if it reflects your love of fishing. If you only have a Gmail address as an option, use one that is {YourFullName} at Gmail or {Your Business Name} at Gmail.com

Invest in any Training that will make you a Better Writer: If you feel you could use some help with story flow, how to interview people, or even pitching publications for work, the internet is filled with amazing classes, courses, and free information. I say “invest” because you are investing money and time into your future. Always be learning and growing because the opposite of growth is death.

Published Clips: “Show us your published clips” is a client request that can make new writers quake in their boots. Basically, a published clip is simply proof that you’ve written somewhere and for someone. Your potential customer wants to see proof that you can indeed write and have done so for other people. This “published clip” could be a guest blog post you’ve done for someone, a magazine article (in final Word Doc form or the actual article page that has been scanned and saved) or even a newsletter you’ve written for a business. Having these published pieces handy and in shareable form is a “must” when you begin pitching potential new writing gigs.

Now, its time to make a plan. Starting 2020 without any sort of plan is like international travel with no map! If you haven’t done so, take the time to sit down and allow yourself the headspace to form some goals. Just because it’s not the “new year” anymore doesn’t mean you have to lep goal-setting slide.

Write on!

Creating a writing side hustle


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