How To Turn Your Side-Hustle Into Your Real Job Like I Did
My name’s Yaz, and last year I quit my job, started a freelance business, and started travelling the world. Achieving those things (and being here to tell the story a year on!) was all down to learning how to manage my money, prepare for success, and a lot of side hustling.
Here’s what happened:
Last year, I reached my absolute limit with my 9 – 5 job.
I felt stuck.
I was trapped in a role that left me feeling unsatisfied and unchallenged (I was actively encouraged to spend time on Facebook just to use up some free hours in the day!), and utterly miserable about my career prospects at just 23 years old.
I was miserable, and while a part of me thought, ‘you’re an adult now, this is what life is like’, a bigger part of me knew that this definitely was not the way I wanted my life to be going – and that the only way to stop it, was to change it.
So, I made a change.
I didn’t quit my job outright and start travelling the world. Romantic as those stories are, they often end with someone returning out of pocket and in need of a job.
I knew that if I started travelling, I wanted to be able to do it for as long as I wanted, and to sustain myself as I went.
So I worked. Hard. I kept my office job and hustled in the evenings to create the foundations of a freelance copywriting business. That preparation is what enabled me to leave my job, travel the world, and only need to return because I wanted to – not because my finances force me to.
I hate the thought of anyone out there feeling trapped in a job and lifestyle that doesn’t satisfy them, and unable to do anything to get themselves out of their situation.
My website is committed to providing the tools anyone needs to manage their money better, set up their dream lifestyle, and start really living.
Below, I’m sharing some of my best tips on how I managed to turn my writing side hustle into my full-time business.
The first thing I did was to set up a website advertising my freelance services. I already had a portfolio, so I put that up along with some details on the services I could offer, and my contact details. I also started The Wallet Moth blog at the same time – at first this was just a hobby blog, but it now brings me a lot of business which is a great bonus!
I set up my website on a self-hosted service which does cost money (but looks more professional in my opinion), but you could just as well set up a free blog if you don’t want to invest in hosting fees for now.
Build Your Portfolio
Having a portfolio was definitely one of biggest reasons that I was able to starting landing clients for my business.
I already had a few pieces on my portfolio from my previous job as a copywriter, but a lot of the things I had written previously belonged to my company so I couldn’t use them. To overcome this, I asked family and friends who had their own business if I could write some copy for them – whether that was re-doing their web copy or writing a few blog articles for them to put on their site.
Most people were more than happy to have me do this for them (they’re getting a great deal after all!), and in return I had several really great quality examples of work to put on my portfolio and send over to prospective paying clients.
A lot of people think that quitting their job and jet-setting to the other side of the world is a great idea. While you would probably have an amazing time, it’s realistically not the best way to build a successful business.
Instead, start side-hustling. Even if you only work on your money-hobby for an hour in the evenings, you’ll be making that slow, sustainable progression that is so essential when you’re creating something solid.
Plan, Plan, and Prepare!
Turning my writing into my job was all about the preparation. Winging it just wasn’t an option if I was really going to turn my side hustle into my job.
So, I created my website, I offered to do free work for my friends and family, and I prepared a collection of prospective clients, cover letters, and portfolio pieces.
I also created a budget, expenses and income spreadsheet, allowing me to track exactly what I was earning each month and from who. This was so useful for allowing me to see what I was earning compared to what I was spending, and assess whether I needed to take on another client each month.
Getting these things in order before I did anything drastic is definitely what helped me build my business up from the ground without getting overwhelmed.
Know Where to Look
To get clients, you need to know where to look, and how to apply. Some of the best job boards that have worked for me include:
- ProBlogger Jobs Board
It’s also useful to put a post up on your social media accounts to tell people that you are actively looking for clients. One of my biggest long-term clients came from a referral, so it really pays off to let your friends know that you’re in business!
Nailing Your Pitches
Once you have your website, portfolio and job searches set up, the next step is of course landing the jobs you’re applying for!
I always tailor my cover letters to each individual client. While this does take a little more time than sending out a general pitch, it makes you seem so much more authentic and interested in the job you are applying for.
I always look through the requirements the vacancy lists, and make sure that my cover letter shows how I fulfil those things. For example, if they want someone who is familiar with SEO and has great writing skills, I generally point them to my blog which has enabled me to learn so much regarding digital marketing!
My final piece of advice if you want to turn your side hustle into your job would definitely be to be consistent.
Everything takes time to grow, but your progress will be even slower if you pick up your side hustle once every few months.
Keep on grinding every week – every day if you can – and with enough planning you could be in a position where you’re earning just as much from your side hustle as you are with your full-time job.
Check out my post on how I make money while travelling the world for more inspiration on how turning your side hustle into your job can really change your life!