Have you been furloughed and your employment prospects aren’t looking great? Have your hours or salary been recently reduced? If you're looking for a way to make extra money online, consider starting an freelance side hustle.
Have you been furloughed and your employment prospects aren’t looking great? Have your hours or salary been recently reduced?
If you're looking for a way to make extra money online, consider starting an freelance side hustle.
“But what freelance services can I offer businesses?” I hear you cry.
Open LinkedIn, use a highlighter tool - it’s time to figure out what you’ve been doing for the past few years!
Consider (and write down) the skills you've learned in your professional roles and personal life to date. Maybe you’ve written some content for social media channels or for your own blog. If so, is copywriting a skill that you can offer businesses on a freelance basis?
On the other hand, you might have learned the ins and outs of Photoshop while working with a company who wanted you to populate their website with high quality content. Could you put these Photoshop skills to good use in a freelance capacity?
So, when you’ve identified the skills you can offer to businesses, how do you ensure that you make the most out of your freelance side hustle?
Manage your workload
If you're a creative person, the prospect of taking on new projects and clients can be really exciting when you begin freelancing. They present new opportunities to use your skills to devise innovative, original content.
However, as a freelancer, it’s important to be aware of how much capacity you have to take on more work. If you’ve got a lot of work on your plate with existing clients, it may not be wise to take on work with a brand new client.
If you take on more work than you can handle, you’ll end up putting yourself under a lot of pressure and the quality of your work may be compromised.
Make sure you're paid (on time)
There’s no point starting an online side hustle if you’re not going to get paid.
There is a dirty secret in the freelance sector that many prefer to ignore. Companies will ask you to work for free - a lot! Write a blog for exposure, design a logo for the promise of paid work in the future or take photographs of a new fashion collection to get featured in a magazine. Please politely decline such job offers and avoid the temptation of building your experience or portfolio in return for your free labour. Not only does it devalue your service but it impacts every other freelancer trying to make ends meet. If you’re keen to add work to your portfolio, collaborate or set self-projects.
When you do land a paid job, make sure you protect yourself with a contract and provide the client with an invoice. If you're used to working in full-time roles you may not be familiar with the process of invoicing, a method a lot of freelancers use to get paid.
This invoice must include details like, your address, email, hours worked, rates and bank details. Need help formatting your first invoice? Download our invoice template here.
Be prepared to work 7 days
If you want to freelance for extra income, you'll need to be flexible with your schedule.
For some, taking on freelance work sometimes means being prepared to work seven days a week if need be. For others, clients might only require two or three hours of their time an evening a week. Furloughed staff looking to side hustle may be in a stronger position to find work during the pandemic. Those working full-time can still side hustle, but they should consider how much time they can realistically commit to a client before starting a job for them.
How busy you are and the days you’ll work with your online side hustle will largely depend on your own availability as well as the clients you work for, the type of work they need completed and the deadlines they put in place.
Some weeks will be a lot busier than others, so it's important to understand from the outset how many hours of your time a client requires each week.
Set a routine
While freelancing allows you to work flexible hours, it’s important to try and structure your time where possible.
Like starting university, freelancing can come with a newfound sense of freedom and autonomy.
However, that doesn't mean you should manage your time like a first year uni student. Procrastinating and leaving everything till’ the last minute won’t bode well for you or your clients. Freelancing allows you to work on projects that you’re passionate about. Don’t blow amazing creative opportunities by not managing your time well.
Personally, I like to take a few minutes at the beginning of each week to assess my workload and put a loose structure on the week ahead. As I’m currently living with others who are working in full time jobs, I try to do my work between nine and six everyday so that I can spend time with them in the evenings. Sometimes I’ll start earlier and other times later, depending on what I’m working on, deadlines etc.
Communicate with clients if you go back to work
If you manage to secure a full time job, great! However, make sure you’re upfront about it with your clients.
If your new job is going to affect how much freelance work you can manage or take on you need to communicate this with your clients. Give them as much advance notice as possible so that they can plan around this and potentially find someone else to pick up the work that you can no longer do.
Furthermore, going back into a nine to five means you may only be able to communicate with your clients at certain times of the day. Be clear with them from the outset about the best times for them to contact you about work.
As someone who only started freelancing during the pandemic, I’d definitely recommend taking on a freelance side hustle at the moment. It's a great way to make extra money online and I’ve been very lucky so far to work on really meaningful projects with great clients.
So why not give it a try too?
Yeah, it can be a little daunting at first, but after landing your first client you’ll get into the swing of things pretty quickly.
Keep the five pieces of advice listed above in mind and you should be on the right track to getting the most out of your side hustle.
Liked this piece? Starting an online side hustle? Check out Top Tips for Freelancer in 2021 and Business and Legal FAQS For Freelancers.