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How to Start a Side Hustle: Freelancing 101

How to Start a Side Hustle: Freelancing 101

The ultimate guide to turning your skills and passions into extra income (and having fun while doing it).


Are you tired of living paycheck to paycheck and want to explore new ways to earn extra money? Look no further than the world of side hustles! A side hustle is a part-time gig or business that you can do on the side to earn extra cash. It's become an increasingly popular way for people to supplement their income, pursue their passions, and gain financial freedom.

Freelancing is a trending form of side hustle that offers flexibility and the chance to be your own boss. With continued growth of the gig economy and remote work on the rise, freelancing has become a viable option for many people looking to start their own business.

In this article, we'll provide you with a clear and concise guide on how to start your own side hustle business through freelancing. From identifying your skills and passions to finding clients and delivering high-quality work, we'll cover everything you need to know to get started on your side hustle journey.

What exactly is a “side hustle?”

A side hustle is a way to earn extra income outside of your regular job. It's often a part-time gig or business that you can do on your own time and terms. Unlike a traditional job, a side hustle is typically something you're passionate about and want to pursue for additional income and personal fulfillment.

There are many types of side hustles, and thanks to social media, continued growth in ecommerce, and places like Upwork and Fiverr, getting started has never been easier. A few popular examples include becoming a virtual assistant, doing photography or graphic design work, driving for Uber, dropshipping through Amazon, affiliate marketing, and many more. The beauty of a side hustle is that it can be almost anything you want it to be. It's an opportunity to explore your interests, make connections, and build new skills while earning extra cash on the side. So whether you're looking to pay off debt, save for a big purchase, or simply want to pursue your passions, a side hustle can help you achieve those goals.

6 actionable steps you can take to start a lucrative side hustle

Exploring the world of solopreneurship by starting a side hustle can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it's important to take the time to research, plan, and prepare before diving in headfirst. By taking the following steps, you'll set yourself up for success and increase your chances of turning your side hustle into a successful business.

1. Research potential side hustle ideas and assess your skills and resources.

The perfect side hustle provides an opportunity to make some extra cash in your spare time doing what you enjoy. Ideally, you’ll find a way to do this without the downsides of a traditional business, like expensive startup costs and complicated partnerships that pressure you to return large profits in a short amount of time. So to start, brainstorm potential side hustle ideas that align with your skills and passions. Consider the resources you have available, such as time, money, and equipment, and determine which ideas are feasible for you to pursue. It’s also important to determine how you want to bring in cash flow.

For example, if you’re looking for passive income, selling digital products or exploring rental property through airbnb could be a great side hustle. Whereas, if you’re looking for a creative outlet for your passions that aren’t being put to use in your “day job.,” starting a dog walking service or opening your own Etsy shop might be more inline with your goals.

2. Create a business plan and set clear goals.

Once you've identified your side hustle idea, create a business plan that outlines your goals, target audience, and marketing strategies. Set clear, measurable goals that will help you track your progress and stay on track. Be honest with yourself: Are you in this primarily for the extra cash, or is there another metric you’ll use to measure success—such as the feeling of fulfillment, how many people you can help? Getting clear on what you really want out of your side hustle from the get-go can help you leverage your time wisely when you’re faced with competing priorities.

3. Define your target audience and build an online presence.

It’s important to know who’s a good fit for the product or service you’re selling and find ways to interact with them. Consider creating a website, podcast, LinkedIn account and other social media profiles, and exploring other creative ideas to showcase your work and build your brand.

4. Establish a pricing structure and payment system.

Determining how much you'll charge for your services might come down to how much extra cash you want to make, how much time (and money) you want to spend marketing, and more. There’s no right or wrong answer. But since side hustles differ in many ways from a traditional revenue source in that you’re often in just as much for the enjoyment as you are to make extra money, these are important factors to consider. One you’ve decided on pricing, establish a payment system that's convenient for both you and your clients. Consider using platforms like PayPal or Venmo for easy and secure payment processing.

5. Schedule your time wisely to avoid conflicts with your “day job” (and avoid getting fired).

It’s important to remember that your side hustle is just that—a side job—and this comes second to the full-time commitment you’ve made to your “day job.So as you start your side hustle, make sure to schedule your time wisely and avoid letting your side gig interfere with your full-time job. Always be honest with your employer if questions arise and, if appropriate, communicate any potential conflicts upfront.

6. Delegate work outside of your expertise or availability.

As your side hustle grows, you might need help. Considering this is something you’re doing in your free time, the growth of your side hustle (and the fulfillment you get from it) delegating work that's outside of your expertise or availability to other professionals could become essential at some point. This can help you focus on your strengths and free up time for other important tasks.

By following these actionable steps, you'll be well on your way to starting a successful side hustle business. Remember to stay flexible, be creative, and have fun!

Figuring out the best side hustle ideas for you

Now that you know what a side hustle is and the actionable steps to start one, it's time to brainstorm some ideas that can bring in some extra cash. Luckily, there are countless side hustle opportunities related to freelancing that you can explore. Below are some ideas to get you started. 

  • Freelance writing: Write articles, blog posts, or other content for clients to make money online.
  • Graphic design: Got a knack for eye-catching design? Create visual assets for clients such as logos, social media posts, or marketing materials.
  • Social media management: Take care of social media accounts for businesses or individuals by creating and scheduling posts, engaging with followers, and tracking analytics.
  • Virtual assistant: Provide administrative support to clients remotely such as scheduling appointments, responding to emails, and managing projects.
  • Affiliate marketing: Promote products or services to an audience (social media, blog, email list) and earn a commission on any resulting sales or clicks.
  • Food delivery or ride service: Drive for services like Lyft or Uber, or deliver food for services like DoorDash and Uber Eats.
  • Coaching: Help others reach their goals by offering health, nutrition, fitness, spiritual coaching, and more.
  • Airbnb host: Got a spare room in your home, or the resources to take on an investment property? You can rent this space out for short-term stays.
  • Pet services: Get exercise while spending time with furry friends! Offer dog walking or pet sitting for people who need help taking care of their pets.
  • Online courses: Create and sell courses on platforms like Udemy and Teachable.
  • Dropshipping: Act as an independent seller through Amazon, for example, you can list products for sale that are shipped directly from the supplier, without holding inventory.

How do you find a good side hustle for you?

First, it's important to evaluate your skills and interests. Ask yourself: What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies? Answering these questions will help you determine which side hustle idea aligns with your skills and interests.

Another key factor to consider when choosing a side hustle is market demand and competition. You want to make sure that there's a market for your services and that the competition isn't too fierce. One way to evaluate this is to research online, look at job boards, and analyze social media trends. Additionally, consider reaching out to your network and conducting surveys to gather feedback on your potential side hustle ideas.

By taking the time to evaluate your skills and interests, as well as market demand and competition, you can find the perfect side hustle to earn extra money that aligns with your goals and passions.

Benefits of starting a small side business

Starting a side business as a freelancer can bring a host of benefits, including:

  • Extra income: A side hustle can be a great way to earn some extra cash to supplement your day job income so you can invest in experiences that bring you joy, or save up for a big purchase.
  • Improved financial security: Having an additional source of income can help you feel more financially secure and prepared for unexpected expenses.
  • Skill development and personal growth: Starting a side business can be an opportunity to learn new skills, challenge yourself, and grow as a person.
  • Networking opportunities: As a freelancer, you'll have the chance to meet new people, make connections, and expand your professional network. Who knows, maybe your side gig will become your full-time gig at some point?

So whether you’re interested in paying off debt faster, building a diversified income stream, or gaining a sense of fulfillment and purpose outside of your day job, a side hustle can be a rewarding and empowering endeavor.


Starting a side hustle can be an exciting and rewarding way to earn extra income and pursue your passions. We covered the definition of a side hustle, provided actionable steps for starting your own side business, discussed how to find the best business ideas, and highlighted the benefits of exploring the solopreneurship path. We hope this guide has given you the inspiration and knowledge you need to get started on your own side hustle journey. So why not take action today? Evaluate your skills and interests, research potential side hustles, and start building your own business. The possibilities are endless!

And when you’re ready to launch or grow your new small business, Practice can help. Our customer-relationship-management (CRM) platform was designed to help coaches and solopreneurs streamline their day-to-day tasks, so they spend more time doing what they love. You can securely store client data, send messages and documents, schedule meetings, receive payment, and more. Start your free trial today.

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