by Maurie Backman | Published on Aug. 1, 2021
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Here's one side gig to consider if you enjoy working independently.
In previous work situations, I've been told that I'm one of the friendliest people in the room. And I have no problem engaging with strangers or new people I meet at my kids' school functions or when I'm out walking my dog.
But at my core, I'm definitely an introvert. And while people are often shocked to hear that, I usually explain that while I do, indeed, enjoy being outgoing and social at times, ultimately, too much interaction drains my energy. Not only am I an introvert in general, but I'm a "work introvert" -- I prefer jobs that allow me to work independently and that don't require all-day collaboration and input from others.
It's for this reason that being a writer suits me pretty well, and now it's my full-time profession. But it wasn't always. In the past, I managed a trading desk at a hedge fund, designed toys (true story), and worked in marketing. But throughout it all, writing was always my go-to side hustle. And if your personality is similar to mine, you may find that a series of writing gigs serves as a solid source of extra income.
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Back when I was working full-time at those other jobs, my various writing gigs easily netted me $1,000 a month or more. But to be clear, building up enough of a workflow to earn that much took time, and making that money on the side meant spending a good number of hours a week at my laptop.
Still, while you may not make $1,000 a month your first month of taking on writing gigs, over time, you can get there. But it'll take some steps.
First, you'll need to build a portfolio of writing samples to convince potential clients you're as good as you say you are. Next, you may need to invest in growing your knowledge in certain areas.
Early on in my writing career, I was asked to do a project where I produced marketing materials for different at-home medical tests. That required me to learn not just about those devices themselves, but to read up on compliance rules for medical advertising. But because it was an ongoing gig, I was willing to put in that time (even though the research portion of it was unpaid).
And that leads to my next point: Many writers struggle to earn a steady income (whether full-time or on the side) because they accept too many one-off gigs. A better bet is to try to find clients that will need your services on a regular basis. For example, there may be a company that wants its website updated every month. That's a good gig to take on.
So where do you find writing gigs? Sites like Upwork are a good bet. You can also network with the people you know and see if any of their companies are looking to take on freelancers.
Absolutely. But again, you'll need to build up a client base and be willing to put in the time.
Back when I was side-hustling as a writer, I earned $30 an hour from one company that gave me about eight to 10 hours of work per week. That was work I squeezed in during evenings and weekends, and that one client alone got me to what was, at the time, my monthly earnings goal.
You may find a writing gig that pays similarly. Or you may find a gig that pays a lot less, or a lot more. Establish a bottom line so you don't wind up taking on writing assignments that aren't worth your time.
Finally, make sure you don't take on more writing work than you can handle. Missing deadlines could damage your reputation and make it harder to build up the client base you'll need.
The great thing about writing is that it's largely a solo effort. Sure, you may get input from editors or clients, but the work itself is something you'll do on your own. If you're the type of person who needs time alone -- and you're eager to boost your savings or scrounge up more spending money -- then it definitely pays to give a writing side hustle a go.
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