Freelancing is a side hustle. But what happens when freelancing becomes your day job? You can still get your hustle on.
That’s exactly what I did. Creating multiple streams of income was important to me. It was time to add on a side hustle. As you may know, my challenge was not to fill space in my schedule. I couldn’t let the side hustle take over. That’s why I had some strict requirements for it.
Side Hustle “Must Have’s” for the Freelancer
The freelancer can be seen as the master of side hustles. It’s in the nature of freelancing to get a gig and make sure it works. This also means you need to be clear about your Must Have’s before adding to your plate. This way, whatever gig you land, or create for a side hustle, aligns with your needs.
Here’s what I wanted my side hustle to include:
- Be in line with my scope of work
- Social or some type of face to face interaction
- Valuable for my time
Let me explain each of these a little bit more to give you some context. I wanted a gig that I could rely on, but also one I could take on more or less of at any time. I love to be creative and I LOVE what I do. If the gig could include design or writing it would be a plus. Since I was working from home so often, I wanted a gig that put me in front of other people. I need to be social for my mental health. Lastly, I needed a side hustle that was worth my time. Meaning I wasn’t going to do it for free. (It’s a side hustle after all!)
Some of you may want to find a side hustle totally opposite your scope of work in freelancing. Or maybe you want your side hustle to be able to become passive…whatever it is, make a list.
Was I being too ideal?
No list is “too ideal”. This is a limiting idea. If you’re going to add something to your life, you need to be clear and intentional about it. Jillian from Montana Money Adventures is a pro about this.
I will admit my list was long. It was a lot to ask from a side job. It took me some time to find one that worked. I have done the side hustle hunt before as a teacher, so I knew it wasn’t going to be fast.
If I was going to be ideal, and this side hustle was going to give me what I needed, then I also needed to give it my all. When I am working, I am working. The side hustle gets my attention and I reap the reward.
So what the heck are my freelancer side hustles?
I have two side hustles. Yes, two! It’s pretty fantastic actually.
1. Teacher librarian substitute
This is the most flexible of the two side hustles. I quit teaching but decided to stay in the sub-pool. At first, this gave me serious anxiety. I was NOT ready to be back in the classroom again. I decided that I would very selectively substitute. I can say no to any job.
It just so happens I am good friends with the librarian. She was kind enough to train me on the librarian system and send out a note to all of her librarian friends at the schools in the district plugging me. They can all text me any time to see if I’m available. The library is a fantastic place to substitute and I even get to read stories to the kiddos sometimes.
This is a scalable side hustle. If I wanted to really amp up my income, I could take on as many jobs as I wanted, as long as they were there. This kind of flexibility is exactly what I needed.
2. Marketing designer for a local boutique
I recently started working at the world’s cutest clothing boutique in my town. I’m working on the floor helping customers. I’m also creating a content calendar for their Instagram and working with them on marketing. It’s fun and exciting to create graphics and highlight the store. It combines all my skills for work- writing, photography, and graphics- with my need to be social and have face-to-face interactions.
I have a routine schedule, but they’re super flexible. I work in the afternoons/evenings three days a week. This keeps my mornings free to get my client work done. There are only three of us there, the owner, myself and the manager. The manager is also a freelancer (a photographer,) so it’s understood that we’ve all got our things going on. It’s actually encouraged since we can use those skills to help out the boutique.
Those are my two ways to bring in some extra income after my day job freelancing. I am so grateful for the side hustles I’ve found. I’m happy about them, and being happy about any kind of work is the only way to go these days.
Feel free to quit your side hustle
These two side hustles work for me right now. They are adding to my life, not subtracting from it. I’m excited to hang with my girls at the shop downtown. I love helping students find books and actually read. All good things.
That said, if it ever became bad, stressful, or too much. I can quit. That’s right, I can just quit. I am learning just how liberating this whole quitting thing really is. Only keep the things in your life that are giving to it. If the side hustle isn’t working for you, it’s time to walk away and look for a new one.
The freelancer’s side hustle hunt
Some people may ask, can’t you just add on another client? Yes. I can. But then it’s not a side hustle, it’s just bringing on more work. I wanted a clear difference between the two.
If you’re on your side hustle hunt as a freelancer, set your priorities and wants from the start. Then try it out. If it doesn’t work- quit and keep hunting. I wish you the very best! Tell me when you find it!
Hi! As a fellow teacher, I totally understand the importance of flexibility when you’re looking for a side hustle. I never would have thought about subbing for the librarian. That would be a lot of fun! Best of luck as you continue to get used to your new “normal”!
I really like the change in perspective from the typical “35 things to do to make more money in 2019” approach. I think that all the items you pointed out are also still very applicable to a non-freelancer who is side hustling! Thanks for the read!
Thanks! You’re right! Focusing on the ideal scenario for your side hustle is true for anyone out there hustling.
Such a big transition! I can definitely understand your hesitation with heading back to teaching even as a substitute. Librarian seems like the perfect balance there!