“I don’t need more money.” said no one ever. This is particularly true for New Yorkers on whom the pressure to spend has never been greater. Having extra income serves as a safety net and may help you reach your financial goals sooner.
If you’d like to get started on diversifying your income, consider these five steps:
Identify your skills
What are you good at? Do you braid your friends’ hair for fun? Maybe it’s time to start charging! Do you like bringing people together and organizing meetups? There goes your event planning business! Do people come to you for career advice or help with their writing? You could be a tutor, career coach, freelance editor and more. People will always need help. This much we know is true. Write down things you enjoy doing and things you’re good at. Somewhere in the middle you’ll find a new source of income.
Let your immediate network know
Your immediate network refers to your family, friends, old classmates, colleagues and even supervisors. These are the people in your direct surroundings with whom you’ve already established a relationship with. Once you clearly assess your skills, you can reach out to them and let them know about the service(s) you can provide.
Here’s a sample outreach email:
I hope you’re doing well! I wanted to let you know I’m currently offering X (hairstyling, personal shopping, accounting etc.) services. If you or somebody you know could use them, feel free to get in touch or pass this email along. I’m happy to help!
Thanks so much,
This strategy didn’t help me find clients initially, but it helped spread the word. Don’t fret if this happens to you too. You’ll be on top of mind when an opportunity eventually comes their way. Don’t hesitate to follow up if necessary.
Lastly, don’t underestimate your weak ties. That gives you an opportunity to further connect with them.
Pick a platform
How will you advertise your skills? Time to get creative! You can either start a podcast, blog or make videos. After choosing your medium, be sure to include a social media component in your marketing strategy.
If your product (read: service) is visual (i.e. hairstyling, jewelry making, crocheting etc.), consider Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat or YouTube. Twitter and LinkedIn are great options for text-oriented services such as resume consulting, journalism, social media management etc. Facebook is where everything goes and it’s considered the most popular and effective advertising platform because of their targeted ads.
Promote your work
As a freelancer (or side hustler), you are your own cheerleader. Work on perfecting your craft then promote it. No one will believe in you unless you do. You have to put yourself out there in order to land gigs. Keep creating and document your process. Collect evidence. You photographed your mom’s friend’s baby shower? Start building a portfolio. You styled your sister’s best friend? Snap a few pictures and share it on your platform. Go to networking events and tell strangers about your services. The quality of your work will speak for itself, but you have to go the extra mile and sell yourself to the right people.
Build an online presence
If you’re not making social media a part of your marketing, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to expand your reach and get more clients. Growing a social following takes time and requires consistency. It’s made even more difficult by the fact that the benefits aren’t immediate. Nonetheless, it’s necessary as consumers connect more with brands than with products nowadays. Besides, you wouldn’t want to limit the size of your audience.
Earning extra income is all about monetizing your skills or building valuable products. If you have a job, someone is clearly paying for your skill set so it goes without saying that you’ll find other people willing to do the same. You just have to strategically position yourself to receive that compensation.
What service can you offer? How do you plan on monetizing your skills? Let me know in the comments!
Check out: 6 Ideas to Diversify Your Income Streams
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