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Side Hustling 101: How to Pick Just One and Get Paid Premium

Updated on January 31st, 2021

If you act like that bee acts, You’re working too hard. — Baloo, The Jungle Book. Side Hustling 101:

Why do you want to make extra money?

You might be reading this because you hate your job, you’re trying to pay off student loans or you’re saving up for a vacation. Whatever it is, define why right now, and think about side hustling.

Now answer this:
a) Do you want to be busy? or
b) Do you want to make money?

If you answered “b”, it’s time to abandon your deep-seated assumption that the more ways you’re making money, the more you’ll make.

In fact, just the opposite is true: busyness often precludes sustainable income.

Why? For the same reason multitasking is unproductive: distraction is debilitating. Research shows that it takes 27 seconds to return to the task at hand after losing focus. Your brain gets frazzled by the arrival of small bold letters in your inbox; when you switch whole fields in less than a day every day, “processing error” appears across the screen of your whole life.

Thus, though side hustles are trendy (and often the only way to become your own boss), their very existence compromises your goal. This is why, if you want to be productive, build up a viable income stream and free yourself from stuff you hate, you need to choose just one side hustle.

But, given the infinite ways to make money out there, how do you choose one part-time revenue stream that maximizes the return on your time?

Side Hustling 101: How to Pick Just One and Get Paid Premium

1) Pick a hustle your future self finds elementary

Everything you do is paid training to eventually become your own boss. So pick a side hustle that’s ingrained in the kind of work you dream about doing. If you want to be a marketing master, choose a side hustle copywriting. If you want to be a sales guru, write email pitches for pay. Think of your side hustle as the first building blocks to becoming You 5.0.

2) Don’t get too complicated

When you’re selling yourself, don’t overthink it. You might crave a “catchy” tagline like “I enact your vision”. What does that mean? Potential clients won’t wade through another four sentences to find out what you actually do. Wherever you’re advertising yourself, include 1) Your strengths/skills and 2) The best possible result of that particular combination. Example: “I craft copywriting that sells.”

3) Choose one freelancing platform

Don’t waste your time creating a million profiles. Try out a couple, and then make yourself decide. Or ask other freelancers what they did. If you want to eventually make money via your website without someone else taking a cut, I still recommend trying one of these channels first. It helps you decide what specific ways you’re better than everyone else so you can later charge a premium.

4) F.O.C.U.S.

Entrepreneur on Fire Founder John Lee Dumas commands, “F.O.C.U.S.: follow one course until success.” Make everything you do lead back to the specialty building blocks you established in step one. It’s easy to get caught up in a million things, but the more you narrow your offering, the quicker you’ll become a high-priced expert. I spent two months honing my content marketing skills on the freelancing site until I was, at least according to reviews, one of the best writers there. This allowed me to substantially raise my rates–and eventually go off on my own—-without losing money.

5) Remember your purpose

There will come a time when you feel overworked, underpaid and totally burned out. This is the nature of side hustling. That’s when you come back to this article, reread the first sentence, and remember why you decided to side hustle in the first place. If you realize your reasons no longer apply, it may be time for a break. Or, your goals will be reinvigorated and you can recommit.

Juggling side gigs means spending more time sending emails, networking and creating freelancer profiles than actually getting paid. And the whole point of side hustling is to get paid. I hope these tips have outlined a better strategy to free yourself from busyness and focus on the bare necessities.

Caroline Beaton

Caroline Beaton

Caroline Beaton writes on the psychology of millennials at work. With equal parts statistics and story, she helps twenty-somethings stop wasting time, figure out their purpose and create a livelihood around the life they want. She writes for Forbes, The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and her blog, The Gen Y Mind, where she covers early career crafting, self-development and young entrepreneurship. She also provides high-end consulting and content marketing services for brands seeking to connect with millennials.

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