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writing as a side hustle

4 Tell-Tale Signs you Should Keep Writing as a Side Hustle

I still remember when I started my freelance writing journey as if it was just yesterday. It took a total of eight months before I got my first freelance writing gig.

Eight months!!!

That waiting period wasn’t an easy one. It meant that sometimes I could barely afford to eat good food. 

Thankfully, I had paid my rent, so I didn’t have my landlord at my neck. But it was still hard to pay my bills and afford to stay online.

To make it worse, I was living in third world Nigeria, and power was epileptic. So I could not even afford my own generating set.

Yes, I was determined to keep pushing until things changed, but the ride was not always very smooth. There were twists and thorns on the way.

Many freelance writers enter this trap and with no freelance writing jobs in view, they end up getting burnt along the way.

You know how it goes. You attend a seminar about a blogger or a freelance writer who started off three years ago and now he is living the dream, raking in six-figure in freelance writing gigs, and traveling the world.

He gets you charged up and encourages you to quit your job so you can pursue your dreams.

Of course, he means well. And there are a lot of chances that if you do so, you can also get paid to write about what you love, and travel the world.

But there is also a chance that you won’t.

I don’t really want to burst your bubble. But I have seen a lot of writers experience this frustration and I don’t want it to be you.

That is why I am writing this to you. If you have a job and you want to quit and take the plunge, that is cool. But before you do so, read on. 

Who knows, you will find a reason why you shouldn’t give your boss the middle finger just yet.

You could keep your job and explore the available freelance writing opportunities you see, that way, you get to make money writing as a side hustle.

writing as a side hustle

In this article, I will be sharing with you some factors to consider before deciding to make writing a full-time job.

1. Freelance Writing Jobs are sporadic especially if you are just starting out

If you are familiar with my story, you’d know that it took me eight months to get my first freelance writing gig. 

But things didn’t get all rosy immediately after that. Yeah, it took me another month to get my second freelance writing job too.

Yes, I know writing can be fun and all. However, you know, probably better than I do, that life comes with a lot of responsibilities. 

There are bills to be paid, meals to be made, utilities, and other stuff that can sometimes be tasking and financially draining, especially when you have dependents. 

Honestly, it is not always feasible to go into writing full time, just because you love it. Passion is not always enough. 

You need to survive first and pay your bills before chasing your passion. You can start on a part-time basis. That way, you’d have enough income to get by on while you chase your dream.

2. Your writing skill isn’t pro-level yet

If you are willing to accept $5 or $10 gigs, then you don’t need to worry about this point. 

But I am sure, you want to be in the league of writers who charge $50 or $100 and above for their jobs.

And to become the kind of writer that will command such rates, you need to hone your writing skills.

Not just that, you need to prove yourself in the freelance writing field. These things are interwoven. Because you improve your skill in the process of writing and proving yourself.

Just being a writer is not good enough.

The freelance writing industry is a competitive market. You have to be better than most people out there in order to stand out.

However, these things take time.

So before you quit your job, why not start honing those skills now?

Offer guest posting services to other website owners. Attend writing courses like my Freelance Writing Pro masterclass.

Do all you can to improve while you are still collecting a pay-check. That way, when you eventually quit, you will have a platform to build on.

3. You aren’t yet sure where to pitch your tent 

My first blog was focused on safety themes.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. And I felt the easiest way to switch career paths was to write about a branch of Chemical Engineering I understood very well.

After publishing about 10 posts, I knew that it was not the path I wanted to tow. 

writing as a side hustle

Yes, I loved to write. 

No, I didn’t want to write Engineering themed articles.

So I started a new blog in a totally different niche the following year.

By the way, if you need help in the niching down topic, you should take my free Make Money Writing Email course. One of the modules is on Niching as a freelance writer. It will provide you with all the guidance that you need.

My guess is that if you are just starting out as a freelance writer, you don’t have a niche yet. Or you are not sure about it yet.

You are not alone in this.

Most newbie writers struggle with niching down at the initial stage of their writing journey too. 

Almost everything seems like it to you at this point, and you find it very hard to settle with a particular niche. This can create some sort of brand identity crisis. 

Not everyone has it all figured out from the beginning, and just like every other thing in life, it takes some people more time than others to completely figure stuff out. 

Cheer up though, as this could be an advantage. 

You could gain more knowledge and experience which could be an added advantage if you eventually want to go in full time. 

It could also attract more freelance writing gigs because you’re capable of writing in multiple areas. You may not be able to charge high rates though, but like they say, “half bread is better than none”, right?

If this describes the situation you are in currently, keep your writing part-time until you have sorted yourself out. 

         4. You don’t have a solid client base 

At this stage, being a freelance writer probably means you visit a lot of job boards to look for what’s available and submit your pitch.

writing as a side hustle

I am almost certain that you don’t have a client base that reaches out to you with writing gigs regularly.

This means that you can possibly get a $30 job today, and never get another one for two weeks.

Okay, I am exaggerating. But I am sure you get the message. In fact, it happens to a lot of people.

In that case, you should consider yourself blessed to have a paying job at this point.

Yes I know you are a writer. Getting paid to write is what you’d prefer. 

But remember there are bills to pay. And if those bills don’t get paid, you may not even have where or what to use to write.

Freelance writing is not all ice cream and chocolate. There are some deep truths that need to be addressed and this is one of them.

I would love more than anything for you to make a living witing like I do. But it is important you do it well informed, and at the right time too.

So, keep your job by the side. Offer your services. Make it a goal to build up your client base and at the right time, you can speak to your boss and walk.

Remember, the writing industry is a competitive market and even the big shots don’t have it all figured out. But no matter what know that I’ll be right here rooting for you.

About the Author Toby

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