Side Hustle

It’s the buzzword of our times. You’ve noticed it too?

You can find books on it. Sites devoted to it. There’s a lot to be said about it.

Side hustles aren’t part time jobs. They don’t include working overtime, or even driving for Uber on the weekends.

A side hustle is a way to earn money YOUR WAY without anyone being able to take it away.

What’s the best way to start a side hustle?
I remember when I started my first side hustle.

I was corporate, working the nine to five, traveling several days a month. My husband was downsized three times in three years. After watching my dad die at the age of 54, after years of stress trying to hold on to his job until he could retire at 55, we knew there had to be a better way. So we started a small photography business on the side.

I always say we were a “seven year overnight success story.” We worked hard on the side, learning from other pros, attending seminars, and building our craft. I took marketing courses, selling course, business courses, learning all I could. Then BAM – one day it all came together. And we became one of the premier wedding photographers in the online world.

I learned a lot about side hustles through that process. So, of course, I had to do it again.

I wrote a book. I started a blog to help other photographers master the business side of things. I created more than a dozen books, and multiple infoproducts for that business. I eventually sold the site for a healthy profit.

I did it again. I helped create a website building company. I helped create a social media marketing company.

I did it again. I created a website to help women reinvent their lives in midlife. I created a romance novel writing company.

And all of them – all of them – have one thing in common: we built them all by utilizing a website as our primary tool. Even our original photography company, it’s what separated us from our competition.

In today’s world, websites and blogs are synonymous. Most websites are built on the WordPress blogging platform. Why? Because it makes it easy for anyone to add content. It’s a WYSIWYG – what you see is what you get. With a little patience and practice, anyone can get started blogging and create a side hustle from nothing.

Not sure what to blog about?

That’s the best reason to blog.

A few years ago, my husband and I had this crazy idea about a gap year. We sold our forever home and got rid of two-thirds of our stuff. Then we set out to slow travel the world for the rest of our lives.

We sold off portions of our business, and made way for new things to enter. We settled in a small place in the Pacific Northwest.

I had no idea what I wanted to do next. But I did have this crazy idea of writing a novel. I’d authored over a dozen nonfiction books, but I’d always wanted to try my hand at fiction.

So I added LoriOsterberg.com online, put it on a WordPress platform, and started blogging. And writing. It took over two years to create my first novel. But I’ve had fun talking about the process, and morphing and changing as I’ve added five more novels.

I also knew I wanted to talk about gap years, reinvention, and how my life was changing as we faced our empty nest. VisionOfSuccess.com had always been my personal blog – a place where I felt comfortable saying what I had to say. So I kept blogging, talking about what was important to me.

If you head back to my articles from three to five years ago, you’ll find my posts are all over the board. I talk about travel, success, mindset, business, education, life – a little bit of everything.

Slowly, my concepts and ideas started coming together. Slowly, it all started making sense. [Well, at least to me. Probably to you too if you’re reading – you’re my kind of “crazy”!]

Slowly, I found new ways to make money.

That’s the beauty of blogging. You start out with what you have. You start by writing, or making videos, or even creating images or graphics, and you post what you want.

It’s easy to talk about things. You can create a new post in a matter of minutes.

The more you do it, the better you get. The more you do it, the more direction you’ll find it takes. And slowly, you start to develop the idea for a new plan.

Blogging gives you clues as to what’s next

I, of course, did not invent this side hustle. Blogging is an old (internet old) process that’s made a lot of people very rich.

The better you get at it, the more you start to follow others that are doing it too. You learn. You watch. You grow.

And if you keep at it, you start making money with it in a variety of ways.

  • Selling products – like my books
  • Selling services – coaching, for example
  • Exposure – you connect with major publications, which can turn into paid writing assignments like my gig with the Business Journals
  • Speaking – the better you become, the more people seek you out. You can get paid for speaking if you’re very good. Even if you do it for free, you can easily gain a few new customers.
  • Affiliate links – you’re in the middle. You connect your readers with a product on someone else’s site, and you get a commission.
  • Advertising – have a lot of traffic? Why not sell ad space throughout your site?

I’ve used all of these side hustles in my online businesses. And they can all be very lucrative if you play them right.

Blogging is perfect for everyone because it allows you to:

  • Be creative
  • Grow
  • Figure out who you are
  • Express yourself
  • Attract an audience of people that get what you do

And that’s the most difficult part of any business – finding your audience that wants what you have and loves what you do.

Blogging lets you work when you want

That’s the absolute best part of this side hustle: you reap the rewards for as much as you put into it.

If you want to work a few hours at night, after your job, it’s possible.

If you want to work four ten-hour days, and enjoy long weekends, that’s possible too.

I’ve morphed and changed in my almost twenty years of doing this. I treat it like a job, and always sit down at my computer to write in the early morning hours, Monday through Friday. But that’s my dedication, it’s what I’ve found works for me. You can pick up your computer and work from anywhere, at any time, Sunday through Saturday, twenty-four hours of the day.

The point is, this side hustle is one of the best income sources, because you can do it on your own time.

So what’s the problem?

With all of these pluses, there has to be some minuses. I even hinted to it with my title, The Problem with Side Hustles.

The biggest problem I have is staying on focus. Because you do them on the side, it’s easy to spread yourself too thin. When you take on too many ideas, you’ll never have luck with one.

Years ago, I had a couple dozen websites I was controlling. They touched on a variety of areas, from business to photography, to coaching, to marketing, to an MLM I was involved with.

While I do recommend starting up a blog and letting your spirit run free, I also advise creating a theme.

That’s why you see mommy blogs. Or foodie blogs. Or even travel blogs.

That’s why I started up my VisionOfSuccess.com site one more time with “reinvention and midlife” as my theme. I wrote on many different things, and tied each post I created back to that narrow idea.

It makes the process easier. It grounds you. It’s also more exciting. It gives you ways to build and grow.

For example, I write a lot about figuring out What’s Your Dream? As I write, I’ve come up with different ways of looking at the same idea, like Forget Passion, Just Do Something.

I also wake up and feel like talking about things that interest me, or are at the top of my to-do list. When I was setting up my travel calendar for the new year, it spurred posts like Embracing The Travel Lifestyle in Midlife.

Or maybe I get upset reading about current events. It leads to posts like Why We Deserve To Invest Our Reinvention Like Women.

I truly believe that in midlife, every woman should start up her own blog. Do it to discover who you are. Use it to hone in on your passions. Use it to create a better life for you and those you love. Use it to make income your way! Do it to make the next 50 years of your life the best yet.

I am. Will you join me?

If you do, leave me a comment. I’d love to see your sites!