5 Things I Wish I Knew When Starting a Digital Side Hustle
Starting a digital business is scary as hell.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a photographer, accountant, jewelry maker, or mommy blogger—taking a leap of faith is terrifying—especially when beginning your side-hustle. So, let me ease your mind.
Here are the top 5 things I wish I knew when starting a digital side hustle:
In the age of social media, it is easy to feel like everyone is watching you at all times.
You know your own scrolling habits, have a list of favorite influencers that you stalk daily, and want to believe that the 4k people you follow pay attention to your every-social-media-move.
Well, I’ve got some news for you. Unfortunately, nobody cares. In fact, most people are so focused on their own brand aesthetic, SEO, and which picture will get the most likes, that they don’t have time to be hyper-critical of your actions.
So, find a way to brand yourself and your side-hustle in a way that feels authentic to you. Nobody can fault you for being true to yourself and with time, you will grow an organic following that watches your business succeed and supports you as you make mistakes along the way.
There is not one person on this planet that is a master of absolutely everything.
At the beginning of my blogging journey, I wanted to do it all. I spent hours making logos on Canva, weeks learning Squarespace in order to build my own website, and months creating a social media presence with stock and iPhone photos. My blog was getting little traffic and I had no clue how to begin making money off of my passion.
However, both my creativity and business blossomed when I finally picked up the phone (or sent a email) and asked for help in my weaker areas. Working with a branding photographer helped me create a back stock of professional photographs to share, investing in business classes taught me how to profit from my talents, and taking suggestions from a brand auditor allowed me to optimize my website. Hiring help allowed me to spend time in mastering my natural talents and, in turn, I was able to gain inspiration from those who have different gifts than I do.
In other words, create a community of creatives that you can lean on for advice and get help from whenever you can. Trade the hours/days/weeks that you would spend creating your own sup-par product for time spent working on the areas you thrive.
Know your worth and charge for your services.
Quit offering your talents as favors and turn your time into money. It may feel uncomfortable at the beginning, but once your money is in the bank, the awkwardness will feel worthwhile and your business will start to grow.
If you’re still doubting me or feeling uncomfortable charging money for your time, try trading services with a fellow entrepreneur. For example, my hair stylist needed help learning about social media marketing, so, she did my hair for free and I spent a few hours showing her some tricks of the trade. In this case, there is no money involved and everyone still wins.
what would you do if you woke up tomorrow and Instagram was gone forever?
I will admit that I have spent a lot of time perfecting my Instagram game when I could have been putting effort into having a presence on multiple social media platforms. When I became addicted to Instagram, I deleted Facebook off my phone, forgot Pinterest existed, and responded “excuse me?” when asked for my Twitter handle.
However, after nearly a year of Instagram-only social media use, I decided to create a more well-rounded digital presence in order to grow my brand. Now, you can follow A Linderella Story on IG, Facebook, Pinterest, and soon, maybe even YouTube (!!!).
Branching out and utilizing multiple social media platforms will do nothing but grow your following and gain the trust of your future clients. Become fluent on as many apps as possible and be sure to create the same aesthetic across all of your social media accounts so that your brand remains recognizable to other users.
NEWS FLASH: In the start-up world, trial and error is key.
It is just fine, and actually absolutely necessary, to test out a bunch of ideas in order to find a method that works best for you and your business. Even huge companies like Walmart and Apple are constantly pivoting to keep their brand up-to-trend. Why should your side-hustle be any different?
Do your research, get to know your audience, and understand the ins and outs of why specific strategies work for your brand. If you try something that does not work, spend time analyzing why, fix your errors, and try again, over and over and over again, until your errors become achievements. We may not know exactly what we are doing all the time, but we are capable of learning from our mistakes.
- to sum it all up -
5 Things I Wish I Knew When Starting a Digital Side Hustle:
Nobody is watching you closely enough to criticize you, so create a brand that is authentic to you and stick with it. Soon, you will attract organic followers that double as your biggest cheerleaders (and future clients!).
You cannot be a master of everything, so ask for or hire help in your weak areas. Master your natural talents and trust in those who excel in other capacities.
Do not work for free. Charge for your services even if it feels uncomfortable. Time is money, baby, and you know you could use the extra cash ;)
Create a well-rounded social media presence. Brand yourself with the same aesthetic and voice across all social media platforms. Then, sit back and watch your following grow.
Figure out what methods work best for you and your business. We’re all stuck in this weird side-hustle/start-up world together (and none of us know exactly what we are doing) so, trust the trial-and-error process until your errors become achievements.
(See tip # 2)
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