Before getting lost in the success and motivational stories of really successful businesses, it is important to come to terms with reality first; before you can focus on your startup, how do you cater to your immediate financial needs?
Without having to get a job you hate and without having to sacrifice the bulk of the time you could dedicate to your startup, this article shares 3 powerful ways to earn side income while building your business.
The options below require a few hours a day to make enough income to sustain you and support your startup; you can also determine where, and what time of the day/week, you want to work.
1. Start Freelancing, the Smart Way
Demand for freelancers keeps increasing on a consistent basis, even though unemployment rate has been consistently low all over the world.
According to data from Elance.com’s Global Online Employment Report, freelance jobs available in the first quarter of 2013 is almost double what was available in the same period of 2012; the number of clients who want to hire freelancers has also increased.
Hongkiat.com recently published a post featuring 7 successful entrepreneurs who started as freelancers; most of the people on this list built seven figure businesses without having to take funding,
Freelancing is a smart way to earn side income to support yourself financially so that you can support your dreams, without having to take a job. It’s also one of the quickest ways to start earning money with skills you already have.
Irrespective of your skills, someone would pay for your services; you could work as a freelance writer, designer, programmer, artist, virtual assistant, videographer, and there are other options available.
However, it’s just as important to realize that you don’t have to take every job; for example, the average hourly rate for freelance writing jobs on sites like oDesk, Elance and Freelancer.com is $10 – $15; in fact, it isn’t uncommon to find jobs that pay $2, $3 or $4 per hour. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t high-paying gigs; there are freelance writers making $50 and $100+ per hour. It’s mostly about where you look for gigs.
Here are a few tips to help you find freelance gigs that pay:
- Look beyond freelance bidding sites like oDesk and Elance; there are thousands of people competing for jobs on these sites. Due to the competition on these sites, the offers made are also very low.
- Instead using freelance bidding sites, look for people who already have a defined rate for freelancers that work with them. For example, there are hundreds of sites that are willing to pay $50 – $1,000+ per article for quality freelance writers. Look for lists of paid writing gigs like this one for these kinds of offers. You can also find similar lists with a Google search.
- It is important to realize that the best freelance gigs are unadvertised since there are countless people waiting to pounce on an offer as soon as it is advertised, which leads to increased competition and reduces your chances of getting the gig. Instead, be proactive; go out there and look for companies that need your skills. Instead of waiting for them to advertise, send them a pitch to let them know how you can help their business grow.
- Leverage your existing network. Often, you’ll find people in your network that know of a freelance offer that you can benefit from.
2. Start a Blog
According to a Hubspot survey of 1,400 of its customers, customers with blogs generate 68% more leads than customers without blogs.
One of the best ways to earn some income while also building an audience for your startup is to blog. Of course, blogging for income isn’t as easy as most people would want you to believe, especially if you’re going to rely on income from affiliate earnings or your own products.
However, as long as you’re properly marketing your blog, you can start making money from it within a month of starting it if you use it as a way to get consulting gigs, freelance offers, and mentoring opportunities.
If you want to get results from your blog, here are a few tips:
- Make sure you blog about a specific topic; avoid being a jack of all trades.
- Have a consistent content schedule for your blog; since you will also be working on your startup, 2 – 3 articles a week should be a great start.
- Have a page that features your offers; let people know you do coaching, consulting, or mentoring. Nobody will hire you if they have no idea what you do.
- Make sure you are regularly referencing your services in your blog posts; some of your posts will go viral and even if they don’t, you will gradually build an audience of people who regularly read your posts and might want to hire you.
- Guest post on relevant blogs in your industry; look for big media sites as well as large industry blogs. See if you can become a regular blogger for them in exchange for a bio and a link back to your blog.
- Notice what works and stick to it; some of your articles will go really viral, resulting in a lot of traffic and clients. Take note of these articles, see what they have in common, and do more of them.
3. Launch a Product
You can also earn side income while you build your startup by creating and selling your own product.
You are qualified to talk about, at least, one or two things; if you are not sure about what this is, look at your startup and the problem it solves. See if you can create an ebook, e-course, or some other information product in your niche.
Create a website where you plan to sell this product, write copy for it, and market it wherever you can.
Here are some tips for creating awareness about your product:
- Guest blog; look for relevant blogs in your niche that accept guest posts and submit your posts to them. This article can familiarize you with how guest blogging works.
- Experiment with Pay Per Click (PPC) ads; of course, you are struggling to get cash so you have to be careful with this. You don’t have to go into debt to do PPC; you can buy Facebook ads for $50 – $60, drive hundreds of visitors to your sales page and see if you make some sales. If you do, keep reinvesting income from your sales into promoting your product until it is profitable. This is a great article on Facebook ads to get you started.
- Introduce your product to the online communities you’re a part of; if you are active on a particular forum or in a certain online community, be sure to let them know about your product. Make sure you do this without spamming them.
- Partner with bloggers, newsletters, and Ezines that have the audience you need; offer them a percentage of sales they make or offer to give their readers a special deal.
You don’t have to take funding and give away part of your startup to make sure it is successful. You can fund your startup by earning money on the side. Be sure to use the tips in this article to get results. Also, feel free to share other ideas you think should have been included!