Making the decision to start an online business is the easy part. Digesting and implementing all of the information available about how to start a side hustle is more than overwhelming.
I remember when I first made the decision that I wanted to do something online, the amount of information available almost made it impossible to figure out where to start. At times, it was almost easier to not even bother… but that fire inside wouldn’t stop burning so I forged ahead.
I remember my first foray into starting an online business was born out of doing what was once called the 30 Day Challenge (now referred to as The Challenge), where you were taken through a free course with daily actions to get you through to earning your first $1 online.
My first site was called backacneresolved.org — something I wasn’t at all passionate about, but in doing some initial research, realised that it was a massive pain point.
This site quickly died, because I just wasn’t interested in maintaining it, after all back acne is not exactly a sexy topic! Try writing blog posts about that for a few weeks!
After that failed site, I tried a few different things, like blogging, creating mini-Wordpress sites for backlinking and SEO consulting.
The problem I had with all of these was that they were all different and required different skill sets. Skills I didn’t yet possess.
It wasn’t until I joined Location Rebel that things started to click for me and I learned about the different types of skills I needed to start my business.
Fast forward to 2015 and I have a successful freelancing business and authorpreneur side hustle going on.
4 Essential Skills For a Successful Side Hustle
If you want to make life easier on yourself while you start your side hustle, make sure you’ve got these essential skills covered!
No matter what side hustle you start, you’re gonna need a website as your base. A hosted WordPress site is your best bet, unless you’re stepping into the world of ecommerce, then you should be looking at a Shopify store… but I’m getting sidetracked here! Back to WordPress.
You need to learn how to set up your own WordPress site. Visit www.wordpress.org to get all the details. There are plenty of YouTube video’s explaining how to setup a simple WordPress site, but if you’re anything like me, you learn by doing, so jump straight in and get yourself set up.
Once you’ve got a WordPress site up and running, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got the following essential plugins:
- Pretty Link (not the pro version)
- Sumome (free or paid)
- UpdraftPlus Backups
- SEO Friendly Images
- Yoast SEO
These will make your WordPress site that much better. Don’t forget to check out the millions of free themes available for your site, you can literally find anything to suit your mood.
#2: Basic HTML
While focusing on WordPress will definitely take you far, at some point, you’ll need to make a few tweaks and if you’re going to be doing any type of writing, understanding and knowing a few basic HTML elements will take you a long way.
I learned simply by Googling how to make changes to my WordPress theme files, but there are much easier ways to learn. Code Academy offers free courses, so you really have no excuse. Who knows, you might find that HTML is something you’re good at and you can add it to your wheelhouse of side hustle skills!
At some point, you’re going to start selling your skills and being able to do that rests largely on how well you can sell those skills.
That’s where copywriting comes in. Learning a bit of copywriting will take you a long way in setting yourself up for success, particularly when you start doing courses of your own further down the track.
I’ve learned copywriting from the likes of Derek Halpern and the team at Copyblogger.com, you don’t have to buy any of their courses, simply emulate what they do, watch and read how they communicate with you and then learn from what they are doing.
Copywriting is a mix of storytelling and pain point identification while offering a solution. If you can nail all three of those elements when chatting with potential clients, then you’ll likely never go hungry again!
#4: Calendar management
Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way when I first started my side hustle business. I failed to keep on top of deadlines and to schedule time aside to do the jobs I’d been paid to do, which lead to a few angry clients and a lost gig.
Calendar management is an essential skill to have if you’re looking to run a successful side hustle. Organisational skills are also very important.
I use a combination of Google Calendar, Todoist and the Sunrise app to keep track of everything I have going on, as well as Freedcamp for project management.
You don’t have to be as anal as I am, but you do need to be on top of your calendar and know when and how you’re going to get your side hustle gigs done. Fail to nail this right from the start, and you’ll struggle to get your side hustle off the ground.
Putting it Into Action
Once you’ve got all these skills under your belt, you need to put them all into action and use them. This starts by having a clear strategy behind your side hustle business and fully understanding which of your skills is going to be the easiest to get things up and running the fastest while also making you some moola.
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