I keep referring to the idea of starting my own business and how powerful that was for me. It was a process, but the decision was immediate. In other words, I had the idea before I had the plan.

Probably the smartest, most strategic way to do this is to stay in your 9-to-5 and edge your way out. Full-time, with a side of hustle. Or you can be like me, be sparked and have it in your arsenal and not do anything… then get forced out of your 9-to-5.

I just want to throw out some ideas when you consider coming up with ideas of what to do. When you find the right thing, you’ll know. You’ll just know. And most of the time, as you go, it transpires and develops and may even need a different title.

Starting a successful (read: profitable) side-hustle business starts by looking at your lifestyle, what you like, your needs, your experience, your passion, where the need is, the type of work you want to do, and, maybe most importantly, your experience and skills.

Without further ado, here’s the list that I came up with based on positions that I work with closely with and how to get them started.

1) Social media consultant. I’ll start with this because this is what suited me the most. It was based solely on what I liked to do the most — be creative, promote others, and to go where the need was and is. I love it. It’s a lot of work and a ton of organization — the more clients, the more needs, scheduling and invoicing, etc. Just basic knowledge of design tools and an eye for the client’s brand (I create their branding 90% of the time, choosing their colors and fonts), it is having a clear idea on each client’s business and their tone. If done right, you can create some serious free-time between generating images, getting approval from the client and scheduling it. It takes 3–4 hours per client if you plan ahead and get it done. You can schedule in Facebook directly in their Creator Studio for business pages. You can also use apps called Hootsuite and Tailwind to schedule. There are others but these are the ones I have used. There is so much work to go around. Tap in and go. Start small so not to get overwhelmed and just build, build, build. I found work by getting the “word out”. I talk to other social media consultants and they have different methods. I offer monthly packages that are affordable for most small businesses. Client packages range from $400-$2000 per month.

2) Freelance Writer. This is a small component to my business that I am gently growing. I consider writing to be a muscle that has to be worked. In the past I claimed that I have to be in the mood to write. Not the case anymore because I write enough to be able to turn it on. My favorite super power of mine is to get to know the client, how they respond to things, their voice, their character, and transfer that on to the page. Clients love it and I am very proud of this talent. It wasn’t learned it is probably a by-product of being an empath and a good listener. I currently am able to find opportunities on freelance sites and in Facebook groups. My hourly rate is higher than my social media and virtual assistant but for some clients I am a jill of all trades and charge one hourly rate. Some people decide a niche and market to it. I decide on an ideal client type and become resourceful to them. Some charge by the word and some by the hour. I like to charge by the project if it’s not already written into a package grouped with other tasks.

3) Blogger. This is different from freelance writers because you are the writer and the “client”. Decide on a domain name, carve out your niche, then write. Also find a host and it is recommended that you use WordPress. But in my opinion the most important aspect of being a blogger is content. You can always upgrade your computer, fine-tune your domain and niche. Writing takes discipline and commitment. From there it is all about using the right keywords, then promoting on social media. I don’t have a blog yet, but I hear that I need to and will implement that into my business once my webpage revamp is completed, I will need it for generating keywords to point people back to my business. If you are creating your own blog, there are many opportunities to create income: affiliate marketing, launching courses, selling digital or physical products and many more! If you would rather write a blog for someone else, see above (freelance writer).

4) Virtual Assistant. This is the other component to what I do. I have 30 years of administrative experience so I know the drill. It’s one of those things I can do effortlessly and make a good income doing. I took a course on how to set up this business and immediately it branched out into doing more creative things. Things were moving very fast when I started that I moved right into the creative but this was the intention and the core of where my foundational experience lives. There are so many online entrepreneurs that this field is not likely to dry up anytime soon. Your start-up costs are a computer, good wifi, and time. You will also need to be professional and super efficient. Look at hourly rates of $20-$45 an hour.

5) Graphic Designer. The more specialized skills you have, the better off you will be on your hunt for freelance work. There is a lot of work out there for graphic designers both print or digital. For $50-$100 an hour (web designers will earn more), most designers are highly sought after and like anything you are promoting and working hard at, you will be turning away business in no time — so make sure you know other people that you trust that you can refer work to — it’s a nice thing to do and you’ll get the favor back, most likely. The only start-up costs will be to get your skills sharpened.

7) Podcaster. I heard recently that by having a podcast or being on a podcast you multiply your visibility by 80%. You have an audience, but by having a guest on your show or being a guest on someone else’s show — you get in front of their audience. I hear a lot of big-time podcasters boasting that they still use the $100 microphone that they started with. So it’s clearly the message that gets you success, not the equipment. It takes time and persistence to become a profitable podcaster. Some ways to create profits in this niche is selling ads, creating affiliates, using your podcast to sell your own services, products and/or generate leads.Creating premium membership for a higher charge. Like blogging, if you have your own podcast your income will depend on how your platform generates income through affiliates, advertisements, sponsors. If you would like to produce someone else’s podcast see the next idea…

8) Podcast producer. A good podcast producer will create the vision and the tone of the show they are producing as part of the overall process. Knowing that, they will map out the story that they want to tell and curate the information that needs to make it to the finished version. They will schedule the interviews and market the shows. The largest task would be producing the actual show, edits, takes, building in the soundbites, musical transitions and commercials. A really good podcast producer will take full ownership of the show from seed to fruition. Expected pay for this job is $125 to $350 per episode.

9) Online course creator. Know something that is worth teaching? Create an online course and spread the knowledge and cash-in. The best advantage of creating online courses is the enticing lure of passive income and freedom. You only need to record a class once and post it. Then you can earn money while you’re doing other things, like sleeping. The platforms that I know of to host a course: Kajabi, Thinkific, Teachable and MemberVault. I have friends that I have talked about launching and having a $10,000 weekend! Your success will depend on your niche, how you promote and good reviews/”word of mouth”.

I know there are many more ideas! What can you add to this list?

xo Jane

Jane Grismer develops strategic brand vehicles infused with compelling content and engaging graphics.

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