Considering recent challenges like the global pandemic and the rising cost of living, a lot of people are turning to side hustles to supplement their income.
If you’re thinking of starting up your own side gig, you’ll be joining one in five Brits that have done the same since March 2020. But where exactly do you start? We’ll give you some tips and tricks on how you can start a freelance side hustle.
What is a side hustle?
A side hustle is basically a hobby or side job you do part-time in addition to any other employment you may have. Lots of people start side hustles from their personal hobbies, for example, creating bespoke cakes or paintings, and they’re likely to have a small (but loyal) clientele.
The best thing about side hustles is the flexibility and freedom to earn your own income. As your own boss, you can choose how often you work, and the clients you want to work for. There are many stories of side hustles snowballing from a hobby to a full-time business – but again, it’s up to you if that’s what you want to strive for, you can go at your own pace.
How do I start a freelance side hustle?
If you have decided you want to start a side hustle, congrats! It’s an exciting prospect, but it can be daunting if you don’t know where to start. We have some tips to help you on your way.
1. Think about your passions and skills
Working full-time can really burn up all your energy, so you need something that can ignite your creative flame, even after working 40+ hours per week in employment.
Doing what you love will really reflect in your work, and it’ll feel less like a second job and more like a hobby.
2. Create a plan and set realistic goals
Setting huge targets, such as making several million pounds with just seven hours a week set aside for your new side hustle, while not impossible (we want to be positive here), is unrealistic.
Think about how much time you have, and how much money you can invest in your side hustle – and always give yourself time to find clients and grow. It doesn’t happen overnight.
3. Start networking
Networking is a powerful marketing tool. For example, if you’re a copywriter and you attend regular networking events or even get to know people on professional platforms such as LinkedIn, there’s always somebody who knows someone else that may need a copywriter for their business.
It’s the same with people who create incredible cakes – someone will always need one for a special occasion, and sending out email pitches to people who run corporate events or meeting up with other freelancers can really help you connect with others and reach the right audience.
4. Build your brand
Once you’ve decided on a business name, and what it is you offer, it’s time to think about how you raise your profile, such as by building a presence on social media. It can help to create a logo, and be consistent with your brand colours and fonts so customers recognise it’s you who is posting. Building a brand your clients trust and enjoy is crucial!
5. Look at your competitors
What are your competitors doing that you do better? Is there anything you can offer, that maybe they don’t? Sometimes finding a competitive edge or niche can really help you stand out amongst the crowd.
6. Set your prices
This can be difficult, especially if this is your first experience of working out how much to charge. Our advice would be don’t undersell yourself. It can be easy to sell your products or services for super low prices to compete with others, but the joy may quickly drain out of your new side-job if you take on a heap of work with next to no reward.
Look at what other people in your field are charging, and keep in mind your costs for the materials you need, and of course, your time.
Where can I advertise my side hustle business?
This depends on what your side hustle is. If you’re looking for a low-cost option to advertise your business, then most of the time social media is your friend.
If you run – let’s say – a kids’ teepee business, advertising your services in local Facebook groups, Instagram, and even Tik Tok while using the correct hashtags and keywords could attract parents looking for party ideas.
Paying for advertisements is always an option too, but if you do this make sure you budget yourself properly. Throwing all your savings on Instagram ads won’t work if they’re targeting the wrong audience. It can sometimes take a while to get it right.
If you’re getting crafty and selling personalised items, websites such as Etsy can highlight your brand and give you a platform that already has substantial traffic going to it. Though you’ll have platform fees to think about, they’re usually much cheaper than the cost of setting up your own website (and it’s usually much easier to create listings).
If you have a service to offer, then building a network on LinkedIn can be useful. You could also attend networking events to meet potential clients and get your name out there. Just keep in mind that information might make its way back to your employer though – which for freelancers with a service-based side hustle can sometimes be a consideration!
There are also lots of freelancing sites where you might be able to pick up work.
How do I create an invoice for my side hustle business?
It’s so exciting once you get your first client, but what happens when it’s time to collect your payment? Creating invoices is super simple, so the first rule is not to overthink it!
If you don’t use invoicing software to do the job for you, all it needs is the following:
- Your business name, address, and phone number
- Your client’s name, address, and phone number
- A list of products sold, or services completed
- The date the invoice was issued
- A unique invoice number
- The total amount
- Instructions on how to pay
Your payment instructions can be as simple as, ‘Please make payment via bank transfer to [insert company name or your name], [sort code], [account number].
To personalise it, use your logo and brand colours! Read our article about successful invoicing to learn more.
Do I need a business account for my side hustle?
Nope! You’re under no legal obligation to open a business bank account for your side hustle, but if you ever need to register for Self Assessment, it may be better to keep your personal and business payments separate – especially when it comes to bookkeeping!
Do I have to pay taxes on my side hustle?
If you earn more than the £1,000 Trading Allowance in a tax year, you’ll need to register for Self Assessment with HMRC. How much tax you pay will depend on your overall income for the year.
Find more of the latest news and guidance for freelancers in our info hub.