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After the Great Recession, many individuals (including myself), started doing anything they could to make extra money. I went six months without a job in 2010, and in those six months, I Googled “how to write for money” and secured my first freelance client. Even after I secured regular employment, I kept freelance writing on the side. It was, in essence, my side hustle before side hustles were really a thing.
I didn’t know it at the time, but that one simple Google search would lead to a six-figure business as a writer, consultant, brand ambassador and influencer.
I’m not the only one, either. While the recession may have forced many American workers into finding ways to side hustle in order to make ends meet, many of those side hustles have turned into full-fledged businesses.
Not only that, many people have come to rely on side hustles as an additional form of income during the COVID-19 pandemic. Securing multiple streams of income has never been more important.
That being said, is it easy to go from side hustle to six-figures? No. It certainly does not happen overnight. However, there are plenty of side hustle opportunities to take advantage of, and with enough gusto, you can make it happen. Here’s how.
Learn how to market and sell
You can’t make money without knowing how to sell. Period.
Whether it’s pitching a client for freelance writing or trying to close a deal with a new consulting client, knowing how to sell is the difference between being broke and having a six-figure business. Your ability to close is directly correlated with how much money you make.
But sales aren’t just about closing a deal or getting someone to click “buy.” There’s actually far more that goes into it. For example, one common theme I’ve noticed among many side-hustlers who have become six-figure business owners is that they all have a solid brand associated with their name. They didn’t just start selling, they also built their influence over time. That influence leads to easier sales.
Get really good at negotiating (or hire someone who is)
A surefire way to make more money is to get really good at asking for it. For example, I recently had an experience where I learned I should be charging five to six times more for certain types of contracts.
So, what did I do? I started challenging myself by asking for more money at every opportunity I had. As for those specific contracts, I now have an agent who handles those and we get what we ask for. Sometimes the best way to get better at negotiating is to hire someone who does it for a living.
Put a value on your time
Here’s where many side hustlers struggle: They don’t know how to value their time. Nowhere is this more evident than in the amount of free work they take on, their lack of boundaries with difficult clients or how much they low-ball themselves when negotiating.
If you want to go from a side hustle to a six-figure business, you need to start thinking in terms of how much your time is worth.
Here’s an example: You get an email from a client who is paying you $400 for a project and wants you to immediately do a task for them. At the same time, you get a message from someone who you are negotiating a $10,000 contract with.
What do you do?
You set a boundary with the client paying you $400. You tell them you can get to it when you’re available. And then you go close that $10,000 because it’s more worth your time. If you drop everything because you’re afraid of losing $400, you miss out on the opportunity to make $10,000. Most people would be too worried about the $400, and that’s why they struggle.
Another example is when you get approached to do free work. Many who are still in the side hustle mindset take on free work for exposure. Those with a six-figure mindset know their time is valuable and ask for money.
Create multiple streams of income
The final piece for turning your side hustle into a six-figure business is to create multiple streams of income. For example, I started as a freelance writer but over time I’ve created a six-week group coaching program for business owners and I work with brands as a spokesperson. I also do consulting for small business who want to build their online brands.
That’s about four different streams of income that make up the bulk of my revenue. And that doesn’t even include affiliate sales or ad revenue, which are on autopilot and cover my groceries each month.
Different streams of income could look like various things for different people, but consulting is usually an easy one to get started with. Why? Because you probably already have people wanting to pick your brain about how you created your side hustle. Offering consulting packages for that is an easy way to make more money and provides you with an additional source of income.
From side hustle to six figures
Learning how to sell better, negotiate for more money and create multiple streams of income are three sure-fire ways to make more money now. With time and effort, you can use these strategies to grow your side hustle to a six-figure business.