Do You Have a Side Hustle?


By Terry Whalin 
@terrywhalin

Do you have a side hustle? Almost every writer has one but maybe you aren’t calling it a side hustle. I’m talking about something you do on the side apart from your main writing. Last month I encouraged every author to have a safety net. In this article, I want to give some ideas about various paths to diversity your income stream and begin a side hustle. Sometimes the side hustle will take over your main task.

Here’s why you need to read my advice and get ideas for your own life: I have not had a full-time job with a regular salary for decades. Within the publishing community I have fulfilled various roles: acquisitions editor, writer, author, co-author/ collaborator/ ghostwriter, internet marketer, teacher at conferences, and many others. Whichever role I’m taking at a particular time interacting with you, the bottom-line is I am an independent contractor with diverse ways of making income. It is nothing steady and a lot like the up and downs of riding a rollercoaster. Yet I also compare it to a monthly walk of faith. 

Decades ago, for 17 years I was a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators. During this period, I raised my own financial support through monthly donations from individuals and a few churches. Through the years, I saw many times the Lord provided in unusual ways—and this process continues during my life as a writer. Admittedly there are some tests of my faith experiences, but I can tell you God has been faithful to provide through my work and writing.

The Role of Non-paying Writing

You may read my writing here, or on my blog, The Writing Life (subscribe to it via email here), book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, my social media posts and other writing. The bulk of this writing earns zero income. Why do it? For the exposure, the marketing and other reasons. Podcasts, radio interviews, etc. are all about exposure to my free information and lead magnets where readers sign up for my email list. The statistics have proven that someone has to hear about your book at least seven times before they buy it.  These nonpaying markets are about exposure which sometimes leads to other writing opportunities.

Ideas for Multiple Income Streams

In the information below, I’m going to give a number of different possible ideas and resources. Whatever you write, look at these opportunities as side ventures that you can do in addition to your main writing task. At times these side hustles will become your predominate task for a day or several days. From my experience, the more diversity you can add into this mixture, the better. The first chapter of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams (which I originally self-published) includes a detailed list of different types of writing. Here’s the link (a 29-page PDF) for you to look at the variety of writing tasks and try some of these for your writing. 

Here’s nine different ways to get you started (Please copy and paste URLs that are not hyperlinked into your browser.):

1. Write and sell your own books. In this teleseminar, I give about a dozen different ways to make money with your books. 

2. Edit books for others. Some people have made a consistent career editing books for others. 

3. Earn Affiliate Income. I give the details and a free ebook about how to make money with affiliate income (http://www.right-writing.com/makemoney.html?unique=15872190210738811). 

4. Create Online courses. Creating book proposals is one of my areas of expertise and I created an online course: https://www.writeabookproposal.com/

5. Speak at events online and in person To get these opportunities, you have to pitch directors and other leaders.

6. Write Work-Made-For-Hire Projects (Learn more at http://terrywhalin.blogspot.com/2020/08/five-reasons-to-write-work-made-for-hire.html.) Many writers resist such projects but they are great for cash flow and consistent work.

7. Ghostwriting/ Collaboration. Many writers only want to write their own books but there are an infinite number of stories to write for others. 

8. What do you teach? I have an inexpensive program to teach you the details. Also, a free teleseminar on how to get more mileage from your content. 

9. Magazine writing to high paying markets. Some writers have stopped writing articles because the Christian market doesn’t pay much for them. In the general market many publications pay $1 per word or more—and you can write for them.

Find Your Side Hustle

Throughout this article, I’ve included website links to audios and other resources. First, save this article, then follow each link and explore it for your writing. Then take consistent action on the side hustles that make sense to you and get started. If you write fiction, consider writing nonfiction. If you write nonfiction, consider adding fiction to your mixture. The possibilities and opportunities are endless, but you have to open the door and get started. 

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Do you have a side hustle? This prolific writer and editor recommends you create diverse income streams. Learn the details here. (ClickToTweet)


W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in California. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. Get Terry’s recent book, 10 Publishing Myths for only $10, free shipping and bonuses worth over $200. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

6 comments:

Karen Cioffi said...

Terry, thanks for this list of ways writers can diversify their income. I've been into a few of them and they can be helpful. As you mention at the beginning of the article, it's essential to give away information to make you and what you have to offer known. And it certainly takes a good amount of faith to be an independent contractor!

Terry Whalin said...

Karen,

Thanks for this comment and feedback. You are right that it is not an easy road for any independent contractor. If it were, many others would do it. Instead I've watched many others start then quit along the journey. Persistence and consistency and a commitment to continue in the face of rejection and failure are all part of the metal it takes for any of us to continue in this business.

Terry

Margot Conor said...

Hi Terry, thank you for this Excellent article full of great information. I will share with my other writing groups.

Terry Whalin said...

Margot,

Thank you for this feedback and sharing it with others.

Grateful,

Terry

Linda Wilson said...

Terry, your "side hustle" (love the term!) ideas are terrific and doable. For children's writers, approaching teachers, librarians, parents, grandparents, and organizations associated with children can reap book sales. One such offer fell in my lap from a teacher who had heard about me, word-of-mouth. I was invited to her elementary school as the guest children's author. The school purchased books for each student and displayed them at Literacy Night. I created a program for the students from one of my picture books. The principal set up times for groups of children to visit me in the library. I presented the program several times to the groups that rotated in. Another way is to interest a teacher/principal/librarian in purchasing books for an entire class and then have the children's author come speak to the class about the information in the book. Also, another approach is to make presentations at museums and even churches where books can be sold and books can be obtained to sell in museum shops and book fairs at schools. I suppose this is more of a hands-on approach, which has been my focus for the last few years.

Terry Whalin said...

Linda,

Thank you for these great side hustle ideas for children's writers. Keep up the great effort--what it takes for every author.

Terry

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