Writing as a Side Hustle

COVID Proof: Is Freelance Writing a Good Side Hustle?

Although some areas are starting to re-open and regain some sense of normalcy after COVID-19 swept through the country, there are still a lot of people without jobs. Is freelance writing a good enough side hustle to get some of the bills paid?

I suppose that depends on your abilities to write content and market yourself well. Still, there’s no denying that my workload actually increased throughout 2020 and into 2021.

I don’t know if freelance writing is actually “COVID proof.” But, it does seem to be incredibly stable regardless of what’s going on in the world.

Why a Writing Side Hustle Works Well

I’ve been a full-time freelance writer since February of 2013, though, I actually started writing January 1st of 2012. It took me that long to make enough money to drop my job at the school district.

Essentially, I started writing as a side gig to help offset an $8 per hour paycheck. When you have a family of four, $8 an hour doesn’t go far.

Anyway, over the years, writing has been one of the most stable careers I’ve ever had. And in a lot of ways, it’s also been the most rewarding.

Companies Still Need Content

Because people were staying at home, more of them were browsing the Internet. As such, a lot of companies needed an increase in content.

I know my client sure had a massive influx throughout 2020 and most of 2021.

Because companies still have an active online persona, they need content to draw in visitors. This means writers can easily stay busy even when most of the world shuts down.

In reality, the vast majority of the content I’ve created since 2012 has been for businesses. In this case, being a copywriter is a great side hustle.

An Entire World of Clients

I have completed more than 10,000 pieces of content for literally thousands of clients spanning the globe. I’ve done everything from quick, 100-word product descriptions to full-sized manuals and eBooks.

That’s one of the nice things about being a freelancer, actually. You’re not restricted to work that’s only available in your home town.

One day, I’d write an article for a client in California, and the next, I would crank out a few blog posts for someone in Great Brittain. I’ve also done a lot of work for websites based in India.

There is an incredible number of opportunities out there as long as you put in the effort to find them.

Can Easily Expand in a Number of Ways

A freelance writing side hustle can easily branch into quite a few different paths. Depending on your level of expertise, you could crank out an eBook or two to help others while making a few extra bucks.

You could set up a blog to add various methods of monetization for even more.

I even know a few freelance writers who transitioned to become authors.

My point is that you don’t need to just settle on cranking out content for other people. There are a number of ways writing can take you further, especially on the Internet.

Writing From Home as a Side Hustle

One of the biggest booming trends during the pandemic was remote work. A lot of companies arranged for employees to work from home. In fact, the number of people working remotely increased by more than 2.5 times in 2020.

That’s one of the nice things about being a freelancer, though. I’ve been working remotely for nearly 10 years.

Although I don’t get out nearly as much as I’d like, working from home has saved me from a lot of stress. And I feel bad for people who are losing their homes because they lost their jobs.

I can’t guarantee that a writing side hustle will fix all of your problems instantly. After all, you still need to be able to write and find clients. But, it’s definitely something you might want to look into if you’re struggling to make ends meet during the ongoing crisis.

Write From Anywhere

I can’t count the number of times I wrote articles for clients in my hotel room while on Christmas vacation. I know, it kind of sucks to have a working vacation. But, I needed the money.

At any rate, remote work is just that…remote. This means you can do it from anywhere you have a stable Internet connection and a decent laptop.

You could write an article from a 7-inch tablet if you so choose. I have, but I wouldn’t recommend doing so.

Although a lot of people really didn’t travel much during the height of the pandemic, it’s still good to know that you can while still make some money.

Being Your Own Boss

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons why a lot of people pick up writing as a side hustle is to be their own boss. Outside of what your clients need, you are in control of your own writing business.

Though, this is a bit of a double-edged blade. Sure, it’s nice being your own boss. But that also means you need to focus and stay motivated to find clients, write every day, and keep it sustainable.

It’s a lot more difficult than you might think. There could be days when you simply don’t want to write. But if you don’t, you won’t make money.

So, it takes a great deal of fortitude to do this type of work full-time for the long term.

Grammarly Grammar Checker

I Hate Calling Writing a Side Hustle

To be honest with you, I really hate using the term “hustle.” I’m Generation X…it’s a freakin’ job. And that’s how I treat it.

I am respectful to clients, I provide timely returns on jobs, and all of my clients love working with me.

When I say the word, “hustle,” it makes it sound less respectable. It’s not like you’re trying to rip anyone off. Then again, it could just be a generational thing.

At any rate, it takes a lot to become a successful freelance writer. It’s more than just typing fast. The more successful writers also know:

  • Writing for SEO
  • Strong Command of AP Style English
  • Strong Editing and Proofreading Skills
  • Ability to Rapidly Research a Topic
  • Marketing Prowess (to find more clients)
  • Finance Monitoring (for your insurance, retirement, vacations, sick leave, etc)

That’s just the tip of a relatively large iceberg. So, before you dive into a writing side hustle, make sure it’s something you’re able to keep doing.

Seriously, there are a lot of responsibilities you have to cover, especially for yourself.

It’s Not All Sunshine and Rainbows, Though

Being able to freelance from home for the past decade has been nice. Though, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.

There were days when I wouldn’t have a single article to write, which meant less pay at the end of the week. I’ve had to deal with clients who just seemed hell bound to hate everything.

Too many people believe they can just get on their computer in their pajamas and crank out a living. While in some cases this is possible, I’ve yet to meet anyone in person who actually does this.

That’s because most freelance writers treat their profession seriously. I know I get dressed to “go to work” just because it keeps me in the professional mindset.

I’m not saying that you can’t work in your PJs. I just find it helpful to keep me motivated and focused while writing. Plus, I don’t have to worry about showing anyone my underwear on a Zoom call.

My point is that it’s not always a glamorous lifestyle. There is a lot involved when you work for yourself while striving for success.

What Side Hustle is Your Favorite, Outside of Writing?

Thanks to the power of the Internet, there are a lot of ways you can work remotely. Writing is just one of my favorite “side hustles” that actually turned into a full-blown career.

Because in the beginning, I had a full-time job at the school district and wrote on the side.

In any case, it’s not overly difficult to start writing by finding a few side gigs. But, it will take quite a bit of motivation, determination, and perseverance.

What kind of remote work have you tried in the past?

Michael Brockbank
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