Are you looking some successful ways to make money on the side?
Aside from paid survey sites and other work from home jobs, there are so many opportunities to make a little side income. I’ve invited a few people on the blog to talk about how they make money on the side. Now some of them have turned this into a full-time venture, but you certainly don’t have to. Whatever your goal is, I hope you’re inspired by the stories I’ll be sharing in the next few weeks.
Today’s guest is Joseph Hogue, the founder of numerous websites, his most popular one called My Work From Home Money. He’s done a few side hustles, from freelance writing, blogging to publishing his own books.
Read Joseph’s interview below then check out the video to see some insights and tips I have for you.
Sarah: How did you start to make money on the side?
Joseph: I started freelancing as an investment analyst in 2011, writing research reports and short articles on investing. I needed something beyond the 9-to-5 and knew I wanted to own my own income-producing assets. I started getting interested in how websites make money but found it takes a while to grow and produce any kind of real income. I started freelancing as a way to make money while I could grow my websites and make the transition from rat race to internet mogul!
Sarah: Why did you choose that side hustle over the countless ones out there?
Joseph: I had experience as an investment analyst as well as being able to write well. I found that most analysts couldn’t create well-written reports, they were good at putting the numbers together but not so much at writing interesting copy. I added freelancing clients quickly on my ability to do both.
The idea is something I’ve used to grow my business and one of the keys to success when I wanted to make money on the side. Find the tasks or topics in your niche that others avoid or just generally aren’t good at and become an expert. You’ll set yourself apart from the pack.
Sarah: What were your initial struggles with your side hustle? In other words, what was your mindset at the time when you started it?
Joseph: I’m a Type A personality so like to have everything organized and driven. Since I still had a full-time job, it was difficult to juggle everything and I didn’t feel like I was progressing fast enough.
I had to keep coming back to my long-term plan of using the freelancing business as a way to support growth in my websites. Looking out longer-term helped me relax a little on my short-term goals. I didn’t have to worry so much that the freelancing business wasn’t growing as fast as I liked because it wasn’t the ends I wanted to achieve. As long as I could grow freelancing income to support my family while website income increased, I could quit my traditional job and transition to full-time.
Sarah: How long until your side hustle became successful? As in, how much did you make, and how long did that take?
Joseph: The great part about freelancing is that it pays out much quicker than other side hustle strategies like owning websites. I started charging $150 per article and up to $2,000 for a full research report and was averaging just under $1,000 a month by the end of 2011. I transitioned to full-time in 2013 and made just over $40k for the year.
I’ve since transitioned away from freelancing and cut all but one client that I’ve had since 2012. I run five websites in different topics from personal finance to investing, making money and crowdfunding. March was my best month yet, booking just under $7,000 from the websites and $4,800 from freelancing. I post all my blogging income reports on one of my blogs to track my progress.
Sarah: Was there anything you had to to do pivot your side hustle? What was the mindset/decision making process that lead up to that pivot?
Joseph: I started the websites in 2014 and started making good money through affiliates by early 2015. I realized though that I was still depending on someone else for my income. The money from affiliate sales and advertising depended on those customers continuing to advertise on my blogs. I had left my traditional job because I wanted to control my financial future but was still relying on someone else’s products.
I knew that real financial independence meant developing my own products. I started self-publishing books in early 2015 and now have 10 published. The additional income wasn’t much at first but now brings in about $2,000 monthly. I’m now developing a series of video courses for higher value products to take my income to the next level.
Sarah: What were some limiting beliefs you had about your side hustle? How did you get over it?
Joseph: If you look at average blogger income, you’d get the impression that it’s no way to make a living. Just 16% of bloggers earn more than $2,500 a month. What I realized though was that you can’t compare yourself to the average. If you just want to be ‘better than average’ stick with a traditional job.
Being a successful entrepreneur means you need aim for that top 10% and work harder than everyone else. Look at what the standouts in your industry are doing, what makes them exceptional. Compare yourself to them and set higher goals, even if you’re just starting to make money on the side.
I spent the time to learn all the different ways bloggers were making money. I found there were really two groups of income sources, the immediate and easier ways to start making money and the products that took longer to develop but meant higher income. From this, I put together a strategy to make money quickly on the sites while slowly transitioning to the higher-value products.
Sarah: What were the biggest lessons learned about your side hustle?
Joseph: Treat your side hustle like a business. Organize your plan from start to finish including devoting time to improve your skills. Don’t think that just because it’s a side hustle, you don’t need to put in the time to develop it like a business. You’ll never realize the full potential if you treat it like a part-time project that doesn’t need to grow.
Sarah: What were some tools that helped you be successful in your side hustle?
Joseph: Join a community within your niche. I joined a community of financial bloggers that holds an annual conference and it has made all the difference. Along with tips and partnerships, I get constant support from the group.
Sarah: What top 3 tips would you give to someone who wanted to start your side hustle?
Joseph: Start today! A lot of side hustles, especially blogging or any kind of online-driven business, take time to start growing visitor traffic. You won’t see much website traffic in the first six months but even Huffington Post started with one visitor.
Go after the tasks and topics that other people avoid. I realized early that other bloggers were avoiding search engine optimization as a way to grow their blog traffic. I learned everything I could about SEO and now have an easy process I use with every post that helps me drive tens of thousands of visitors each month from Google search.
I recently put my entire SEO process in a book, showing a step-by-step on how I rank for more than 1,700 keywords on the first page of Google.
Also, start on your own products as soon as possible. There is money to be made as an affiliate or advertising others’ products but the real money is in selling something you create. This can be books, video courses, consulting or a range of other ideas.
Takeaways from Joseph’s Interview About How to Make Money On The Side
Listening doesn’t just involve hearing someone in conversations. In fact, it’s much more than that. It’s about observing the world around you to see what is going on. In the case of making money, you just have to see if there are any pain points people have, such as things they hate to do, don’t want to do, specific problems they have or are really annoyed by.
Take those and use them to your advantage! For example, in the town where I live, people tend to dine out on the weekends. What they usually do is drive out and get takeout. If I wanted to start a side business, I could coordinate a service where I order and pick up the food and deliver it around town.
Find Quick Wins
Finding quick wins helps to motivate you, get testimonials for your business and some good momentum when you’re just starting out. For some, that may mean going on job boards and finding small jobs until they feel more confident pitching higher paying jobs. It could also mean asking neighbors or friends for referrals. Whatever it is, start doing it!
It took Joseph a few years before his self-publishing business did well. So even though you are looking for quick wins, you still have to wait things out. Be patient, look to your long term goals and gains, and you won’t risk burning out and giving up altogether.
I hope this interview was helpful!