These 5 Tips Will Help You Market and Promote Your Side Gig Like a Pro
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For many of us, choosing the perfect side gig is the easy part.
Finding paying customers is where it gets hard.
Though some side hustles don’t depend on drumming up a steady flow of clients, most require at least a little self-promotion if you want to make bank.
These five tips will help you market and promote your side business to grow your cash flow.
1. Create a Social Media Presence
Active social media accounts can go a long way to promote your side hustle.
If your side job has a visual element to it — say, graphic arts or flower arranging — consider getting an Instagram account to fill with pictures of your work.
A snazzy LinkedIn profile can also help boost your business prospects.
Speaking of LinkedIn, once you get your account set up, be sure to join some professional groups to build networking relationships with other people in your industry.
Whether you want your social media tone to be casual and breezy or more formal depends on what your side hustle is and what image you want to project to customers.
For instance, status updates and pictures of you cavorting with pups at the local craft brewery with a beer in your hand is great if you’re a dog walker but probably not so much if you’re looking for babysitting gigs.
2. Make a Website
A lot of potential customers will track you down through social media, but some people prefer checking out a website to learn more about your services.
Back in the day, setting up a website was a complicated affair that required a degree in computer engineering, a whole lot of money and a little bit of luck.
Today, sites like Bluehost walk you through the whole process — no degree required. Best of all, plans start at as little as $2.95 per month.
If you’re up to tackling a new skill, for about $10 you can learn the fundamentals of building your own website with an online web developer course at Udemy or Skillshare.
3. Order Business Cards
Once you’ve got your digital presence squared away, don’t forget to plan for those once-in-a-blue-moon moments when you meet someone who doesn’t use the internet.
Business cards are more rare than they used to be, but people still occasionally ask for one. Be ready in case it happens to you by picking up a pack of value-priced cards from Vistaprint or Office Depot.
Also, don’t forget that business cards are tax deductible.
4. Write Your Elevator Pitch
Next on your to-do list is crafting an elevator pitch — a quick synopsis of your side hustle and qualifications that you could share with someone in the time it takes to ride an elevator.
“An elevator pitch provides others with a feel for who you are, what you want, and what you have to offer,” explains FlexJobs’ Beth Braccio Hering. “Delivering it with confidence helps you make a strong first impression.”
If you’ve never created an elevator speech before, Toastmasters has some great tips to help you get started.
5. Ramp Up Your Referral and Networking Efforts
Word-of-mouth referrals are one of the top ways to find customers. In fact, referrals may end up forming the vast majority of your customer or client base.
Asking people you know to talk you up to the people they know is a great way to find solid clients. But don’t stop there.
Also ask people in your side gig circles to send people your way.
“I sometimes get referrals from other calligraphers who don’t do a certain style or project that I do, or if they’re booked, they’ll send a client to me,” says freelance calligrapher Lyndsay Wright.
To further increase the chance of gaining referrals, you can also:
- Learn ways to expand your networking beyond close friends and family
- Consider setting up an account on the free private social network NextDoor to advertise your services to neighbors and local businesses
- Spend some time in a coworking space to network while doing what your clients are paying you to do
- Send an email to your network promoting your side gig
Side gigs are a great way to make some extra scratch, but self-promotion and marketing comes with the territory. Though it’s not always easy, the payoff is worth it in the end.
Disclosure: Here’s a toast to the affiliate links in this post. May we all be just a little richer today.
Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Side gigs have been a part of her professional life for a long time, but she still gets a little nervous about self-promotion.