Getting yourself in the right long-term career can be challenging. Tweaking your resumé, drafting out cover letters, and hunting down recruiters on LinkedIn is a lengthy process, and may not always guarantee your foot in the door of your dream job. The period between graduating college and signing on to your grown-up job can be slumpy and depressing, but it’s important to keep practicing your skills and not let the information you learned in school fade away.
In between job applications and networking events, there are plenty of ways to strengthen your skills, make money, and learn where you fit in.
Finding the right side hustle(s) can be just as important as finding the right career. You have to be sure you’re passionate about what you’re doing and that you’re obtaining skills that will be vital in your long-term career.
Below are seven keys to being a master of side hustling:
- Know your strengths and weaknesses. – I am a good writer, I am bilingual, I am always in touch with news and media trends, I am well-adjusted, and I am very technologically savvy. I am terrible at math, I get anxious around hazardous materials, and I really don’t like to be the bearer of bad news. With that being said, I know I would be an ideal fit for a career in marketing or brand strategy, but I probably would not do well in the medical field.
- Put yourself out there. – There are plenty of ways to make money doing what you love. Apps and websites like Fiverr and Slance allow you to name your price and offer your services. There are plenty of people and companies willing to pay you to edit videos, design webpages, or create written content.
- Avoid scams. – Before committing to a project or side hustle, be sure to research the client thoroughly. One of my first side hustles was working with a lady who owned a catering business. I agreed to respond to emails from her clients, maintain upkeep of her social media handles. Two weeks into working with her, she completely ghosted me. She stopped returning my texts, phone calls, and emails, which frustrated me to the point where I Google searched her name to try to find any other contact information. When I typed in her name, the first thing that came up was a scam report from someone who had previously worked for her. When I confronted her about it, she fired me via text message saying “Thank you for your help, but I think I can handle everything from here on out.” Eventually, the lady paid me slightly less than what I was owed, but the way I see it, you can’t put a price on a valuable lesson.
- Keep an open mind. – I’ve always wanted for my career to be in marketing, particularly within art and entertainment. Throughout my experience working in Dallas’s entertainment industry, I’ve met several creatives and have developed an interest in various forms of art. This past February, I signed on to be a figure model within my university’s art department during the spring and summer terms. As crazy as it sounds, this has been one of the most interesting and strangely fulfilling experiences of my life. Now, I’m not suggesting everyone disrobe in front of an art class, but by keeping an open mind, you are able to discover areas in your field that you may enjoy.
- Go through a staffing agency. – There are staffing agencies in pretty much every major city, designed to help match job seekers with positions to correspond with their skill sets and career goals. Oftentimes, these positions are short term projects, however, they are excellent opportunities to reinforce your skills and gain experience necessary for your full time career.
- Share updates. – After completing freelance projects, be sure to update your portfolio and your professional networks detailing what you learned throughout working on your projects. Recruiters are going to want to see that you’ve been making the most of your time and taking advantage of every opportunity to learn.
- Keep in touch. – Make sure to stay in contact with people who employ you to work on projects. If you perform well and maintain a good professional relationship with them, they will be more than happy to provide a positive reference for you in the future.
Whether you’re working full-time and looking to supplement your paychecks, or you’re still waiting to sign onto a full-time job, side hustles are a great way to make money. Doing what you’re good at, while getting paid for it, is the best way to reinforce your skills and talents.