For years, I’ve been trying to perfect the art of the side hustle. It comes in various forms. In the past, I’ve waitressed to pay the bills. Quick, easy money and an industry full of creative hustlers? A flexible yet consistent income? Yes please.
That was my plan, until I hit a pretty large bump in the road. Less than one month after I moved to LA, I was rushed into emergency surgery. Long story short, I have Crohn’s Disease and something I ate decided it was cool to jam itself into the side of my intestines. My entire ileum was removed, along with my appendix—because who needs it anyways?
The point of this over-sharing anecdote is that my plans quickly changed. I had to rely on my other skills, ones that did not involve heavy lifting and rushing around. So I turned my focus to illustration. This type of work can be done remotely, so it felt like the perfect move. So…where do I find work? Here is a list of useful freelance resources and my thoughts about them!
Fiverr: I’ve had the most success with this site, so if you’re hoping to focus on one— this is it! You’ll create a profile, where you can list different “gigs.” These are essentially your work spelled out into various packages. You have control over your rates and most of the job details. Clients will search for specific types of artists (i.e. photographers or illustrators) and they might stumble upon your page. If they are interested, they’ll send you a message. All I had to do was create a profile, come up with some gigs and voila! So easy, simple and basically effortless.
I was fortunate enough to have one of my gigs featured the first week I was on Fiverr! I offered a service that was a bit unique, which allowed me to stand out from the crowd. Research your competitors and brainstorm ways to be different.
UpWork: This website is the ultimate freelancer’s tool. There are hundreds of jobs posted daily. It’s aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. Tons of unique opportunities. You are seeking out the client, instead of the other way around. Con: It’s a lot more work. You must read though a multitude of postings every day, and be quick to send a proposal. Each proposal takes at least 15-20 minutes. It’s definitely more time consuming. Plus, I haven’t received as many messages. Clients have a lot of proposals to go through and if you’re too late they may never even see yours. That being said, I have gotten a few gigs! Feel it out and decide if it works for you.
Craigslist: The “creative gigs” section is my favorite. Often, it’s a mixed bag. Sometimes, there will be one-time gigs calling your name! The work doesn’t always pay the best, but it does pay. It’s definitely a good starting point!
Honey Book: This website is geared towards the wedding photography and event business. Every once in a while, there will be a different type of photography-related opportunity. There are a lot of people looking for assistants, models, photographers, etc. Like I said though, unless you have an interest in the wedding industry, this might not be for you. However, I did find a portrait photographer who needed assistance, so you never know!
Reaching Out: E-mail people or pick up the phone! It’s the good old-fashioned way, and it works. Research your audience, brand yourself and seek out potential clients. Send an introductory e-mail, and make sure to personalize it. You can use a similar template, but make sure to include at least one thoughtful remark that shows you did your research. If you don’t hear back within a week, kindly send a follow-up. Don’t get too aggressive on the follow-ups though—the last thing you want to do is annoy someone or seem spammy.
I hope you find these helpful resources for your freelance career or your side hustle! Find your niche, market your skills, BOOM! You’re in business.