On our NextGen MilSpouse Facebook Page we asked you, “What’s your side hustle?” And let me tell you what, you have some awesome ways you’re keeping your professional skills sharp and bringing in some cash at the same time. From direct sales to personal training to freelancing, you blew us away with your ingenuity for keeping your careers on track.
As we read through the answers you shared with your fellow NexGen milspouses, we came across a very popular question from military spouses looking to get their own side hustles started: “How do I get started as a freelance writer?”
Here’s our answer.
How to Start a Side Hustle as a Freelance Writer
Start a blog and write regularly
Before you cringe and say, “But I don’t wanna be a blogger!” Slow your roll. Blogs aren’t just for parents, foodies and fashionistas. Think about a blog as a personal portfolio that showcases your work to the public.
You want to be found? Google-able? Hire-able? A personal website/blog will provide a professional virtual office for you.
Two of the most popular blogging platforms are WordPress (our fave) and Blogger. It’s fairly easy to get started with a free site through either of these platforms. If you are really ready to dive in, we suggest you consider buying a custom domain name (read: you.com). Owning your own custom domain is a huge way to establish yourself as a legitimate professional (and not just a hobbyist).
A note on names: When it comes to starting a professional portfolio online, we highly suggest you consider using your real name as your domain. Forget the cute-sy BananaRama.com…you want to be taken seriously? Be serious about your personal brand. You be you. It’s a simple as that.
Network with other writers and develop relationships
There are some pretty amazing writing communities online, including a few on Facebook. One of our favorite groups is the Mil-Blogging Buddies Facebook Group. Kristen Smith, military spouse and owner of digital content firm KLSmith Creative, developed MBB to foster engagement and build community among bloggers and writing professionals in the military community.
If you’re looking to hone your writing and aren’t ready to start out on your own, military spouse and author Erin Whitehead’s incubator for writers, Many Kind Regards, is an excellent place to sharpen your skills and tap into their loyal audience of readers and writers.
Sign up as a Source with HARO (Help-A-Reporter-Out)
HARO is a fantastic service that connects reporters with a pool of potential sources for articles for newspapers, magazines, websites and television appearances. You can sign up to receive PR opportunities delivered to your inbox 3 times a day with HARO’s Basic Free account.
Reach out to Niche Publishers and Local Publications
Blogs, online magazines and local papers are great avenues to get started as a freelance writer.
Consider providing guest content to sites like NextGen MilSpouse, ArmyWife 101, Buzzfeed, USAA Community and USAA magazine, SpouseBuzz, Military Spouse magazine, Military Officers Association of America, Military OneSource and MilitaryOneClick. Writing for free isn’t something we advocate as a long-term solution, but it is a great way to build your reputation as a writer and an authority. Don’t be afraid to reach out to publications and pitch your articles!
If you live near a military installation, reach out to the journalist who covers military community news and introduce yourself as a willing source and freelance writer.
Go it Alone and Publish an eBook
Publishing and selling an eBook has never been easier than right now. If you’re bouncing around an idea for a book, you can be your own publisher thanks to tools like Kindle Direct Publishing.
Take the next step…start writing!
The hardest step is taking the first step…what are you waiting for!