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How to start a side hustle top tips

When I was temporarily furloughed due to the pandemic during the summer of 2020, I couldn’t sit still. I had all this time to fill, so I decided to take what felt like a setback and use it as an opportunity to learn about ways to earn passive income.

I had a couple of false starts, signing up to participate in online and phone surveys and looking into doing voice-over work for audiobooks. Then I read about people making thousands of dollars a month blogging. I was intrigued but didn’t think I had anything to write about.

It wasn’t until I asked myself, “What is it that I get excited about when talking to a friend?” that I realised the answer was real estate investing. My wife and I are firm believers in the power of real estate and how it can help people build wealth. We’ve been investors since 2019 and own three investment properties in our local market.

We realized we wanted to use what we had learned to create a site to help other parents build wealth for the next generation, while enjoying every moment in between. In July 2020, my wife and I launched ParentPortfolio.

The first six months were tough. I was taking classes about how to launch a blog. I woke up early and worked late. But I still wasn’t getting much traction. Around this time, I joined a group of bloggers called The Money Mix, and being a part of this community helped me figure out a process that worked for me.

Today, I have a side hustle that is on track to bring in six figures. Here is my best advice for getting started.

Avoid comparison: Focus on making a great product first

I felt a lot of pressure to start earning money from my blog right away. I would often ask other bloggers how many articles they had written, or how old their site was by the time they reached certain traffic and earning milestones.

Some of the most successful bloggers in the group shared that it had taken the upwards of two years to start making money. That took some of the stress away. I stopped looking for some quantitative measurement to let me know if I was on the right path or not.

What I came to realize is that comparison only made me anxious and like I was falling short. Over time, I’ve learned that my voice and personal experience are what sets Parent Portfolio apart.

Video by Helen Zhao

My best advice is to lead with your strengths rather than waste energy and time trying to produce a less effective version of someone else’s success. It took us 14 months to make our first $1,000 month in September of 2021.

Once I shifted my focus to making Parent Portfolio the best site it could be, we started to grow and reach our earning potential.

Use data to determine the needs of your audience

When I first started Parent Portfolio, I wrote about things that I found interesting that I assumed people would like to read without looking at the analytics data of what kinds of topics resonated with the audience I was trying to reach.

For example, one of my earliest articles was about me sharing my experience of a break-in at one of my properties and various ways you can secure it. While I did my best to make it a useful story, other sites were better known for that type of content than I was at the time, so Google ranked them higher in search.

Video by Tala Hadavi

I started looking into the topics people searched using Moz, a search engine optimization platform. One of the biggest things I found in my research is that there was a lot of interest in topics like building generational wealth, but not many other publications and blogs seemed to be focusing on it the way I could, so I shifted my approach.

My best advice is that no matter what kind of side hustle you are starting, using the data available to you about your industry can help you figure out what your niche is and how you can make the most impact.

Treat your side hustle like a business

If your goal is to make money with your side hustle, my best advice is to treat it like a business rather than a hobby from the outset. For instance, initially, I was paying about $3 a month for a basic hosting plan. But I migrated to a more robust and, more importantly, a more reliable host that costs about $35 a month.

I like it to someone who starts a restaurant. Even though they haven’t made money yet, they invest in equipment, such as ovens and stoves. Similarly, new bloggers can invest in tools that can help them perform better research and produce better quality content.

For example, on the recommendation of the founders of my blogger group, The Money Mix, I use a combination of platforms like Ahrefs and Moz to help me do keyword research. Investing in these tools has directly led to generating more revenue which has helped me better cover my operating costs.

Keeping setting new goals and looking to the future

Since launching the site, we’ve been able to grow Parent Portfolio a few different ways. We have made ourselves available as sources for new stories, we have hired new team members, and we have diversified our revenue streams.

This year, my wife and I are looking to provide even more value to our audience. So we sent a short survey to our email list to determine what need we could fill. The majority of the responses said they wanted to learn how to start investing in real estate, which was a full-circle moment for us because that was our motivation to start Parent Portfolio in the first place.

Video by Mariam Abdallah

We’re currently developing a course to teach others the basics of real estate investing and our strategies to acquire three investment properties in 18 months.

This journey began with my employer temporarily furloughing me. I hoped to generate a few hundred dollars a month from the blog. Now my side hustle is evolving into a legitimate small business, allowing my family to take more control of our financial future.

Jonathan and Jacqueline Sanchez are parents to two lively kids, real estate investors and founders of Parent Portfolio. They own a small real-estate business that operates a couple of investment properties in their local market. Through proper money management and diversifying their investments, they are able to build wealth for their family and develop skills to pass on to their children.

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