It seems like as soon as everyone hits the age of 50, that ‘r’ word comes a calling. It’s funny but when I hear the word “retirement,” I instantly think of my grandparents. I guess I was 10 and they were 50ish. But today’s retirement is SO much different. We don’t quit working and sit on the porch in a rocking chair til we kick the bucket. Nope. Today’s retirement lifestyles are very active. And long!  We’re living longer and healthier and that means a post-retirement last could last 30+ years (with a little luck). That’s a l-o-n-g time to sit in a rocking chair! I’m not here to tell you about financial planning for this stage of life but staying busy, and engaged, not to mention making a little extra money on the side, is the best way to spend those later years. THIS is why you might want to create a side hustle. 

So how do you create a side hustle? And why would you want/need one? A side hustle is typically a second job someone takes on whether it’s to make extra money or just a passion project. In my case, my side hustle, food and travel writing, is my passion while my primary job, PR, just pays the bills. I mean, would you rather be jetting off to luxury resorts or getting rejected by a reporter?

But today, side hustles are essential for many people. For some, they’re essential for money but for many (I’d guess most), they’re essential for sanity. If you think you’d like to create a side hustle, do a little bit of a self-assessment first. What are your marketable professional or creative skills? What is your passion? Can you merge the two? In my case, I’m a writer and I love to travel. BAM! Those two go together like peanut butter & jelly! 

There’s a great podcast, Side Hustle Nation, that’s filled with ideas and tips. There’s also a great book, Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days, that can guide you through the process. 

Are you good at baking and love working with kids? I’m thinking you’d be perfect for a birthday cake business. Are you an introvert with accounting skills? Lots of small business people need a bookkeeper. Are you a fitness addict? Think about becoming a health coach for retirees, Are you an artist who loves working on the computer? Website designer is calling your name. Maybe you’re destined to help neighbors with landscaping. It’s easy. Just marry your skills with your passion. 

I know many people who’ve created a side hustle that brings in enough money that it becomes their sole revenue stream. And since most side hustles let you work independently and autonomously, you’re your own boss, working from home, whenever you want to work!

So once you’ve identified and set up your side hustle, how do you launch it? Well, that’s an entirely other blog post but for starters, just put yourself out there. Make a list of everyone you know and announce your new side hustle. Create a Facebook or Instagram page to promote it. 

And just keep shouting it from the rooftops!

Here’s how I created my side hustle as a freelance travel writer:

I took the “Fake it til you make it” approach. I told myself: I am a travel writer. I found a few (nonpaying) websites that let me post my articles. This was my ‘faking it’.  That gave me links to begin creating a portfolio. Then, I joined a travel writers association and began connecting with other members. Honestly, this is what helped my hustle take off. I met others who introduced me to others in the industry but also shared ideas about how they work. So I was learning from my peers. Once I understand the formula and the process, I gained the confidence to start pitching myself to PR firms, destinations, and magazines. That’s the Readers Digest version of how I launched myself as a travel writer. But the lesson here for you is: if you see it, you can be it.

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