12 Services You Can Provide as a Side Hustle [EP 11]

Introduction

Welcome to Episode 11: 12 Services You Can Provide as a Side Hustle

When we think of side hustles, we often think about creating products, both physical and digital.

If you’re subsidizing a pension or other income, you may want to have daily interaction with others. If that’s the case, providing a service may be more suitable for you.

Not all services require you to be out and about, however. Some allow for face-to-face interaction with others, while some can be done remotely. You choose whatever you’re most comfortable with.

Now, before I get into the main part of this episode, I do want to let you, my listeners, know I will be scaling my podcast back to one episode per month until November. My blog posts will still be weekly, and will contain more side hustle information. It is a little change as I am working on creating a course, which I’ll get into more in an upcoming blog post. Plus, I’m taking a week’s vacation next month which I’m looking forward to. It’ll be nice to have some reprieve from the cold and snow.

Services

As mentioned, not all services have to be done in person. The following list contains some that involve little interaction with clients, while others are more face-to-face.

  1. We’ll start with bookkeeping, which I have done in the past. One of my clients dropped off an envelope full of receipts and papers each month, and I entered everything into an accounting program. She was then able to hand the USB in to her accountant at year-end. One of my other clients preferred me to work in his office, which I did a couple days a week. In his case it made more sense as he had a lot more paperwork for me to go through.
  1. Another service you can provide, and make a decent amount of money at, is cleaning people’s houses. Now this only works if you like to clean. An aunt of mine used to clean for others on a weekly basis. She would clean their houses during the day while they were at work, which made it easier for both parties. When I worked for Family and Community Support Services, my clients were at home when I cleaned. There are pros and cons to the latter, however. One pro is the client is happy to have the company. A con is it took more time because they wanted to visit. Keep in mind the latter was also cleaning for senior citizens, so my being there made it possible for them to stay in their own homes for longer.
  1. Lawn and Garden Maintenance is another service you can provide if you enjoy working outside. Some people either don’t have the time or their own equipment to do their own. And let’s face it, some people would just rather pay someone else to cut their grass, trim the hedges, and even pull the weeds. I don’t mind mowing and trimming, but pulling weeds is not my favourite. My experience in yard care has been mostly my own, plus for elderly family members from about the time I was around 14.
  1. Snow removal can be done during the winter for the same clients, so you have the opportunity to earn income year-round. Businesses also need snow removal done, so that could be another option if you prefer.
  1. If you love animals, pet-sitting and dog-walking are two services you can provide. When people go away they aren’t always able to take their pets, and many would prefer to leave them in a familiar environment. By providing a pet-sitting service your clients will be more relaxed while they’re away.  Plus, you can enjoy the experience of taking care of turtles, snakes, birds, and other not-so-common pets as well as cats and dogs. Dog-walking is nice because it gives the dog exercise and breaks up their day, which results in less destructive behaviour than one left to their own devices day after day. A bored dog is often a destructive dog. Not only will you be providing the dog exercise, you’ll be saving your clients’ furniture.
  1. A grocery delivery service is another option, especially in a small community. Smaller grocery stores may not have the extra staff to deliver groceries during business hours, and are generally more than happy to pay someone per delivery. It’s an added-value service they can provide to their customers, which in turn encourages local shopping.
  1. Providing healthy home-cooked meals for seniors in your area is an option if you love to cook. Just think of the meals-on-wheels larger communities provide. In my experience it’s a service that used to be provided by the local hospital, but with cutbacks in services, it may not be available in a small community. My great-uncle used to deliver meals to the seniors in his community a number of years ago, which gave him some extra income plus provided healthy meals for them. 
  1. You could play an integral part in someone else landing their dream job by providing a resume writing service. Presentation and simplicity are key components of a resume. Prospective employers will often not look at a resume that isn’t broken up by white space. As with most things today you want to make it skimmable, yet highlight your client’s attributes so they have an increased chance at being hired.
  1. Copywriting is another service you can provide to businesses near and far. Once you know how to convey a sales message, the rest is easy. There are courses available to teach you how, and I have taken a couple; but the best book I have come across is called The Copywriter’s Handbook – 4th Edition by Robert W. Bly. And copywriting isn’t necessarily about being salesy. All you essentially need to do is address a pain point and how your client’s product or service will fix it. The bonus is you can work for more than one client at a time, and you don’t have to be tied to your home office to do it. Have laptop…will travel.
  1. If you love a variety of music, then offering a DJ Service could be right up your alley. With the world opening up again to gatherings, people are anxious to be able to celebrate life events together. You can decide if you want to book one event a weekend, or one event a month. And if you don’t mind travelling, you could book events further away. The nice thing about the digital age is there’s no longer a need to pack hundreds of CDs, but you can if you like.
  1. Party Planning is another option if you have a flair for themed events. Whether it be weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, bachelor parties, birthday parties, or whatever else people celebrate; it’s sometimes nice to have the stress of the planning taken care of. If you’ve enjoyed planning your own parties over the years, perhaps it’s time to do it for others for a little extra income. And just like a DJ Service, you decide how many events you want to plan in a month. Keep in mind not all events are limited to weekends, so you could easily do a retirement party during the week and perhaps a birthday or engagement party on the weekend.
  1. Clutter control is something we all struggle with at some point or another, and the older we get the more of it we seem to have. Home organization is so popular nowadays there are entire TV Shows about it. If you have found a way to combat the clutter and let go of material things, there is someone out there who could benefit from your expertise. It’s not so much that you’ll be physically helping them throw things out (although you can if you wish), but rather help them differentiate between keeping things for emotional reasons or practical reasons.

Conclusion

As I went through my list, I thought of at least another dozen services any side hustler can provide, from small engine repair to handyman services. It really doesn’t matter what service you can provide, because chances are there’s a need for it in your community. And because it’s your side hustle, you determine to what extent you do it. As with anything else be sure it’s something you enjoy doing, otherwise it just becomes another job.

Now, as mentioned at the beginning of this episode, I’ll be scaling my podcasts back to once per month until November. I’m excited to be working on something that will help fellow side-hustlers, so please stay tuned. And as I said, the blog posts will still be weekly so don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed.


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Writing Ebooks and Publishing on KDP, Kobo, and other Platforms [EP 8]

In Episode 3 I talked a bit about self-publishing and what to watch for. In this episode I’m going to go a little deeper into self-publishing, and concentrate on ebooks and Kindle, Kobo, and other platforms.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

Below is the transcript for this episode from the beginning, including the podcast introduction. As in previous episodes, the transcript doubles as my blog post for the week.

You’re listening to Take On Life After 50, the podcast for people over 50 who want to supplement their retirement by doing what they love. I’m your host, Diane Ziomek, and this is where you’ll find practical how-to’s and inspiration to create the life you deserve. Whether you want to replace your current income or supplement it, I’m here to share my experiences, ideas, and even some of life’s lessons when it comes to side hustles.

A look at some platforms, pricing, and distributorship.

Welcome to Episode 8: Writing Ebooks and Publishing on KDP, Kobo, and other Platforms

Do you ever feel as if winter is never going to end?

That’s about where I am sitting at this point. I don’t think it’s so much that it’s winter, I’m just getting tired of the rain in January. In my part of the world, that generally isn’t supposed to be a thing.

In Episode 3 I talked a bit about self-publishing and what to watch for. In this episode I’m going to go a little deeper into self-publishing, and concentrate on ebooks and Kindle, Kobo, and other platforms.

To start with, it doesn’t matter what genre you choose. Ebooks can be formatted for pretty much any type of book, be it fiction or nonfiction. With the advances in technology and graphics, even graphic novels are readily available as ebooks.

As an independent author I have spent a fair amount of time at my computer searching for the best place to publish. As I have searched, I realized something: one platform isn’t necessarily better than any other. Yes, some pay more royalties than others, but do you want to be exclusive to only one platform?

First, let’s talk about book length.

When it comes to ebooks, there’s no set length. As a writer though, it’s your job to provide your reader with all of the necessary information they need to get from Point A to Point B. In the case of nonfiction, for example, if you’re writing a book on how to grow a container garden you’ll want to cover everything from suitable containers to soil to lighting. Plus you’ll want to provide a list of plants that are suitable for containers. 

With better graphics programs and faster internet speeds, ebooks include more pictures than even 5 years ago. That in itself opens up more options for writers. If including photos you won’t need a super high resolution, which will cut down on downloading time of your book on a reader’s device.

When it comes to fiction, you have more options. You can publish anywhere from a few thousand words to tens of thousands of words. Some fiction is in the hundreds of thousands of words, and the one that comes to mind there is the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. 

And just like a print book, it doesn’t necessarily have to be all one story. If you have a collection of short stories, an ebook is a good way to get your work out there. If you have a series, you can publish them individually, or offer them as a boxed set. I have done this with my Pipestone Creek Romance Series. Each novella is on Amazon and priced at $2.99 US (which currently works out to $3.93 CAD), but I have the entire set of 6 available for $10.00 CAD in my Etsy Shop. As with any boxed set, it’s offered at considerable savings.

Next, let’s talk pricing.

This is where things can get a little tricky, and something I struggle with till this day.

Nonfiction is generally priced higher than fiction in print books, so the same rule of thumb should apply with an ebook. I have seen some that are $10 less in ebook form than their print counterparts, and some that are half-price or less. I have also seen the two formats priced the same.

Fiction prices are a little closer to being the same for both formats, but as expected, the ebooks are generally a couple to a few dollars less, depending on author, genre, and platform.

As mentioned, the pricing is something I struggle with. My frugal mentality says a book that’s not printed and bound should be considerably less than a printed copy, but my author mentality has a different opinion. And as independent authors, we need to take ourselves seriously. Our time is worth something, so we should not be giving our books away. With that said, there will be times when you may choose to run a promotion; which can be good to boost sales.

Depending on genre, there’s the research, first draft, second draft, fifth draft…you get the picture. Then the final manuscript, which gets uploaded to the platform of choice. It all takes time, and for some, also money. And that’s just the writing part. 

There’s also the marketing, editing, cover design, time spent on book descriptions, and the actual uploading of manuscript and cover to the platform or platforms of choice. It all takes time, so you should naturally expect some degree of return.

Third is the platform of choice.

When people think of ebooks, chances are their first thought is Kindle. I initially used only KDP, or Kindle Direct Publishing, but over the years I have broadened my horizons. No matter which platform you choose, make sure you follow the guidelines and the rules. 

Before I get into the platforms, there’s the matter of an eISBN. The platform you choose will provide one, but you can also provide your own. Each country has its own process of obtaining them, so your best bet is to do an online search by simply asking “How do I get an ISBN for my book?” Some platforms do not require an ISBN for an ebook, but you can include it if you so choose.

With KDP you have a couple of options. You can publish exclusively with them and receive a higher royalty, plus enroll in KDP Select, which entitles you to a portion of the earnings based on number of pages read. This is good in the respect it gives you more ways to earn, but bad in that it only caters to the readers who read via the Kindle app.

Another option is to publish to each platform individually. When publishing to more than one, be sure you haven’t given any of them exclusive rights. If you do and are caught, publishing privileges can and will be revoked from certain platforms. 

Also keep in mind your prices should be the same across the board. Don’t have your ebook listed at, for example, $5 on one site and $10 on another. Sooner or later the pricing will be changed to the lowest one, no matter where you’re listed. So in the end, it’s best to start out consistently to avoid the hassles that will inevitably come with various prices.

Platforms such as Kindle, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Lulu, etc have their own policies and distribution territories. For maximum exposure it’s best to select all distribution channels for each platform.

A third option is to go through a distributor that takes care of listing everywhere on your behalf. One such distributor is Draft2Digital. They’ll list your book with Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Apple, plus give you the option of library distribution as well. It’s basically a one-stop-shop so to speak.

Whichever route you take, be sure you understand how their royalty percentages work, and how you will be paid for copies sold. When going through a distributor such as Draft2Digital, you may not see any royalties for up to 90 days from the date your book was sold. Plus, there may be a payment threshold as well, so you won’t get your payment until the minimum threshold is reached.

Option 4 is to sell your books on your own site. The pricing should be consistent with listings on other platforms, if you have also taken that route. I suggest selling on your own site as an addition to the previously named platforms, simply for the fact they have a much wider reach. 

The benefit to selling on your own website is you won’t have to wait for 2 or 3 months to get your payment. You can set up a payment processor such as PayPal or Stripe, and the money will be deposited into your account within days, not weeks. If you’re selling on your site you can provide your readers with a PDF or ePub file, depending on which software you use to publish. I use Scrivener for the majority of my fiction so am able to create an ePub file as well as a PDF.

If you’re a writer or creator of workbooks you should sell on your own site. The PDF files are provided as immediate downloads to your customer, and they can print or use an app such as Goodnotes so they can write on the pages using an iPad or tablet. You can command higher prices as well.

I have my Creating and Selling Nonfiction Course Workbook on my site for $19, and it can be printed so the buyer can work through each module. I have sold a few copies since I published it, and foresee more sales in the future. When writing and selling workbooks you’re giving your customer the opportunity to learn from you, plus they can print as many copies as they wish for their own use. 

This is especially helpful for life coaches or business coaches, as the same pages can be used for different ideas. And if you’re a planner designer you can utilize this strategy as well.

Conclusion

As a writer and independent author you have the freedom to choose where you want to publish your ebooks. You also have more control over pricing and can receive much higher royalties than traditionally published authors.

Don’t let fear get in your way of putting your work out there. The real beauty of ebooks is if you mess up it’s a lot easier to fix. All you need to do is upload the corrected file to the platform and the changes will be made. I have made a few changes to mine over the years, with most of the changes being typos. If you’re going to make a lot of changes, I suggest creating it as another edition.)

Join me next week when I’m going to get into spring mode and talk about some ways to make your green thumb work for you. I’ll see you then.

Thanks for listening to this episode and I hope you’ve been able to take away a little something from it. If you want to learn more about me, visit my website takeonlifeafter50.com. If you like what you heard, you can support my podcast and blog at buymeacoffee.com/takeonlife50

Afterthoughts:

Now why do I think of these things after I finish recording?

If there’s anything you would like to know in terms of platforms, royalties, or general questions about self-publishing ebooks, please comment below. I will answer as best I can as a reply, or in an extra blog post.


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Turning Your Hobby Into a Side Hustle [Ep. 4]

Welcome to Episode 4: Turning Your Hobby Into a Side Hustle

In this episode I’m going to give you 3 hobby examples, and how you can turn them into some extra cash. Keep in mind these are suggestions, and the amount of money you make is entirely up to you. Remember though, implementation is the key factor no matter which route you take.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

Turning Your Hobby Into a Side Hustle

Note: This blog post is copied from the episode script. There may be slight changes during the episode but for the most part it’s verbatim.

#1. For the Gardener

Many people, myself included, love to garden. It’s relaxing, is a good form of exercise, and is a provider of healthy snacks.

  • Market Garden. If you love to plant but find yourself with an abundance of produce during the growing season, selling your excess at a local Farmer’s Market or even at your farm gate is an option. Plant things such as carrots, cucumbers, radishes, cabbage, beans, peas, potatoes, lettuce, spinach, beets, etc and you will have a good customer base. 
  • Word of mouth is probably the best type of advertising, as are posters put up in your local community. If you’re active on social media you can post updates when you’re at a market or let others know how to contact you if they would like to buy. 
  • You will need access to at least an acre of land, depending on how much you want to plant. This is an ideal side hustle for farmers or acreage owners, simply because of the amount of space needed.
  • U-pick garden. Similar to a market garden, except your customers come to you and pick their own produce. U-pick’s are generally for fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, saskatoons, and apples. Your location will determine the types of fruits and vegetables you plant, as well as the amount of traffic you’ll get. A u-pick along a frequently used roadway will do better than one that’s off the beaten path.
  • Greenhouse. If you love to plant and tend to seedlings, then this is an ideal venture. A lot of seedlings can be grown in a backyard greenhouse that’s as small as 8’ X 10’. Access to water, and electricity for fans and heaters is beneficial. Depending on where you live, you could easily need the heater at night, and a fan during the day to cool down the greenhouse.
  • This is where you can experiment with flower varieties, vegetables, fruits, and even houseplants. Unlike the Market Garden and U-Pick, this is a gardening side hustle that you can do from your urban backyard.

If you have a green thumb and enjoy getting your hands dirty, gardening may just be what earns you some vacation money.

The tip of the iceberg when it comes to hobbies.

#2. For the Fiber Artist

This is one of my favourite pastimes. I love to crochet, spin my own yarn, and design new patterns for practical things. I have been crocheting since I was 8 or 9, and have made dozens, if not hundreds, of items over the years. I have earned thousands of dollars over the years by selling my items, designing and selling patterns, and by teaching others via Skillshare.

  • Sell ready made items. This avenue is perfect for craft sales, farmer’s markets, an Etsy shop, or even your own website. It’s the one I have pursued over the years, mainly around the holidays. It’s perfect for those of you who like to make the items, even though you don’t need them.
  • In addition to selling ready-made, you could also do custom orders. That way you won’t be filling up closets with items you might sell. Rather, you’ll be making the item for a customer after they have paid you for it.
  • Design patterns. If you like to design patterns for clothing, practical household items, or even toys, this could be for you. I have designed crochet patterns for placemats, clothing, and other household items. One of my best-selling patterns is for a lingerie bag, which is made from cotton yarn and can be used for lingerie, reusable make-up pads, or even doll clothes.
  • Teach others. If you’re good at a craft why not teach others what you know? Not only does it help someone else learn a new skill, it also gives you an additional stream of income. You can either teach one-on-one, have a small class, or record your lessons and upload to a platform such as Skillshare. I have made a few hundred dollars doing the latter over the years, and with only two short classes.

No matter what form of the fiber arts you pursue, there is money to be made. And since the entire world has had to spend more time at home, more people are utilizing the time to learn something new, or they’re shopping online. Why not try your hand at selling directly to customers, designing and making the patterns digital downloads. Or teaching via Skillshare, Teachable, or even your own YouTube Channel. No matter which format you choose, your earnings could be enough to buy that new RV or a lakeside cabin.

Mid-roll Commercial Start

Have you been wanting to write a nonfiction book, but aren’t sure where to start?

I’m Diane Ziomek, and I am the founder of Take on Life After 50. I’m here to help you find your perfect side hustle and create the life you deserve.

I wrote Creating and Selling Nonfiction to help writers become published authors. The 12 modules walk you through finding your niche to publishing and beyond. To get your copy of the Creating and Selling Nonfiction Workbook go to takeonlifeafter50.com/creating-and-selling-nonfiction-3.

So if you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to writing and publishing a nonfiction book, go to takeonlifeafter50.com/creating-and-selling-nonfiction-3/. That’s takeonlifeafter50.com/creating-and-selling-nonfiction-3/.

Mid-roll Commercial End

#3. For the Artist

Anyone with some artistic ability can cash in on their talent. The invention of PNG and high resolution printers and scanners has made it so much easier for artists to share their work with the world.

  • Drawing. If you’re good with a pencil and paper, you can sell your art on sites like Etsy, or make it available for commercial use via sites like Creative Market. You can sell your drawings as PDF files for wall art, or JPEG or PNG files that other creators can use in their planners, calendars, journals, colouring books, and so forth. I myself have purchased commercial rights graphics from designers on Creative Market.
  • The beauty here is you can design, draw, upload, set your price, and it then becomes a form of passive income. I’m trying to convince my daughter to take this route, as her artistic talents could easily supplement her maternity leave in a couple of months.
  • Painting. Whether you paint portraits, abstract, or landscape, you can sell your art online, do custom orders, or consign it to galleries. Or you can scan your finished paintings and make them available as digital downloads customers can purchase via Etsy or another digital products platform. If you have your own website you can sell directly from there.
  • Making your paintings into greeting cards could also prove to be quite lucrative. No matter what you decide, be sure to sign your works of art. You could become a famous artist one day.

When it comes to creating, do what works best for you. If being put under pressure stifles your creativity, don’t commission portraits or other custom work. If a timeline fuels the fire, by all means, run with it. Either way, your artistic talent could fund a trip to Rome, Paris, or wherever you want to go.

Conclusion

This episode has only touched on a few ways on how to turn your hobby into a side hustle. And I haven’t even talked about the financial side of it, aside from giving you ideas on what you could do with your side hustle earnings. I am not here to tell you where to invest, or how to spend your earnings. I’m here to help you find little ways to add to your bank account, or the coffee can under your bed. 

I’m also here to tell you to keep it fun. If it is no longer enjoyable, then it is no longer a hobby. It becomes a chore, and we all dislike chores I’m sure. Keep it fun for you, and don’t let it interfere with your family time. I’m the first to admit when I start something new I eat, sleep, and breathe it. As I get older I am learning to prioritize and take a step back from spending every waking minute on one thing. 

Remember, it’s a hobby. If you want to turn it into a full time thing, that’s entirely up to you. But based on personal experience, take it one step at a time. There’s nothing worse than burning yourself out doing something that once gave you joy.

With Christmas just around the corner I’ll be taking a little break to spend time with family, get caught up on some little projects I’ve been putting off, and planning out the first quarter of 2022. I’m excited to continue this venture; or perhaps I should say adventure. My podcast and blog posts will resume the first week of January, with more about me and why I do what I do.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. Thanks for joining me, and I’ll see you next year!

If you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.


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