This morning, all over the world people stumbled into their offices bleary-eyed from staying up till 3am the night before working on their ‘out of hours’ side hustle project.
Many of us 9-5’ers have a tech side hustle (web development, web design, SEO consulting, technical writing, social media, tech support, QA testing, or digital design) for the purpose of topping up that Lamborgini fund.
I thought it worth sharing some insight into my particular side-hustle – SEO consultancy. Maybe it will inspire you to take yours more seriously.
- What’s your tech side hustle?
- How much do you make per month?
- What’s your day job (if you have one)?
- How did you get into your side hustle?
I work in the SEO industry, in backlink building and outreach, as an SEO-focussed digital marketing manager for a portfolio of top UK online businesses. I learned SEO at the coalface, from working on huge websites that derive their revenue from online inquiries.
After mentoring for a London-based start-up tech hub (as a way for the agency I work for to gain visibility) I realised lots of small tech start-ups are in desperate need of SEO growth hacks (rather than spunking everything on PPC) but can’t afford the £1,000 day rate most London agencies (like my own) charge.
Working on the SEO consultancy side I’m able to offer a more agile service that cuts out much of the overhead a mammoth sized agency like distilled or iProspect have to bear. Ultimately, after being approached several times, I branched out to offer my own SEO consultancy on the side of my day to day agency role.
- What tech skills do you need? (i.e. WordPress, HTML, UX, etc)
Basic knowledge of HTML and CSS is crucial. A WordPress blog is handy to work on and experiment with on the side for optimisation ideas. I run a couple of personal blogs for this reason alone.
You’ll also need access to some standard industry SEO tools – I use Majestic (for checking backlinks) SEMrush (for keyword research – essential) and Screaming Frog (for crawling websites).
- How can someone get started doing what you do?
I definitely recommend reading a few industry sources – John Mueller’s Google Hangouts, Barry Schwartz’s SEOrountable, SearchEngineLand, Danny Sullivan’s Search Liason Twitter, and my blog to find about the latest Google algorithm updates.
Like I said earlier – set up a free WordPress, start writing content weekly around a topic you’re interested in (I write about Hip Hop, for example) and try experimenting with some of the advice given by websites I’ve referenced above.
I charge clients on a day rate for SEO services, but equally, I could arbitrage off of the good organic visibility I have for my side-project hip hop site, either by affiliate marketing (DJ gear, or Spotify subscriptions for eg.), or product placement (album promotion, artist interviews, or by selling album review spots to commercially interested parties).
- What do you wish people knew about your side hustle?
Automating as much of the process as possible (but not every aspect of it) allows you to keep costs down for the client, at the same time as providing a high level of service. I recommend a ratio of 80 – 20 for automation to manual work is the sweet spot.
Also – SEO doesn’t sound sexy, but getting number one ranking for a commercially important keyword provides a real adrenaline rush.