There are ways to develop a marketing agency side hustle even if you don’t have much free time.
August 22, 2018 4 min read
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For busy marketers looking to start a side hustle, time is their greatest commodity. If you can set aside an extra 20 hours a week while still maintaining your sanity, you can successfully create a separate income stream.
But, on the free time front, marketers often come up short — way short. For many, the notion of a 40-hour workweek is a distant fantasy. Many marketers are putting in double that amount of time on a regular basis. It’s the nature of the job: As a marketer, the oft-used phrase “results-driven” really does hold true.
More than many other job categories, marketer occupy a position where they need to quantifiably justify their value on a continuous basis. Otherwise, they risk losing their job. There’s a reason the average tenure of a chief marketing agency officer is on a downward trend.
But, even if they’re not known for having an abundance of free time, there are still ways marketers can take on a side hustle. The key is to look beyond time-consuming activities outside of work and instead focus on tasks that tap into their existing experience. Here’s what I recommend:
Build your social presence by delivering value.
As a marketing agency leader, it’s important to market yourself, too. Granted, working to elevate your online social presence won’t provide an immediate income stream. Instead, it should be viewed from a “long game” perspective: By consciously working to build your network and presence across key channels now, you can lay a foundation for achieving influencer status down the line.
The game here is becoming an established subject matter expert, which opens the door to paid opportunities including speaking engagements, board positions, conference panels or recurring columns in trade publications. While conference keynote speaker opportunities are the gold standard in terms of cash flow — keynote speaker fees can easily exceed $20,000 — other opportunities can pay well too. Board positions, for instance, pay an average of $61,000 per year, according to recent PayScale data.
Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
Look for opportunities to advise startups.
Especially if you’re a marketer at a very large company — which can become an insulated environment — it’s valuable to explore the market. That can mean looking for opportunities to use your marketing agency and leadership expertise to help cultivate startups in an advisory capacity.
From a monetary standpoint, the potential lies in equity. Generally startups will give .1 percent to 1 percent equity for advice, counsel and opening up your rolodex. But, there are other intangible benefits for marketers to getting involved with early stage companies, including keeping them sharp on innovation trends and helping to build relationships in the community, which can open up access to venture funds, founders and angel investors that can create new opportunities.
Monetize your professional network.
Looking for a more immediately revenue-generating option? Increasingly, there’s a market emerging for high-profile and well-networked individuals to monetize their professional networks. Marketers check both of these boxes, and should look for opportunities to make money based on referring people within their network directly.
As a marketer, you’ve spent a career building relationships. Now, thanks to this burgeoning market, these relationships have tangible value. This isn’t to say that marketing agency leaders should look to their contact base solely as a source of passive recruitment revenue. But, they should see an opportunity in this emerging marketplace to make connections between qualified people and companies they believe in. And if these connections produce value on both ends, then the referral fee is well-earned.
As a marketer looking to take on a side hustle, it pays to be strategic. Because if you’re engaged in side gigs that are relevant to your career — whether that’s building your personal brand or looking for consulting opportunities — then your side hustle won’t only be an additional income source, but also a means of advancing your standing as a leader in the industry.