Claudia PenningtonHello sidepreneurs! Today I’d like to introduce you to Claudia Pennington. She’s a fellow sidepreneur that earns a side income teaching people how to start a side hustle doing SEO. As you know, this is a topic dear to my heart because of my side business, WPamplify.

Claudia gives some awesome answers below so let’s get cooking!

1. WHAT IS YOUR DAY JOB AND WHAT IS YOUR SIDE BUSINESS?

Currently, I work for a digital marketing agency in which I complete website audits, consult on Google Analytics, and implement Google Tag Manager for enterprise clients.

Recognizing that the demand for highly-skilled SEO consultants is greater than the current supply, I took my years of experience in SEO and SEO training and condensed it into self-paced online courses. We’ve launched two online courses in 2016, as well as a free email course, that are designed to train those who want to learn SEO to help themselves or help others.

We’re on a mission to train 1,000 SEO consultants and small business owners in SEO by the end of 2017!

2. HOW DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR SIDE BUSINESS?

In 2015, I started working with a small business struggling with the optimization of their website. Since this client required a lot of hours, I didn’t have any other clients at that time; consequently, I had to turn down work referred to me because my side hustle time was limited and I didn’t know anyone able to tackle the SEO work.

Additionally, we started a personal finance blog in 2015.  Each week, we see lots of articles published about ways to cut spending and save money, but we don’t see enough opportunities to increase income.  Knowing that my side hustle income was lucrative, I started sharing with others the way in which we earn extra money to accelerate paying off our mortgage.

These experiences led to my “aha moment” at the end of 2015 and I decided to focus on teaching others SEO and how to use SEO to start a side hustle.  Our mission is to train individuals looking to start a side hustle to be able to support the SEO needs of small businesses.

3. HOW DO YOU FIND TIME TO WORK ON YOUR SIDE BUSINESS?

Making time to work on our business is a top priority, so I adhere to a strict schedule.  I wake up at 5:30 a.m. and go to the gym, read, eat breakfast, shower, and then start work on our business for an hour before I leave for work.  In this time, I focus on the single task that has the greatest impact on our business and create a list of priorities for after work.

After dinner, I work until 10 p.m. on the other priorities I’ve set for the day.  I use a combination of Trello and a Google calendar to schedule everything from day-to-day tasks, client calls, and more. Finding time to work on our business has been easy since I love what I do!

4. WHAT’S WORKING FOR YOU RIGHT NOW IN GROWING YOUR SIDE BUSINESS?

We’re focused on affiliate marketing and PR to help us spread the word about our online courses.  In the personal finance blogosphere, there is great demand for affiliate programs that offer value to readers.  Offering an affiliate program to help us market our online courses presents a win-win situation for bloggers and their audiences alike.

On the heels of supporting our affiliate partners, we are making great strides with social media. Sharing testimonials from actual students who completed our courses and launched side hustles at $75 to $100 per hour (USD) has really resonated with our Twitter followers.  We’re also on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+, but Twitter has been our best social media channel.

5. WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS THINKING ABOUT STARTING A SIDE BUSINESS?

First, make a list of all the side hustle ideas you have as well as your strengths and interests.  If you’re thinking about a side business, so you probably can generate at least a few ideas.

Second, consider the time and money you need to invest in each idea.  Note the number of hours and the money you think are required to get your side business off the ground.  If you aren’t sure, this is a great time to conduct some research online to see what others invested in ideas similar to yours.  I have found that service-based businesses are the quickest to start.

Third, consider starting slowly as you build your confidence level.  I started my side hustle with one client, slowly adding more clients as I became more skilled and better at managing my time.

Fourth, consider how much you want to make each week or each month in your side business and how much you want to work once the business has launched.  If you want to make $1,000 extra each month and you’re willing to work an extra 10 hours each week, you will need to set your rate accordingly; in this example, the minimum hourly rate would be $25!  On your list of side hustle ideas, note the hourly rate you may be able to command for each idea.

Lastly, don’t undervalue your time.  Time is precious, so choose a side hustle that is worth the investment.  Prior to focusing on SEO as a side hustle, I often undervalued my time.  Other side hustles helped me temporarily, but they weren’t lucrative options.  Instead, I gave up all other side hustles to focus on SEO.  Since focusing on SEO as my side hustle, my rate increased to $100 per hour; as a result, my husband and I will be mortgage free in 2016, allowing me the ability to work on our side business in a full-time capacity in 2017.  Placing a higher value on my time has proved invaluable!