How I Turned my Side Hustle into $1.1 Million

Andrew Macrae
7 min readApr 19, 2020
Photo by Dale de Vera on Unsplash

You can turn your freelance writing and editing skills into big money. Here’s how I did it.

The good news is that with persistence and bit of luck, this pathway is available to anyone. And what else is luck but persistence anyway?

The news you’re probably less keen on hearing is that it took me 10 years and a lot of work to clock $1 million — but I guarantee you it won’t take me another 10 years to get to $2 million.

Don’t give up your day job just yet

Start small. Build momentum.

We all begin with just one client. My first job was for $200. Everything else has flowed from that.

Turn your first client into a repeat customer. Find your second client while you’re waiting. Ask your clients if they’re happy with your work, and get them to refer others to you.

Give yourself time to build something solid — don’t just leap into the void and expect it to work out. In my case, it took three years before I had enough freelance work to support my family full-time.

Build multiple income streams

Focus on building multiple income streams. You need as much diversity in your client base as possible, so you’re not so exposed if one organization or one sector tanks.

Track who your clients are and what industries they’re from. Every year or so, I do a breakdown of where my income comes from to check how diverse my client base is.

Think laterally about how you can diversify. Can you do speaking gigs as well? What about running workshops to teach what you’ve learned?

Say yes to everything

At the start, you can’t be too picky. It’s all about building word of mouth. Say yes to everything that comes along.

Say yes even if you’re not sure you can handle the job. Most freelancing is taking on jobs that you’re not entirely sure how to do, and figuring things out as you go.

Learn how to say no

As you start to get better, though, it pays to focus on higher-value work.

Andrew Macrae

Freelance writer and editor. Sign up for my newsletter about writing, freelancing and whatever is worrying me