Want to start a side hustle with no experience?!

My side hustle first began when I was a college student. At the time, I was a sophomore in my undergraduate career, working hard to complete my B.A. in Communications and minor in Sociology. I had a full course load much like every other full-time student in my classes, with the bulk of my week devoted to seminars, presentations, writing papers, and studying.

I was always in the top ranks of my classes, as my academics were important to me. Alongside my full-time student schedule, I commuted from home each day (about two hours per day), worked part-time as a local customer sales associate, and had a decent social life. Still, something was missing. I wanted a creative outlet that I didn’t share with my fellow classmates, colleagues, family, or friends.

That’s when writing became my passion. I had always enjoyed reading and writing growing up, but little of my writing was for pleasure. Sure, I could write papers and essays, but creative writing had no place in an academic setting. If I wanted to blog and write fiction, I knew it had to be for me in my own free time. Knowing that writing stories was important to me, I started my own creative side hustle.

My writing side hustle took form with no experience, in three different ways:

1. Fiction writing.

I’ve loved reading fiction ever since I can remember. From a young age, I was hooked on every YA, fantasy, mystery, or paranormal novel I could get my hands on. I spent more time reading for pleasure than almost anything else, which inspired me to want to write my own stories.

Storytelling has always been a huge part of my life. Even now, whether through books I read, movies I watch, or music I listen to, I deeply appreciate the art of storytelling. For me, writing and reading stories is a natural, routine part of my day.

READ MORE  Nourish your mind: LEARN something this summer!

I find beauty in the simplest of sentences and dream up worlds in the most complicated fictitious settings. With almost any theme, character, or idea I can transform a thought into a story. Through fiction I create worlds out of nothing, demand that emotion be felt, and sketch believable, lifelike characters. It is only in fiction writing that I have the precious gift of creating something out of nothing. It’s an art, and for me, it’s the heart of my writing side hustle.

Voraciously reading novels and studying writing guides shaped my understanding of how to write fiction. With no experience at all, I wrote and published my debut novel Torn in 2014! Now, I find myself in the midst of writing a dystopian trilogy and I have other projects in mind.

In only two short years, the fiction writing portion of my side hustle has grown exponentially.

2. Content writing.

Alongside my fiction endeavors, I began writing lifestyle blog posts for GenTwenty during my college career. I had applied as a content writer and earned the spot in August 2013. Since then, my content writing has improved tenfold. I cover a variety of topics, from college advice, to career tips, to relationship struggles and more.

Nearly every obstacle I’ve experienced during my twenties so far has somehow found a place in the GenTwenty archives. What I enjoy most about writing for a platform like this is that I get to be myself. My writing is honest and straightforward, with every opportunity given to share my personal experiences alongside practical advice.

GenTwenty is all about guiding twenty-somethings to being their best selves, and that’s truly what I aim to do in my lifestyle posts. It’s all about owning up to the struggles we all face and sharing the silver lining through every obstacle. So many twenty-somethings face similar challenges, which is what fuels the GenTwenty tribe.

READ MORE  The F Word: Reading "Feminist Fight Club" with Your Squad

Paired with my GenTwenty content writing, I also contribute editorial pieces to Elite Daily and The Niche Movement. Much like my work at GenTwenty, for these platforms I pitch a topic and write about lifestyle themes related to millennials, career, and the like. For me, writing for online publications has been a unique opportunity to network with writers and editors, while also expanding my portfolio.

Unlike fiction writing, content writing is an immediate publication. Only a few weeks pass after I write and edit a piece before they’re shared online through social media and blogs. This is a fantastic way for me to expand my writing side hustle by reaching wider audiences more regularly, as writing a blog post only takes an hour or so whereas writing a novel can take months.

When it comes to content writing, the only “experience” needed is a love for writing! I didn’t join any platform with years upon years of credible experience noted to be considered. Instead, I shared my enthusiasm about each brand, why I wanted to join their teams, and how my writing/voice could positively impact their platforms.

3. Marketing and networking.

To really kickoff my side hustle and push my writing out into the world, marketing and networking have become the biggest key factors in developing my business. As my books and articles have filtered through social media, I’ve learned how to market and network with no experience. It’s really all about establishing connections and sharing unique content. Through channels like Twitter, Facebook for business, Instagram, and my author website, I have networked with other writers, authors, editors, and the like.

READ MORE  Life Lessons from The Mindy Project

Similarly, I’ve found a niche to market my work to. By establishing these connections, I’ve (virtually) met people who support my side hustle by buying my books, retweeting/reblogging my articles, sharing my author website, and interviewing me about my work. These efforts all fuel my marketing goals by helping me reach wider audiences and pursue my side hustle on a budget. I am able to save money by focusing my marketing efforts on Facebook ads, tweeting, and selling books on demand.

For me, this entire experience of creating and launching my side hustle rests on my ability to market and network with others. It is a great way for me to continue writing and pushing the boundaries of my side hustle without draining my bank accounts in an effort to launch my author platform. Marketing and networking skills have come to me through my personal experiences, and I continue learning more each and every day.


Most people may think launching a side hustle takes impressive experience to pursue, but depending on the side hustle it may only require ambition and enthusiasm. For me, writing and marketing my authorship have required my unwavering passion and drive.

I enjoy fiction and content writing and work each day to support my business by being an active writer and marketer. Most side hustles will only be successful with a passionate, dedicated person in the driver’s seat. In my experiences so far, this has proved to shape my side hustle positively. I love what I do and even though I’m only writing part-time right now I do believe hard work now will payoff later. Persistence is key!

Do you have a side hustle? If so, how did you start your business?

Share in the comments below!