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How to Mix Your Business with a Side Gig By Joylynn M. Ross, Literary Consultant & Publishing Coach

Updated: Jun 19, 2018

If you are on social media for business, and you've been on social media for, let's say about six months . . . at this point, no one should have to ask, “Exactly what is it that you do?”.

You cannot visit my social media accounts and not figure out within moments that everything I do is literary related . . . that I'm branding myself as the go-to literary industry professional. That I help authors build their books, build their book business, and teach them how to create multiple streams of income to sustain their book business.

I wear many hats, and they are all cohesive. But I'm everything literary.

I did a video before where I stated that you can't say you're an author, a life coach, a financial advisor, then I see where you're selling diet tea, vacation spots, or coffee beans. It can be confusing at times. Decide which industry you want to master, market, become an expert in, and promote and brand so that you will be known as the go-to person in that industry.

I know some of us have side gigs and hustles to not only help pay the bills, but to bring in the needed income to pour into our main entrepreneurial endeavor. And that's cool, but compartmentalize those side gigs and side-hustles, create individual social media pages, accounts, websites or what have you, and brand your main business with a passion.

If you sell Avon or jewelry on the side, it shouldn't be on your author website. Perhaps mention it in your bio, but don't sale your novel, concealer, and earrings all from your author website.

Now, if anyone ever visits your website and still asks you what it is you do, then you definitely may want to consider some re-branding, compartmentalization, and even hiring a copywriter to help you with the content.

I always tell my clients that the media should be able to visit their website and do an entire story or segment on them without ever having to have a conversation with them. Their gallery should have professional photos that the media can download and use on television, in newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc. They should have their one-page downloadable EPK, media kit if applicable, and blogs that answer questions the media may ask.

An event organizer should be able to determine, right from your website, if they want to hire you as the keynote speaker for their event. There should be a video on your website of you in action, a speaker sheet, infographic bio card with your media information, something that tells them who you are, what you do, how you do what you do, and how what you do helps others. It should relay your overall message and passion.

Am I saying only have one source of income? Not to have a side gig? Absolutely not.

When I first started writing and decided to self-publish, I had a full-time job as a paralegal. I also had a part-time job at a clothing store, because my book was my business and I needed seed money to build my business (which meant paying for editing, cover design, and printing). Back then, almost twenty years ago, we didn't have social media to the extent we have it today. I had a Yahoo group of like-minded lovers of the written word, all trying to see our books in print. But when I was leading the conversation or being a part of the conversation, it wasn't about law or my work as a paralegal, and it certainly wasn't the latest fashions at my part-time clothing store gig. It was everything literary . . . and that was long before I ever coined myself "The Literary Know-It-All."

Sure, you'll scroll down my social media wall and see some personal posts. I have a life outside of the literary industry. Those posts may be totally unrelated to anything literary. But they show my personality. They show who I’m branding myself as, but they won't confuse you and have you asking, "Joylynn, now exactly what is it you do?"

I just mentioned earlier how I teach authors how to create multiple streams of income, so again, I'd never say only have one source of income coming in. I had a couple when I was building my book business. But I teach authors how to create multiple streams of income that are cohesive to them being a writer.

Are there exceptions? Absolutely. Take for example author Jae Henderson. I subscribe to Jae's newsletter, and in her December 2017 issue she shared her latest venture, which was selling jewelry. But Miss Jae is no newbie to this author marketing, promoting, and platform thing. Let me quote directly from Jae's newsletter.

“I Started A New Adventure! Please like my new Facebook page ‘Literary Jewels.’ This is where I have combined my love of writing with my newest endeavor as a Paparazzi Accessories consultant. I'm adding gorgeous, eye-catching pieces to the page all the time. At just $5.00, everything is affordable. I also post what I think characters in my favorite stories might have worn just for kicks. What can I say? This vivid imagination is always at work.”

Did you read how Author Jae Henderson made selling books cohesive with selling jewelry? She has a separate Facebook page, but she intertwines the two with her marketing strategies and techniques.

Simply brilliant!

So, if you are going to sell books, tea, vacation spots and coffee beans all under one umbrella, that's how you do it; like Jae did it. She’s proof that you can mix your business with your side gig, and that it can be effective when done right.

So, in closing, if you've been on social media for a minute here and folks are still asking you, "Exactly what is it that you do?" or even if they say, “Hey, I didn’t know you did that,” then that means you may need to revisit your online marketing plan and strategies for your business.


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