If you’re one of the lucky ones to get out of work early on Fridays during the summer, you probably have grand plans of lounging poolside or getting a jump on the weekend with friends. But before you make a Happy Hour date or get ready to head to the beach, think about what else you could do with those extra “Summer Friday” hours.
Yes, those beach plans may sound a little (or a lot) more fun, but an additional 3-4 hours each week are a great investment in your side hustle.
That’s how I decided to spend my Summer Fridays when I was still working a day job. During those free hours, I upped my writing and in turn, I was able to land some lucrative gigs, and eventually turn writing into a full-time career.
Have a passion or secret ninja skill you want to turn into a part-time business? Here are a handful of ways you can use those extra Summer Friday hours to boost your side hustle.
1. Finesse Your Website
Your personal website is the best way for potential clients to find you. So, dedicate some of your free time on Fridays to making sure your website is a rockstar (just like you!).
Creating a website can be a cinch, but let this serve as a friendly reminder to make sure your site has a professional domain name (think: firstnamelastname.com).
Next, update (or create) your “About Me” page. It’s often the first thing people visit when they head to your site, so write one that grabs attention, but also tells readers a bit about who you are.
And make sure you have a very clear way for people to get in touch with you. Whether it’s a contact form on a separate website page, or an email address that is easily accessible, make sure it’s prominent. People won’t go digging just to figure out how to reach you.
2. Start That Blog You've Been Talking About
Before I had a professional portfolio, I built my personal brand with a blog about living frugally in Los Angeles. It not only landed me my first writing client, but helped me hone in on my brand message and values. If you’re looking to start a blog, Squarespace makes it super easy with their all-in-one platform (think: domains, websites, and marketing tools)—you’ll be up and running before your friends are even out of work.
I even found ways to use blogging to continuously hone my personal brand. Incorporate content you’ve already created to keep your message consistent—for me that meant creating a brand around the message that you can have fun and save money. Start with what you know and branch out from there.
Need inspiration for creating original content on your site? Schedule a solo creative brainstorming session where you come up with ideas for blog posts, infographics, and videos.
3. Up Your Social Media Game
Now that you have all of this great content, it’s time to get it out there. Spend one of your Friday afternoons coming up with a social media strategy that's on brand—and doable. Boosting your social media presence will make you look more credible.
Just like fashion, trends in social media are ever-changing—what worked a few months ago might not work today. So scheduling your Facebook posts at, say, 1PM every Wednesday may not yield the best results anymore. Dive deeper into your post analytics and perfect your auto-post schedule. To stay current, read up on the latest best practices and tweak your game plan accordingly.
Are there features you’ve been curious about, but haven’t had a chance to play around with? Spend one of your Summer Fridays tinkering around with Instagram’s TV feature or Twitter’s expanded character count to see how they’d best serve your strategy. Or check out new apps that integrate with your favorite platform, like Adobe Spark or Hype Type for Instagram Stories.
Consider crafting graphics in Canva (it’s easier than you think) that are in step with your personal brand. For example, create unique, eye-catching icons as the main image for each of your Story Highlights on Instagram to complement your brand’s aesthetic.
Schedule a live stream session on Facebook or Instagram to get your audience engaged. A few days before, put out a call for questions or topics to your followers and go live to answer them. Live streaming doesn’t require a huge investment of time or resources—perfect for a Summer Friday.
4. Build Your Network
If you’re getting off early on Fridays or have the day off entirely, consider attending an in-person networking event. Attend Creative Mornings, held on the last Friday of each month, to meet with fellow freelance creatives. Plus, the inspirational talk centered around that month’s theme will get your juices flowing and pump you up to work on your side hustle.
In addition to professional mixers and happy hours, you can swing by a free co-working day, such as Freelance Friday, a global co-working event that typically coincides with Creative Mornings. You can also scour Meetup or Facebook events to find out which ones are held on the last day of the week.
And don’t forget the power of virtual networking. I engage in professional Facebook freelance writer groups regularly. Not only do I get wind of great freelance writing opportunities, but I can talk about anything from negotiating tips, client contracts—and commiserate over shared woes.
So, put those freebie hours to good use this summer by investing in yourself. If you’re having trouble focusing on Fridays (we've all been there), work in short bursts of half an hour. Or treat yourself to a working session at your favorite coffee shop. You’ll be surprised at just how much you can get done in short periods. And remember, drumming up a plan and putting it into motion during those Summer Fridays will help your side hustle boom and turn Fridays into productive #friyays.
Now, go out and enjoy your weekend.