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How To

A guide to writing the perfect pitch to secure a side hustle

Early on in my career, I was paid an annual salary to paste blurry photos in PowerPoint presentations. And before you ask — no, this is not what I was told my job would be.
About four months in, I realized I needed something more. And it turns out, I’m not alone. Most Millennials aren’t engaged in their work. Instead of choosing to play it safe and feel complacent with the full-time job I had, I began a quest for career fulfillment.

When I was in college, I developed a passion for helping women succeed in their careers. I desperately wanted to get back into that space, but I needed to keep my full-time job to pay the bills. I started working part-time for Alexandra Dickinson and her company Ask For It — and something beautiful happened. Over the course of one year, I went from feeling completely worthless at my full-time job to feeling confident and entrepreneurial. Through my side hustle with Ask For It, the way I perceived myself professionally and personally completely changed.

Side hustles come in all shapes and sizes — for me, I started working for an organization whose values I believed in. And if the thought of working part-time for another organization excites you, you’re in the right place. We know that first impressions are important—which is why that initial pitch is crucial to your future success. You can make a seemingly “cold” reach out feel warm in just three steps. Plus, the skills you gain from this exercise will translate directly into other areas of your life. Talking about your accomplishments with confidence? Check. Asking for an opportunity to do more, have more impact? You bet.

Career happiness doesn’t have to be just a far-fetched idea. A side hustle can make it your reality. And if you need help getting a start, the guide below will give you the confidence you need to make that initial outreach.

Step 1: Start with a clear connection

I knew I wanted to work part-time for an organization that was helping women in their careers, so I needed to make that obvious right from the start. Your first paragraph should state:

  • How you know about the organization
  • Your shared values
  • What your ask is

For example, “I recently learned about [company] from your interview on [podcast]. I was enthralled by your advice, geared specifically for women who are seeking to negotiate for themselves in work and in life. I, too, believe that feeling empowered in your career stems from self-advocacy. Based on our similar focuses, I’d love to connect with you about part-time work opportunities.”

Step 2: Elaborate on the skills you bring to the table

You want to explain your skills, but don’t go overboard. This initial message needs to be short and effective. Your second paragraph should:

  • State one work or professional experience that exemplifies your skills
  • In one sentence, tell them what you did in that role
  • In two sentences, explain what passions you developed and what skills you cultivated

Try something like, “While in school, I worked as a Career Consultant in the career office. Over the course of two years, I educated hundreds of female undergraduates on resume building, cover letter writing, and helping them accomplish their goals. As cliche as this sounds, it was my first (job) love. I developed a passion for motivating the women around me and seeing them succeed. Needless to say, these are the reasons I’d love to get involved with [company]. I believe the workshops and seminars you do are vastly improving the professional world, and it would be an honor to help achieve your goals.”

Step 3: End with a clear call-to-action or request

Your wrap up should conclude your “ask”, confirm your assets, and reiterate your commitment to the inquiry.

  • A clear request to get in touch
  • What you want to discuss
  • A final round-up of the skills you’d bring to their team

You might write, “I’d love the opportunity to get in touch with you—via phone or email—to discuss how I can assist with the company’s mission to [quote mission]. I’d be so grateful to bring my public speaking, organizing skills (from people to schedules), and enthusiastic personality to your team.”

Put it all together

When addressing your message, be cognizant of what name or title you use. When in doubt, go formal. That means “Ms.” or “Mr.” and their last name. If they’re a doctor or have a doctorate, respectfully call them “Dr.” For those who may be younger, calling them by their first name could be acceptable. Play it by ear, and trust your gut here. Here’s an example of a real pitch I made:

— — —

Hi Alex,

I recently learned about Ask For It from your interview on the So Money podcast with Farnoosh Torabi. I was enthralled by your advice, geared specifically for women who are seeking to negotiate for themselves in work and in life. I, too, believe that feeling empowered in your career stems from self-advocacy. Based on our similar focuses, I’d love to connect with you about part-time work opportunities.

While in school, I worked as a Career Consultant in the career office. Over the course of two years, I educated hundreds of female undergraduates on resume building, cover letter writing, and helping them accomplish their goals. As cliche as this sounds, it was my first (job) love. I developed a passion for motivating the women around me and seeing them succeed. Needless to say, these are the reasons I’d love to get involved with Ask For It. I believe the workshops and seminars you do are vastly improving the professional world, and it would be an honor to help achieve your goals.

I’d love the opportunity to get in touch with you—via phone or email—to discuss how I can assist with the company’s mission to foster confidence and inspiration in leadership and life. I’d be so grateful to bring my public speaking, organizing skills (from people to schedules), and enthusiastic personality to your team.

All my best,
Lily

— — —

All in all, your ask will be concise, but informative. This template resulted in the best side hustle I could have asked for, and a lifetime of confidence. By day, I was putting photos in PowerPoint. But by night, I was closing the gender wage gap with Ask For It. And that was truly empowering.

This article first appeared on Career Contessa.

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