• The Publishing Post

Upskilling For A Side Hustle: Part One

By Annabella Costantino, Misha Manani and Rowan Groat


Publishing professionals boast a broad range of diverse side hustles, with the practice having become even more popular during the pandemic. From podcasts and YouTube channels to blogs and book writing, the possibilities are endless! This issue, we are sharing the first of two advice instalments from publishing hopefuls and publishing professionals with their own creative projects. Each in a different stage and specialism, our guests have varied tips for those who wish to start their own side hustle. It is never too late to start: what are you waiting for?

Ellie Pilcher: Avon Marketing Manager and Debut Author


Ellie Pilcher is an award-winning Marketing Manager at Avon, Harper Collins. Her debut novel, What Planet Can I Blame This On?, is out in June 2021 and available for pre-order

here! We have recommended Ellie’s #MarketYourMarketing sessions in previous issues (recordings can be found on YouTube). She also runs a books, career and lifestyle blog at Elles Belles Notebook.


Be shameless with self-promotion: Use social media to your best advantage. Don’t be afraid to tell people when your next episode, blog, video or item is coming. If people don't know about your side hustle, they can't possibly support or share it. As much as it is about entertaining them, it is also about finding customers.

Educate yourself before you start: YouTube, Instagram and Skillshare all offer online resources where you can learn and develop particular skills in various software, such as Photoshop and InDesign. Teaching is also learning: offer help to others, attend panels and give workshops to improve your skills as you promote your brand.

Never rush a side hustle: Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was an influencer-level blog! Make sure to only work on your side hustle when you want to, because if you work on it every day, you’re risking burnout.

Don’t invest before 6 months have passed: Investment includes things like buying a camera, sound equipment, a domain name, a cohesive brand look or simply advertising. After 6 months, you'll know if this side hustle is viable for you.

Make it your own: A side hustle can be anything from an Etsy shop, a YouTube channel, blog, podcast or e-zine! Ellie lives by the motto: “first comes heart, then comes hustle”. In other words, only start a side hustle because you want to, not because you feel like it will get you from A to Z.


Leyla Mehmet: Book Blogger and Smashbear Social Media Manager


Leyla started her blog, which is coming up to its one year anniversary, in May 2020. She is also a Twitter Social Media Manager for SmashBear Publishing. As a publishing hopeful, she is interested in a full-time marketing or publicity role. She loves sharing and writing about her passions, mainly books. Her goal is to create a platform where people to read and enjoy her posts, as well as have a positive impact. Having heard from publishing events that blog are a valuable asset, she also started her blog to join the book community. You can follow her @leylasblog4 and also check out her brilliant blog here!


Read a bit every day: As an English student who is constantly reading, she reads a couple of chapters before sleeping and a couple when she wakes up.

Having a Twitter account is beneficial: This is where Leyla has secured proofs and it has given her a platform to share her reviews. Instagram is also a good option.


Get creative with your ideas: Last year, Leyla started a series of “Top Takeaway” posts for publishing events on subjects like key skills, software, COVID-19 tips and general pointers. These received a large attraction and very positive feedback.


Persevere through challenges: Although Twitter and Instagram have friendly book communities, it can be hard when you spent a time writing a review only to get little engagement. Remember it’s nothing personal and could even be the algorithms. Keep going and don’t compare yourself to others. Helping one person makes a difference.

Don’t spend excessive money on books: There are brilliant reviewing initiatives like Netgalley which allow you to review books for free provided you are approved by the publisher and post these on your personal platform (as well as their website).

Follow lots of publishers: Politely request a proof copy of an upcoming book, especially if they have tweeted about it. While this doesn’t work all the time, in majority of cases it does and thanks to Twitter, Leyla is really grateful for the opportunities she has had.


Thanks for reading part one of Upskilling for a Side Hustle and a huge thank you to our guests who kindly shared their advice. Join us again in the next issue, where we will be sharing more top tips and testimonials for part two of Upskilling for a Side Hustle.


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