Starting a Side Hustle as a PA: Part 2

The last post on my blog is about how and why I started All Things PA-C. If you missed it, check it out here. Here in part 2, I’ll discuss how I grew a large Instagram following and the tools I used to create and grow my business.

To make things simple, I’ll break this down into a few subcategories: getting started, techy tools, social media, and educational resources.

Getting Started

One of the first things you should do when starting a business, is come up with a name. You want to think this through. Is the domain (website name) available? Is the handle available on all social media platforms? Is it easy to remember and spell? Go ahead and snag the social media handles and a Gmail email account, because those are pretty easy. Then you’ll need to purchase the domain name through a domain registrar. We purchase and manage all our domains with Hover.

The next step I recommend is register your business with the state. There are several types of business entities and a tax attorney or other resources may help you figure out what’s best for you, but I chose an LLC. If you’re wanting to make money, don’t skip this step. It sets you up as a legit business and shows this isn’t just a hobby. If you’re selling a product, you’ll likely have to register with your state’s department of revenue to pay taxes on your sales. If you’re not selling a product, this step can wait and honestly when you get to that point, I highly recommend you consult with an accountant.

Another step you don’t want to skip is setting up a bank account specific for your business. Even if you’re not making a lot of money, or any at all when you first start. I recommend the first dollar you earn, open a separate account. You don’t want to mix your personal finances with your business. This may not seem like a big deal at first, but if your goal is to make money in your business, you’ll wish you had done this. At some point you’ll have to make purchases and investments and if your accounts aren’t separated you’ll never know where you stand on income and expenses.

Don’t let this stuff overwhelm you. Taking one small step builds confidence and creates momentum. Settle on a name and start an Instagram account. Then purchase a domain name. That’s a great place to start.

The Techy Stuff

Building a Website

I’ve mentioned before, my husband is a web developer and graphic designer. So admittedly I was completely hands-off on this step. However, I can relay some advice.

First of all, DO have a website. You could build a million followers on Instagram and wake up one day and your account is shut down without notice. Or hacked. Or the algorithm changes and your followers stop seeing anything you post. This happens everyday to people. Instagram, Facebook and any other social media platform are borrowed spaces, and you don’t own them. They are great resources to extend your reach and serve your audience, but you do not control what happens on them. You do control your own website. Always have your own website if you own a business.

The easiest, simplest thing to do is use an all-in-one service like Squarespce or Wix. You don’t have to be tech savvy to use these. You essentially chose a template and fill it in. If you’re doing something like a blog, either of these would work great. My website is run on WordPress, which is widely used free software for running a website, but it requires installation on a web hosting account and a bit more work and ongoing maintenance. This site runs on Dreamhost, but there are tons of great web hosting options.

The benefit of Wix or Squarespace is they are easy. The benefit of WordPress or other web software you install yourself is the ability to customize and have full control over how your website looks and works. For example, we’re currently building the All Things PA-C questions bank and I can basically make it look and work however I want, ensuring it’s user friendly and meets the objectives of what I want it to be. And when I say “I,” I mean my husband who knows how to code. So I appreciate this isn’t a free resource everyone has. The good news is, WordPress has become so widely used, there are tons of resources to help you learn how to use it, as well as themes and plugins that are relatively easy to install.

Posting Tools

I’ll talk more about growing an Instagram following in a minute. But I am confident one of the driving forces behind my successful growth on Instagram was consistent posting. In Part 1 I talked about how challenging this was, but I posted twice a day to Instagram for an entire year. Not a single digital marketing expert doesn’t agree posting regularly and frquently is one of the key strategies to growing a following.

I could not have done this without a social media scheduling program. I work full time and have 4 kids, and we’re an active family. I am busy. But like I said before, All Things PA-C was build on hard work between 8 and 10 PM every night. While my friends were Netflix binging after the kids went to bed, I was up writing practice questions.

Once a week, usually on Sunday, I’d spend about about 30 minutes getting my posts ready. You can prep your images and write the captions and hashtags all in advance. The act of posting only took about 60 seconds out of my day. I used PLANN, and really liked the software. But I have trouble recommending them because I’ve run into several issues and they do not have great response times or customer service. This blog does a good job recommending some different options. If you’re planning on primarily focusing on social media, I highly recommend a paid scheduling app.

Design Tools

I draft all of my practice questions in a Google Doc initially, but all of my Instagram posts are created in Canva. Canva is a graphic design platform where you can create all sorts of images. They have great templates for Instagram posts and stories, Facebook, and really just about anything. There is a paid version of Canva but anything I’ve ever needed is available on the free option.

Starting An Email List

This goes a little beyond the scope of this post, but I don’t want to leave this out. If you plan on growing a business, start collecting email addresses ASAP. Every marketing expert will tell you the number one revenue stream for businesses is not through Facebook or Instagram, it’s through email. When you’re ready to sell or offer something in one, two, or even three years from now, you’ll wish you had started an email list on day 1. I incentivize people to give me their email address by offering a free practice quiz. I then try to send regular emails with more personal or valuable content than what I share on Instagram. It almost feels like my email subscribers are my core group I to interact with. I use a service called Mailchimp to collect email addresses and send email campaigns.

Social Media

There’s a of curiosity about how my following grew so rapidly when it’s becoming more challenging to grow on both Instagram and Facebook. Now, I understand I’m not Taylor Swift, but in just over a year All Things PA-C has grown to almost 24,000 followers. There were no gimmicks involved. I wouldn’t know how to use any if I wanted to. I absolutely attribute this to

  1. Posting frequently and consistently, and
  2. Posting QUALITY content.

You will notice my posts serve a few purposes. The questions are to provide value. I’m not afraid to share some of my product for free. Some would disagree with sharing so much of what you’re selling for free, but I don’t. I want you to trust me and know that if what I’m offering for free is this good, what I’m charging for is going to be worth it. The second objective to my posts are to create community, usually by asking questions that bring PAs and PA students together in a fruitful discussion or allow them to share experiences and resources with each other. And lastly, I post valuable information about our profession in general. Every post has a purpose and meets one of these objectives.

You don’t see a lot of my face on my page. I go in spurts where I’m on stories, but to be honest I don’t want to HAVE to be the face of my business. Some people really enjoy that. I just figured out early that showing bikini pictures with a clever caption about being a PA wasn’t going to sell my products or build a community (Ok truth – I never actually posted a bikini picture, so who knows, maybe it would have worked). If you’re wanting to be an “influencer” and use yourself as the face of the brand, there is nothing wrong with that. Just make sure what you post is providing VALUE to your followers.

Try an experiment. Scroll through Instagram and take note of what posts catch your eye and why. What feeds do you love, and why do you love their images or captions? Because there are a million photos of cute PAs in Figs with a clever caption. So how are you going to stand out if that’s your strategy?


This post is already too long, and I still feel like I have so much to share. Again, this really is a passion of mine and I would love to see some of you who are interested in starting a business succeed as well!

What I’ll list to end this article is my favorite resources for navigating the world of online marketing and entrepreneurship. I tell people I got an MBA through podcasts and books when I started All Things PA-C. These resources have helped me more than anything and they cover every topic you could imagine.


  1. The Goaldigger Podcast with Jenna Kutcher (probably my fav)
  2. Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield
  3. Storybrand by Donald Miller. He has a podcast with the same name which is also great but this book is GOLD if you’re trying to figure out where to start with your branding
  4. Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn

If you hung with me, hopefully that means you have a real interest in this stuff. Please reach out if you have any questions!

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