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Cold emails without the cringe: 3 templates for your side hustle

Cold emails without the cringe: 3 templates for your side hustle

Cold sweats. Cold feet. Cold emails.

They all have one big thing in common (okay, two if you count the world “cold”): nerves. Good ol’ fashioned jitters. Clammy palms, shaky knees, dry mouth, and the undeniable urge to duck and cover.

Cold emails get a bad rap, but the truth is they can be a powerful tactic for your side hustle.

Almost half of respondents in a LinkedIn poll said that cold emailing has been helpful for their own business. And another quick poll I ran on X shows that people use these emails primarily for finding work and clients, but also for general networking, soliciting advice, and even finding vendors or resources.

Source: X (formerly Twitter)

But a cold email on its own isn’t a magic-maker for your business—you need to do it right. Go ahead and wipe your sweaty hands on your pants because we have the email templates and tips to make that happen.

3 must-have email templates for your side hustle

Crafting a cold email is nerve-racking enough without having to stare at a blank space and a menacing, blinking text cursor. These three cold email templates will help you get over the hardest part: getting started.

Cold email template #1: Asking for advice or mentorship

Maybe there’s someone who has already started and grown a business similar to yours. Or perhaps there’s a person in your industry you really admire. Use this template to get in touch, introduce yourself, and make that oh-so-important request to pick their brain.

Hi [Name],

I hope your week is treating you well!

My name is [Your Name], and I’m [starting/growing/refining] my [industry or type of business] business. I’ve followed you and your work for a while now and really admire what you’ve accomplished with [Business Name].

If you’re open to it, I’d be so grateful if we could schedule a time when I could ask you a few questions about your experience and journey so far.

I recognize that these types of requests can be demanding on your time, so I’d love to send you some coffee money, write you a recommendation, or return the favor in a way that’s most meaningful to you.

Thanks so much for considering, [Name]. I’m looking forward to connecting!

All the best,

[Your Name]

Get this one right:

  • Personalize your praise: People can see right through copy-paste efforts to compliment their work. Get specific with what you know about their business and what you respect about them. It shows that you’ve actually done your research, and hey, a little ego-stroking never hurts.
  • Offer something in return: Particularly for people who are established and credible in their industries or niches, these requests for help can become overwhelming and can make them feel taken advantage of. Try to steer around that by extending something valuable (or even a small token of appreciation) in exchange for their time and help.

Cold email template #2: Soliciting new clients and work

Here it is: the crown jewel of all of the cringey cold emails. There will inevitably come a time when you’ll rely on cold outreach to drum up some new work, and doing so can feel unbearably shameless and sales-y. This template will help you come off more proactive and less pushy.

Hi [Name],

I hope you’re doing well!

My name is [Your Name] and I’m a [your title or type of business] focused on providing [product/service] for [industry/niche/focus area]. I’ve had [Client Name] on my list of leads for a while now and have finally summoned my courage to reach out.

Here comes the pitch: If [Client Name] is ever looking for some help with [task/project/deliverable you can help with], I’d love to chat. I’ve done similar work for [Client], [Client], and [Client] and have included a few relevant work samples here for you:

[Work sample if you have one]
[Work sample if you have one]
[Work sample if you have one]

You can find out more about me and my business on my website: [link]

Of course, let me know if you have any questions for me. Whether we can work together or not, I’m looking forward to staying in touch!


[Your Name]

Get this one right:

  • Keep it short: When you’re eager to impress, it’s tempting to throw your whole professional history out there. But remember that cold emails are unsolicited (and potentially unwelcomed), which means people won’t read endless blocks of text. Make it as short and skimmable as possible with quick paragraphs and bullet points.
  • Focus on relevance: This is another effective way to keep your message concise. People don’t need to hear about every client, side project, or experience you’ve ever had. Focus on highlighting the ones that will be most relevant and meaningful to their own business, needs, and goals.

Cold email template #3: Building your network

It’s not what you know but who you know. Your network is your net worth. Groan. There are seemingly endless clichés about the importance of connections, and honestly, there’s a lot of truth to them. If you need to reach out to someone to strike up a bond (without making a direct or specific ask at that exact moment), here’s how to get things rolling.

Hi [Name],

I hope you’re well!

I came across your name on [where you found them] and saw that we both [something you have in common].

I’m always looking to build connections in [service type/industry/focus area]. I recently [followed/requested/connected] with you on [platform], but also wanted to reach out and personally introduce myself.

My name is [Your Name] and I run a [type of business or side hustle] focused on [service or product] that [result or impact]. I’d love to hear a little more about you, if and when you have the time.

Anyway, I just wanted to reach out with a quick, friendly, and zero-pressure “hello.” You know where to find me if I can ever help you out. I’m happy to do so!

All the best,

[Your Name]

Get this one right:

  • Avoid an ask: The goal of this type of outreach is to lay the foundation for a mutually-beneficial relationship, but that’s tough to do if you swoop in with an ask. Rather than trying to pitch yourself, ask for help, or make any other sort of request, simply stay focused on introducing yourself and learning about the other person. That feels (and typically is) far more casual and genuine.
  • Warm it up: The template mentions following the person on a different platform or outlet. Social media provides a low-pressure place to keep in touch. Noting that you’ve already taken that first step reinforces the point that you want to forge a relationship and not just engage in a one-time interaction.

Pressing “send” is just the start

You did it. You customized one of the above templates, summoned your courage, and finally hit “send.” Take a minute to pat yourself on the back—and then it’s time to open your calendar.

Several commenters on the LinkedIn poll mentioned that your follow-up is even more important than the cold email itself. So, set a reminder for a week or two from now (any sooner and you run the risk of seeming like a pest) to quickly check in if you haven’t heard anything yet.

Keep your follow-up quick, light, and friendly. And if you don’t hear anything after that? Assume the person isn’t interested and move on.

Does that silence sting? Sure. But remember that cold emails are like any other strategy you’ll use for your business or side hustle: You win some and you lose some. That’s just the process—not a personal failing.

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