woman working at laptop in a cafe
14Feb

Want to Create a Side Hustle? Here’s 5 Thing You Need To Know!

Have you ever wanted to start your own business, but felt afraid to take the first step? With a side hustle, you don’t have to risk everything. It’s the perfect way to make the most of your hobbies and skills to earn a little extra money on the side – no boss, no scary upfront investments.

Starting a side hustle not only lets you supplement your income, it also provides you with skills and opportunities you may not have found otherwise. It’s entirely possible to give yourself a second or third income stream to support what you’re doing day-to-day. And who knows, if it goes well, you may be able to take it full-time someday. Here’s what to keep in mind.

1. Don’t quit your day job (yet)

Starting a side hustle isn’t an excuse to go ahead and quit your job right away. Or indeed at all: you may not want to start a full-blown business. For some, it’s a way to make an additional income and nothing more. For others, it’s the first giddy step to living their entrepreneurial dreams. But by hanging on to your full-time job, you won’t have to worry about running out of money as you get the project on its feet.

Resist the temptation to work on your side hustle during company time – or using company resources. Your side gig shouldn’t present a conflict of interest; check the terms of your contract to make sure you’re not overstepping any lines. Be honest with your employer about what you’re doing and continue to deliver your best work. You’ll need your job for the foreseeable future while your project builds momentum.

2. Pick something you’re already good at

You’ll spend a lot of free time working on your side hustle, so make life easier for yourself by choosing something that:

  • You’re already good at
  • People want or need
  • You know you can get paid for

Skill isn’t the only thing that matters, you also need to be passionate. Otherwise you’re simply maximising your work hours for no real payoff – you may as well just ask for overtime. Putting your time and energy into a business you’re indifferent about will quickly lead to burnout.

Better still, look for the sweet spot between what you like doing and what pains you. You’ll quickly find areas that resonate. Perhaps you like baking and it pains you that animals are killed for food. So start a vegan bakery. If other people are doing it already, that’s good. It means there’s a market for it. Don’t be disheartened.

woman painting

3. Do the prep

Picked a thing? Know what you’re doing? Great. It’s time to get planning.

Start with a good old hefty plate of delicious research. Who’s your competition? What are they up to? How can you differentiate? What are potential customers looking for? Consider your niche and try to make your offering as specific as possible.

You don’t want to part with too much cash straight up, but you may need to invest in some basic setup costs: making a website, building a brand, maybe indulging in some premium software. Admin is unavoidable.

Furthermore, if you’ve never gone into business on your own before, spend some time giving yourself a basic grounding in business and marketing principles, plus any niche-focused training that may benefit you on sites like Udemy. You’ll thank yourself later.

And remember, you’ll probably make some mistakes. It’ll probably feel scary the first time you reach out to a potential client. You’ll learn as you go – it gets easier.

4. Set some goals

Once you know where you’re headed and you’ve done the research, sit down (or stand, you do you) and consider your goals. To achieve the big goals, you need to start small. One of the first things to think about is how much time you can set aside each week to work on your side hustle. Actually write it in your calendar to make sure it gets done.

Next, write down your monthly income goal and when you’d like to reach it. Be realistic. Based on these figures, how many clients or regular sales will you need to reach that goal?

Think about what you’re hoping to achieve – is this a bit of fun, an experiment, or do you hope to turn this into a full-time job eventually? Devise a set of weekly and monthly goals to see you through the first six months.

working from a home office

5. Be prepared to work hard

It’s no secret that lots of new businesses flop, but that shouldn’t put you off if it’s something that genuinely interests you. The beauty of starting a side business is that you can try things and experiment, without staking your livelihood on it. But that doesn’t mean it won’t take work.

Even with a great product or service, you need the grit and the passion to pass that enthusiasm onto your customers and help them solve their problems. Don’t mistake starting a side hustle with some sort of ‘get rich quick’ scheme; it doesn’t work like that. Success won’t happen overnight. It’s called a ‘hustle’ for a reason.

Your side hustle will demand time, energy and money that could otherwise be spent elsewhere. It’s a commitment – you have to believe in it or you’ll quickly lose your fire. Is this something you’re genuinely willing to make sacrifices for? It’s certainly not easy and the money probably won’t start rolling in right away.

It’s a bit like growing vegetables. You sow the seeds. You tend. You wait. You wait. And then you harvest. So, just how badly do you want the homegrown carrots?

Side projects work when you start them for the right reasons.

The side hustle economy offers a way to pursue your dream with relatively low risk compared to starting a business without the security of your day job. As such, you have total freedom to do it your way. For some, it’s a stepping stone to self-employment. For others, it’s purely a passion project. The advice? Believe in yourself and just do it. Take that first step. There’s everything to be gained and, in the grand scheme of things, not much to lose. Strap in.