The number of small business applications has been on a steady rise in recent years, and you’re probably here because you want to start your side hustle too. Congratulations on your decision, and I am honored to help you on your journey! As you probably know, owning a small business has many benefits:
- Be your own boss
- Set your own schedule
- Do what you love
- Create something bigger than yourself
- Reach people and impact lives
In this article, I will help you nail down your small business idea, offer 7 tips to start your side hustle, and share a resource you’ll love.
Let’s dive in!
Finding Your Side Hustle
When it comes to finding your side hustle, you can turn a hobby into a business, get your hands dirty doing work, share your knowledge and experience with clients, and so much more.
Some of the top side hustle businesses that people are starting today are:
- Home Services (cleaning, babysitting)
- Laboring (handyman, building maintenance, painting)
- Professional services (legal, accounting, consulting)
- Virtual assistant (editing, social media)
- Freelance creative work (photography, writing)
- Driving services (delivery, ride sharing)
- Professional speaking
When you’re trying to determine what your side hustle will be, consider your interests, strengths, and problems you can solve. Once you have your idea, check to make sure it is a viable business idea by answering these questions:
- Does it solve a problem?
- Will people pay for it?
- Is there a big enough niche market for it?
- Are you passionate enough about it?
- Are you being realistic about your goals?
If your idea passes these questions, it’s time to start your side hustle using the tips below.
7 Tips to Start Your Side Hustle Today
You’re ready to start your side hustle, but you must go into it thoughtfully and strategically! These tips will guide you.
1. Make sure you can pay the bills.
When you start your side hustle, it’s important not to get carried away with the excitement of your new venture. Your 9-5 job should still come first and be your number 1 priority. Be careful about taking personal (side-hustle-related) calls during work hours, and do not abuse the company resources while you’re working (internet, office supplies, copy machine, etc.). You need to keep your 9-5 to pay the bills as you work on making your side hustle a full-time gig.
At the same time, you want to be financially planning so you can eventually move away from the 9-5 and focus on your business. Save 20-40 percent of every paycheck to get yourself in a financial position to transition to full-time entrepreneurship.
2. Adjust your work schedule (if possible).
While you must be respectful of your 9-5 job, you must also find time to work on your side hustle. One idea is to see if you can adjust your work schedule to allow more time to work on your business. You may request flex hours or see if you can move to a four-day workweek.
3. Schedule time to work on your side hustle.
Regardless of what schedule arrangements you make with your current employer, you’ll need to set aside time to work on your side hustle every day. Why every day? Because:
- It will help you create a habit, which is important for long-term success.
- It establishes to yourself and others that your new business is a priority.
- There is a ton of work to do!
Your hours could be in the morning or the evening, whatever works best for you, but make sure it gets scheduled into your calendar. Then follow through (no excuses!).
4. Choose technology and develop systems as you go.
Systems will make your work more productive and organized. As you spend time working in your side hustle, explore ways technology and automation can help you get things done quicker. Not leveraging technology is one of the biggest reasons why small businesses fail. You’ll need technology for communication, fulfillment, invoicing, and more.
5. Get your family on board.
Your new business will affect your spouse and others in your family. Keep them in the loop by holding regular family meetings to ensure everyone knows what is happening. The support of your spouse and loved ones will help tremendously when you start a side hustle! Getting their support means being honest about how the business will affect them and making compromises. For example, you may need to work on your business after your 9-5 job ends, but you can promise to still eat dinner with them every night.
6. Get outside help where needed.
Most side hustles start solo, but you’ll want to bring in people as needed and appropriate. For example:
- You may want advisors or a mentor to help you along the way. Did you know that SCORE has a free business mentorship program?
- You may need to take a small business course or reach out for business coaching services.
- You may need outside help to do the work, so think early on about building a team. While you may not hire someone immediately, you may turn to freelancers on platforms like Fiverr and 99Designs.
Although it is tough at the beginning when you aren’t making much money, even the startup solopreneur needs to consider delegating so they can spend their time building the business and focusing on things that generate revenue.
7. Make it legit.
To succeed, you must look at your side hustle as a real business, not just something you are doing as a hobby. By setting a schedule (tip #3), you are reinforcing the legitimacy of your business in your mind. But there are other things you can and should do when you start your side hustle.
- Get a business EIN which will officially establish your business with the IRS and allow you to get a business bank account. The IRS has instructions here.
- Next, get a business bank account! You should keep your personal and business finances separate.
- Set up a website, which is the official welcome mat of your business for online visitors. Your website is your best opportunity to make money while at work, so spend time and money to make it great. For traffic tips, check out my article 9 Ways to Increase the Traffic to Your Small Business Website.
One More Resource to Start Your Side Hustle
When you start your side hustle, you want to make 100 percent sure that you are on the right path. You don’t want to become another statistic on business failure. That’s why I’ve created the Boss Quiz – to help budding entrepreneurs like you figure out the right business to start.
The Boss Quiz will help you:
- Discover your entrepreneur type
- Learn your ideal business model
- Discover your work style, leadership type, values, and sales capability
- Clarify the lifestyle you want to live
This insight is especially helpful before you start your side hustle. But if you’ve already started, you can also use the Boss Quiz information to refine your strategy and ideas.
Start Your Side Hustle Today!
Follow the tips in this article to start your side hustle today. After all, today, it’s a side hustle… But pretty soon, it could be your MAIN hustle! I’m rooting for your success!