So, where should I start?
Side hustle! Yeah, it’s not my favourite term either. It is an American term that has grown in popularity on this side of the pond. A side hustle is a business you do in addition to your main job or outside the hours of that role, to create an additional income stream.
I really want to help you to learn from my side hustle mistakes, so that you don’t repeat them. Many of them were extremely painful and expensive to learn. I wouldn’t wish for anyone to have to go through some of the things I had to learn the hard way. Now more than ever, we need to support each other where we can, because when we succeed, we are able to help others to succeed too.
Benefits of a Side Hustle
The extra money could mean your child can have extra sports coaching or that your bills are easier to pay each month. The extra money can give you more breathing space or even reduce your hours in your full-time job to part-time if that is what you desire. It can be anything that creates an income. What you use that income for is up to you, whether that’s paying for extra maths lessons for your child or towards a new holiday wardrobe.
So, you know you want to start the side hustle, but you don’t know where to start?
I really do know how you feel, there are so many questions when you start. So many things that seem important, but knowing which one to start with can feel confusing. Many people will start with their branding, look and feel and spend money on fancy websites, logos and business cards etc but none of this is important at this stage, especially if you don’t know what you want your side hustle to be, plus it’s a great idea to have some customers to pay for all these things.
Dream the Start
Dare to dream when it comes to your business, it’s yours after all and could be your future full-time role, if you want it to be. This is your opportunity to really design the life you want, don’t hold back. If you have a picture of what your business will look like, then you can move onto developing more strategic items.
To create the “picture” of your business, start with the following questions:
- Why do you want to set up a side hustle? You have got to have a passion for the why when it comes to business. Your ‘why’ could be easing the pressure at the end of the month so that you are less stressed about the bills and therefore sleep easier. Being passionate about your why makes the long hours and extra work feel doable. What is your why?
- What skills do you have? Are you a really good photographer, video editor, coder, landscaper, ice sculpture artist, interior designer, cake maker, crafter, golf coach, dog walker etc? Can you turn it into a paying job?
- What do you enjoy doing? Do you like maternity photo shoots? Love making holiday themed cakes? Do you love hand-drawing stationery? What do you already enjoy doing in your spare time? Bear in mind that Gogglebox roles are almost impossible to come across, so watching Netflix is unlikely to become a side hustle, however, if you are any good, you can make an excellent income playing video games live on Twitch.
- Where do skills and enjoyment collide? If you have great skills in an area, but you really don’t enjoy the work, then I don’t suggest making that your side hustle. I am good at Excel, I just don’t like Excel so if I can avoid it, I will, which would not work if I needed to use it daily. I love having conversations, listening to people, and helping them to solve their problems, so coaching is a good combination for me.
- Are you prepared to lose this hobby? Sometimes, when you turn a hobby into a career you lose your passion for doing the task for fun and relaxation because you can begin to focus on monetisation of the task, rather than the enjoyment. If you are going to monetise a hobby, make sure you are prepared to find a new hobby. I like making cakes, but the pressure of perfecting them for a client is not for me, so it would quickly become a sacrifice of a hobby for me.
- Are you contractually permitted to open a side hustle? This may sound strange, but some companies do not want you to have a side hustle because they want your full focus, if this is the case it will be in the contract you signed at onboarding. Additionally, some roles may place some side hustles off limits due to conflict of interest and the the like. Either way, run it past HR to make sure you are not in breach of contract and prevent the possibility of getting the sack.
- Remember to keep the division of duties in place, when you are at work in your full-time role, the time belongs to them and must not be used for working on your side hustle. Working on your own affairs during the time you are being paid to work for someone else is time theft and can lead to you being sued and fired. Obviously, you can do some work on your business during your break, since this is your time, but do not use company equipment and telephones to do so.
- What problem are you trying to solve, and for whom? When defining your product or service, you need to be solving a problem that your customer has – for example, a lawn care company could be solving the problem of cutting and servicing the grass for busy professionals with very large lawns, which take hours for them to maintain, thereby giving them time back on their weekends.
- Is there a market need? If you were to look at the macro-environment, it there a real need for your product or service? Prior to the pandemic, there was little need for McDonald’s UK to deliver food, now they are all over Uber Eats etc, for example. What is happening at a wider level in the world can drive demand for your business, and change its operating model, keep an open mind and an eye on global events. Remember, you must be very honest about what is happening in the market and whether or not the problem needs your solution.
- What are your products or services? Brainstorm all the things you could sell to your ideal customer and then narrow them down into compelling packages and products. For example, if you were a chef, you could photograph your dishes, pair the photos with your recipes (and I really stress YOUR recipes) and self-publish a cookbook that you sell on your website or Instagram. If you were a dog walker, you could create guides on how to rectify small behavioural problems in a dog and sell those to your clients and on your website, you could also make and sell (or source) organic dog treats, dog collars, clothing, shampoos, leads etc.
- Who is your Ideal Customer? Define who you want to sell your products and services to and write it out. Your customer needs to be able to confidently say “whoa, they are talking about me” (or similar), when you describe your products and services and who they are for.
Now, go back to your answers about your products and services and ideal customer questions and get even more specific.
But wait, it’s not that simple, I’m multi-passionate – how do I choose a business idea?
Many entrepreneurs are multi-passionate, having interests in many, many things and looking for a way to combine them all. It is possible to create a business that focuses on various pillars of interest, but it is usually easiest to focus on one pillar at a time adding in other pillars as your business grows, so long as you can find a common thread.
For example, my Coaching practice can combine with my personal training, education, and nutrition qualifications to create a holistic well-being practice. However, my Mediation business cannot overlap with the coaching practice, given the nature of the work involved and the different insurance requirements.
There is no reason you have to stick with anything in your business, whether that’s the model or the specific pillar or even target audience. As you and your business grow and develop, you change and so does the offering and the audience. Think of Coca-Cola, they have changed recipes (reduced sugar, regional flavour differences etc), products (Coke Zero, Diet Coke, regular Coke, Cherry Coke etc) and target markets many times over the years, yet it remains the most popular and most valuable soft drink in the world.
This is YOUR business; you can make it work in the way that works for you.
The majority of those people who setup side businesses do so with the intention of leaving their regular job, so when thinking about the vision for your business take this into consideration. That is, what happens if this really takes off and is a huge success? Will you leave your job or sell your business? This is a very important question, as the answer to this could act as the barometer for how you are really feeling about a business.
If you are feeling fear, know it is your sign to keep going. Fear can keep you safe, small and comfortable, but if you are looking at setting up or developing your side hustle, then you aren’t really that comfortable, are you? Fear can be your friend, if you use it as your catalyst.
Stop waiting for a perfect time because there isn’t one. Do something NOW.
I will be continuing the side hustle theme throughout November, so keep an eye out for more blogs and plenty of social media posts, as well as a masterclass on 26 November 2021. If you are ready to get started and want more support, please book a discovery call with me.