Are you thinking about launching your own side hustle? Or maybe you already have one, and you are starting to feel the pinch of your competing to-do lists. Lots of people out there have side gigs, and it’s a good thing with all the talk of recession coming in 2020. You can turn a hobby into a business, sell what you know, or get your hands dirty doing the work. To find success, and not get overwhelmed, I’ve got the ultimate side hustle success formula for you!
First, let’s take a look at some of the top side hustle businesses people are pursuing in the market today:
- Cleaning service
- Freelance creative work
- Professional services (legal, accounting, consulting)
- Driving services (delivery, ride-sharing, taxi)
- Laboring (handyman, building maintenance, painting)
- Real estate —Apartment realty, management company
- Professional speaking—Youth, women, religious market
- Financial Services (Credit counseling, student loan counseling, money management, and retirement plans)
- Online advertising –lots of people need help with running paid online ads
- Virtual assistant—if you have administrative, copy editing and social media skills
Once you decide on the business you are going to start, you need to figure out everything you need to know about that business and where you are going to find the time to make it happen.
Here are a few rules of the game to make side hustling work with a day job:
Understanding the Rules of the Game
- Always Remember Your 9-5 Job Comes First.No matter what, your paycheck job must be your No. 1 priority. During work hours, be careful about excessive personal calls (especially on your cell phone if you do not have a private office.) Also, do not abuse the company internet, office supplies or copy machine at work to conduct your business (people get busted all the time leaving the original on the copy machine.). Start with a business you can do from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on weekends.
- Build a great website. Buy a URL and build a website for your side hustle. Your web presence is the welcome mat into your business. It’s also your best opportunity to make money while you are at work. Spend the time and money to make it great. A few items to consider when putting your website together:
- Have helpful articles and FREE giveaways.
- Don’t make people think too hard or look for things.
- Use a pop-up message to encourage people to sign up for your weekly newsletter or podcast, if you have one.
- Put a pixel from Facebook on your site to capture visitor’s information for paid marketing efforts later.
- Set up Google analytics to make sure you know what referral traffic is coming and what pages people are spending time on.
- Check your load time and make sure your website looks great from a mobile device.
- Schedule Time to Work on Your New Business.Set aside at least two hours daily to work on your business. This could be before work or in the evening. Stop watching TV at night so you can make time for your business. The more organized you are, the better you will be at balancing your side hustle business and your day job. Your top priorities should be activities that generate revenue, such as responding to e-mail inquiries from your website, Facebook Business Page and LinkedIn accounts, and attending networking events.
- Try to Adjust Your Work Schedule.If you can, request flex hours or a four-day workweek from your employer. Try to handle your business before work, after work, and on your days off. If that won’t work, find a partner or hire someone to manage the business while you’re at the office.
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Your reputation is all you have in business. Make sure your expenses are under control and that all promises are kept to clients. Never let a customer down.
- Develop Systems to Handle Your Business During Work Hours. Technology will help you keep up with things. Use Gmail, Google calendar, and marketing automation software like MixMax to allow people to schedule time with you quickly. You can also set emails to go out and track their open rates. Use Dropbox and Google Docs to have access to your files everywhere you go.
- Get the Family On Board. Your spouse and family members will be affected in many ways by your new business, so you’ll want to hold a family meeting to make sure everyone knows what’s happening. It would help if you had the buy-in of your family, especially your spouse. Be aware that they will miss the time and attention you used to give them. Appreciate them when you can, but try to still eat dinner with them, even if you go back to your office for hours afterward.
Top Reasons Why Side Hustles Fail
Not prioritizing your main gig—You might be most excited about your new side hustle, but your main job is what’s keeping the bills paid and your health insurance, so you can never prioritize your side hustle over your main gig. If you are not careful, you can get fired, and then you’ll really be under pressure to make money in your new business.
Make sure you have a great offer– Make sure people know what you are selling. You’ll need to tell your prospective customer what you’ve got, what it’s going to do for them, and what you’re looking for in return.
What makes a great offer:
The best offers are beneficial to the customer. It’s much easier to sell something people want than it is to sell something they need. We buy things we need some of the time, but we’ll be driven by our wants first. No one needs red bottom shoes, but Christian Louboutin sells lots of them.
Make sure your offer lines up with what your prospect is looking for right now, not tomorrow or yesterday. You must encourage people to buy now. Use calls to action that make it urgent to buy. Keep your offers new and fresh by limiting how many are available; it will make them a lot more attractive.
Then, you observe the market response.
Did the market go for your offer or not? If not, the two most likely culprits are that the timing was off or that the offer didn’t look attractive enough. Try adding more value or add additional bonuses for the same money, and try again. It will take a little work to figure out where your sales pitch or your sales copy went wrong, but with practice you’ll be making major sales in no time.
Not developing a team—It takes a village to keep your business running smoothly while you are at work all day. Even if you can only afford one virtual assistant, you need someone who can keep things moving and respond timely should something go wrong.
Not leveraging technology effectively—You are going to need to leverage technology to keep everything running efficiently. You’ll need technology to communicate with everyone. You’ll also need it for your fulfillment, email, invoices, and reaching out to customers for feedback and reviews.
Not willing to scale back your lifestyle—When you decide to become an entrepreneur, the first thing you should do is end your addiction to your paycheck. If you regularly enjoy hanging out with friends, shopping, eating out, or getting the latest electronic gadget, the entrepreneurial lifestyle might not be for you. All your free time will need to go to your side hustle.
Lack of a niche target market—When it comes to marketing, you have limited time and resources, which means you need to have a specific marketing target. Don’t try sell to anyone you think has money. Define your niche and your target customer. Make sure you have a unique value proposition before you launch your side hustle. If you don’t know why your customers will buy from you, you could have an expensive hobby.
Poor money management—If you do not run your household with a budget, you are far less likely to run your business with one. You can’t spend everything you make in your side hustle. You’ll need to set aside money for taxes. You’ll also need to invest money back into the business, especially if you want to scale it to replace your full-time job. Use up-to-date financial information to make business decisions.
If you keep these tips in mind, you are far more likely to have a sustainable side hustle.
How to Go from Side hustle to Fulltime Entrepreneur
- Cure your Addiction to your Paycheck: Save 20-40% of every paycheck to get prepared to transition to full-time entrepreneurship.
- Kick the naysayers to the CURB! This will be tough, but business is hard, and if you have haters, people around you with a fear mentality or anyone who is generally negative cut them off. You will not be able to handle negative energy when starting a business. Now, if you are married to your negative person, you are going to need to get them on board and ask them to support you – or it may not work.
- Identify your market: Start talking to potential clients to get feedback, check out the competition so that you can be aware of the marketplace
- Go legit: Form a company legally and get a business EIN Number so that you can open a business bank account. This will help you be less likely to co-mingle funds. Be sure to pay your taxes too.
- Get your books straight: Hire a seasoned bookkeeper for help to set up your online accounting software such as Quickbooks or Freshbooks.
- Stay motivated: Being tired will become your new normal. Get Yourself a “Personal Theme Song,” that you can play every day to give yourself a boost as your work towards your business venture.
If you keep these things in mind, your side hustle could soon become your main hustle. Just keep your head down and get to work. I can’t wait to see you shine.