So you have a big idea that's been tickling your brain, & you're ready to take the leap to turn it into your side hustle, huh?
Girl, you are far from alone - more than 44 million Americans currently make extra money in their spare time, & that number is only set to increase. Women are leaders in this statistics, with more than 70% working in corporate America also having a side gig. What's cool news? We're not talking about chump change here. Of the 86% who say they earn extra money from a side hustle every month, 36% are making $500 or more. Yup. Listen, the side-hustle economy is a chance to follow a dream. As the world of digital work creates multitudes of business opportunities that are a mere click away, millions of people are finding it possible to pursue a passion project outside of the daily grind.
If you find yourself lumped in with this group of side-hustling, hard-working, big dreaming, badass women... & you're ready to earn some extra dough with your side hustle, here are a few tips to get you started:
Brain dump your ideas, & think carefully about what & why you're side-hustling.
There are many good reasons for starting a side hustle: you need the extra moolah for surviving basic life... you want to pay off your debt... you wish to diversify your income... you want to start your own business, but aren't ready to quit your day job... you want to see if your passion project could turn into a legit biz. It's important to know your WHY. Listen, this won't come without sacrifices... & what you're most likely to sacrifice the most of? Your time.
No matter what your reasons for hustling on the side, & there are many good ones, make sure you are starting something that makes sense. Questions to ask yourself:
What do I love to do? What am I ridiculously good at?
Start with what you already know, love & are already good at. Again, this goes back to your why: with everything comes a sacrifice, & what you sacrifice for a side hustle is your time. If you're going to be giving up your time for hobbies, family & friends... you might as well be doing something that you enjoy, ami right?!
What are other people already doing & are making money doing it?
Competition isn't a bad thing. If there are others in the game & making money, it goes to show that there's actually a market of people who are willing to buy what your selling. Very important. Also very important, once you've determined there is a market: determining what sets you apart from these competitors.
What is an area that is a specific painpoint for me?
If you are struggling in a certain area, chances are you aren't alone. If you can create a solution for this struggle, you may be on to something! Important point to make here: it is imperative that others share in your pain. If no one else feels what you feel, you hae no one to sell to.
Know & understand fully: this will not be easy.
In fact, finding actual work will probably be half the battle. Listen up: very little of your side-hustling will be spent actually doing the work you set out to do. Think about it: when will you be working on your side gig? Most likely, outside of typical business hours. & who will be spending the time & putting in the effort of finding the actual work for you to do? YOU. There is no team, here... You will constantly need to be seeking out new opportunities to work.
Also, prepare yourself: you will hear the word NO. Expect rejections & countless hours plugged in without pay-off. Yes, this sucks... but, especially while you establish yourself as a known expert, you will have to put in the time to prove yourself. Generating interest in your work & building a base of contacts or clients takes time, & the money might not start rolling in from the outset. (If it was easy then you’d probably be doing it full-time in the first place, right?)
Be prepared to put in the hours without the paycheck in the beginning. Be prepared to be flexible with your prices & be open to negotiating, as you establish your name & make your brand known. Be open-minded with what you are willing to take on in the beginning, remembering that this is the framework that must be laid down in the beginning.
Commit, focus & practice discipline: this will come with sacrifices.
We've touched on this already... but, we'll say it again: if you’re planning on investing extra hours in work, something else has got to give. Your side hustle doesn't work unless you do.
If you want your side hustle to work, it's going to take committment; think of it as your "side job." You may find it helps to schedule out specific hours on specific days to work specifically on your gig. In addition to your time, remember to allocate your resources accordingly as well. Let us put it to you straight here: if you actually want this to work, your side hustle has to be your sole focus outside of work & relationships. Other things have to go to the wayside. There is no way around this. (FYI: "work-life balance" is a myth!)
Giving up things that are important to you can be trying, but if you are committed to making your side-hustle work, then the odd declined invite will seem minuscule compared to the accomplishment of seeing your work succeed.
But... set boundaries.
Giving up life completely outside of your day job & your side hustle, while you are getting it off the ground, is not only unrealistic... it's also unhealthy. As an aspiring entrepreneur by personality, you're probably already hard-wired to over-function, multi-task, & burn the candle at both ends. Working over 39 hours per week has been linked to a number of mental & physical problems — from cardiovascular disorders to anxiety & depression — & the stress of operating a side-hustle alongside a demanding full-time job can be immense.
We all know health is important. We generally all know how to be healthy. Very few people would consciously decide to put aside their health in favor of their business or career. Yet that's what many of us do when we are in "start-up mode," repeatedly ignore symptoms, (large & small!) because we just don't have time or energy to think about them.
Advice? Sometimes you will need to slow down to speed up. Make it a habit to repeatedly take a step back to get perspective, take a break, & enjoy the process. Launching a side-hustle is building a business, & it's one helluva ride!