Mondays often remind us of the things we haven’t done more than the ones we have; the heights we haven’t reached; the roads we haven’t taken, on and on. But if you have a flourishing hustle aside from your 9 to 5, Mondays wouldn’t be that hard on you. A side hustle is essentially an interest, a passion, or a talent —most likely something that you can treat as an income producer and business—that you run outside of your traditional job. From providing an extra source of income to building a diverse and admirable portfolio, side hustles are a considerable pathway to fulfilment and financial freedom. Taking that entrepreneurial lunge can be daunting for many, but don’t let fear stop you from going after your dream. With diligence and these five steps, you can start and manage your own successful side business.
- Discover Your Strengths
The first step to starting a successful side hustle is figuring out where your strength lies. The biggest mistake you could make when trying to start a side-hustle is to follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing even when you have no skill in that area. Not only will you be miserable, you will make no money!
Making money is an achievable goal and you can make this process easy for yourself by finding out what you are naturally good at. Think about things that people usually ask you for help with. For example, do your friends usually come to you to help with their hair, paint their nails, or help them with their make-up for special occasions? Do they usually call you to help them write letters, articles, or poems? Do your friends usually ask for your help styling outfits for important events? In case you didn’t know, people usually get paid to do all these and chances are you’ve been doing a lot of work for free for a long time. The first step to starting a side-hustle is thinking about and writing down 3-5 things that you’re naturally good at. Think of them as your special gift to the world, (which you give at a price).
- Get Ready To Work
Working a full-time job can take a significant bite out of your daily schedule. There are many times when it feels like an endless cycle of waking up, working, and going to sleep. It often feels like there is no time for anything else.
It’s important to remember that if you’re trying to start or grow your side hustle, it’s only going to add one more item to your already full plate. So you need to be prepared to put on your boots and hustle—because it’s not called a side hustle for nothing.
If you’re fully committed, it might mean passing on some fun nights out with friends or recording your favorite show only to finally find time to watch a whole week after it aired. It’ll seem like a sacrifice in the heat of the moment, but it pays off in the end. Think of your side hustle as a marathon, not a sprint.
3. Create a Name, Register it, and Select Communication Channels
Your next step is to come up with a creative brand name that best represents your project. Bridge the meaning between the name, your values and goals, and your “product.” Keep it simple, write it down, and say it out loud. Get used to the way the name rolls off your tongue. Then register it and plan to keep your records and documentations clean from day one.
Once you’ve done these, think of the most appropriate promotional channel to reach your target audience. The easiest and most accessible options are social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) and a website. Even if you don’t need to use them right away, set them up. In the event your business takes off, it is better to have those accounts ready to go, rather than scramble to register an account name at the last minute. Email is also a crucial tool to have, since a dedicated business email often seems more professional than using a personal address and over time you can build an email newsletter.
4. Start Small
Now that you have chosen what your side-hustle is, registered it and set up communication channels, what next?
Most people fall into the trap of thinking they need to make huge investments to be successful, and they start by spending thousands of Naira on website design, photo shoots, marketing etc. However, most of the time this is just excessive and unnecessary spending. Dream and have grand ideas for your side-hustle. But it is important to act small and stay within your budget, if not your side-hustle could quickly put you in debt.
“When starting a side-hustle, your mantra should be think big, but act small”
The most important thing for you is to deliver! If 10 of your customers tell 10 of their friends about you, 100 people will know about you quickly and so on. However, this will only work in your favor if people say good things about you.
In the first few months of your side-hustle, you should focus on making yourself visible and providing the best service you can possibly offer with the resources you have.
5. Be Consistent
If you’re not going to be consistent, please forget about steps 1 – 4 and forget about starting side-hustle that will succeed. Starting a side-hustle is no small feat and you will have to make a lot of sacrifices to reap any real rewards. However, if you’re serious about taking charge of your finances and earning more, it is definitely worth trying.
If you steal time from your regular job to tend to your side hustle, you may soon have to call that side hustle your main business, because you could lose your job. Your integrity would be called to question; and you will hardly succeed at anything without integrity. Side hustles are sustained by “spare” time and weekends. Keep your job, and keep your side hustle. Be diligent.