We all know how important having a side hustle is in our current economy. In between rising costs of living and an economic recession, having multiple sources of income have never been more important.
With everything that’s happening, it is important to have the knowledge of how to generate additional sources of income through side hustles. Picking a side hustle that works for you can at times be overwhelming.
One of the most frequent questions I get on my page is ‘What business should I start with this amount of money?’ I find it quite difficult to answer because as a total stranger, I don’t know their strengths or skillsets to recommend a business or side hustle that would automatically work for them.
Before you even reach out to anyone to give you advice or recommendation on which business to start, you need to do a bit of self-evaluation to narrow down on the options that would work best for you.
So where would you need to start?
1. Make a list of your hobbies, gifts and your skillset.
You can’t just pick a side hustle based on what your friend or colleague is doing. This is because we are all so different. You need to sit down and find out what your hobbies are. These are activities that you enjoy doing and would even do without any pay.
List down what you are gifted at. It could be that you’re a good orator, you’re a good communicator, you’re good with children, you’re a good writer, or you’re a creative designer. You most probably know what you can do with the least amount of effort.
Your skills could be what you acquired from school, those that you’ve acquired along the way from a job you worked on or from a short certification that you have.
This is how I was able to use my gifts and skills to start my coaching business. I found that I was really good at activities involving communication, teaching and people. I’ve had this gifting from since I was a child. But I started monetizing this just 3 years ago yet it was something that everyone around me kept pointing out. I believe that my business has grown because I was good at something that is very instrumental in the success of a coaching/training business.
The success of your business/side hustle will be highly dependent on your self-awareness and how well you know where your strengths lie.
2. Narrow down your list to 2-3 things you are passionate about.
From the list you wrote in the step above, you probably have 15+ hobbies, skills and giftings that you could think of.
You now need to narrow down this list to 2-3 things that you are absolutely passionate about. No one can do this for you. You have to honor your ambitions enough to make time to do this narrowing-down activity. It will be even much better if you are able to narrow it down to one thing that you are strongly passionate about.
Why is passion important for your side hustle? Think of it as the backup generator that keeps you going when nothing else will; when the money does not make sense.
When I started my coaching business, and it wasn’t making any money, I’d do the coaching for free to gain some testimonials. I did this for more than 6 months. I definitely wouldn’t have done it if I wasn’t strongly passionate about it.
Even today, there are days when the business is not doing well but what keeps me going is the passion I have for this field. It’s what gives me the strength to continue creating content for my pages even when things are not working. It isn’t always about the money.
Passion is not the only thing you need to succeed in business but it is one of the most powerful aspects that will contribute to your business’s success.
3. Consider what it will take to run a business in the area of your interest.
You have to start exposing yourself to others who’ve been in the field that you want to get into. When I first started, I followed different coaches in the field and learnt all about the coaching field. One of the things I learnt was that I had to get into the content creation space. This was non-negotiable if I was to establish myself as a thought leader in the finance space.
Business is easier said than done. It is not just about getting an idea that you are passionate about and that’s it. You have to sit down with a checklist of what it really takes to run that business.
With this checklist, ask yourself if you have what it takes or if there are things you can outsource. Remember, majority of side hustles are a one-person venture. This means that you basically have to know how to do majority of the work required, from marketing to sourcing materials etc. If you have the financial muscle you can outsource most of these tasks.
4. Assess your access to resources.
Once you’ve figured out what you really want to do, you need to assess your finances and find out how much you need to start. You need to figure out if you can finance the business or if you’ll need to take a loan.
As a financial coach, I highly discourage people from taking a loan for a completely new business that they haven’t taken the time to develop proof of concept. Always look at other funding options. The best being from your savings.
Another resource you need to assess is time. Remember your business needs you there as it picks ups. You need to know how much time you will carve out to run the business. How much time can you carve out from your job to create content for your business, to follow up on sales made, to follow up on your finances? You need to figure out the time aspect for your business.
Before you start your side hustle, you need to assess how much money and time the business will require from you before you set it up. Always have a plan prior.
5. Do a business plan.
You need to have a business plan before you start your side hustle. Even if it is content creation or online freelancing, you need to come up with a business plan.
I understand that the word business plan sounds so big but it’s not. A business plan is simply a strategy for your business. You could write this in a notebook or on your notes app. Simply be clear on the product/service you’re looking to offer. Don’t be a jack of all trades, have a clear offer. Identify the problem which your product/service is solving and what gap it’s filling.
You also need to know who your target market is. Not everyone can be your customer. You need to know who you’re targeting and how best you can reach them. Find out where you can target them easily. Is it a physical shop or is it online? You need to answer these questions.
When I started my business I knew my target market was young professionals and I knew where I could get them is mainly on social media. This is why my main focus is on creating content for social media for my business.
Once you know who your target market is, you’re able to come up with content that will appeal to them. Figure out how you will package yourself, how you will price your product/service and have a marketing strategy. Will you hand out fliers, will you brand your shop if it is a physical shop? If you’re online, what kind of brand do you want to build online that will establish you as a thought leader?
All these form part of your business plan.
If you have not answered these questions you’re not yet ready to start your business. Even if you already have the money, you still need to have your business plan set up.
6. Think big, start small.
You might want to be the next big thing in your industry of choice but you need to break down your big dreams into small manageable sizes. It could be as simple as learning how to do a simple balance sheet, how to separate business money from personal money, or you could reach out to a coach like me to help you clarify your business idea. That’s how you start small. You don’t have to go full-blown opening a big shop, a big launch. Dream big but remember it’s okay to start small.
7. Be aware of the financial and legal obligations of the business.
Just because it is a simple side hustle don’t treat it like a mere kiosk. If you want that business to be a powerful source of additional income, you have to give it professional treatment. Have a name for your business, register it, have a website, have a social media presence, have a separate bank account for the business. You really need to understand the legal and financial obligations of your business.
One of the things that have helped me supercharge the growth of my business is that I have never looked at it as a small business, even when it was just me running the business. This has helped me take everything seriously from marketing to accounting. My goal has always been to give my business Fortune 500 company treatment.
Even if it is a small business, run it professionally.
In conclusion, choosing a side hustle that works for you requires careful consideration of your interests, skills, and time constraints. It’s essential to identify your goals and understand the potential earning opportunities and challenges associated with each option.
Remember that starting a side hustle requires dedication, effort, and patience, so choose something that you enjoy doing and that aligns with your values. With the right mindset and strategy, a side hustle can be a great way to supplement your income and achieve financial freedom. So, take the time to research and explore your options, and don’t be afraid to try new things and pivot if necessary.
Good luck on your side hustle journey!