Prepare and perfect a business side hustle
Question: I am not quite ready to start my own business, but I am ready to start a side hustle. How do I do that, exactly? – Simone
Answer: Would you be surprised if I told you that nearly 40 percent of all Americans now have a side hustle? (Bank Rate survey, June 2018.)
While that number may not be surprising, especially given the growth of the gig economy, what might light your fire is the fact that the average side-hustler earns about $8,000 a year.
From an entrepreneurial perspective, side hustles are great for three reasons:
They allow you to keep your day job. Starting small is starting smart.
Side hustles allow you to gain much-needed experience.
Side hustles reduce the risk. Mistakes need not be devastating.
Here’s how to claim your own side hustle, in six steps:
Your ideal side hustle should contain two key elements.
First, you need to sell something people need and/or want. Especially for a side hustle, don’t try to be too unique or innovative. Being a piano tutor is a fine side hustle, but being a tuba tutor probably is not.
Second, you want your side gig to be something you enjoy doing. If you like being online, then it would behoove you to learn how to sell on eBay or Etsy. Make sure you choose wisely.
(Need an idea for a side hustle? At my site, TheSelfEmployed, we have a great list of 50 side hustles you can start for less than $100.)
Once you have narrowed your ideas down to the best one or two, you need to see how other people are making a go of it. Your research might include:
Speaking with people who are successfully side-hustling Reading, and watching videos Knocking around the websites of people who already are doing it
Engaging in social media conversations and research
The idea is to know what you are getting into before getting into it so you don’t waste your time, money and reputation.
3. Get social.
People will need and want to find you online. Create a simple website and nab social handles and email addresses.
Once a basic foundation is in place, you need to see if you can make money doing it.
You do that by starting small, testing, making a few sales/getting a customer or two, seeing what works, and then heading down that path. It never quite looks how you think it will look.
Tell everyone you know what you are doing and ask them to support you. Advertise and market the heck out of your new gig. Let people know you are out there.
6. Test and refine.
Give your new gig a chance. It will take time to find customers, get work, do the work and get paid.
You are essentially starting a pipeline, and in order to get money to come out the back end, you will need to pump time, resources and effort into the front end and then wait for that to transform into cash.
Steve Strauss, @Steve Strauss on Twitter, is a lawyer specializing in small business and entrepreneurship who has been writing for USATODAY.com for 20 years. Email: [email protected]biz.com. You can learn more about Steve at MrAllBiz.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.