Having a side hustle is a popular idea with many people, but far fewer actually undertake the initial steps necessary to put this idea into practice. It can often feel like all the best entrepreneurs have got one, with some even transforming their side hustle into their full time, multi-million-dollar-making business. The idea is also proving increasingly popular with millennials, who are looking to make extra money in an economy dominated by freelancers and gig economy workers. So what are you waiting for? Here are three tips for turning ‘one day’ into today and getting your side hustle off the ground.
1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT IDEA
While many people fantasise about turning their passion into a business, the difference between a pipe dream and a viable side hustle is choosing the right idea at the right time. This can be overwhelming, as it is difficult to know in its initial phases how much potential an idea could hold and what risks you could face as you try to get off the ground.
According to an article for Entrepreneur.com by R. L. Adams, a serial entrepreneur and best-selling author, knowing how to capitalise upon the wealth of opportunities out there is the first step to being successful in your side hustle. He explains that ‘with the proverbial world at our fingertips, as long as you know how to tap into the vast amount of opportunities found in the digital ether of cyberspace, you can earn some extra income.’
Putting together a list of 50 potentially lucrative ideas for a side hustle, Adams advises selecting an idea ‘that fits within your skill set and ensure[s] that you deliver a serious amount of value.’ Since earning extra money is a large part of the motivation for many people, this second element is key if your side hustle is going to be anything more than a hobby.
Some of the ideas he suggests include managing social media for small businesses who don’t have the time or expertise to do so themselves, creating online course via platforms like Teachable that pay you to share your skills, or building an app that might just become the next big thing. Of course, the viability of your idea depends on your skills set, but there is no shortage of opportunities out there for the capable and willing individual.
2. CALCULATE YOUR TIME
While it is easy to get carried away with your great new idea, particularly if your side hustle is something you are passionate about, it is important to be realistic about the amount of time, attention and energy that you can dedicate to your new project.
According to an article by Forbes contributor Brant Pinvidic, ‘entrepreneurs are notorious for over-estimating their free time and often take several more bites than they can chew.’ Emphasising that ‘it’s called a side hustle for a reason,’ Pinvidic argues that ‘you must be realistic about how much time you can actually dedicate to new ventures.’
Working out exactly how much time a side hustle needs could be a key indicator as to whether you can ultimately make a success of it or not. Although this is something that should be thought through from the outset, it should also be a consideration as the project develops. If your side hustle is starting to take over your full-time job, or balancing the two is leaving you over-stretched and unable to perform either task to the necessary level, something has gone wrong in your search for a side hustle and it might be time to take a step back and reconsider.
3. BUILD YOUR SKILL SET AS AN ENTREPRENEUR
Running a side hustle is a highly unique opportunity in that it gives people the chance to explore the entrepreneurial world, without the financial instability and risk often associated with going it alone. Although of course there are risks involved when you invest time and money into a new idea, these are somewhat mitigated by the presence of your full time job, which allows you a presumably steady income and ensures you will not be without work should your side hustle fail.
In this context, having a side hustle could be a great opportunity to build your skill set as an entrepreneur. For Harvard Business Review (HBR) ‘a lot of people who are employed by companies, even if they’re very talented, may not be fully ready for entrepreneurship in the beginning.’ Making the leap can be daunting, and so ensuring you have all the skills you need and developing them to a good level while you still have a full time income is a good way to close the gap.
By using your side hustle as a period in which to learn ‘foundational skills such as sales, presentations, persuasion and copywriting’ whether through buying courses, joining a mastermind group or having a business coach, can prove invaluable if you do decide to take your side hustle to the next level and become a full time entrepreneur.
What are you waiting for? By choosing the right idea, calculating how much time you can dedicate to the project and developing your entrepreneurial skills, you can ensure that your side hustle is much more than simply an opportunity to earn extra money. While they can be lucrative, a side hustle could also be the first step towards a project you are passionate about and keen to succeed in.
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