5 Steps To A Successful Side Hustle
Society claims that modern technology has made our time “more efficient” and “more flexible” to “do more”. This is meant to sound sexy and great, but in reality it often feels like we have lost time for ourselves.
We’re now available at the other end of the phone, email or Facebook message and with this, demands can now be placed on us all the time. From clients to colleagues to even friends and family, there’s always a sense of pressure to respond, which can often end in causing stress and a sense of feeling overwhelmed.
However, it is possible to actively take back control over your own time. To do something that personally enriches you as a person and makes it possible to be unavailable for a few hours GUILT-FREE because you’re doing something important to YOU.
It was from this need that I started my own side hustle: giving talks on social media in schools. I wanted to do something productive that I could control, which also used an almost completely different part of my brain. My side hustle has uncovered different emotions in me compared to my day-to-day digital comms consultancy.
A study by GoDaddy in 2016, found that one in five British workers are likely to start a “side hustle” alongside their full-time job in the subsequent two years so you’re in good company. Additionally, 46% of those who started a side hustle are now earning up to an average of £500 a month from their bit on the side – not bad!
I’m a firm believer that a side hustle will not only help you feel personally more positive and boost your financial independence, but it can also be an outlet and safe space for developing your own ideas and goals.
Even if it’s completely unrelated to what you do on a day-to-day, it can still boost your creativity at work, or even start you on the path to a new career, being your own boss, or even both!
So, let’s get cracking.
Here’s how you can start your side hustle in five steps…
Step 1: We Have 168 Hours In A Week
Now, let’s break it up:
- On Average 56 of those are spent sleeping
- On Average 45 are spent working
- On Average 10 hours are for self-care (eating, washing etc)
This leaves 57 hours which are ours and we can fill them with whatever we decide.
Realise you probably don’t need to spend a whole 20 minutes getting out of bed on weekday mornings, to those few minutes waiting for the bus/train, to the half hour while your dinner is in the oven. By recognising these useful and often unused pockets of time is Part A of the first step.
Part B involves using this time wisely. Don’t pressure yourself to achieve 10 things on your to-do list. Just focus on one task, or even one part of a task, but ensure you are doing it properly!
This constant chipping away will always keep you progressing, without feeling overwhelmed.
Step 2: But I Don’t Know What My Side Hustle Should Be…
So you’re ready to take on a side hustle, but what are you going to do?
If you’re not sure, below are some questions you can ask yourself that might help you decide (it might help to get a piece of paper and jot the answers down).
If you are sure, it’s an interesting experiment to still complete this step to confirm your idea, or even explore other potential options.
- What do I love to talk about? What gets me excited?
- When I was younger what extracurricular activities did I enjoy?
- Which hobbies did I like?
- Which aspects of my current job do I enjoy?
Make it niche:
- Could I place my current skills/passions in a different environment? e.g. school, community centre, online shop, social media, etc.
- Is there a particular demographic of people who could really do with my help?
Now circle your top two or three answers, based on the ones you’re most interested in exploring further (they don’t need to be fully-fledged ideas at this point).
Step 3: Go With Your Gut
Come back to your ideas sheet after a few days. Talk to your friends, family and even mentors about what you’re thinking of doing. They’re really great for giving honest feedback and can help develop your ideas even further as you have different conversations.
At this point, it’s also good to think of the potential types of customer you already know really well (rather than having to learn about an entirely brand new market).
Over a number of days/week or two, you’ll settle on an idea.
If you struggle to nail it down to one, go with your gut, or if you reeeeally can’t decide, then start with the easiest and most straightforward one to get you going.
A side hustle can provide value in more ways than just financially. For me, my school talks focused on being able to support young people and schools first and then I developed a way of structuring it to make it commercially viable.
Equally, the key to founding a successful side hustle is to have something that sustains both your interests/passion as well as having commercial potential.
TOP TIP – keep that ideas page somewhere safe for potential future use. Sometimes you can incorporate two or three ideas together over time as you grow your hustle. And it’s a nice reminder of where you started.
Step 4: Plan What And Why
So you have an idea (or three) of what you want to do. Whilst it’s still fresh in your mind, write down why you want to start your side hustle and how it makes you feel.
For those days when you’ve come home after the worst day at work, soaked through with rain and nothing in the fridge, it’s a great reminder to keep going and realise that you have something meaningful that is yours that you care about.
Outline a plan and stick some dates next to each step. It might help to have a friend or family member be your ‘checker’ to help you stay on track (share your plan with them and give them weekly updates as to how you’re getting on).
The key here: Keep. It. Realistic.
Step 5: Network And Then…Just Do It
Tap into your network to give you a kick-start. Set up some coffee/tea/mocha-chocha-skinny-latte dates.
Explain what is you’re wanting to do and ask for any advice they might have (you don’t always have to take it) and if it feels right, suggest how they may be able to support you.
Avoid spending weeks and months thinking/planning/procrastinating. It’s impossible to have the perfect plan and prep done before you begin – at some point, you’ve got to hold your breath and jump. Don’t think about it too much – I promise you’ll be okay; it’s not as scary once you get started!
Looking to the future
Setting yourself quarterly, or six-monthly targets can help keep things moving forward.
Keep getting feedback from your customers and your network, use this constructively to continue to grow. It’s never plain sailing, but chipping away each day is what will keep you moving forward.
Ultimately, you’re in control so if other areas of your life become particularly demanding, you can always switch the pace down for a few months.
Remember, at the end of the day, you’re doing this for you. If you stop enjoying it, or it doesn’t work out, it’s okay. Side hustles are a safe space to fail. Failure isn’t bad – it’s development to the next idea. No experience is ever wasted if you realise what can be learned from it.
Now go forth, side hustle and keep hustlin’. I believe in you!
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