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Did you know that almost 40% of the UK population now has a side hustle? Not only that, but experts think that as we get closer to 2030, the number is expected to reach 50% of the adult population. But what is a side hustle? And what can you do to launch your own side hustle and start bringing in some extra cash every month?
We thought we’d take some time to talk you through it.
What is a side hustle?
A side hustle is similar — but distinctly different from — a second job. While a second job involves picking up a second source of income from an employer, a side hustle typically involves working for yourself, whether that’s monetising a hobby (like performing music or writing) or running a business selling items or services online.
Side hustles have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among younger generations, as fears over job security rise.
But that’s not the only reason: because of the internet, it’s now easier to find out all the information you need to start a business and you can likely do it with very little upfront money.
15 years ago, for instance, if you wanted to open a shop, you’d need the money for the store front, stock and all the other associated costs. Now, you can start a website, dropship made-to-order clothes and market your business without ever having to get changed out of your pyjamas.
So, if the sound of a bit of extra cash sounds up your street, or you’ve always fancied running a business but don’t want to take the risk of giving up work to give it a go, try a side hustle.
Here’s our three step guide to getting your side hustle ball rolling:
Step One: Getting your idea
Like we said earlier, the internet has made it possible to make money doing almost anything. In fact, we’ve written other articles about the options available in the past. Like this one on side hustles or this one on earning money online.
Instead of listing everything you can do in this article, we’re going to give you some general advice that applies to any side hustle you decide to run:
#1. Pick something you’re passionate about
We know, this sounds like your typical “follow your dreams” advice, but it isn’t. When it comes to a side hustle, you’re going to have lots of long nights and weekends spent working on your business rather than socialising, relaxing or going to the gym. Unless you’re really passionate about your hustle, you’re going to burn out and want to give up quite quickly.
But when you are really passionate, there’s really nothing quite as exciting as getting your side hustle up and running.
#2. Be specific about who you’re targeting with your side hustle
While it’s tempting to target as many people as you can with your side hustle — you don’t want to annoy potential customers, right? — evidence suggests that targeting very specific customers is far more lucrative, provided there’s enough of an audience for your hustle.
Look at it from the customer’s point of view for a second: they’re looking for a musician for their very trendy barn wedding and are looking at lists of wedding musicians.
If you’re a wedding musician, you’d probably be tempted to list yourself as a “wedding musician for hire” or, perhaps, “acoustic singer songwriter for weddings” to try and appeal to as many people as possible. But by doing that, you’re competing with hundreds of other musicians for every gig.
But, by listing yourself as “acoustic singer songwriter for weddings, playing a mix of indie, folk and acoustic covers” you can make sure that you’re the first, most obvious choice for all the weddings in your category, rather than just one of many options as a generalist.
This process — often called niching down — may seem counterintuitive, but it’s super efficient and makes it much easier for you to start your side hustle without spending too much money on marketing.
#3. Decide how successful you want it to be — and commit to that
Side hustles can be exhausting, exciting, frustrating, fascinating, boring and thrilling in equal measure. It’s as easy to want to give up as it is to get caught up in the rush and end up spending every free minute on your side hustle.
The key to a sustainable side hustle is balance. Work out where you want to take your side hustle to and then do everything you need to get there, not more.
In other words, commit to spending that time on your side hustle, but don’t forget to take some time for yourself too, otherwise you’ll face the dreaded burnout.
Step Two: Planning
OK, we’re going to assume you’ve got your idea for a lucrative, satisfying side hustle that you’re passionate about.
Now we’re going to move into phase two: planning your launch.
#4. Get to know your customers inside out
In order to effectively sell to your customers — whatever you’re selling, whether that’s a service or a product — you need to understand them: what makes them tick, what they like, what they find funny, what problems they have, what problems your side hustle solves.
The more you know about your customers, the easier you’ll find it to market your services to them, the more effective your marketing will be and the busier you’ll be.
But it doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. It can be as simple as joining Facebook groups where they hang out, looking at what they say in forums or meeting up with them at local groups.
This tip especially pays off in terms of saving yourself time, because you won’t have to spend ages working out how to write every caption, every email or every ad you run. You’ll know what your audience needs to hear, almost intuitively.
#5. Be prepared
The internet is a great tool for planning your side hustle. There’s thousands of different blogs you can read, tools you can use and things you can buy to improve your chances of success. Side Hustle Nation is a particularly good resource.
Start with the free things: get your hands on every blog post about side-hustling you can, from people who run completely different businesses to people marketing to the same audience. Read posts giving general advice at first, then deep-dive into in-depth articles on different tactics and techniques needed to make your side hustle a success.
Then, once you’ve got a solid idea of your strategy, start looking into tools you might need – email apps, invoicing apps, software to make your job easier – or courses that could help you get to where you want to be quicker.
Top tip: podcasts are great for side-hustling. Not only do they have loads of advice from people who have been there, done that, got the t-shirt, but they’re also perfect for your daily commute and to get you fired up about starting work on your passion project when you get home. Here are our three favourites:
Released at a crazy rate, Entrepreneur on Fire is made up of interviews with successful entrepreneurs all over the world, all giving actionable and easy-to-understand advice on how to be successful and more than a few stories about times they’ve failed. It’s inspiring, informative and really easy to binge on your commute, making it perfect side hustle fuel.
The clue’s in the name, eh? This podcast is focused solely on side hustles and interviewing wildly successful people who started their business while working another job. Like the previous podcast, this one is perfect for inspiring you to make a huge impact with your side hustle, and for giving you an idea or two to steal.
Much like the previous two podcasts, this one is also dedicated to interviews with successful businesses and business people — but it focuses on their early success (or lack of) and how they pushed through to become the brand or business they are today. Again, this one is really addictive, useful and great to binge on a packed train.
Step Three: launching
Aha! You’re getting close to launching, there’s just a few things left to do now – and they all involve establishing your brand.
Here’s some things you’ll need to really make a success of your side hustle:
- A logo — if you’re handy with design tools — Canva is a great free tool — you can DIY a basic logo easily. If not, head over to Fiverr to find a designer who can put you together a great logo for a few quid. Remember: the more professional you look — in terms of quality, not necessarily design — the quicker you’ll look “legitimate” and establish trust with your audience.
- A website — it’s unlikely that any side hustle you run won’t need a website, but you don’t need to hire a designer and a developer to get started. Shopify are great for e-commerce sites and Squarespace have an easy-to-use website builder for standard websites, and both take all of 5 minutes to get up to speed with.
- Social media: don’t fall into the trap of trying to be on every social media channel if you don’t have much time. It’s exhausting and not the best use of your time. Instead, pick one — the one where your audience hang out — and aim to post great content on there frequently. In time, you’ll build an audience of loyal followers that are ready to buy your stuff.
- A payment method – whether you’re invoicing them, accepting cash or taking payments online, make sure you know how you’re going to get paid, when you need to get paid and have clear terms and conditions in place to cover yourself.
- A marketing plan – this doesn’t have to be pages and pages of in-depth plans, but having a clear plan about how you’re going to get out in front of your audience can be really helpful for days when you get home tired but still need to work on your side hustle. Plus, psychologically, it primes you to take your side hustle seriously, which usually means more money for you!
So there you have it, a fairly detailed guide to everything you need to start your own side hustle and make it a huge success, whether you’re planning on selling t-shirts online or singing at weddings.
- Author The Bamboo Team
- Posted 21 January 2019