How to Start a Side Hustle While Keeping Your Job
The idea of starting a side business is pretty intimidating. However, you can absolutely find a side hustle that works for you. Starting with an idea that fits your professional and financial needs, you can draw up a business plan that works with your vision. From there, it’s all about having the right tools for the job and a proper amount of structure. Juggling a side hustle and your regular job can be tricky, so here’s everything you need to know about running a successful side business.
Decide on your side business passion
First take a look at your job, your schedule, and your intentions with a side business. Examine what it is that you want out of a side hustle. For example, if you’d like for your side business to eventually take over your job, your ideas about what type of business to choose will likely be different than if you’d just like to make some extra money on the side.
It may also dictate how much time you’re willing to spend on your side business. If you’re wanting to make some extra money for fun or to save for the future, but your traditional career is still your main focus, you might be better suited to pick up a side business that’s ready to launch asap. Good examples of this are direct selling companies (like Avon, DoTerra, and Pampered Chef. These companies will help get you started with everything you need to become a business owner. You simply sell the products and make money.
There’s no reason that these brands can’t turn into your full time career if you wanted them to, but nevertheless they are easy to pick up and get going with fairly quickly. In addition, you can choose to sell a service that you’re skilled at. For example, you could start a resume writing service if you’re interested in writing. You could offer tutoring services, pet sitting or childcare services, or even a cleaning service. The possibilities are endless.
For those who are looking to start their own business from the ground up, it’s also a good idea to start with what you know and what you’re most interested in. Let’s say that you’re interested in graphic design, you could start doing some freelance graphic design when you have time in order to build up a portfolio. Over time you will build a client base, tons of experience, and maybe even get some referrals along the way. From there, you can choose to dedicate more and more time to the project until it becomes your main source of income.
The same can be said for many fields like writing, IT & coding, marketing, design, event management, and much more. If you have a passion for it, you can turn it into a side hustle that fits your perfect side business plan –all the while, you don’t have to compromise the job you already have.
How to make your side business dream a reality
To start, you have to be willing to say “yes” to dedicating your time to your side business. If you aren’t ready to spend time, aside from the time that you’re already spending on your job, making your side hustle work for you, then you won’t see the results that you’re truly wanting. So, once you’ve said “yes”, you can start small and build your business as big as your comfortability will allow.
You want to build a business plan that includes what you think this opportunity will look like for you into the foreseeable future. If you’d like to eventually expand, you should start planning now for ways that you can get there on schedule. Start small by testing out your business model. Try some sales out on those close to you. By doing so, you can see what areas are really working for you and which ones might need a bit more work.
Make sure that you’re offering something that your competitors are not. Do some market research, get connected with your niche community, and go from there. As you test out your offerings and get feedback from customers, you’ll start to build up relationships with clientele, which is really the most important part. Before you can even think about going full time with your side business, you’ll need to be comfortable with the amount of regular clients you have.
In addition, depending on how serious you’re thinking about getting with your side business, you might even decide to fund your side hustle with a loan. Especially if you’re thinking about making this your full time gig (and you’re getting some good attention from customers) , a loan can help you acquire all the necessary tools to help your business be successful. This way, you’re not pressured to put every cent of your paycheck back into your side hustle. Your hustle can pay for itself and eventually pay back any debts owed and then some.
Tools you need to start your side business
While you’re building up your business, you’ll need to start getting your hands on essential tools for small business entrepreneurs. You’ll want to ensure that your customers have a solid way to communicate with you. That might be email, messaging through your website, or possibly even direct messages with you. Regardless, you should always make sure that your clients can reach you if they have questions, concerns, or feedback.
What’s more, you should set yourself up with several social media accounts. This provides a way for you to communicate with others in your industry as well as another communication tool for customers and those looking to network. You can set up ads and other marketing tactics through social media as well. It’s essential to any successful side hustle.
Lastly, let’s talk money. Your customers need to have a secure way to pay you for your goods or services. Make sure that you’re set up with a trusted payment processing option. In addition, make sure that you’ll be able to keep track of all receipts. If your business starts earning you a good chunk of change, you’ll need to report that on your taxes. Not to mention, you’re going to want to keep monthly balance sheets of your expenses and earnings, which will help you see trends and plan for the future.
How to prioritize work, business, and leisure
Make a set schedule for work, your side hustle, and dedicated leisure time each and every day. It’s important that you have down time for yourself — yes, every day. If you’re always stuck in work mode and you’re not able to switch off every once and awhile, feelings of resentment, stress, and a disconnect from your side business can start to build up. Taking time, even if it’s just an hour or two to do something non-business related that makes you happy is essential for recharging yourself and being ready to wake up and do it all over again. This way, you can remember why you love your side hustle so much and why you’re willing to stick with it in addition to your job.
It’s also very important to keep your work space separate from your relaxing space. When working from home, it’s easy to turn our entire home into an office. However, if you can help it, try and consolidate an area or two of your home that are dedicated to your side business. Mentally, it’s hard for anyone to separate work from leisure time if their work is with them all of the time. You should be able to walk into a calm space and put your work away for a while without feeling pressured to overwork yourself.
Speaking of, it’s also a great idea to designate specific work hours. Just like you have at your traditional job, your side hustle should have some sort of structure as well. I know that’s easier said than done, but if it’s at all possible, having a set business hour schedule will help you to keep your day organized and not let work, side hustle, and leisure overlap too much. This way, you won’t feel like any area of your life is taking too much away from the other equally important aspects that also need attention.
With that being said, you can start a successful side business even if you have a job. If you start small, plan ahead, and make sure that you’re equipped with the proper tools, you can achieve your side hustle dreams. Don’t be afraid to reach out and try something that could completely change that way you think about your career. With the right amount of drive, dedication, and structure you can create your own home business and (if you want to) turn it into your full time job.
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Trisha is a writer and blogger from Boise, ID. She is a dedicated vegan, an avid gamer, cat lover, and amateur SFX artist.
This post was updated December 28, 2017. It was originally published December 30, 2017.