How to get started with your side hustle

How to get started with your side hustle
20 Feb 2020 4 min read

From students to politicians, office workers to manual labourers, it seems more and more of us have a side hustle* these days. 

One in 4 adults have a side hustle, according to research conducted by Henley Business School in 2018, which expects growth in side hustling to continue, in the next 10 years.

Almost three quarters of people who start a side hustle are following a passion or exploring a new challenge, according to the research.

One key benefit of starting a side hustle whilst continuing your day job may be that it’s a relatively low risk move, as your main employment should cover your day-to-day expenses, allowing you to explore a potential career changing opportunity whilst enjoying the continued security and retaining what could still turn out to be a more rewarding career. Further, as it hopefully involves an activity you enjoy, you should get a great sense of fulfilment from your side hustle and shouldn’t resent the time you spend. In short, your side hustle shouldn’t feel like life or death, as you still have your day job to fall back on.

To increase your chances of success (and continued entrepreneurial enjoyment) it’s worth bearing in mind some common pitfalls and hurdles you’ll face when starting out on your side hustle journey. So we’ve compiled 6 points to consider, when starting your side hustle. Read on to find out more.

Spend time up front thinking (but not too much!)

Ensure your idea is thought through; check there is a market need, and validate your product or service with some paying customers. It’s also critical to ask yourself at this stage how badly you want to make this happen, as your side hustle will eat into valuable spare time; you have to really want to do that thing (whatever it is). Once you’ve done this thinking, however, it’s time to get up and start doing the thing, and this is where that self-motivation, grit and determination should start to kick in.

Play to your strengths

Ensure your side hustle is something you’re good at, and that you enjoy doing. There’s no point dreaming of a second income involving woodwork if you’ve no natural inclination to pick up a saw, for example. That said, if it’s one key skill holding you back, that you can gain relatively easily, there’s no reason why you can’t take an opportunity to learn. Just ask yourself prior to embarking on any course, whether given your existing skills and talents, you’re likely to accomplish and enjoy whatever that new skill is.

Dare to be different

What is it about your product or service that will differentiate you from others in the same field? Whilst it’s unlikely your side hustle will be totally unique, it’s important to think about how you will stand out in the marketplace. Will you offer lower (or tactical) pricing, fab customer service, or perhaps a sustainable alternative to your competitors? The way in which you differentiate yourself and what you are selling is how your customers will remember you, and why they’ll (hopefully) keep returning for more.

Don’t get distracted from your ‘day job’

Remember to remain focused on your full time employment. Research suggests over half of people with a side hustle work on it during office hours, but this is of course wrong and could have serious consequences for your career. Be diligent, don’t take your foot off the gas and don’t use work hours (or your employer’s resources) for your side hustle.

Avoid costly outlays

You shouldn’t need to rent office space or buy a vehicle for example, when starting your side hustle. Sell products that don’t require significant up-front investment, or that you can make yourself from minimal ‘raw ingredients’. Spend out only on what will add value for your customers and help you gain more.

Have time set aside

Be structured in the time you set aside for your side hustle, and stick to it. Prioritise your side hustle time by focusing on the work you need to do to ‘create’ the product (or service) and on the selling of that product. Do the few things that make money, and don’t get absorbed in pointless admin or report writing, for example.

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*Side hustle = A small business or secondary job that someone has in addition to their main career, taken on either to meet a financial need or to fulfil a passion.

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