Maybe you've been thinking about a side hustle for some time, mulling it over in your head. Perhaps the prospect of launching your side hustle feels daunting. There's always something else to do, something else to check off the list.
But the summer is here and with it the prospect of a little downtime. Now is your chance to get your side hustle off the ground.
What follows are ten steps designed to get your side hustle up and running. Put aside a few hours each day to focus on your project, and within the space of a month you will be surprised at the progress you have made in turning your side hustle daydream into something that might just have legs.
As the Chinese proverb goes, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
Step 1 - Define Your idea
A side hustle needs a product or service to hang its hat on. Unless you’re thinking of a balloon company, you can’t make a business out of thin air.
Don’t get derailed by all the talk of doing what you love. Doing what you love is great if you can turn a passion into a viable source of revenue. But sometimes it’s better to keep your personal interests and hobbies separate from your business life.
Look around your local community, dig into online groups, and identify what people need. Is it dog walking, writing services, or supporting small businesses to find design help? Maybe brush up on a skill you already have, say programming, and think about offering this.
Brainstorm ideas with friends and family, and determine what your side hustle will be.
Step 2 - Go Social
Now you have the basis for your side hustle, let’s get on social media.
Pick one or two social channels that you think might work and start some research. If you're selling a consumer product, maybe Facebook or Pinterest. If it is a business-to-business service, LinkedIn could just do the trick. Twitter and Instagram are great for building up an audience and testing out ideas.
Spend time researching other people and companies doing similar things to what you have in mind. What tips and tricks can you learn from them?
Step 3 - Pick A Name
So you’re maybe a week into going solo. Do you feel that you haven’t achieved anything yet?
Don't worry, this is a normal feeling. Little and often is the best approach for getting your side hustle off the ground. It takes time but it’s worth getting the basics right.
So what’s the next step? A website, evidently. While some side hustles operate entirely over social, email, phone, and face-to-face, we would always recommend a website to showcase your products and/or services.
Toy around with possible domain names: what are available? Come up with something unique that captures the way you feel about your hustle. Just make sure other ventures are not already using something too similar.
Step 4 - Launch A Site
Now you have your domain name, it’s time to build a website. You don't need coding skills for this. Even if you are a ninja at WordPress, resist the temptation to launch with bells and whistles. There will be time later on. With GoDaddy’s Website Builder, you can have a new website up and running in under an hour.
One page can suffice for now. Give a description of your product or service, a brief overview of the benefits, and a simple explanation of who you are and why people should buy from or hire you. Of course, don’t forget to include the ways people can get in touch.
Step 5 - Get Talking
Now is the time to get the word out. Talk to people in your community, whether local or online, and let them know what you are doing. Ask if they have advice or feedback about your product or service.
Lean on your friends and your family. The more they know, the more they can help.
Turn to your professional network. Just be careful to avoid any potential conflict between your day job and your hustle. It's not worth the hassle for now.
Step 6 - Keep Talking
Now you have the word out, the trick is to keep talking.
Mock up some leaflets to hand out in your local community or post ads to groups online. There are plenty of inexpensive options available.
Don't overthink the design. Just something that looks clean and conveys your core business message will be good enough for now.
Remember things won't happen at once. You might find there’s a period of several months before a paying job comes through. For more complex products or services, people can wait six months to a year before the first piece of business.
While it shouldn't take that long to get the ball rolling, avoid wringing your hands if you don't have people knocking on the door within the first few days. Patience is a virtue.
Step 7 - Think Money
What will it cost to deliver your product or service? Do you need to purchase tools or inventory? How much can you comfortably put aside each month to sustain your mini venture?
Do your homework and try to think through as many scenarios as possible before you undertake your first job. Track your expenses and don't overextend yourself financially.
Also, as with any business undertaking, consider your personal liability. It’s never too early to be thinking about insurance.
Step 8 - Go Do It!
Walk a dog, help get somebody a logo, provide whatever side hustle service you've settled on.
If nobody is knocking at your door yet, offer your services for free. Think of it as a dry run.
Step 9 - Say What?
Congratulations you have a side hustle! It doesn’t matter whether you've made money yet. The point is you have demonstrated initiative and organised your resources around a commercial proposition without anybody telling you to.
Doesn’t feel so great yet? Don't worry. This is just the beginning. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Step 10 - Rinse And Repeat
So your side hustle is real - it's no longer a daydream. What you need now is practice. After five or so attempts at providing your product or service, you'll have real-world experience under your belt and a good sense as to what works in the marketplace.
For a moment, step back and give yourself a pat on the back. You've developed a business idea, and you’ve tested it in the real world.
The road remains long and winding but you've taken a few steps forward, the most important steps you will take.
Because when you look back in a year or two from now, you will understand the moves you made in this first month were critical to everything that lies ahead.