1. Analyse your time usage and where you can steal time or cut down activities to invest that time back into your side hustle
Before deciding to start a side hustle, it is important to assess your schedule and look for moments in your day that can be maximised. Is it perhaps possible to consolidate your 9-5 into a 9-3 and use the extra few hours to work on your own little project or side hustle? Are there things in your day you can cut out? Or even your weekend? Is your side hustle something you can build into your day job or an added offering you can offer your current employment? Think about it.
2. Start with what you have and what you know. Don’t spend money too soon
Dreaming big is amazing, but realizing that execution need small steps is very important. A lot of us have big dreams when we think of our side hustles and want to grow super quick. A side hustle is exactly that, a side hustle… start with the skills you have and then grow from there. Build a people network and focus on that. Don’t get yourself into debt whilst building a side hustle. Build up interest and almost work towards owning your sector/space first.
3. Alert your employer
The number one rule of having a side hustle is that it should never take away from the 100% you should be putting into your full-time job and it is not an excuse for not being present at your day job.
So, it is important to either alert your employer that you have a side hustle and negotiate a shaving off of an hour off your workday to put some time into it or focus on your side hustle after work perhaps from 6-9 pm.
I know a few people who went through some salary cuts in 2020 and the ‘barter’ agreements with their workplaces were shorter workdays but without compromising on output and quality of work. In the times we live in now, I think the big realization for a lot of workplaces is that employees, especially women, shouldn’t be tied down to 9-5 jobs and are actually so much more productive and happier in their workplaces when they are financially secure.
4. Don’t use your work resources for your side hustle.
Whether it’s a printer or even work time. Don’t do it. I think it is only fair that you don’t disrespect your workplace by using their resources to start your side hustle. It’s really about respect and knowing boundaries. See your side hustle as a you project, a self-building exercise. You don’t workout at your office desk, do you? Why would you work on your side hustle at your full-time work desk?
5. Capacity may be an issue as you grow, so keep a network of people who are in the same field as you and connect with them regularly
As you grow your business and as you dream bigger, you may need additional capacity. Build your network as you grow.
When I started my digital agency in 2013, I started networking in my space and attending events where I would meet my fellow creatives in order to not only grow my knowledge and be on the pulse, but also to grow my database of other creatives and marketers that I could refer or work with in my business. As time goes by, you learn who is good, who is reliable and who gets the work done.
6. Start with one client and work on referrals to grow
I’ve once made the very big mistake of scaling too fast and then having to delegate work to people in my network without building my delegation muscle.
Don’t make this mistake.
No body builder bench-presses a ton without adequate training (okay that might be a slight exaggeration). Like I said earlier, dream big, but start small. Do so well at client one and ask them to refer you to more clients.
Set goals and as you achieve your goals, dream even bigger. As you achieve, master your ability to delegate and increase your capacity and finding the right people to do the work.
What’s amazing now is that whether you have a product or service business, online is the way to go, you can profile yourself and drum up some interest in yourself and your offering whilst you grow and scale – you build your online community whilst doing the work. This is essentially how you start also building your influencer credentials in your space.
7. Your business growth/course may change as you progress, but maintain your focus.
Are you offering accounting services? Don’t be tempted to go into a gardening service business because there’s a quick buck to be made. Don’t get derailed. The most off-putting thing is a jack of all trades and a master of none! Master one thing and then spin off from there. It is okay to say no to work opportunities that don’t align to your goal.
I’ve found it very effective and an extremely important part of my life to have notes in my diary that remind me what my business is and what it isn’t.
Write those things down, write your passions down and write your goals down. Money comes and goes. You are only a vessel that money flows through. You can’t do it all. Focus on what you can sustain and are wholeheartedly invested in.
It is also important to have a short-, medium- and long-term plan for your side hustle. This works nicely as a course guide, so you don’t derail.
8. Remember that in the times we are in now, people do business with people
Build connections. If you have a long-term goal of making your side hustle your main hustle, it is so important to better your ability to build and maintain connections with people.
Understanding your clients, who they are, what really bothers them, what their needs are beyond the product or service you are offering them and perhaps (if you have the network), linking them with the relevant assistance, is so important. Beyond making money, creating connection will grow your business, as well as you personally.
9. Use a separate bank account to manage your side business income and expenses flow
Besides the fact that it is good to establish whether you are making profits or losses in your business and where the issues are, it makes it easier for your accountant too.
10. Be reliable and dependable
Learn to establish your business boundaries and know your limitations. If you offer accounting services and a client needs business advise, know when this is not your focus and let your client know. People appreciate this kind of honesty.
Let your focus be your main focus!
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