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November 1, 2019

How to Start a Side Hustle

As someone looking to start a side business, you’ve probably heard that small, local companies are the backbone to America. They’re so critical, in fact, that the SBA declared that in 2019, 30.7 million small businesses were in operation in the U.S., employing 59.9 million people. All of these companies make up 99.9% of all United States businesses.

All of these statistics point to one thing: today’s culture has come leaps and bounds when it comes to entrepreneurship. More professionals are realizing they can leave their corporate job and follow their dreams by starting their own company.

If this sounds like you, it might sound scary to abandon your stable, 9-5 job for what feels like a distant dream. That’s why starting a “side hustle” or side business may be the solution to get your feet wet until you can turn it in to your full-time job. Here’s a few steps to get started.

Don’t Quit Your Job

As excited as you may be to start your side business, it isn’t a good idea to jump your sturdy ship just yet. Your current job is your primary source of income – how you pay bills, eat, and even take vacations. If you abandon it before your company is up and running, you run the risk of being out of a job and possibly in debt for whatever you’ve invested in your side business.

Don’t bank on your savings or by solely living off a significant other’s income. You need to be mentally stable while working on your side hustle and dealing with the pressure of little to no income can really take a toll. Staying committed to your job but working hard on your side hustle is a tough balance.

Mentally Prepare Yourself

Speaking of balance, starting a side hustle while you have a full-time job is like working two full-time jobs. It’s not going to be easy. If it is, you’re likely not doing it correctly or working as hard as you should be.

Realize that this is going to be a rather challenging phase of life. You’ll look back and see just how far you came (regardless of the company’s outcome), and of course you will learn a lot about yourself and starting a business.

Mentally prepare yourself that it could strain some of your personal and professional relationships. Make a commitment to your side work and know that you will likely have to make life-changing decisions and hard sacrifices.

Do a Self-Evaluation

Are you genuinely excited about the purpose behind your side work, or is it merely a way to make more money? If your answer is the former, you’ll need to truly understand the skillset required to turn your passion in to a fully functioning business. If it’s the latter, you may want to re-evaluate your side hustle.

You’re only one person, and you may not be able to do every single task and role that your company requires. That’s why it’s important to understand your strengths and weaknesses. By uncovering these, you can determine what you can handle yourself and what needs to be outsourced.

Get Feedback from the Community

A recent study by Fortune Magazine found that the reason 42% of startups fail is due to a lack of need for the product or service. Put simply – people don’t want or need what these companies are offering.

You’ll want to validate that there’s a market need before investing time and money into your side hustle. Take time to get feedback from the community in order to determine if it’s worth pursuing.

Understand Why You’re Different

Once you’ve confirmed there’s a need for your product or service, it’s time to create your differentiators. Your competitive advantage is what sets you apart from other companies in the same industry.

If you’re starting a company, you need to be unique in some way – whether that’s through pricing, product offerings, or something else. Think about it this way: if a potential customer was deciding between you and a competitor, how would you convince them to choose you? The best way to stand out is to be genuinely different.

Set Achievable, Measurable Goals

Setting goals is one of the most important steps in getting your side hustle started. It’s hard to know where you’re headed and why if you haven’t identified any goals.

Start small with daily and weekly goals. Daily tasks are ones that can be completed within a 24-hour period, whereas a weekly goal requires multiple days’ work to get done. Your weekly goals should be laddering up to larger, quarterly and annual goals.

You can set both logistical goals like “Order business cards” or “Finish website”, as well as sales-related goals to start bringing in revenue. Regardless of the type, all of your goals should have realistic timelines, measurable results, and tangible benefits.


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