Over the last few years, the world has seen uncertainty, layoffs, inflation, and an epidemic. Among all the fuss, starting a side hustle has become a necessity now. People want extra cash flow and security to save them in hard times.
In fact, a big chunk of Indian youth is already deep in the side-hustle revolution. According to a 2022 report by Deloitte, 62% GenZs and 51% of millennials in India have at least one side hustle. This is way more than global numbers of 43% and 32%, respectively.
This is the perfect chance for people with a sought-after skill to make something out of it. Is that you? Do you want to know how to start a side hustle & have no idea about it? Worry not; this blog post will help you get started. But first,
What is a Side-Hustle?
A side hustle is a project-based or freelance work that helps people earn extra money on the side. It is ‘something’ between employment and a full-fledged business. Starting a side hustle gets you extra income, freedom, and flexibility. Unlike a 9-to-5, you own the side-hustle biz and work whenever-&-however you want.
This is the reason why more than 50% of Indian youth engage in side-hustle and freelancing businesses.
5 Steps of Starting a Side-Hustle
Starting a side hustle used to be an unknown and risky path. But not anymore. Thousands have done it already and it is now easier than ever to start a side business. Luckily, you get a proven 5-step process to begin your journey of extra cash flow and freedom.
Step 1: Identify Your Skills, Interests, and the Ideal Side-Hustle
- Self-Assessment: Write down all your skills, hobbies, and interests. Identify what you’re naturally good at and what you enjoy doing. The idea is your side hustle should be an extension of your passions. Why? You don’t want to burn out within a few months.
- Brainstorm Ideas: List potential side hustle options based on your assessment. Think about your talents, whether it’s writing, graphic design, photography, crafting, or consulting. Make a list again.
- Market Research: Research the demand for your chosen side hustles. Look for existing businesses or people in the industry. Learn from their operations, achievements, prices, customer feedback, etc.
- Validate Your Idea: Test your idea by offering your product or service to a small group of friends or through a pilot project. Gather feedback and make any necessary adjustments. Iterate steps 3 and 4 unless you come up with your ideal side hustle.
Step 2: Determine Your Time Commitment
- Time Audit: Again, you don’t want to start another 9-to-5. Examine your daily and weekly schedule. Find the time slots you can dedicate to your business without compromising your primary schedule.
- Create a schedule. Make a plan for when you will work on your side hustle. Plan out specific times for different tasks like research, creating, marketing, and talking to customers. You can pick a few hours daily of specific days of the week, however, you like.
- Flexibility: Allow for flexibility in your schedule to accommodate unexpected changes. Adapt and adjust your plan as needed to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
You’ve now picked your side-hustle idea and allocated its ‘office hours.’ The next step is to:
Step 3: Craft a Strong Business Plan
Starting a side hustle is one thing; operating it successfully is another. And to do so, you need a concrete business plan.
- Define Your Vision: Clearly state the purpose and goals of your side hustle. What do you aim to achieve? Who is your target audience? What do you use wish to deliver?
- Market Analysis: Conduct a thorough analysis of your target market. Identify their needs, preferences, and pain points. Understand your competition and how you can differentiate yourself.
- Marketing Strategy: Develop a practical marketing plan and start promoting your side hustle. You can try freelancing platforms, social media, networking events, and collaborations.
- Financial Projections: Estimate your operations costs, ongoing expenses, and potential revenue. Create a budget that covers essentials such as supplies, tools, and marketing, if needed.
- Milestones and Metrics: Set achievable milestones for your side hustle’s growth. Track metrics such as sales, website traffic, and social media engagement to measure progress.
Step 4: Set Clear Earning Goals
I bet this is the part you were waiting for. But to disappoint you, I won’t mention any specific number that you can look forward to. Your earning depends on how effectively you run your business.
To get a more realistic idea, research the pricing models of your competitors. Research the amount of money you can make from this side hustle. Then only plan your aspirations.
- Set your income goal: Calculate how much extra money you want to make each month. Factor in expenses and taxes to arrive at your target.
- Break It Down: Divide your income target into smaller, achievable goals. For example, if you aim to earn $1,000 a month, break it down into $250 per week. If it is $5000/month, plan to get 5 clients for $1000 each.
- Diversify Revenue Streams: Explore multiple avenues for income within your side hustle. If you’re a photographer, consider offering both photoshoots and photography workshops. If you’re a writer, you can offer blogs, documentation, sales copy, eBooks, etc.
Step 5: Familiarize Yourself with the Law
If you’re walking dogs or babysitting kids, this might not make sense. But if you are planning to do an online side job where you connect and work with businesses.
- Legal Structure: Choose the right legal structure for your side hustle, like sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation. Consult legal professionals if needed.
- Permits and Licenses: Research and get any necessary permits or licenses required to operate your side hustle legally in your area.
- Tax Considerations: Understand your tax obligations, including income tax, sales tax, and any deductions you may be eligible for as a business owner.
- Contracts and Agreements: Develop contracts or agreements for your clients to protect both parties interests. Clearly outline payment terms, deliverables, and expectations.
- Launch and Promotion: Choose a specific launch date. Generate excitement using social media, content marketing, and networking. These methods will help in a compelling launch for your side hustle.
- Customer Service and Feedback: When you book clients, forge customer loyalty by delivering standout service. Take feedback seriously and fine-tune your offerings. This iterative approach improves product/service delivery and heightened customer satisfaction.
- Scaling and Growing Your Side-Hustle: Plan expansion as your side-hustle gains traction. Enlist additional help, broaden your portfolio, and explore untapped markets. These calculated steps empower your venture to flourish and capture sustained growth.
Build Your Online Presence
I have already covered all the required steps to start a side hustle, but there is one thing that beats them all. A personal brand. It’s like making sure people can find you even and know your competence.
A personal brand helps act like an automated sales process bringing inbound leads. Here’s how you can do it:
Social Media is your landing page:
You don’t need a website. Your social media profiles, like Twitter or LinkedIn, act as your online showcase. It’s where people come to see what services you offer.
Keep your profiles polished and share valuable content related to your services. Use relevant keywords and hashtags to attract more eyeballs. This way, more people get to know about your skills and offerings.
It’s all about Competence.
Craft Your Brand: Your Service’s Personality
Your personal brand is like the personality of your service. Use consistent colors, logos, and styles across your social media profiles. When people see these elements, they should recognize it’s you.
Share your journey and why you’re passionate about your side hustle. Talk about your skills, projects, and results. People like to connect with real stories. And remember, responding kindly to queries and comments builds trust.
Show Your Expertise
As mentioned earlier, use your social media to showcase your expertise. Share tips, insights, and helpful information related to your field. Throw values for free.
This not only positions you as an authority but also attracts potential clients who are looking for your skills. When you provide value, people are more likely to think of you when they need your service.
What does that mean? More inbound leads and clients.
Network and Connect: Online Relationships Matter
Networking isn’t just for in-person events. Connect with others in your industry or related fields on social media. To put it straight – you can’t build a personal brand without networking with like-minded people. These networks engage on their accord and help you establish positioning.
Engage in meaningful conversations, comment on their posts, and share their content if it’s relevant. This helps you build relationships and expands your reach. You never know who might recommend your services or collaborate with you.
Why It Matters
Having a strong online presence for your service-based side hustle is a game-changer. It helps people discover your skills, understand your expertise, and connect with you. Clients are more likely to choose your services if they see you as reliable and knowledgeable.
Your online presence is like a virtual business card that can open doors to new opportunities and clients. So, make sure you’re active and authentic online – your side hustle will thrive because of it!
Start Your First Side-Hustle
The newfound gig economy has made it easier than ever for anyone to start an online business or side hustle. It is now easier to learn new skills, monetize them, and build a new recurring income stream. Why wait, then?
To build your first successful side hustle: Follow the above-mentioned five steps, combine them with bonus steps, build your personal brand, and join our FuelEd Community. FuelEd is a free-but-exclusive community of misfit GenZs who help each other build cool stuff.
Want to join? Fill out the application form.