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How to Start a Side Hustle? 10 Steps to Success
Step 1: Prepare Yourself for a Long Journey
A side hustle is not just some fantasy idea you could toy with, and you should not treat it as such. Starting with the right mindset is the only way to begin a successful side hustle.
The right mindset for starting a side hustle is to think and prepare for a long journey. Ask yourself questions to determine whether you are ready to commit to the extra venture. You do not want to begin a side hustle with the hopes that you will begin rich and make so much money in no time.
If you begin a side hustle with the mindset of making so much money in no time, you would easily get frustrated if things do not go well.
You would probably be combining the side hustle with your day job and will need to commit many precious hours to the venture. Be sure that you are ready to sacrifice your time for your side hustle.
Confirm that you are ready to make the sacrifices needed to start and maintain a side hustle. Also, work towards developing a support system that helps to keep your motivation up.
Step 2: Identify Your Skills and Passions
Now that you are sure that you want to commit to an extra venture as a side hustle, you can go on to identify your skills and passions that you can turn into a side hustle.
If you want to start a viable side hustle, you need to have exchangeable skills, industry knowledge, and experience. Identify the skills, experience, and industry knowledge that you can make money off.
Look out for a mix of things you are good at and love to do. Skills and passions you can monetize differ. For example, if you love music and can play instruments, you can offer lessons such as piano, guitar, and violin services.
If you work in an industry where you have acquired vast knowledge and experience, you can offer consultancy services.
In case you don’t find any monetizable skill or passion, you can go ahead to learn skills and services that are currently in demand.
Step 3: Validate Your Side Hustle with One Paying Customer
If one person can pay you offering a service, you probably have good potential to start a viable side hustle from that service.
When creating and working towards a side hustle, it is easy to create a product or offer a service that no one needs. Getting a paying customer for the service you are offering validates your side hustle.
Startups failures have been attributed to the lack of a market need. Side hustles tend to follow the same route too. Validate your side hustle by seeking customers and clients to hire you, join a waiting list for your product, or pre-purchase the product.
If you don’t get positive feedback at this initial stage, you can go on to scrap the idea. You could believe strongly in a product or service you are offering and get no positive feedback from the target audience.
Getting negative feedback means that your side hustle would probably not be viable. You should scrap the idea after the initial feedback and dedicate your time and efforts to other viable ideas.
Step 4: Differentiate Yourself from Competitors
Side hustles are businesses. Successful businesses stand out from their competitors. Approach your side hustle as a business and aim to stand out from competitors from the very beginning.
Study the market, your target audience, and competitors and identify your competitive edge. Anything that can differentiate you from your competitor is worth exploring and maximizing.
Look out for competitive edges such as pricing, profit margins, intellectual property, and customer service. Give your customers good reasons to choose you over your competitors, and you will stand out from your competitors.
Remember, your competitors are looking to win your customers over too. So, constantly be on guarding, developing, and maintaining the best version of your side hustle.
Differentiate yourself from competitors, and your side hustle is bound to remain viable and successful.
Step 5: Define Clear, Long-term Goals
We started by highlighting the importance of having the right mindset as you develop a side hustle. The growth and sustainability mindset needed for a successful side hustle is evident in the goal planning process.
The success of your side hustle will be heavily dependent on the goals set to achieve. Set clear, sustainable goals towards achieving steady progress.
We don’t overlook the importance of dreaming big and wanting to achieve the biggest goals with your side hustle. However, above that is the importance of setting clear simple goals that move you one step in the right direction.
In practical terms, instead of aiming straight for your first 1,000 customers, aim to gain one customer at a time. With this approach, 1,000 customers will not be very far away.
Use the SMART goals criteria for formulating your clear goals for your organization. SMART goals are Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
When setting goals for your side hustle, remember that simple goals for steady daily or monthly gains culminate into long-term goals.
Step 6: Set Yourself Milestones to Start a New Side Hustle
You would need a plan with milestones and deadlines to launch your side hustle and stay on course. When building any outfit, including a side hustle, you are bound to struggle with perfectionism. You keep pushing back launch dates because of minor imperfections of the product or service.
Getting out of the state of the perennial dream state when building a side hustle requires assigning dates for different specific actions. Set a launch date or deadline for every activity and create an accountability system to boost.
Tell your friends and loved ones about your plans and deadlines and ask them to hold you accountable when you don’t meet up.
Fight against perfectionism as you build your side hustle and launch products and services. Your products and services will never be truly perfect but will be ready for customers when you work according to a clear plan.
After the launch of the products and services, you finetune the offerings, incorporating insights from customers, competitors, and other stakeholders.
Even though your initial release is not perfect, as long as you’ve confirmed the viability of the venture, you have enough to work with and improve over time.
Set launch dates for everything, and honor the dates religiously.
Step 7: Once You Start, Make Sure to Provide Excellent Customer Experience
From the very beginning of your side hustle, aim to offer the best quality of customer service. Offering high-quality customer service is one way to attract customers and establish a competitive edge.
Before opening the doors of your side hustle to customers, establish the customer service practices to be maintained. You could develop customer service practices based on industry and competitor research.
Go above and beyond to earn your customers’ trust in the early days and never drop the bar. Any investment into proper customer care practices is definitely bound to yield maximal returns.
Step 8: Ask for Real Customer Feedback
As you put your best foot forward in offering customers the best quality of services, ask for customer feedback. You need to be sure that your customer service practices are truly impressive.
Ask for customer feedback from the early days so that products and services can be swiftly modified to serve customers appropriately. Even if you already validated your product, learn to ask for real customer feedback regularly to create a competitive edge.
Step 9: Don’t Quit Your Job
Don’t quit your job prematurely after starting a side hustle. Instead, build the new venture sustainably and successfully before even considering quitting your job.
At the beginning of the article, we advised that you confirm that you can add a side hustle to your current schedule. Consider the chances of your side hustle becoming quite successful and you managing it along with your main job.
Even if things get busy, you should not randomly quit your job. Be sure that your side hustle has a constant stream of customers and is sustainable before you quit your job.
Step 10: Don’t Get Fired from Your Day Job
In addition to advising that you don’ quit your job, we should balance it out by admonishing you to not get fired. Be sure that you can manage your day job and your side hustle and still perform productively.
Establish guidelines when as you juggle both ventures. Do not work on your side hustle during company time. Keep activities related to your side hustle for outside-office hours.
Also, never use your company’s resources to work on your side hustle. Honor the terms of your work contract to prevent being fired. Also, keep your performance up and deliver as expected.
It is best that you properly manage to work on your side hustle and deliver optimally at your day job so that you can eventually leave when your side hustle becomes sustainable. Leaving your day job honorably also opens up opportunities for partnering with your colleagues and employers.
5 Best Sites to Start a Side Hustle
Now that you know how to start a side hustle, let’s review the 5 best sites to start a side hustle.
1. Participate in Branded Surveys Studies
(Earn on average $0.50 – $3 per survey)
Participating in Branded Surveys online studies is one of the best side hustle ideas as it doesn’t require any experience or skills. All you need to do to earn some extra cash is to provide your opinion regarding various products, services, or topics.
On average, Branded Surveys online surveys take up to 15 minutes to complete and can earn you up to $3 per survey.
As soon as you reach a minimum withdrawal threshold of $10, you can withdraw your earnings via direct deposit or PayPal. Alternatively, you can redeem your funds for gift cards from more than 100 retailers.
2. Deliver Food with DoorDash
(Earn up to $25 per hour)
Delivery services are gaining more and more popularity. And DoorDash is one of the leaders in the food delivery industry.
As a Dasher, you’ll need to:
- Accept a customer order through the DoorDash app
- Drive to the specified restaurant or a food chain to collect the order
- Deliver the order to your customer’s doorsteps
With DoorDash, you can expect to earn up to $25 per hour. However, you can increase this number by keeping 100% of customer tips – so make sure to provide an excellent service to earn tips.
3. Start Freelancing via ZipRecruiter
(Earn $20+ per hour)
Regardless of your skills and working experience, you can start freelancing as a side hustle.
While the list of freelance jobs might be endless, some of the most popular ones include:
- Virtual assistant (VA)
- Graphic designer
- Web developer
- Social media manager
ZipRecruiter is an excellent platform to find freelance jobs as it’s one of the largest job search sites in the US.
4. Help People Move with PickUp
(Earn on average $25 to $50 per hour)
If you have a pickup vehicle or a truck and don’t mind lifting heavy objects, you could help people move from one place to another.
PickUp is an excellent platform you can sign up to as an independent contractor and find people who need help in moving. With PickUp, you can expect to move anything from smaller boxes to heftier ones and even furniture or electric appliances.
5. Rideshare with Uber
(Earn on average $15 to $30 per hour)
Ridesharing with Uber is another great side hustle idea, especially if you enjoy driving and meeting new people.
With Uber, you’d be accepting ridesharing orders through the app, picking up the riders, and dropping them off at their destinations.
Note that Uber earnings vary from state to state. For example, you can make an average of $16.20 per hour in Chicago, while driving in NYC could make you $30.35 per hour.