A single source of income is no longer enough to sustain a modern lifestyle. As the cost of living continues to escalate, so does the idea of starting a business to supplement your income. Where to start?
If you’re keen to start a side hustle, you need to ensure that there’s a market for the product or service you’re offering, cautions career executive and business coach Lynne Frost. “Be honest,” she advises. “Do you want to earn an additional income? Help others? Test the market before you start your own business?” Being cognisant of your ‘why’ will help you stay determined in the face of adversity. On days when you feel despondent, Lynne advises focusing on the benefits. “Think of it as a way of saving for a house deposit, car or holiday. It also means you’re not putting all your career eggs into one basket. Furthermore, you’ll empower yourself, learn new skills and have an alternative form of income should the company you work for announce redundancies.”
Here, Lynne’s side-hustle success secrets.
Play to your strengths
Balance your dreams with a dose of reality. A side hustle is a mini business, in which you’re the CEO, as well as a gopher and a minion. Let your skills and abilities be your guide. You’ll need energy, commitment and determination since it will probably take up much of your time.
Tap into your resources
Making a list of ideas works for me – ones that could realistically generate an income. Think of the financial resources you’ll need to get started and if you have enough reserves. Are you going to go it alone or work with a partner?
Draft a mini business plan
Coming up with an idea is easy. Turning that idea, however great, into reality is tougher. My advice is to start with a mini business plan, which is exactly like a real business plan, only shorter. Think about what your product or service is, who will buy it and how much it will cost. How will you reach your target audience? If it’s via social media, how much will it cost you to set up? How much time can you spend on it? How much money must you make before it becomes worthwhile?
Have a realistic schedule
Your schedule should be carefully considered. If you work from nine to five, then you’ll only have time before and after work, and at the weekend. Are you prepared to give up that time? Can you fit it in? Is your long-term objective to keep your business as a side hustle or do you plan to expand it? Don’t let it interfere with the job you already have.
Have an anchor client
Getting started is tough, so it’s always good to have an ‘anchor client’, an individual or organisation that gives you early-stage and repeat business. One of my clients was retrenched last year. She started a few side hustles to keep herself sane and financially liquid. One of her hustles was digital marketing for a property company. Even though she later secured a new job, she retained her first client and sourced two others. Her side hustle still provides her with a regular, additional income.
Visualisation is a powerful way to trick your brain. That’s why we get scared while we’re sitting watching a horror movie, even though the cinema is perfectly safe.
Once you have an idea for your side hustle, start visualising what it will look like, and keep adding to that vision until you believe it’s real. Once you believe it, you can do it. I’m not saying it’s easy or that it won’t be hard work, but it can still be possible. My wonderful helper has side hustles making sandwiches for office workers and doing clothing repairs. She works hard and tells me that it makes her feel empowered to generate the extra income she needs for her family.
Lynne says it’s not just important but crucial for women to be independent in a world that’s constantly changing. “Freelancing and other forms of nonstandard work are becoming more common. Women can’t rely on their partners to support them anymore. They too are affected by these changes,” she says.
You may even become the breadwinner, as a result of being proactive and setting something up on your own. “Ultimately, what will determine your success is a good, workable idea, a plan to make it real and the persistence to keep it going,” Finally, don’t underestimate the support of your friends and family.
Top tips for starting a side hustle:
1. Prepare a business plan and update it often, so it keeps you focused on the end game.
2. Be realistic about the time and resources you have available.
3. Set time-based goals to help you overcome fear and procrastination.
4. Find a mentor, if you can’t afford a business coach; someone you admire.
5. Go in with both your head and heart. Be prepared and monitor your progress.
6. The buy-in of your family and friends can help you through tough times.