What’s a side hustle and how can you make yours profitable? By definition, a ‘side hustle’ is something you’re doing in addition to your full-time career or position. Whether it’s creatively aligned or driven by the desire to make more money in your industry, it’s something that’s adding more to your plate in positive (and often profitable) ways.
If you’re thinking about really starting a side hustle here are the first five things you need to do:
Before starting a side hustle, the first thing you need to do is research. Research what options there are for your industry. For example, if you’re a photographer, what is the equipment you need to start a side photography business? To take lifestyle photos for local brands? Senior portraits?
By doing the initial research you can figure out what options are out there, what’s actually in your budget, and what your first steps need to be in terms of advertising, launching, and getting your initial clients.
2. Legitimize Your Business
When you start a side hustle you can either create it as a total passion project (meaning free services for friends/family or things that don’t really generate income) or as a legitimate business.
If you’re looking to start a legitimate side business, it’s important to follow legal laws and guidelines in regards to business fees, registration, and taxes. This way you won’t risk losing your finances or investments from not setting up your business legally and correctly.
3. Create Avenue(s) for Marketing
Once you’ve decided to jump into your side hustle (and set it up legally, if applicable) the most important thing is getting to the launching/marketing stage. You can have the greatest business in the world, but if no one knows about it, you’re not going to be successful.
Whether you start a Facebook, Instagram or other social media page, launch an official website, or register your business on Google/Yelp, using marketing to drive your audience interest is vital to get people interested, and hopefully invested, too.
4. Offer Collaborations or Freebies
When you’re first starting out, you may find that offering collaborations or free resources/services is a great way to bring in customers and clients. Because you’re so new, people may be hesitant to purchase from you over someone who has more years in the industry. To offset this, offer something for free in exchange for a positive review or recommendation.
This can be a great way to build your side hustle from the ground up, while giving you the necessary experience to truly succeed.
5. Use Your Network for Referrals
The word of mouth is crucial for your success. When you have a positive experience with a client, have that person recommend you or share about you on socials. This can work as a free marketing strategy, it’s also a great way to build without paying for advertisements.
When you launch your side hustle, it’s also important to consider everyone as a potential client/customer. Tap into your network—this includes family, friends, and online acquaintances, too.
For other tips on starting a side hustle and how to grow your small business, click here.
Marisa Donnelly is a Midwest-born, West Coast-based writer, poet, essayist, editor, and founder of an independent writing coaching/editing services company, Be A Light LLC.
She is the author of the poetry collection, Somewhere On A Highway, and has published thousands of articles culminating over 21.2+ million page views for Huffington Post, Bustle, Thought Catalog, and Briar Cliff Review, among many others.