How To Start Your Side Hustle Without Quitting Your Job
It is one of those ad slogan’s that quickly wormed it’s way into the lexicon: There’s an app for that.
Until, that is, there isn’t. But there could be right? You just have to make it happen. You have the idea, you have the vision. You just need to make it a reality.
Maybe you have a brilliantly innovative business idea for an app. Or perhaps you just know a certain kind of website is exactly what people need right now. Or you have a fantastic passion project, like handmade jewellery or a plan to teach yoga to cats (could definitely be a thing) but no time to get it off the ground.
Working a full-time job and running a side business isn’t easy. But sometimes you just can’t get a great idea out of your head. But where do you start?
If you have big plans, here are ten important pieces of advice that can help turn your side hustle into a success story.
1. Identify your Unique Selling Point
Figure out what problem you are solving. Who is your market? What value do you add to their lives or business?
Find out who the market leaders are in your industry and identify your key competitors. Analyse their offering against your own to determine what sets you apart. What you come up with is what is called your “Unique Selling Point”. If your offering is similar to another business, figure out how you’re going to do it better, differentiate your offering and take a slice of that market share.
2. Test, learn and pivot
Your original idea probably won’t end up being your success story, so be prepared to test, learn and pivot. That is, be adaptable and ready to change your strategy, your product, or your offering if the data says so (see point 9, below). For example, I realised pretty quickly with irislillian.com that I couldn’t compete with millions of lifestyle blogs. So I spent time honing my niche.
3. Your side-hustle is a business (even if you’re not making money)
Think like you own a business, act like you own business and before too long, it’ll be a business.
First, draft your foundation documents, including a mission statement, a business plan, a media pack, and prepare a pitch deck if you need to fundraise. Then set your short, medium and long-term goals and put a date in your calendar to review them regularly.
Learn from my mistake: don’t tell your friends it’s a hobby, let them know that you’ve got big plans and you’d love their support. Having your own “tribe” to share the ups and downs of start-up life makes all the difference.
4. Prepare to raise those funds
Next, devise a capital raising strategy.
Save, save, save and earmark angel investor networks and funds like Scale and Signal Ventures to approach when you’re ready to pitch. Creative3 Pitch is an event which unites leading creative tech entrepreneurs with early stage investors.6
5. Build your network
Get to know people and find ways to participate in your industry: volunteer as an intern or offer to be a contributor. Develop new relationships by attending formal and informal networking events. Or join The Squad and meet fellow side-hustlers from across the globe.
Carve out a minimum amount of time per week to work on your side-hustle. Prioritise this time no matter how busy life gets.
Track how you spend your hours: it’s amazing how much more productive you will be. Then determine those things which you should eliminate, automate and delegate.
Delegate and outsource non-essential tasks to virtual assistants. And, if you’re finding coding or graphic design a little challenging, there is always someone on Fiverr who can help you out.
8. Unsubscribe from Netflix
Don’t laugh. This may be your biggest challenge yet.
9. Get to know your customers
Don’t spend any more money on stock photos, new equipment or a new samples or prototypes. Focus your spending on data collection.
If it isn’t already, data will be everything before long. Sign up to Search Console and Google Analytics so you can start collecting your own website data.
Once you have collected a few months of data, analyse it inside and out – understanding this data will be key to your business success.
Now it’s up to you, take that fire in your belly, and make it happen.
Are you juggling full time work and a side hustle? We’d love to hear all about your experience in the comments below.