The Secret of the Side Hustle: How Budding Entrepreneurs Can Make it Big
Have you been feeling inspired to start up a side hustle? It’s not just you. According to stats from last year, upwards of 44 million Americans—the majority of them Millennials—are currently branching out from their full-time jobs and taking on freelance gigs, part-time work, and personal projects.
Whether you’re after extra coin, have always dreamed of starting up your own Etsy shop, or just feel happiest when you’ve got something creative to work on, read up on these essential side hustle tips to help get your ideas off the ground.
Step One: Figure Out Why You're Hustling
There are plenty of reasons to start a side hustle. For instance: Do you feel your soul withering at your boring day job or want to rediscover a hobby that’s fallen by the wayside? A side project is the perfect way to devote more time to your passions and give yourself permission to get creative.
On the flipside, a second gig is also an excellent way to make some extra cash…and we don't mean spare change. Whether you sign up as a dog-walker or focus group member, a secret shopper or a freelance photographer, you could be in for some serious bucks—we're talking hundreds of extra dollars per month, if not more.
Then there’s the strategic side hustle. If you’ve always dreamed of opening up your own gluten-free bakery or starting a graphic design business, a side hustle lets you test the waters and expand your skills, without giving up the safety net of your full-time job.
Whatever your inspiration, once you clarify the motivations behind your side hustle, you can start making serious plans.
Step Two: Find Your People
Starting a side hustle can feel precarious if you’re going it alone. Good news: You don’t have to. Before diving in, scope out your prospective field. Begin by following industry leaders and other influential folks on Twitter and Instagram. Increasingly, both sites have become a good way to find job listings, promote your work, and seamlessly network, so focusing on building your public profile is a worthy investment.
IRL meetings are also well worth your time. Head to classes, festivals, workshops, or other events within your field. Ideally, you’ll bolster your skills, pick up advice, and will have the invaluable chance to connect with industry peers (and potential employers or clients).
Step Three: Master Your Calendar
We’re not gonna lie: A good side hustle also requires pro-level organizational skills. Particularly if you’re navigating around your 9-to-5, nailing that work-life-hustle balance is key.
To make the extra workload manageable, try dividing it into small, doable pieces. Give yourself one hour per day to tackle your project, whether it’s writing a novel, building your own website, or taking on freelance design assignments. If you can do it at the same time every day—say, before you head to the office or during your lunch break—it’ll quickly become habit.
With more work on the go, you’re at increased risk of burning out. Sticking to a strict schedule is also a way to carve out and protect your relaxation time…because even hardcore side-hustlers need a Netflix break every now and then.
Step Four: Slow and Steady
One of the biggest side hustle tips? Pace yourself, especially at the beginning. As exciting as it can be to throw yourself into a new project, it’s wise to begin slowly while you’re still learning the ropes.
Get a feel for your particular hustle’s time commitments by taking on individual assignments initially. Pitch one freelance article at a time, begin with a single TaskRabbit gig, or start off with just one dog-sitting client on Rover. Slowly easing yourself into a routine is far more sustainable than loading up on more work than you can handle at once.
It’s also a canny way to boost your confidence: with every new job or project completed, you can feel surer about your blossoming skills.
What side-hustle steps helped you? Share your tips in the comments below!