Originally authored by Jessica Thiefels at Ms Career Girl
A side hustle is a way to make money outside of your 9 to 5 and 37 percent of Americans have one, making an average of $686 per month. However, a side hustle is more than just a part-time job. Not only can you make extra cash, but you’ll also explore the full breadth of your passions, which may be a breath of fresh air if you don’t love the job you’re in.
If you’re ready to make money from your passions, here are some important tips to keep in mind as you get started with a new side hustle.
Research Your Passion as a Business
First things first, you need to determine how you can make the most lucrative use of your skills and passions while deciding how much time you can put into it. For example, opening a brick and mortar storefront isn’t very realistic with a full time 9 to 5 job. Whereas, turning your love of taking pictures into a weekend wedding photography business is likely more feasible.
Next, know that there’s a difference between passion and skills. You need to have experience, something you can offer a customer, in addition to your passion for doing it. If you love making clothes but need to work on sewing and stitching work, you’ll have a hard time selling your products.
At this point, you want to focus on ideas that can make you money quickly with low investment (more on that in tip #2). Bottom line—make sure your passion can be a viable business. In doing so, you need to ask yourself:
- Is there a market for my product or service? Look online and find proof of other people offering and buying similar products or services.
- Will my side hustle actually make money? Do you have the skills to command a fair price for your products or services?
Find Your Niche
Once you know where your skills and passion align, it’s time to find your niche—the specific audience you’ll sell or market to. In your research, you likely discovered many other businesses like the one you’re planning. To set yourself apart, you need to narrow down your audience.
When doing so, think about going deep instead of wide. In 105 Side Business Ideas, FounderU gives an example for a jewelry maker: “Find a niche for the different types of jewelry that you will be selling [like] wedding and event jewelry.”
Once you know your niche, you need to target that audience through your website or selling platform to drive the connection and therefore make sales. FounderU continues, “When selling jewelry online, you need great pictures and detailed descriptions. Potential customers want to know what material you used. Paint them a clear picture. Use your descriptions to create an emotional connection with customers.”
While you want to sell to everyone, think about the story of Amazon, they started with books. Know that you won’t be stuck in the niche you start in, but it will help you get started. So choose it and make it shine.
Prepare for the Costs
Many side-hustles are low-cost, but you may still have some initial start-up needs. In many cases, you can cover your needs with existing resources (i.e., your current personal computer), but you may need to buy fabric or materials to start making the clothing you plan to sell online. Here are a few examples to consider:
- You will likely need a website, and potentially someone to design it, which of course will cost some money.
- Depending on your product you may need to pay for applicable licenses or get the proper certifications for a specific service.
- For selling products in person, like at craft fairs or expos, you’ll need a mobile point-of-sale system.
Write a list of your anticipated costs and turn to your budget. Plan out when you can do what so you don’t stretch beyond your means.
Set Your Pricing
One of the hardest parts of starting a side hustle is determining your price. Luckily, Chris Guillebeau, author of Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days has a few tips:
“If you’re selling a product, first figure out how much it will cost you to make the product and how much time it will take. From there, choose a markup price that will yield a profit you’re comfortable with. If you’re selling a service, consider how much time it will take for you to complete the service and determine a minimum hourly income that’s acceptable to you.”
Even if your side hustle is fun and enjoyable, the key to being lucrative is making sure you’re earning what you’re worth, especially since you’re giving up personal time to do it.
Know Where Your Audience Lives and Market to Them
Knowing where your audience lives equate to more than just geography. For example, what social platforms does your target audience use? If you spend time, energy and resources marketing your side hustle, you want to ensure it doesn’t fall on deaf ears.
Here are a few examples of target audiences to help you get started:
- Side hustlers offering a professional service should create profiles on freelancer or contractor websites. Then network and market yourself via LinkedIn.
- For those providing local services (think handyman, mowing lawns) you may want to advertise your services on Craigslist or neighborhood-specific site NextDoor.
- If you’re a consultant looking to work with small local businesses, find in-person networking events (which typically occur outside of business hours).
- A crafter should set up an Instagram and Pinterest account.
Where does your niche audience live? How can you best reach them? Build out a rough plan of what marketing avenues are best for your side hustle and then take action.
Translate Your Passion Into a Lucrative New Side Hustle
Use your passion (and skills) to start a side hustle that brings in extra income. Start with research and develop your foundation from there. Focus on starting small and quickly to generate revenue and optimize your marketing and service or products. Soon, you’ll have a second income stream that may even help you leave the 9 to 5 you’ve been working all along.