The Covid-19 pandemic, if not anything else this year, has taught us the value of having multiple streams of income. A side hustle can empower you to build a stronger financial future and prepare you for unprecedented financial downfalls. By focusing on time management, team building, and making the most of the internet, you can take your side hustle to the next level. However, not all side hustles are meant to be stepping stones to a new 6-figure business that you leave employment for. It can be just another channel to earn from. A study dubbed “State of Side Hustle in Kenya 2020” revealed that 67 per cent of Kenyans expanded their businesses while keeping their 9am - 5pm jobs while only 33 per cent quit to explore entrepreneurship. So how do you make sure you have your cake and also eat it?
Commit the time to your business
Side hustles are dependent on your ability to manage your time. A good baseline for many people is probably an hour a day. After all, no matter how busy we may become, most of us can squeeze in one hour of side hustle work. Whether to do it in the morning or evening or during your lunch break depends on your personality. If you are a morning person, wake up earlier to work on your side hustle. If you are a night owl you can stretch the time after work to do a thing or two. Of course, if you can give more than an hour to it, the better. Nonetheless, studies show that small changes effected everyday routinely give better results than big changes that are inconsistent.
And for those with completely no time in their schedule, you have to create it by cutting back on downtime otherwise spent scrolling through social media and Netflix-binge. You can also commit about five hours of your weekend, say 6am to noon, that you would otherwise use to relax.
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Set yourself up for success
Should a full-time accountant undertake individual tax returns on the side of their full-time job; or a graphics designer design in freelance job sites? While there is a clear advantage in terms of extending your skill, occupying a similar side hustle and full-time job may limit a sense of being away from full-time work. Ultimately, curtailing time away from a full-time job by holding a side hustle that is similar may prevent recovery from the primary job. It is a lot easier to put in the side hustle hours when you are doing something that you enjoy doing than the one you are trained for.
For example, if you love writing, then you could start a blog about your hobby or interest, which you could then look to monetise once it takes off. Or, you could share your love for music, travel, photography or even food. According to billionaire investor Mark Cuban, your business will succeed only if it is “something you love to do and something you’re good at.”
Keep your cash investment small
Do the research and start something that does not require a lot of capital or an idea that can be tested at a small scale. Here at Hustle, we publish a lot of articles on which side hustles cost little to no initial capital or other ways to come up with capital that does not burn a hole in your pocket. One of the means to keep costs down is marketing. Traditional marketing is not viable for your small business. Use social media accounts and a website to promote your product or service and build brand awareness and credibility. ‘WordPress’ is still the cheapest website building option. Before you spend money on a cool new office or some fancy packaging, always ask yourself one question: “Does (this) touch the customer?” If it doesn’t, don’t buy it.
Identify the goal of your side hustle.
You have a side hustle because you want money. That is clear. However, being very specific in your goals can help you make better decisions around what side gigs make the most sense for you. Is it just a matter of financial survival or a stepping stone to a new industry? Break down your “idea to launch” plan into clear, defined next steps with deadlines. The plan should lay out key milestones and deadlines that will guide you from start all the way to launch date.
Task management tools like Trello or Notion can help you tackle projects by dividing them into easily digestible chunks using boards, lists, and cards. Never aim for perfection because it will bog you down and prevent you from ever launching anything.
Make sure your day job does not suffer
Imagine what you could do in that hour during the boring morning brief? Or instead of taking two hours sending client emails at work, spend four and send your business emails as well. Sounds tempting right? Using company resources to advance your own pursuits is not only unethical but may also hurt your reputation in the office. You do not want your boss to notice a lack of productivity, and potentially risk getting fired, especially when you are relying on your income to get your side hustle off the ground.
Most companies want their employees to focus 100 per cent of their attention on their assigned projects and tasks and could get you in legal trouble if you do not disclose your entrepreneurial pursuits. Unless you work at companies that encourage it, like Google’s 20 per cent time rule, a policy that allows employees to work on whatever they want for 20 per cent of their time on the job. Although now verboten, it produced Gmail, AdSense, Google Talk among other innovations.