Some people have a burning desire to run their own business, but there are also those who prefer the stability of a nine-to-five job.
And then there are those who’d love to be an entrepreneur but are more risk-averse or dependent on a steady income. That’s where the side hustle comes in. It’s estimated that 35% of millennials currently run a side hustle.
What is a side hustle?
Ever wondered how to make extra money on the side of your current job? Well, that’s exactly what a side hustle is. Better yet, it gives wannabe entrepreneurs the chance to pursue their passion and earn an extra income without really taking any risks.
It does, however, require enormous dedication, time, and a lot of hard work.
Benefits of running a side hustle
There are many benefits of running a side hustle, including earning extra income, fulfilling a dream without risk, pursuing your passion, learning new skills, and gaining independence.
Earning extra income
The ability to earn another income stream outside of your salary is very attractive and also sometimes necessary. Aside from helping to cover monthly expenses, that extra income can also help fund life’s little luxuries, such as family vacations abroad. Not to mention it’s financially smarter not to put all your eggs in one basket!
Fulfilling a dream without risk
If you dream of becoming an entrepreneur but harbor a fear of going solo, a side hustle lets you do your own gig while still maintaining financial security. It gives you a way how to make money from home, plus there’s no risk of taking on extra office expenses.
Pursuing your passion
Even if you’re in your dream office job, it’s unlikely that you feel as passionately working for someone else as you would if it were your own business.
Learning new skills
Although it’s best to start a side hustle in an industry that you have deep knowledge about or are skilled in, there are two ways to learn new skills by starting a side hustle: learn brand new skills about something that interests you, and improve and expand on skills you already have.
When you run your side hustle, you get to experience the independence of entrepreneurship. This will help you master valuable self-accountability for if and when you decide to turn it into a full-time business.
5 tips for avoiding side hustle burnout
Since a side hustler is juggling a day job with a side gig (while trying not to drop any balls) burnout is a real possibility. Following these tips can help you avoid side hustle burnout.
1. Learn to say no
This is an important skill to practice in any aspect of your life but takes on a new level of significance when you’re running a side hustle, and it applies to both your day job and your side business. Be firm in the workplace about working overtime unless it’s absolutely necessary (like in the case of an urgent project for example). When it comes to your side hustle, don’t be shy to say no to projects or customers that won’t be worth your while.
2. Optimize your hours
When you’re burning the candle at both ends, it pays to optimize your hours. This means that you need to make the most of the limited hours that you have available to work on your side business by working smartly.
Look for ways to automate tasks so that you don’t waste any time, work systematically, and follow a motto that we use in our business. Think: impact. This means to prioritize tasks that have the greatest impact on the growth of your side hustle and put less impactful tasks, as much as you’d like to have them, on the backburner.
TIP: A simple way to help you ease into automation is by utilizing marketing automation software. Need to send out mass emails? Automate it. Need to post on social media when half of the world is awake but it's your time to sleep? Automate it. Need to track data and the success of your campaigns? You guessed it. Automate it.
3. Find time in creative ways
When there are only 24 hours in one day to work what’s essentially two or more jobs, try to extend your time as much as possible.
Here are some suggestions:
If you’re a morning person, get up an hour earlier to focus on your business. The quiet of the early morning hours may just be the perfect time to get a lot done.
If you go to the gym, listen to podcasts related to your new business while you work out.
If you commute to the office via public transit, spend that time working on your side gig.
4. Refresh your body and mind
It’s best not to jump straight into side hustle work as soon as you get home from your office job. Give your mind and body a break so you can separate between your two commitments. Go for a run, meet a friend, watch a TV show, whatever it takes to clear your mind for the night’s work ahead.
5. Take on a partner
If relevant to your specific side gig, take on a partner, preferably someone you get along with on a personal level. This will help make your side hustle work more fun and will also help you retain that spark of passion that made you start it to begin with. Turn night work into working coffee dates and consider scheduling breakaway weekends to focus on the business.
Side hustle ideas to explore
Many side hustle businesses are part of the gig economy, or the provision of task-based or project work in your area of expertise.
The following are recommended gig economy jobs or business ideas:
Check off these five steps to ensure you cover your bases when developing your own side hustle.
1. Identify your skills, hobbies, and interest areas
This will help you decide which type of business to start.
2. Do a market analysis
Identify your ideal customer, your competitors, and your opportunity in the market.
3. Fine-tune the details
Once you have your business concept, it’s time to work on the details:
Brand name. Come up with a name and logo.
Legalities. Trademarking, registering your business.
Offering. Figure out exactly what products or services you’ll offer and how you can differentiate to attract customers away from the competition.
Pricing structure. Decide how to structure pricing of your service, business, or product.
Marketing channels. Set up a website and social media channels to begin with.
Fix operational issues. Sort things out, such as your processes for invoicing, paying suppliers and more.
4. Get one paying customer
Sometimes you just need to jump right in the deep end and get your hands dirty. Even if everything isn’t perfectly set up, going through the experience with a paying customer will help you figure things out.
5. Set goals and milestones
Set achievable goals and milestones so you can monitor and measure results and achieve growth.
When to quit your job and become a full-time entrepreneur
You’ve set up your side hustle, have customers under your belt and have all your processes in place, so now it might be the right time to turn it into a full-time business. You may also be feeling surer of yourself and confident to quit your job and make the leap into full-time entrepreneurship.
This is a very personal choice, but these could be indicators that it’s time to stop tiptoeing around the edge of entrepreneurship and jump right in.
You have a steady flow of side-hustle income
Your customer base is growing
You’re turning away good business due to lack of time and/or resources
How to grow your side hustle into a full-time business
When you do take this crucial step, make sure that your business is ready for growth because you’re going to need to scale up consistently to succeed.
Set deadlines for yourself
Based on a study by the British Psychological Society, people are 91% more likely to get something done if they have a deadline.
Ensure your business is set up to be scalable
You should have all the logistics and processes set up in advance so that you can get off the ground running as soon as you quit your job.
Know where will you work. Will you continue working from home if that’s what you were doing or will you need some sort of an office, whether it’s your own or a co-working space? Set up marketing plans to grow your leads and customers. Have processes in place to manage this expected influx of new customers.
Ensure you can handle growth operationally for everything from managing and fulfilling orders and sales to managing your invoicing, accounting and payments. Digital tools and software are ideal for this and there are many free options available online, including free CRM software for businesses.
And lastly, have employees lined up, whether it’s full-time, part-time, or temporary staff.
Finance your growth
It’s unlikely that you could have saved enough money from side hustle profits to channel into its growth, so unless you have sufficient personal funds, you’ll likely need to turn to external funding, including: friends or family, a business loan, crowdfunding, investor/venture capitalists, or a business credit card. Discover financing options for small businesses, including the pros and cons of each, to help you choose your best solution.
Quit your job without burning bridges
Make sure you quit your job with grace and goodwill by fulfilling the terms of your employment contract. Aside from the obvious of maintaining your reputation and just being a good corporate citizen, it’s important to never burn bridges.
You never know, your former employer could land up being a customer of yours, a supplier, or could even refer business to you in the future. It’s recommended to write a resignation letter or email to formalize it and make sure that you have it all in writing.
TIP: Download our free resignation letter template to get you off the ground running.
Bottom line? Take the leap
Seventy percent of self-employed professionals state that running their own business gives them a better work-life balance. So while the going might be tough while you’re running your side hustle, the ultimate benefit of becoming a full-time self-employed entrepreneur should make it all worth your while.
Eden Amirav is CEO and co-founder of Become, a technology company that helps small businesses get quick and easy access to the right funding solution. Using technology, the company optimizes each business’ funding odds and matches them with customized funding solutions in the simplest way possible. The company has an ecosystem of 50+ leading lenders and fintech partners and has facilitated over $160 million in tailored business loans to date.