For many people, the entrepreneurial side hustle can become a way to start a completely new direction in life. This goes beyond just making some extra money on the side or helping to pay down credit card debt.
It is about embracing a new entrepreneurial future in which you are doing what you really love in life.
By following the four steps below, you’ll be well on your way to making extra money with a side hustle.
Step #1: Decide what makes you unique
The best entrepreneurial side hustles are what you really enjoy doing in life.
A couple of examples:
If you enjoy working out at the gym or competing in marathons, become a personal trainer or nutrition coach. It’s only natural that you would be able to turn your love of fitness and nutrition into a side hustle.
If you enjoy baking cakes or muffins for your kids, you might be able to turn that passion into a baking or catering business.
The key is to determine what makes you unique. Take a look back at your life and think about what you really enjoy doing. Think about the types of skills for which you seem to have a natural talent.
Maybe you enjoy gardening in the back yard and seem to have a “green thumb” – you could leverage that unique skill and experience into a landscaping venture or a lawn maintenance company.
Perhaps you really enjoy fixing up old cars – that too might become the basis for a new entrepreneurial side hustle.
Step #2: Tap into your social network
OK! So you have an idea for your new side hustle. You’ve started to think of a few ways that you can make extra money with that side hustle.
Now it’s time to go out and find potential customers and clients! Until you line up a few paying customers, this is still just a “hobby” and not a real side hustle.
The easiest way to find potential clients is within your social network. In the old analog days, this social network meant your “offline” network – your local church group, your group of friends who meet to play poker every Friday night, or the local bowling team.
But now the popularity of social networking sites like Facebook means that you most likely have a vast online social network. In some cases, they may be located near you geographically, but in other cases, they are not.
You need to tell others in your network that you are available and that you are working on this entrepreneurial side hustle. They might be able to suggest a Facebook group that’s dedicated to your unique interest.
Or they might be able to give you some ideas of who to contact, or who needs some extra help.
Step #3: Figure out a schedule that works for you
Since this is a side hustle, you’re probably working nights and weekends to get it off the ground. Burning the candle at both ends may work when you’re first starting out, but you risk getting burned out if you try to work 80-90 hour weeks on a consistent basis.
That means you need to figure out a schedule that works for you.
How many hours a week can you realistically commit to this side hustle?
How much money are you planning to make?
Doing a few back-of-the-envelope calculations will help you figure out how many hours a week you need to work.
Say, for example, your initial goal is to start a new venture that will pull in an extra $1000 per month. You can then work backward to determine how many customers you will need to have, and how much you can charge them.
And remember – you have plenty of competitors out there! So you have to think about the current pricing in the marketplace.
If you’re setting up shop as a social media consultant, and the going rate is $50/hour for social media consulting work, then you can’t plan on charging clients $100 or $200 per hour!
That same type of thinking applies to any business unless you’ve figured out a way to sell a truly premium product that the marketplace has never seen before.
Step #4: Scale your side hustle
For many people, the term “side hustle” automatically means something like driving for a company like Uber or doing some extra pet sitting on the weekend.
But think about it..
That’s not really an entrepreneurial side hustle, that’s just a second job. What you need to do is scale your side hustle so that it becomes a business.
Here’s one example:
Maybe you have friends who drive for Uber or Lyft and they make $30 to $35 per hour.
That may sound attractive, but how many hours a week can you realistically drive people around without becoming a full-time taxi driver?
At most, you might work a few hours during the week and then maybe a half-day during the weekend. But you can’t scale it past that. There’s a limit to how many hours you can spend behind the wheel!
So you need to be smart about your side hustle. How can you scale it up so that it becomes a full-time entrepreneurial venture?
One tactic that people use is to create a paid online product that people can download 24/7 (e.g. e-books). Other people teach online courses, where they can have a virtually unlimited number of students.
The goal is to scale your business in a way so that you’re doing the same amount of work. But getting more and more clients or sales along the way.
By keeping these four basic steps in mind, you’ll be able to take the next step — quitting your full-time job. Then taking on this entrepreneurial side hustle as your new full-time project.
Instead of entering into this new side hustle full of uncertainty about its prospects, you will know that you have a successful business concept that can continue to grow.
You’ll go beyond just repaying debt, or saving for a summer vacation. You’ll be setting down the foundation for a long, successful career doing what you love most.