Are you an entrepreneur at heart? Do you aspire to create a meaningful online business or earn extra money (on the side of your full-time job)? If so, then stick around.
According to a recent study by Bankrate, 45% of U.S. workers have a side hustle to earn extra income. This number is attributed to the gig economy, which makes it easy for American’s to make money.
From launching a six-figure freelancing side business to starting a high paying affiliate blog, and everything in between, side hustles are here to stay.
If you are motivated to start a (profitable) side hustle, then you need to treat it as a business from day 1. This means you need to leverage your professional skills, industry connections, and add value to your specific niche. Here are four things you need to do to before you start a side hustle (the right way).
1. Leverage Your Professional Skills
Whether you are a content marketer, data analyst, human resource expert, project manager, or a full-stack software engineer, you need to leverage these skills. More and more companies are hiring technical and or business consultants to help establish systems and processes within their organization.
If you can find ways to add value and position yourself as an industry leader, then you can effectively pitch your services to both small and medium-sized businesses. Who knows, this may be the pivot point in your career that you need.
2. Tap into Your Professional Network
Do you know anyone in your organization who is a side hustler? What about someone who owns a business on the side of their full-time job? They do not have to be in your target niche. In fact, they shouldn’t be. Before you launch your side hustle, you need to find a mentor who can offer you candid advice. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, you need to find a way to improve what is currently available. This will differentiate your product or service from the rest.
Finding a mentor within your professional network will pay dividends down the road. This is especially true when you start to market your services, push your minimum viable product to the market, and or land clients. A mentor will help you avoid costly mistakes that they made when they first started out.
If you are struggling with finding a mentor, then do a quick search on Linkedin. Believe it or not, seasoned small business owners and entrepreneurs are willing and eager to provide you with valuable mentorship. It is their way of giving back to the community that changed their life for the better.
3. Do Competitive Market Research
Before you start your life-changing side hustle, you need to do preliminary market research. The point of this is to compile a list of your competitors. Find out what they offer, charge, who their target market is, and what marketing techniques they employ. To help you out, answer these questions:
- Who are My Competitors?
- How Much do My Competitors Charge (if it is a service)?
- How Long Have My Competitors Been in Business?
- What Marketing Techniques do they employ (Social Media, Paid Ads, Content Marketing, SEO, Podcasts)?
- How Big is their Team? Or is it just one Solopreneur?
- What is their target market?
- What is their Business Model?
Preliminary market research takes time; however, it is arguably the most important thing you can do before you launch a side hustle. Why? With the information you gather, you can create a product or service that is both different and better.
This almost goes without saying; however, there are far too many entrepreneurs in the world who fail to plan. I am not saying you need a one-year business road map, but you do need a solid understanding of your core business competencies.
You need to know who you are, what you offer, how you are different, and a game-plan to land future customers. Before you launch, you need to create and Know:
- SMART Business Goals
- A Marketing Plan
- Minimum Viable Product or Service Offering
- Know Your Business Model
- Target Market
- Potential Obstacles
As an entrepreneur, you cannot overlook the planning phase. This phase allows you to paint a clear picture of your business and set the strategic vision. Plan for the unexpected, and be prepared to pivot your business if need be. Remember, the business environment is dynamic and constantly changing. The more prepared you are the better.
Wrapping Up: How to Start a Side Hustle (The Right Way)
Fortunately, technology has made it easier than ever to make money online and launch a side hustle. With the right attitude and motivation, you can create a side hustle that generates life-changing income and bolsters your career. However, it is important to note that starting a side hustle requires hard-work and consistent dedication. So, be prepared to work, learn, and have fun.