Roughly 70 million people have a side hustle in the US, according to Side Hustle Nation, and this trend continues to grow. From Uber to DoorDash, course creator to hairdresser, a sense of increased freedom, having an extra source of income, and the ability to pay off debt faster are some of the reasons people have turned to side-hustling.
Many people start side hustles, thinking of all the pros without consideration for the different aspects of starting one. In our latest episode, Do the Hustle: Betting on Yourself While Maintaining a Day Job, we dive into the topic of strategically side hustling while working a day job, so you don’t end up being hustled out the door. We also shared how the idea for C-CRETS came about, after considering other alternatives, and what it takes to run a successful podcast.
A side hustle provides many benefits, but it often requires investments of either time, money, or both. According to a May 2019 survey by Bankrate.com, 1 in 3 side hustlers need the side income to make ends meet. But how do you move beyond ‘making ends meet?’
Here are five recommendations to consider for your side hustle.
1. Set Aside Time to do the Work
A successful side hustle requires work.
The good news is that you already have a job and so, you don’t necessarily have to put pressure on your side business to pay all your bills. But your side hustle will involve an investment of some sort, whether it’s your time or your money. Even side hustles that become a passive source of income required some upfront work, capital, or both, and in many cases, maintenance in required in order for the income stream to continue working.
When choosing a side hustle, think about your personal capacity. How many hours do you have in the day and in your week to dedicate to this side-hustle? Can you commit to 1-2 hours a day or will time for your side hustle be relegated to weekends only?
By purposefully scheduling out time for your side-hustle, you’ll be better able to maintain the consistency that will move your goals forward in a measurable way.
2. Hold Yourself Accountable
Pursuing your side hustle can become a venture with no end in sight if you don’t hold yourself accountable and set goalposts that act as key performance indicators. A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a metric that is used to quantify progress towards important business objectives.
For C-CRETS, we reexamined our business objectives after the 40th episode.
By hold yourself accountable, you’ll ensure that your side hustle doesn’t become a ‘top in mud’ venture whereby you’re doing a lot of work to achieve a goal, but in reality, you’re proceeding nowhere. By deciding on measurable objectives—from bills paid to clients gained within a certain timeframe—you’ll be able to amply gauge if you’re on the right track with your side hustle.
3. Make Money
An important KPI of your side hustle will be whether or not its generating money. Don’t let your side hustle become a jobby. Signs of a jobby include—your quality of life is suffering, you’re losing money, and you’re constantly working, all while not making money.
In episode 55, we talked about the importance of not letting your side hustle become a consuming endeavor. You can create better balance by getting clear about your expectations on when, and how, your side hustle will make you money.
In some cases, a person may want to make their side hustle their full-time incomes stream. However, it’s important that you’re producing a steady base of income for at least 6-12 months, so you know it’s not a fluke.
4. Look at the Legalities
In any business, paperwork is important, from deciding on a business name to signing vendor contracts.
If you’re pursuing your own venture as your side hustle, think about whether you want to have a LLC or an S Corp. How long do you plan to work alone, or do you want to have a small team? Where will you source the people for your team and what’s your budget to pay them?
What about taxes?
Though the initial paperwork required might seem like a task when dealing with the legal aspects of your side hustle, there are also many government incentives for small business owners available. But first, you must legally set up your business in order to benefit from the many incentives that are available.
5. Balance Not Burnout
Finally, by having a side hustle, it also means you’re balancing your main source of income, along with your family and friends, hobbies, and other important aspects that create your lifestyle.
Its easy to become burnt out when incorporating yet one more thing on your plate.
During this time, focusing on the positive emotions associated with your side hustle is important. Having a why often is the fuel we need to keep on going when challenges present themselves. At the same time, it’s also important that you prioritize what’s important to you. This includes making time for the people important in your life, communicating with them about your side hustle, and establishing boundaries when it comes to the amount of time allotted to it.
You can also prevent burnout by getting the necessary help. Adequate support might be what’s needed to keep the engine running as you move forward with your goals.
In addition, not all of your free time needs to be allocated to your side hustle. Prioritize getting adequate rest and make space for relaxation.
Burnout decreases your ability to think creatively. Despite what your side hustle may be, rigid thinking is a deterrent to your business and burnout tends to lead to rigidity. It can also interfere with your ability to perform well and stay motivated. Your aim as someone with a side hustle is to implement it into your life with intention so that the risk of negative consequences is reduced.
In the end, your side hustle should be a rewarding pursuit. When you have meaningful goals and pursue the tasks associated with your side hustle with intent, the success you hope to accomplish will be more attainable.