Six Things You Need to Do Before Starting Your #SideHustle
Starting a sidehustle takes a lot of reflection.
Even though America is well out of the recession, many of us haven’t seen our salaries increase to reflect the economic improvement.
Headlines about pay raises in 2015 aren’t much more encouraging, with experts saying salaries may rise a percent or two, but not enough to notice thanks to inflation.
Slow growth in the economy has one silver lining: More people are considering taking on second jobs or starting their own business to earn extra income. Maybe you’re nodding your head right now, because you’ve started a child care side hustle or considered taking on freelance work in the last few years.
If you’ve ever wished your paycheck would increase, and maybe even entertained the idea of a #SideHustle, read on to find out six things you’ve got to do before starting the new endeavor.
Have a Serious Talk … With Yourself
Sure, extra income is great, but there is much to consider. Schedule time to think about whether or not a side hustle is for you. Go to a cafe, walk around the neighborhood or just turn off your phone and other distractions and think through this decision.
Are you ready to let go of your precious weekend and evening free time? Do you have the personal discipline to have two jobs and do them both well? How do you handle stress?
Consider the type of job you’d want to take on. For example, a social media consultant would need to be available 24/7, since a crisis or opportunity could happen at any time. However, a dog walker may be able to set her own hours more easily, offering walks before and after work and on lunch breaks.
Being honest with yourself upfront will ensure you make the right decision for the short and long term.
Don’t Overlook Boring Details
Look, you probably don’t want to become a makeup artist because you really like spreadsheets and taxes, but these technical details are critically important to success. One late tax bill could derail your entire operation.
You will probably want to find an accounting expert who can help you with taxes, bookkeeping, licensing and business registration to get started. Maybe your side hustle won’t require all of those steps, but at the very least you need to know how the IRS classifies your side hustle when it comes time to filing taxes. You’ll also want to look into your current employer’s policies about second jobs and potential conflicts of interest.
If you work through these policy and regulation-related details and still want to start your own business, you’ve proven that you are very committed to your side hustle.
Think About Your Lifestyle
Nothing in life happens in a vacuum. That means a second career that mandates you are on call 24/7 won’t work if you are already on call 24/7 for your primary position. If you’re in charge of picking up and dropping off the kids at day care, will you be able to do that and fulfill both positions?
For example, if you are a military spouse, you’ve got to be flexible enough to relocate when your honey is relocated to his next position – and so does your job. Consider the reality of your family, full-time work, personality and other obligations as they relate to the type of side job you consider and find a portable career that works for your situation.
Be Sure Your Idea Is a Good One
I recently heard radio show caller who was looking for advice because her small yarn shop was not as successful as she thought it would be. Further questioning revealed that she lived in a small town with just 2,000 residents. Her potential customer base was very small, meaning she’d have to expand to an online business to make her idea viable.
Before starting your side gig, you’ll need to analyze your business idea. Is there a need for your business or service? Does it solve a common problem in your field or region? Is there enough of a potential customer base to make the company profitable eventually? To put it another way, just because you love knitting doesn’t mean you’ll turn a profit by simply opening a yarn shop.
Start Small to Test the Waters
Why not dip your toe in before you start swimming? Practice your pitch on friends and family and ask for their honest advice. Ask a mentor for guidance. Start to keep the schedule of your future side hustle before you start your business.
For example, if you are interested in being a freelance writer, begin coming home from work and writing articles as though you’ve been hired. You can use them on your personal website as writing samples, so this exercise can help your brand as well. In the meantime, you’ll get into the rhythm of keeping side hustle hours and workload, and maybe you’ll realize you love it or you hate it.
While the ultimate goal of your side hustle is to make money, you’ll most likely have to spend a bit before you’re cashing that extra paycheck. Even a babysitting business would require some business cards and flyers to be printed, right? Even more expenses exist if you are renting a space and starting a brick-and-mortar store. As you consider your side hustle, start a savings account so that you don’t go into debt while trying to make more money.
In today’s economy, more and more people are considering taking on a second job or starting their own business. Before you rent out an office space, you’ve got to think about your lifestyle and needs, talk to other professionals and test your business idea.