How To Get Your Side Business Thriving

Having a side business is becoming more and more popular. Perhaps that’s because it allows you to have a full-time job to sustain yourself while pursuing a passion project. Side businesses are a great way to earn extra income and gain experience running a business, but they’re not always as glamorous, or easy, as those online articles make them out to be.

Whether you answer questions for money, write your own blog, make YouTube videos, sell on Etsy, or bake and deliver goodies, you know a side business has its ups and downs. Some days might be full of fun and excitement, but others may leave you staring at your screen, coming up blank and distracting yourself by watching trailers for upcoming films like People You May Know to hone your networking skills.  In some months, you may be more profitable than ever before, but in other months, you may just barely make enough to keep your business afloat.

Despite the ups and downs, there are a lot of benefits to running a business on the side, and the potential to turn your passion into your full-time job is hard to pass on. If you’re having a hard time getting your side business up and running, don’t give up just yet. Here are some tips to help you get your side business thriving and bring you closer to the dream of running a business all your own.


Whether you’re just getting started or already have a side business established, doing research is extremely important. It’s important to research your target audience, research what sells, research competitors… research, research, research. The more information you have, the better equipped you’ll be to make the best moves to set your business up for success.

Offer what sells.

Once you’ve done the research, plan what product or services you will offer (or what product and services you’ll switch to offering, if you already have a side business established). It can be hard to get over the desire to offer something you think is cute or something you enjoy doing as a hobby if it’s not something that’s going to sell well, but offering what your audience wants will bring you greater success.


Marketing is extremely important when it comes to growing a side business. Get on social media, establish your name and brand, and do everything you can do to establish your brand as trustworthy in your market. It can help to look at the campaigns of other businesses; Juul e-cigarettes, for example, have a strong brand presence that has quickly amassed a large following in the vape community. Do what you can to make sure people recognize your logo, name, and work.

Get in front of the right audience.

Part of marketing is making sure you get yourself in front of the right audience. If you’re selling custom watercolor portraits, you shouldn’t really be advertising on LinkedIn; a visual platform like Instagram will be better suited to your needs. There are people and businesses out there looking for your services, so it’s important to get yourself in the places you need to be to get in front of the right audience.

Run tests.

As you begin to develop and grow your business, it’s important to run tests. Test your products and services, ads, new product ideas, etc. Running tests will give you a better idea of what your audience wants and save you the time and hassle of starting over after a launch that had poor results or failed completely.

Keep costs low.

Especially when just getting started and growing your side business, it’s important to keep costs as low as you can. This might require doing constant research and comparing vendors any time you’re at the computer, but it will go a long way toward helping your side business thrive. Keeping costs low will give you more opportunity to expand when the time comes and make it easier to stay afloat during the lean months.

Seek out mentors.

There are a lot of people who have been where you are and who have done what you’re trying to do. Find them and use them as mentors for your own side business. Whether they get directly involved and help you get your business established or simply offer advice from the sidelines, a mentor can make a big difference when it comes to making decisions and planning ahead.

Don’t rush.

It might be tempting to get ahead of yourself and try to do or implement things prematurely. Although it’s important to plan for the future, rushing the work, expediting processes, and getting ahead of yourself in your business can be detrimental. Take things slowly and don’t implement anything too soon. If you’re feeling a little bit behind, don’t give in to the pressure and start rushing to catch up; make sure everything is done to standard.

Plan for the future.

Although you shouldn’t rush, you do need to plan for the future. Think about where you want your business to go and what it will take to get there. Think about where you want to be in five, ten, or even fifteen years. Even if you are willing to sell should the right offer come along, build the business according to your plan and what you want it to be down the road.

Set boundaries.

One of the most important aspects of running a side business is setting boundaries with yourself. It takes a lot of discipline to run a business. You already spend a huge chunk of your day at a full-time job and you need to keep a personal life. Don’t let your side business overrun either of those priorities. Making a schedule and sticking to it will go a long way toward helping you keep your work/side job/life balance to keep you sane and prevent burnout.
Whether you’re planning to start a side business or already have something in the works, your dream isn’t to work hard only to struggle for months before watching it fizzle out. Having a solid plan, getting in front of the right audience, and setting boundaries can go a long way toward helping your side business thrive.

Do you have any tips for those who are just getting a side business started? What is one of the biggest challenges you’re facing with your side business?

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