It may have started as an interest or a hobby but it’s something you love to do. What if you could take this passion of yours and make a few extra dollars doing something you enjoy? While you may not be ready to start a full-time business, you’re thinking of starting a side hustle to see where things could go – and you’re not alone.
In fact, nearly 40 percent of people in the U.S. have taken on a side gig during the coronavirus (COVD-19) economy. Many have been prompted to do this due to layoffs, furloughs or a decrease in their current business. No matter what the reason, it’s a great time to treat these challenging times as an opportunity to see what you can build and accomplish for yourself.
Here are some tips for how to get your side hustle off the ground. It’s important to stay true to your interests and make the most of the things you are passionate about.
Every business needs a solid online presence and this will give you an easy way to connect with your customers. Creating an online business is highly effective and affordable – and that's very important during a challenging economy. Start by securing a domain name that reflects your business and is simple for customers to remember. This important step will make it easy for potential customers to find your site and your business.
Build a website to give your business instant credibility and highlight your products and services. You’ll also want to include an eCommerce page that means your business is always open and helps you generate greater revenue since customers can make purchases anytime, anywhere. Be sure to give your website a safe, secure home with a hosting provider that makes your site easily accessible and protects your data from cyber threats which have greatly increased during the coronavirus pandemic.
Capture the attention of the nearly 90 percent of customers who begin their search for a product or service online by creating a search engine (SEO) content strategy. Including SEO keywords in your website content will help your business rank higher in online search directories and generate more qualified leads. Also, be sure to add a professional email account to give your business instant credibility and to make communications with customers and vendors efficient and easy.
As excited as you may be about your new side hustle, keep your full-time job if you have one. In an uncertain economy, it will provide you with a steady income while you explore this new venture. You can focus on your new business during the early morning and evening hours. When you are doing something you enjoy, it won’t seem taxing.
Take the lessons you've learned from your full-time job and apply them to your side gig. Experience is a valuable thing. Study the employees you admire at your full-time job. What are they doing right to gain success and how can you emulate these skills to make your side hustle productive and profitable?
Creating a successful side hustle includes conducting a little research. Get to know your buyers. Create “personas” – collective personifications of your customers that identify their needs, interests and motivations. Personas make it easier to create effective marketing and messaging strategies. Talk to your customers and prospects. What are they looking for and how can you best serve them? Why would they choose your product or service over other similar offerings?
Next, get to know your competition. Who are you up against and what can you offer customers that your competition can’t? What is your competitive advantage and how can you use this to build your business? Study what makes your competition successful and see what you can learn from this. Competition is actually a good thing and will continually drive you to find new solutions and ways to serve your customers to distinguish your business from all others.
Use this information to formulate a business strategy. Keep in mind that you may need to update this frequently as things can change quickly – like buying habits and customer needs – in a turbulent economy.
You don’t need to break the bank to start your side hustle. Pay for only the things you need to get up and running and be frugal with your budget. Be sure to keep track of your expenses and profits in a separate bank account so it will be easier to manage when it is time to do your taxes. If you earn over a certain amount of profit, you'll need to document that on your taxes. However, there are many tax benefits you can take advantage of as a small business. Check with a local accounting firm to make sure you manage everything correctly.
Invest small but think big. A small budget will not limit your creativity and you will find ways to make the most for your investment. Some of the most creative marketing campaigns were implemented with minimal funds. Nike’s “Just Do It” logo was created for 35 dollars. Online marketing is a great budget-friendly resource. Once you create an affordable website you can attract customers with social media and email campaigns that are cost- and time-efficient.
Finally, develop strategic budgeting habits. The smart way you manage your business with a few dollars in your hand will be the same way you handle it when your budget grows.
There are only so many hours in the day, especially when you have a full-time job. Have fun with your new business but be sure to not overdo it. The coronavirus economy is stressful. Try to make your side hustle an enjoyable, productive escape. It should add to your quality of life, not detract from it.
Have set hours for your new venture. If you get home from your full-time job at 6:00 PM, have set work hours for your new business – like between 9:00 and 11:00 PM. Spend quality time with your family and don’t spread yourself too thin. Get plenty of rest. Staying up too late for your new business could create burnout and cause unnecessary stress. Work hard, sure, but also work smart.
While the current economy may be a challenge, start to look toward the future - and brighter days ahead – after you get your business up and running. Of course, you don’t want to get ahead of yourself but this will help you to plant the seeds of success now for even greater things in a better business environment tomorrow.
Keep track of business trends. What are businesses in your industry doing to get ahead and how can you use these models to plan for the future? Develop a clear vision of where you are and where you want to go. Create detailed plans to make it happen and have regular check-ins with yourself to make sure you are staying on course.
Be honest with yourself about your new business and maintain a positive perspective. If you are going to spend your free time doing this, it should be something you’re excited about and enjoy. Don’t let the financial aspects of your side hustle get in the way of loving what you do and gaining satisfaction from your efforts.
Few people in life truly go after their dreams. You’re different and you’re making it happen. Enjoy the ride. Take a few calculated risks, explore new territory and go your own way. When you are doing what you want to do, it will feel less like work and more like play – and that’s the whole idea.
Don’t lose sight of your vision and stay true to yourself and your goals. Write your goals down – for the next month, the next year and beyond – and track your progress.
Start your morning off with positive energy. Focus on what’s most important to you and visualize success. Repeat this daily.
Encourage those around you. When you inspire others, it will inspire you to do more to reach your own goals. Be yourself. There is no one else like you. It is your unique advantage. Listen to advice but do your own thing. This is your chance – use your best judgment and go for it. Remember: fortune favors the bold.
Now that you know how to start a side hustle, you can turn your passion into profit. These tips will get you started on the path to achieving your goals, and Register.com is here for you every step of the way. Let’s make your dreams happen together.