What allows you to make extra money, use that talent of yours in a way you can’t with your day job and hedge your bets against an uncertain economy? Side hustle.
But it’s not always a breeze. You will need a combination of creative thinking and hard work to attract your first clients and build your brand. Add onto that the need to manage cash flow, handle various administrative tasks, etc. What If It Does Work Out is written to help you overcome these challenges and bring your side hustle ideas to life.
First, How Can I Get Past My Fear?
These are probably the worst things you are thinking can happen when you launch your side hustle:
- You happen to lose some money in setup costs.
- You change your mind about your side hustle idea.
- People laugh when you tell them about it.
- You don’t know what to do or how to start.
- You start and then quit.
- You never make any money from it.
- Your company/boss is not supportive.
- You find your passion disappointing.
- You aren’t good at your side hustle.
- Someone says “I told you so.”
Perhaps the worst that can happen is your side hustle builds, you quit your job to focus on it full time, and for whatever reason your new income flow is not financially sustainable. SO WHAT? If it does fail, most of the time you can get another job and then reassess. This is especially true if you keep your network alive! Keeping in touch with people is important and when you do, almost nothing in career-land is irreversible.
How Can I Find My Side Hustle?
- Think of 3 big problems you’ve solved or successes you’ve had. These don’t have to be work-related. And they don’t have to be impressive by anyone else’s standards. Just brainstorm three things that you’re proud to have achieved or three problems you’re proud to have solved.
- Now, Identify the skills that helped you achieve these three things. It’s so rare that we take time to acknowledge all that we’ve done and all that we’re capable of. But it’s essential to recognize your strengths if you want to build a successful side hustle. Let your mind explore everything you bring to the table that allowed you to achieve those accomplishments or solve those problems.
- Think about how you can apply your skills in a new way. Remember, a successful side hustle is all about doing the best you can with what you have. What you have is a clear set of skills that have already proven to get you results.
Am I Ready Now?
Like many things in life, conditions are never perfect and it never feels like the exact right time to embark on the adventurous journey of launching a business. The same is true with your side hustle. You will never, ever, ever be “ready” to start a side hustle. The sooner you understand this, the better. Getting started now just means that you arrive at your destination sooner.
Second, there’s a mistake that we think we are taking action. Maybe we’re doing research, taking a course, going to a million galleries, or reading a thousand books, and we feel we should get the credit for exploring our idea. Not so fast! Consuming relevant materials matters, but it alone won’t result in anything apart from your own increasing knowledge. And the purpose of knowledge is to be used. To inspire. To lead you to create. Knowledge, as Napoleon Hill says in Think and Grow Rich, is only “potential power.” You’ve got to do the work as well.
Think Big But Start Small
Let’s get real for a minute here. Say you wanted to take one or two days off work to do some research on your side hustle, bang out some meetings or finally complete your book; Cheryl Strayed went to the woods for three weeks to complete her best-selling book, Wild, even though she had small children. This is just one of many examples.
The good news is you can do it too! No one else’s life is going to drastically change because you press “pause” on your other obligations. So many people think: Time off? No way! Not me, I can’t. Their involvement seems too crucial to step away even briefly. But even the president of the United States takes time off. Sometimes when we fear something it seems more serious than it is. What we think might happen is often so far removed from reality.
Remember this: It’s a side hustle! While you build your new business you will still be busy with a job that pays the bills. But this is not an excuse to go slow or to put it off. There is an old Chinese proverb that I love: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is today.” The future is created in the present moment. Let go of your fear, and leap. Do it now, do it now, do it now.
There are three things you need to craft when pitching a story:
- Keep it personal. People love to connect on a human level and we all love stories.
- Speak about bringing value to an audience.
- Stay current. You are likely to get a higher success rate when you pitch ideas that are relevant and topical.
Above all, be prepared to put yourself out there. These days that doesn’t just have to be in the real world but it can be through online and social relationships as well. Every conversation, and I mean every conversation, can create business for you, whether it be an idea, a contact, or an invaluable second opinion, all the way through to a contract or sale.
Work On Your Elevator Pitch
Every side hustler needs an elevator pitch. Now, what is an elevator pitch, exactly? It’s a way to simply and easily describe your product or service in a snap. More than anything, it needs to be clear and concise to draw people in.
First, the elevator pitch should answer the question, “Who are you?” and your enthusiastic description of your unique skills.
Here are some examples:
My name is Katy.
I am a photographer.
I specialize in maternity photos.
What I do is help women feel their most gorgeous, natural, and comfortable in their beautiful final stages of pregnancy.
What makes me the best is how I help women feel at ease so that their true essence comes through on camera and shows in the results.
Could this be useful to someone you know?
I take new client consultations Tuesdays and Thursdays after 6 p.m.
Be Patient With Content Marketing
You may hear the term “content marketing” thrown around a lot. What is it? Simply producing and sharing valuable content, for free, with the intent to make a sale in the future—from how to style your hair with a beachy wave to how to whip up the perfect summer salad. Pure and simple.
Whether it’s through blog posts, video tutorials, webinars or free samples, people want to “try before they buy.” Content marketing builds familiarity and trust, but it also takes time. And this is where most people slip up. The average blogger gives up after their first post—they get frustrated about the fact that they aren’t famous or making money after five minutes. But guess what? As with any business, it takes time and consistency before anyone notices you.
Advice on Pricing
There are two main risks here: overpricing and underpricing.
If you overprice, you will hurt your sales, box clients out, and struggle to get crucial testimonials and have sufficient “wins” in your business. You will be inaccessible to your target audience.
But most common in side hustles is not overpricing, it’s underpricing. If you underprice you will kill your margins and your product/service might appear “cheap.” Many people equate price with value, so if you are too far on the lower end the assumption might be that your product or service is simply no good. Which is not necessarily true! It just means that sneaky impostor syndrome has got you too scared to raise your rate more in line with your market.
The best way to kick off your pricing is to know your competition: What is the going rate for your product/service on the market? How do you compare in terms of quality, expertise, and experience?
What You Don’t Know About Failure
Here is what you need to remind yourself of when you experience rejection in your side hustle. You are not alone. Oprah Winfrey was pulled off the air as an evening news reporter and was told that she was “unfit for TV.” Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Walt Disney was fired from a local newspaper when his editor told him he lacked imagination.
Everyone should be sacked at least once in their career because perfection doesn’t exist.
K. Rowling admits that her first Harry Potter book was rejected by twelve publishing houses. Twelve! Here is what she said, “Failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.”
There is much value in failing! Don’t let personal or professional setbacks negatively impact your outlook: reframe them as learning and growth opportunities.
The Possibilities Are Endless
Here is a little universal truth that not everyone is aware of. When you walk in the direction of your dreams, take action, get busy, and gain momentum, the universe greets you halfway. In times of doubt, guard your thoughts like a bulldog. When doubt creeps in, defer to why it will work out (spoiler: it always does).
It’s not for the money. It’s not to be a CEO of something. It’s not to have full creative control or to one day hand in that overdue resignation letter. It’s because you have to. It’s because your contribution matters
What Will You Do Now?
Yes, you’ve learnt tips, tools and positive self-talk that hopefully save you some frustration. But what’s more important than the advice? Your inner wisdom. The wisdom that’s compelling you to create something. That whisper that pushes you forward, the one that won’t let up even when you feel down. The voice that urges you to forge ahead.
Honor that wisdom. It’s not wrong. It asks you, “Hey, what if it does work out?”
So let’s find out.