We hear a lot of talk about how wages can’t keep up with the cost of living. And it’s freakin’ rough to be stuck in the cycle of living paycheck-to-paycheck. And maybe you just don’t know how to start a side hustle in order to break that cycle and live the life you want.
It wasn’t until earlier this year I really understood the concept of creating your own “side hustle” in order to boost my own income. But I did it. I started this blog with the intention to write about my passions, and yes – make money blogging.
But, how did I start earning money so quickly?
- Even though I had fears of failure, I pushed past my fears.
- I started with a business mindset.
- I dedicated a lot of time to learning how to maximize income, and dedicated a lot of time to implementing what I learned.
In short: I’ve figured out how to earn a comfortable income on the side each month. And by being an active member of the blogging community, I understand what sets a successful side business apart from the rest. And I’m ready to share with you what I’ve learned.
Because, feel me on this one: we should be working to live, not living to work.We should work to live, not live to work. Click To Tweet
So stop making excuses. Stop putting things off because you’re scared. It’s time to diversify your income stream and start a successful side hustle.
After all, starting a side hustle can help you:
- Stop living paycheck to paycheck
- Pay off your debts (like your student loans)
- Save money to travel
- Improve your resume
- Or even build a business that helps you ditch your 9-5
So here are ten things you need to do in order to build a successful side hustle.
This post contains affiliate links to help keep this blog running.
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1. List your passions, interests, and previous job responsibilities
Start by listing your passions, interests and previous job responsibilities. Then, use this as a list for what you can contribute to your future side hustle.
Whatever you create should be something you are passionate about. After all, you don’t want to burn yourself out by spending your free time on something you don’t love. Instead, you’ll be excited to be laying in bed thinking about all the ideas you have to improve your side hustle.
Finally, once you complete your list, highlight anything that makes you stand out from the crowd.
For example, think of all the comic and art shops on the World Wide Web. There’s a lot of them.
Well, Jessica from Cuddly Potatoes identified her adorably derpy doodles as the key that made her stand out from the crowd. With a Facebook following nearing 100,000, Jessica turned her derpy doodles into a business where she sells love, cuddles, and derp in the form of Cuddly Potatoes stickers, buttons, postcards, and soon – plushies!
But we can’t all be as artistic, creative, and adorable AF like Jessica. And that’s okay. Because with all your interests, your history, and all your previous experience, there is something about you that will help you stand out.
Maybe you are a social media guru who can provide excellent social media management services. Or, maybe you have your email inbox in tip-top shape and can help others with their email management through Virtual Assistant services. Or, maybe you’re just like me, with an affinity for writing, and you want to share your passions with the world via the blogosphere.
(Want to learn the details on how to start your money-making blog in minutes? Read my comprehensive tutorial here!)
2. Define your targeted audience
Who will be the targeted audience for your side hustle? Sometimes it’s natural to want to appeal to everyone.
The truth is, you can’t.
Design a product or service for a specific type of person. By figuring out as much as possible about that specific type of person, you will:
- Create social media posts your audience will relate and engage with
- Design products your audience will love
- Have a following of people who aren’t afraid to tell you what they struggle with, so you can help solve their problems.
Think about your audience as more than a demographic.
- Where does your audience shop?
- Where does your audience hang out?
- What does your audience love?
- What do they hate?
By knowing your audience, you know where you should market your products or services, and how to relate in a way that makes your future customers love you.
3. Define your mission
Your mission is a guiding statement that drives you. And it is more than a guiding statement. Your mission also tells your customers or readers what you can give them.
Think about their time like money. Except unlike money, everyone is limited to twenty-four hours in a day. Seven days in a week. You get the picture. Time is valuable, and there ain’t much of it.
People need a reason to give you a chance. They need a reason to give you, and what you offer, a time of day. So you need to show them how much value and positive influence you will have in their lives from the get-go.
When you’re crafting your mission, ask yourself: what problems are you going to solve?
Defining a mission is where most people get lost. By not defining a mission, you make it easy to get off track.
My mission has changed as I’ve grown my blog. And it’s okay if yours does, too. But for me, one thing remains consistent. When crafting my mission, I’ve always thought about:
- My audience
- What problems they have, and
- What problems I can solve for them
If you start without a mission, it’s easy to get lost or off-track. Giving yourself a mission helps you refocus.
4. Decide which side hustle fits you
Now you know all about your audience, their problems, and how you’re going to use your combination of knowledge and passion for solving their problems.
So, the natural next step is deciding the avenue where you’ll deliver your services.
- Start a blog (don’t know where to start? Follow this guide to get your blog up and running in minutes!)
- Physical product sales (like through Etsy or even Amazon)
- Podcast or webinar
- Digital product sales
- Online services (e.g. managing a business or person’s social media)
Don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to just one of the above when you’re working that side hustle.
For example, even though I made the decision to start my blog this year, I’m working on adding to my blogging revenue by developing digital products to provide and sell to my audience.
5. Make a plan and decide the “how”
It’s important to make a plan. Not just for your business concept, but for everything about your business.
Oftentimes I see bloggers write a post, get it a little SEO ready, pin it a few times, drop their link in a Facebook group (P.S. you’re doing it wrong), and just sorta expect traffic to come in.
Whether you’re writing a post, developing a product, or even marketing your services as a freelancer, you still need to answer how.
- How are you going to market the post in order to get it in front of as many eyes as possible?
- How are you going to appeal to your audience?
- Or even, how are you going to stand out from the crowd?
6. Connect with your audience via storytelling
If you are building a side hustle, you are building a brand.
How is your brand going to stand apart from others? Through your story.An outstanding brand stands out through its compelling story. Click To Tweet
You know your mission, you know your audience, you know your plan. Now you just need to connect with your audience by tying everything together for them.
- What you can do for your audience/your customers
- How you got to where you are, and how you started your business
- Why you started your business
Personalize your story. Think about personalizing your brand’s story like applying for a job: you personalize your resume and previous experience in order to show you are the right fit.Building a brand is like personalizing your resume & experience to show you're the right fit. Click To Tweet
If you personalize your story in order to connect with your audience, you show them you are the right fit for them, and you are more likely to make the sale.
7. Pay attention to what works, and eliminate what doesn’t
It’s important to pay attention to what works and eliminate what doesn’t.
When you start your side hustle, treat it like a business.
What do businesses do? They track as much as possible (e.g. clicks, conversions) in order to see what programs equal success, and what programs just aren’t working.
You don’t really have to eliminate everything that doesn’t work. Sometimes, you just need to ask yourself: how can I make this better?A successful entrepreneur always asks: how can I make this better? Click To Tweet
Because if you’re not getting traffic, not receiving engagement, and not moving forward, you’re probably doing something wrong.
8. Create a task list and stick to it
I can’t stress this enough: even though you’re starting a side hustle, it’s important to get in the mindset that you’re creating a business.
If you want your business to grow, treat it like a job.
Create a task list and stick to it.
It’s easy to get home after a long day of work and put things off until later because you’re too tired. Well, maybe you need to change the time you commit to your side hustle. I’m personally more productive in the mornings.
Figure out what you need to do. Then do it.
9. Network, network, network
To succeed in your side hustle, you should also network. Think about it this way: no one grew their business or empire alone.
By networking, you can:
- increase referrals to your business
- establish relationships with mutual benefits
- build a community of support
Start by joining a Facebook group and participating in the community. Reach out to other bloggers in your niche. Asking questions, and answering them, too.
10. Make time for you
Most importantly, remember that you still need to establish a work-life balance.
It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by your task list, especially if you hustle on top of working a full-time job.
But to avoid driving yourself absolutely crazy, you need to make time for you. And that’s the beauty of your side hustle: you create your own working schedule, instead of being subject to someone else’s schedule.
Oftentimes, I spend part of the morning working on my blog as I sip my coffee. Then, I go out for a run. Then, if I have time, I work on my blog again. Everyone has their own way of dedicating time to themselves.
It’s all on you
You are the gatekeeper of your own future. We all have fears and self-doubt. But if you’ve read this and gotten this far, it shows you’re dedicated. You’re doing the research you need to succeed.
It’s easy to complain, and it’s just as easy to give up.
“No one is visiting my blog.”
“My products aren’t good enough.”
“I don’t have the time anymore.”
Well, figure out how to entice people to visit your blog. Create products that are good enough. Make time for your side hustle.
It might sound like I’m spewing a bunch of cliches at you, but I made $675 of passive income from just one affiliate during my fourth month blogging (and even more from other sources of income).
And get this: during that same month, I traveled out of the country for two weeks with very limited Internet connection. And I still received emails telling me about the affiliate commissions I made while we were out exploring the Principality of Monaco. So that income really was passive.
So constantly ask yourself: how I can provide value to my audience. When you write a post, create an active marketing plan for it. Expand and connect with your audience via authentic storytelling. And, make the time to work on your side hustle.