Starting a side business can be a great way to build an income stream, monetize, fund, or scale a hobby, or create a more gradual and reliable shift from a job to entrepreneurship.
In a side hustle, you need to be extremely clear on what your desired outcome is before starting. Whether that’s an extra $1,000/month, more fun, or more impact on the world. This way (especially in cases of desired income increase), you can create business models around spare time, systems, and viability to it serving you.
The biggest thing to start with is, are there enough people out there who already want what you’re thinking about providing? If you can’t easily say yes to this, be prepared to invest into answering that question well. Because failure isn’t the worst, succeeding at the wrong things is the worst.
If you don’t know what people want solved, a technique you can use is the YWS technique. When talking to someone at an event or throughout your day, ask them what they do first. As they say something like “lawyer”, start asking them questions about what they’re finding annoying or want fixed. Then if they say “I would love for someone to pick up and do my laundry professionally and safely to save me time”, when they ask you what you do, you can say “You know how a lot of professionals are so busy? Well I actually offer laundry services, so that they can get their time back”.
This is one way to pitch your target market on the spot, and potentially even get a client. If they say “Wow, that sounds perfect! How much does it cost?” you can say “Well I don’t like to pitch people at events and be ‘one of those guys’, how about I can write down your phone number and I can give you a short call explaining the service and if it sounds like a fit”. Then you have some time to research pricing and viability of that as a side hustle.
Let’s say with this laundry example, you know it will take you an average of one hour to drive and come back, and you can outsource the washing of the clothes for 20 bucks. That means you’ll need to charge at least $60 dollars per visit to make it worth it for your time etc.
Starting out, all you should need is a phone/networking event, and to complete The Rich Man’s MBA. I only recommend doing the things below AS YOU GROW. The things below should come from your revenue. Most of these things are just to make your process more efficient and organized. Don’t mistake setting up tools for making sales!
Recommended tools as you grow it:
Google Calendars or iCloud Calendar – to do the scheduling and appointments so you always deliver reliably
Trello – to handle tasks and delegation
Everhour and/or RescueTime – to know where your time is going and if it’s profitable
Zen99 – to handle any taxes and filing stuff (insurance as well!)
FreshBooks, Wave Apps, KashFlow, or Quickbooks – for easy entry finance and book keeping
Stripe – to handle credit cards and payment
Plasso – to create great looking single purchase or subscription pages (what I use to do all my subscription billing now)
Square – to be paid by credit card in person, they have a bunch of other awesome features coming as well
Pure Web Services – to get a cheap and effective custom website for your project
Shake – to create easy, simple, and fast legal agreements (“Shake on it?”, clever right?)
Favorites – for more tools like this that I really enjoy using
For more information on side businesses and side hustles, check out Side Hustle Nation and Ramit Sethi