44 million Americans can't be wrong. Having your own small business can be both mentally and financially rewarding. We all have skills that we use in our day to day life that can be turned into profit machines for us, if we focus. The question becomes what do you love doing and how can you make money doing it. Here are some thing you should consider when looking to launch your side hustle.
1. Pick Something You Love Doing
Your small business should be something you are passionate about, not another job. Taking on a side job you hate on top of another job you also already hate is unsustainable. There's more to life than just making those Benjamins. There are some pretty obvious answers out there. If you're a social butterfly with a license something as easy as driving for Uber or Lyft might come naturally to you, and according to Time, you can pocket between $15 - $17 an hour. If you have a passion for a niche of any kind, share your expertise with others via YouTube or through a blog. If you can build an audience, you can make money from ad revenue. Socialblade has a fun tool that will project revenue that you could earn based on daily page views. If you don't know what your passion is, here is a list of 99 side hustle business ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
2. Understand Your Start-up Costs
What is it going to cost you to get started? Something as easy as Uber might have no up-front costs if you already have an eligible car and auto-insurance. A blog or YouTube channel could also be started for less than $100. A direct sales hustle such as selling health supplements, home goods, etc. can also be started for less than $100. You don't have to have a ton of money to get started. Like with anything else, figure out what your budget is and go from there. You can start small and build a business over time, expanding as time and money permits.
3. Set a Schedule and Time Commitment
A side hustle is exactly that. Something you do on the side. How much time do you reasonably have to work on another project? Can you spare 1-2 hours a day? More? Less? This is important. Your skills and time are the two most crucial pieces of starting a new business. If you can't dedicate time to a new project, you are destined to fail. Some structure is going to be required. If you can dedicate 1-2 hours a day to your project, calendar out that time on a daily or weekly basis. Don't neglect your new business baby. It will need attention.
4. Be Prepared for Hardships
A new business doesn't launch itself. You may find yourself humbled by the amount of effort that goes into building a customer base. More often than not, you won't be able to simply put up a sign and have customers banging on your door for products or advice. These things take time. If you have a good product or provide a service of value, your customer base will be built over time. Don't expect miracles.
5. Protect Yourself
Starting a business can come with risks. You may inadvertently expose yourself to personal liability if you are acting as a sole proprietorship, which could expose your assets like a house, to a lawsuit. Know your options and explore creating your company under a LLC to help limit your liability. A LLC can be created in many states for less than $100. A LLC also comes with some tax implications and they won't be necessary or the right fit for every business. Explore your options and consult with an attorney as needed. You'll also want to consider trademarking your company name and logo. LegalZoom can be a good low cost option for beginners. Depending on your business activities, you may also want to consider business insurance.
6. Understand Your Finance Options
Getting financing for a new business can be a struggle. Many loan options will only be available for existing businesses with proven income. You may be able to secure a small business loan or a business credit card with a personal guarantee. Be sure you are confident in your business idea and have a business plan in place before taking out any business loans. Business credit cards are a relatively low risk way to manage your business expenses and track spending when you first start up though.
7. Know When to Quit
This is the hardest part. While you have to understand that it may take time for your business to turn a profit, you also cannot take on endless amounts of losses. As part of your overall goals, have an exit strategy prepared. What is the worst case scenario for your new business? This will help you track progress on those days you aren't making money.
A Penny for Our Thoughts:
A side hustle can be extremely rewarding. It can help you balance your work life by engaging in an activity you love and help you balance your budget if you need some extra cash. The dark side can mean a huge time suck that slowly drains you of your life force as you try to succeed. These are all things to consider before you dive in to the deep end and start your own business.