You’ve been thinking and dreaming about it for months now.
You’ve finally decided you want to start a side business, but you just don’t know how to start it. You don’t mind working at your day job, but you know you don’t want to be working there forever.
Having a side hustle – whether you’re a stay-at-home mom like me or a full-time working mom out of the house – is the first step to having the freedom to control your destiny.
Okay. That sounds a little cheesy, I know, but it’s true!
For those of you who don’t know what a side hustle is, it’s when you do extra work on the side of your full-time work to earn a bit of income. And if you do it right, this can eventually be your main hustle.
No more gossipy co-workers or a nagging boss to hear everyday. With a side hustle business you have the option to earn enough cash on the side to quit your day job. Wouldn’t that be nice?
But, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.
If you want to start a side hustle today and have no clue where to start, here are six steps you need to follow for a successful launch!
Before we get into the nitty gritty of this post, I’ve got a free 15-page promotional kit with templates and resources to help you start some of the things we’re about to talk about in this post. Just sign up below to grab your kit. It’s free!
1. Monetize Your Passion
For most of us, you may have no idea what you could side hustle. If you’re not crafty and not interested in making scarves or leg warmers, what can you offer?
Ideally, you want to find something you LOVE doing, you’re good at and people are going to pay you for it.
If you’re still stuck, here’s a post on 22 different freelance services you can offer.
Some popular side hustles include:
- Freelance Writing – Alicia Rades goes to school, blogs and runs a freelance writing business on the side.
- Virtual Assisting – Allison of Frugal on the Prairie, side hustle’s as a virtual assistant and is a stay-at-home mom.
- Blogging – Michelle of Making Sense of Cents has had many side hustles, including blogging.
- Start an Etsy Shop – Nikki of Mommy My Way sells teething necklaces on Etsy on the side.
What if you have something you love doing and you’re good at, but there’s no market for your passion?
Try considering something else you’re sort of good at. I didn’t choose freelance writing as my side hustle because I’m some great writer.
I chose it because it looked like something fun to do and I enjoy writing. So, if you enjoy photography or copywriting or designing, consider those services for your side hustle.
2. Make Space
Okay, let’s get real here.
If you want to grow your side hustle and really make it your thang, you need a dedicated space in your place.
For me, my desk and laptop are in my main bedroom practically in the closet (I can touch my shirts and jeans).
For you, it may just be a nook in the kitchen or in your spare room. No matter where it is, just having that space makes your side hustle feel legit.
It turns your passion and hobby into a biz and gives you that extra confidence that what you’re doing can become successful and profitable. I mean, just look at Melyssa Griffin! She was offering design services, but once she was making enough moola with her blog, she gave that service up!
3. Create a Schedule
Having a side hustle takes a lot of dedication and commitment. And it takes time.
If you work full-time, then when do you side hustle? It’s not like you can only do it on the weekend, especially if you are trying to build an online business.
For most people they wake up earlier and work on their hustle when they come home from their day job.
They also work on the weekends.
Since I freelance write part-time, I consider this my side hustle. I’m a full-time mama here!
For me, my schedule changes daily, but I try to write in blocks of 2-3 hours. My twins still nap in the day – hallelujah! – so I write during their nap and when they go down for the night.
I’m not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination (if I could have my coffee via IV-drip, I would!), so that’s why I work late at night.
But, for others, waking up at the crack of dawn is better for them than hustling until midnight.
To each their own, right? Just find what works for you and stick to it.
If you need more tips to maximize your productive times, check out my post on 26 ways to supercharge your productivity.
4. Get a PayPal Account
You want to get paid right? Since your side hustle is online, you need an easy way to get paid.
PayPal is a universal online payment system and most businesses and solopreneurs use it.
There is a small transaction fee of 2.9% so just chalk it up to doing business. Since you’ll be using your PayPal account for your side hustle, opt for a business account if you want, but it’s probably not necessary at first if you’re just freelancing it up.
You’ll be able to send invoices to your clients and receive payments from your customers.
5. Track Your Hustle
You’re actually running a business, so it’s a pretty good idea to keep track of what’s going on.
The easiest way to start is with a P&L sheet. This tracks your profits and losses.
You can easily draft this in Google Sheets or on Microsoft Excel. Do a month-to-month P&L and see how much your side hustle is making you. If you notice it’s on the up and up, you can start to really think of the idea of turning it into your main hustle.
You’ll also want to track your deductions for taxes. I typically set aside 30% of my earnings each month, but check out how much you should set aside in your home state.
Just remember, if you make more than $400 as a self-employed person, you’ll have to file a tax return, even if you otherwise wouldn’t be required to.
Other things you want to keep track of are:
- Invoices sent
- Payments (if outsourcing)
- Pitches sent
6. Develop a Hustle Strategy
This is it! Up until now, you haven’t officially started hustling. But now you’re ready.
You need to come up with a plan to generate income with your side hustle. Since I have a serviced-based business, rather than a customer-based business like an Etsy Shop, here’s a strategy to help you get noticed and earn you some cash.
The hustle strategy is a plan to get your name out there. Right now, no one knows you have anything to offer.
Maybe you’ve been blogging on the side for the last year and now you want to start doing Pinterest images for other bloggers.
Whatever you choose as your side hustle you’ll want to focus on blogging about it and pitching.
Develop a Blog Content Schedule
If you already have a blog or you need a blog for your side hustle, you want to come up with a schedule that highlights and promotes your services.
Let’s imagine for a minute.
You want to do some virtual assistant work so you create posts around the problem prospects face. Some blog post ideas might be:
- 45 Things You Can Outsource to a VA
- Solopreneur? Why You Need a VA Yesterday
- 120 Ways You Can Be More Productive in Your New Business
By focusing on the problem – not enough time, too many tasks to do in a day, having to take responsibility for all parts of a business etc.. – you can create blog posts around that and highlight the benefits of having a VA on your side.
Pitch Your Little Heart Out
What is pitching?
Basically it’s a “speech” on why your services are perfect for a prospect’s business. If you are a freelance writer you might mention how your writing has generated hundreds of shares (even if it was only that one blog post you wrote a year ago).
If you want to do Pinterest marketing you can talk about how you were able to double or triple your following and how it’s your #1 referral for traffic.
Who do you pitch to?
There’s two methods I use to find clients. They are: cold pitching and pitching to job ads.
Cold pitching means you scout out companies, bloggers or start-ups and pitch them your services. They aren’t actively seeking anyone so your pitch has to really convey the benefits to having a writer or social media marketer or a designer for customized social media banners.
Pitching to job ads isn’t as hard-core, since you know these prospects are seeking someone out. Here you want to explain what you do and how you can help them out.
For example, here’s a job ad for a blog writer on ProBlogger:
Basically you follow the instruction on how to apply and wait to see if they hire you.
Make sure to grab my free side hustle promotion kit to get more job sites, sample pitch emails and more!
7. Start a Blog
If side hustling is really what you want to do, then the best avenue to take is to start a blog. When I started my freelance writing business, that was the first thing I did. I created a couple of blog posts and shared it on my social media channels. This got my name out and helped prospects find me!
***if you want to start a successful side hustle business, start a blog! Here’s my step-by-step tutorial on how to start a blog in only 10 minutes!**
A blog also helps define your expertise in your niche. For example, if you want to set up an Etsy shop and sell your printables, you can still start a blog and provide useful tips on using your printables, why yours are superior and creative ways to use your printables.
Or, if you are a coach for mamas, your blog can focus on tips to help moms run a successful home life or business or both!
Balancing It All
Having a full-time job or children to take care of during the day and finding time to run a side hustle can be a challenge.
I’m not the perfect mom; if my kids squeal with delight when I stop folding the laundry to play with them, then I know I’m working too much.
But, I always think about the why behind doing this. I chose to stay home and work so that I could take care of my twins. So that I can be the one to put them down for their naps or cook their meals.
And you can do the same too.
Starting your own side hustle is one of the best things you can do for you and your family!
What are you waiting for?