Have you ever thought about starting a side hustle only to realise that you've got a full-time job that you cannot leave?
Your full-time job should not be the reason that you give up on trying something you want to try - it wasn't for hundreds of thousands of others during the recent pandemic.
Following covid, many people realised that their jobs were not as 'safe' as they believed them to be.
While a bunch of people were let go due to a massive drop in revenue for local, retail, and hospitality businesses especially, a lot of others were put on furlough with the rest of the workforce wondering when their turns will come.
With that said, a lot of people took it into their own hands to find an alternative source of income just in case they lose their jobs.
I, for one, started to see the instability with going to university and getting a job in uncertain times like these, and hence, decided to go all out on entrepreneurship.
Many people stumbled across starting their own side hustles, with many, becoming wildly successful businesses thereafter.
So how exactly did these people build successful side hustles and businesses despite the fact that they had a full-time job to work?
In this article, we're discussing how to start a profitable side hustle while working a full-time job.
Common lies about starting a side hustle
If you ask anyone in the world "would you like to make an extra $1000 per month," they're likely to say yes.
Only a minority of people will tell you no, or unless they're Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk.
A lot of people would love to start side hustles to make some extra money on the side, however, there are limiting beliefs that hold them back.
Some of the most popular limiting beliefs are:
- "It's already been done"
This is a problem I personally struggled with for a long time.
I struggled to understand competition.
If everything in the world has already been done, then why would anyone choose me over an already established company?
When you really take the time to think about this, it can be derailing and kill all dreams of ever starting your own business.
Just look around you - go to a supermarket and sweep through the isles.
Go on your app store and look at apps like Bolt or Uber, even Lyft.
There are a ton of successful businesses that do the same thing as other businesses - you don't need to reinvent the wheel.
- "I'm not an accountant!"
One of the biggest fears people have when they're interested in starting a business is numbers and accounting.
How do you manage the bills, the revenue, the profits, etc?
You don't need to worry about that in the beginning!
To begin, your main problem should be to make sure that you can make money from whatever it is you're doing.
Once you start to earn money, then your next problem is finding an accountant that can help you manage the numbers - this is not the job of a full-time (working) business owner or hustler.
- "Do I look rich to you?"
There are a ton of businesses you can start from home, that don't need money to start.
I have an article on the 5 businesses you can start now with no money.
People would rather look for excuses than opportunities.
- "No one will buy my stuff"
Imagine you've started a baking side hustle and are making donuts.
Why would someone buy your donuts over something like Dunkin Donuts?
See, you don't need to be perfect, you don't need a storefront, you don't even need a website to start earning.
You can simply set up social media, and start with those that are close to you, your friends and family.
No business ever starts out perfect before it starts to make some money.
Now that you know about the common myths and why they're not true, here are the 5 things you need to understand in order to start a profitable side hustle while working full-time.
In business, your time is your most valuable asset.
This is further amplified when you're starting a business or a side hustle while working a full-time job.
You might only have a limited number of hours per week to allocate to starting a business.
If you're a parent or a carer, then the time you have is even shorter which can make it seem almost impossible to start.
Luckily for you, setting up a side hustle doesn't take a long time, and can pay off massively in the long run.
With the scarce number of hours you have, you need to effectively manage your time so that you're maximising your results.
Last year, I would wake up and spend a while procrastinating until I figured out what it is I wanted to do for the day.
I eventually realised that I was wasting a lot of time, and so I started to think through and plan my day the day before to save myself this lost time.
Create a timetable for when you're not working your full-time job and outline the hours where you're free.
You want to allocate hours to learning about starting a side hustle, and hours to thinking about what it is you want to do.
This is going to be the easiest way to ensure that you're getting real work done while you're working on your side hustle.
As we go through the rest of the points, you'll want to ensure that you update your timetable daily to make sure that you spend time on the right things for the next day.
Meaning, once we figure out the idea, you allocate time over the next few days for the planning and execution of the idea, and so on.
You may already have a clear idea of what it is you want to do, if so, then that's great.
However, a majority of people get stuck at the start line trying to figure out what it is they want to do exactly.
In fact, many people's journeys are cut short right here because the indecision kills them.
At this point, your mind is either completely blank or you might have a swarm of ideas rushing around in your mind.
Either way, it's very hard to pick an idea.
You might have seen a lot of people making money with eCommerce.
However, there are also a lot of people making a ton of money owning a marketing and SEO agency.
Wait! How about starting affiliate marketing? It sounds fairly simple, right?
Maybe you should start a blog because you heard someone making $100,000 per month from it.
The truth is, there is massive opportunity wherever you look.
You can make money and build a successful side hustle in any industry with almost any business model.
This is just shiny object syndrome kicking in. It's better to fight it off now, than later on when you're already working on your business.
I struggled with shiny object syndrome for a long time - and still sort of do.
It's when you jump from idea to idea because you see people making a lot of money in a different market or industry than you.
Let's think about thinking of an idea a little differently,
Think about how much time you have to spend per week on building your side hustle, then start to think about your passions or interests.
Are there any industries you're particularly interested in or passionate about?
If so, start to think about those. There might be a perfect opportunity there.
From here, you'll want to make sure that the business you choose doesn't take up dozens of hours per week, especially if you can't spare this time.
Choose a side hustle you'll be happy running a few years from now, something that will make you proud being the owner of.
Now that you know what side hustle you're looking to start, the next step should be to put together an execution plan.
How will your side hustle work? Who is your customer segment? Where will you find customers? Where do your customers normally hang out?
There are a ton of questions you need to answer before starting your business.
I've written an article that outlines the one-page business plan that can take you from 0 to $1m.
When you're working a full-time job, you're not going to have enough time to run the business and write a 100-page business plan too.
That's why this one-page business plan is so special, you can cover everything you need to while only spending half an hour or less filling it out.
The most important questions you want to answer are going to be:
- Who is your customer?
The most important part of any business is the customer.
When I owned a marketing agency, my audience was real estate agents in the United States who were looking to make more money from their jobs while saving more time.
Think through who your audience is going to be - who do you want to appeal to?
- Where do you find your customers/customer acquisition?
Every audience will have a specific place where they hang out.
I've started to delve deeper into the world of cryptocurrency and NFTs recently, and have realised that most of these people can be found in 1 of these 2 places (if not both).
Therefore, if my audience was the NFT industry, then I would acquire them on these two platforms.
In general, you'll be able to find a lot of people on Facebook groups, on LinkedIn, or by building a following on Instagram or Twitter.
- What problem does your side hustle solve?
Businesses and side hustles earn money because they solve a problem.
Every successful business has been successful because they've managed to solve a big problem for a large number of people around the world.
Amazon, Apple, Uber, Google.
All of these companies have done extraordinary things that have solved massive problems, and in return, they've become wildly valuable.
What is the problem you want to solve? You don't need to be the next Amazon or Apple, but you will need to solve a problem.
- And we also need to think about how we'll build and launch the business
Now that we understand some of the most important elements of our plan, we need to figure out how we'll actually bring our business to life.
In general, you're better off building an audience before starting a business.
Let's think about it a little differently.
Person A and Person B are both business coaches.
3 months later, person A has been able to find 1 client who paid him $1000 - not too bad, right?
On the other hand, person B has built a following of 10,000 people and is now able to sell them on his programs.
He made a video talking about his coaching program and had 100 people reach out to him about it.
Out of these 100 people, 5 people decided to work with him.
His program costs $3000, one-time.
Overall, person A made $1000 in 3 months, while person B built an audience and made $15,000.
The power of a brand/following is unmatched.
Today, TikTok is your best friend for building a brand.
I suggest building up a following or putting out a lot of content on a consistent basis before bringing your idea to life.
That way, you're essentially guaranteed customers when you do eventually build the business (plus, it's much less time-consuming).
You can have the best business in the world, but if you don't have good marketing, then no one is going to know about it.
You can have a mediocre business, but with the right marketing strategies, you'll be able to take over the market.
Marketing is the piece of the puzzle that a lot of people can't grasp.
The first-ever eCommerce business I built failed due to the fact that I wasn't a good marketer.
I was scared I'd lose a lot of money before I can start getting customers and so I quickly shut the business down.
As more people start businesses, there will be a lot more competition and so marketers will only keep increasing in value.
A lot of people have the ability to build a business, however, driving traffic and customers to that business is what they struggle with.
There are many different marketing strategies you can take advantage of, which all fit into the below categories.
There is organic traffic, then there is paid traffic.
While organic traffic might be time-consuming to kick in and get the engines turning, paid traffic is much faster, but also a lot more resources-driven.
Let's first explain what both are so that you're more comfortable making the right decision.
- Organic traffic
Organic traffic is free traffic that comes across your business or side hustle through the content you put out.
For example, if you decide to build an audience before building a business, your audience will be organic traffic that flocks to your business when it's ready.
On the other hand, you can improve your SEO (search engine optimization) on Google or other search engines in order to rank higher on Google.
This way, when people search for words related to your business, you'll be on the first page of Google and so you'll get traffic that way.
Almost 90% of people never end up going onto the 2nd page of Google, and so you'll want to make sure you rank on the first page.
One way you can improve your SEO ranking is by putting out content relevant to your audience.
By writing blog articles consistently, you'll be able to build a following over time and start to rank higher on Google - that's why you may notice that a ton of larger businesses all have blogs.
- Paid traffic
Paid traffic is much more direct.
There are a ton of places you can pay for traffic.
Let's say that your side hustle is Amazon/eBay arbitrage.
You'll be able to pay eBay or Amazon to boost your listings and get you more traffic to your listings, in order to get more sales.
However, most online businesses leverage Instagram, Google, YouTube, or Facebook advertising.
These are some of the largest platforms in the world, and they've created marketing programs that allow businesses to advertise on them.
These are far better than traditional marketing strategies like TV or billboards because you're able to capture a large number of eyeballs for a low dollar amount.
You can get 100s of thousands of impressions on your ads for as little as $20 or more.
The most expensive, yet the most effective, is Google ads.
When people search things on google, they're searching with intent meaning they're likely ready to make a purchasing decision.
Paying for Google ads allows you to put your ads on the top of search results so that you're the first thing people see when they're searching.
You may decide to pay for ads if you struggle to make content, or simply don't have enough time due to your full-time job.
Many people start businesses by running adverts then slowly improve their efficiency by hiring people to create content which allows them to rank higher on search engines and therefore, reduce their advertising budgets.
This is where things start to get fun.
You've built a business that is getting customers consistently and is growing fairly quickly.
There are a ton of things you can do to take your business to the next level, however, it's usually best to stick to what's already working.
If you've built an audience and are marketing to them, then you should stick to this.
If you've started a business and are running adverts, then this is what you should carry on doing.
At the same time, you're going to have a big decision to make.
You've started the business and it's growing faster than you ever thought possible.
It's starting to take a lot more time to maintain and you're worried this will affect your full-time job.
Here, you can make a decision to quit your job and go full-time on your side hustle, essentially turning it into a business.
You can ask to work part-time rather than full-time, as you scale your business further.
Or, my favorite option, become a boss by spending time on hiring people to help run your business.
In order to turn your side hustle into a real business, you're going to need to start hiring the right people to help you scale your operations.
There's a common rule of thumb that states that you should hire out your weaknesses.
Our first hire was a virtual assistant to help us find prospects, reach out to them, and book them in.
Next, we realised we were terrible at selling on a call.
Therefore, I started to look for commission-only salespeople.
Here's an article on hiring an A-team if you are building a marketing agency.
Before you start hiring, you must first understand what is worth hiring for or what you should simply automate.
AI has come very far and it's capable of doing a lot of things that were impossible not long ago.
Some of the repetitive tasks your business needs to do can simply be automated using artificial intelligence.
Are you struggling to post on social media? There are tools you can use, like Buffer, to help you schedule posts.
Maybe you're tired of writing articles or ad copy? There are AI-driven software companies that help you write articles or ad copy in minutes.
Make a list of the things you do every day at your company, then start to tag them with 'automate,' 'delegate,' or 'dislike.'
If you tag something with delegate or dislike, you should probably start looking for people who can help you fill these roles.
However, for automation, you can start with inexpensive software to help you out.
That's how you can start a profitable side hustle while working a full-time job.
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