Everyone is talking about side hustles these days. They throw around words like passive income, and serial entrepreneur. But are side hustles really all they’re cracked up to be? And how do you choose the right side hustle for you? In this article, you will learn the truth about side hustles and how to choose the right one for you.
In today’s economy, many of us want to bring in money from multiple streams of income. In fact, the wealthiest people in the world do just that. They pool their income from multiple sources, which protects them if one of those income streams dries up.
I highly encourage today’s savvy creatives to do the same. Don’t rely on a single job or source of income to sustain you. Start a side hustle and set yourself up for stability with multiple streams of income.
The Benefits of A Side Hustle
Your side hustle is the job you do alongside your primary “job” to bring in extra income. I say “job” in quotations because even people who do not have a traditional 9-5 career can start a side hustle. Being on the side just means that it is not your main source of income and you typically spend a shorter amount of time on it than you would a full-time job.
But even without the full-time commitment, there are many benefits of having a side hustle. It can help you make ends meet or just give you some extra spending money.
Once you have put in some time and work, your side hustle may even replace your main income stream and become your biggest source of income.
This happened when my husband and I started our local business. We ran our business on the side for years. But eventually, we both quit our full-time jobs and began working solely on that income stream because it not only paid our bills, but gave us the freedom to pursue things we love.
I encourage you to consider the benefits of a side hustle in your own future. Start a side business now and give it time to grow. Before long, you may be sitting on a lucrative income stream.
The Truth About Side Hustles
I’ve seen a lot of people online looking for the “best side hustles” and the “fastest passive income stream”. I believe these individuals are looking at side hustles the wrong way.
It is possible to start a side hustle and make money from it immediately, but these opportunities are rare and often require a lot of start-up money or work up front that is neither enjoyable nor fulfilling.
What Influencers Tell You About Starting A Side Hustle
Be careful which influencers you listen to.
Many influencers talk about their “top side hustles” or give you huge lists of side hustles they recommend to someone just getting started. However, many of them have never actually tried to do the things they are suggesting to you.
I don’t believe these influencers are trying to be deceitful. They are writing articles and making videos based on the popular keywords that people are asking for. But since most people don’t know the right questions to ask, these videos don’t provide all the information.
That doesn’t mean to stop listening to influencers. You can learn a lot from the free content many of them publish. However, if their own business doesn’t run off of the suggestions they are giving you, then you should assume they have limited information on that subject.
On the other hand, those influencers who have tried these business ideas and succeeded with them have usually put in a lot more work than they admit. Again, they aren’t likely leaving out information on purpose.
Many successful entrepreneurs will focus only on the benefits of starting your own side hustle and how easy it is to get started because they want to encourage you. Plus, for many of them, it’s been so long since they started, they don’t remember how difficult it was in the beginning.
Many of them enjoyed the process so much that they didn’t even realize how much work they put into it.
So, they are not lying to you. They simply adopted rose-colored glasses once they started finding success.
I believe that is actually the best-case scenario, and what you should strive for when starting a side hustle.
If you want to run a side hustle that is sustainable and will grow over time, start with something you enjoy doing. If you enjoy doing the work, it won’t feel like a waste of time when things are slow.
It Takes Longer Than You Think
Most people don’t realize that almost all side hustles start off slow. There is always a learning curve and there is usually more opportunity for growth the longer you stay in a particular niche.
Many new hustlers quit before they get a chance to see the real results and benefits of their side hustle. Influencers make side hustles sound so fast and easy that newcomers think they are doing something wrong when they don’t see similar results right away. This isn’t true.
Most side hustles take months or even years to bring in significant income. That is why it’s so important to choose a side hustle that you love. Your best bet is to find an income stream that you enjoy working on, even when it isn’t profitable. Do this and you will be far ahead of the average side hustler.
How To Choose A Side Hustle
There are three things to consider when choosing which side hustle you will start. They are:
- What do you love to do?
- What are your zones of genius? (What are you better at than most people?)
- What is there a market for?
What do you love to do?
We all have hobbies and activities we would spend time on even if we never got paid to do them. And many of them offer hidden streams of income that we may have never considered before.
If you already have a creative hobby that you would like to turn into a business, I encourage you to check out my post: How To Transform Your Talent Into A Creative Career
However, if you are still figuring out which activities you want to pursue in your new side hustle, start with a list. Make a list of at least 20 things you love to do – more if you can.
Don’t censor yourself at this step. Just list as many activities as you can and then set it aside. You are going to compare this list to another important list in a moment.
What are your zones of genius?
If you want to start a side hustle that lasts and eventually supplements your income, you need to consider what you are good at.
No one wants to pay for mediocre products and services. Plus, you are more likely to put in the effort required to be successful when you know that what you are offering is as good as or better than your competitors.
Take a moment to consider where your zones of genius are. I want you to think outside the box for this one.
What are the activities and qualities that you are better at doing than other people you know? You may be good at drawing, and talented at color coordination like many artists and creatives.
However, your zone of genius may be more subtle, such as the ability to recognize when someone around you needs support, or an eye for detail in home organization. Don’t overlook anything, even if it sounds mundane.
Make a list of at least 20 things that you are uniquely good at doing. If you find this step difficult, ask trusted friends and family to help you identify your strengths.
Comparing Your Lists
Now that you have two lists of at least 20 things each that you love to do and are good at doing, I want you to cross-reference them.
Are there any activities that ended up on both lists? What talents or activities from the two lists complement each other or work together?
Look at all the activities and talents that cross over onto both previous lists. Using these two lists, brainstorm side hustle ideas that involve things you love to do and things you are good at. Make a new list of possible side business ideas. This is what you will use for the final step.
If you need some ideas for different creative side hustles, check out these three posts:
How to Make Money From Art: 21 Streams Of Income For Artists
How To Make Money Writing: 23 Streams Of Income For Writers
What is there a market for?
You can’t have a business without customers to pay for your products or services. The final step in choosing your side hustle is finding out if there is a customer base for what you want to do. This is the research phase.
Take your new list of possible business ideas and do some internet research.
Questions you want to answer for each one:
Are there currently other businesses offering what you want to offer?
You want this answer to be yes. If no one has started a business in a similar niche, then you will have a much harder time finding customers for your business. However, look at how saturated the market is. Is there a twist or a specialization that you can bring to the niche that few others have brought thus far?
What are the start-up costs for that type of business?
Any good side hustle is likely to have some kind of start-up cost. It may be the cost of a website and a few social media ads, or maybe you have to purchase specialized equipment to make your business viable.
There is no wrong answer to this question. But you need to choose from businesses that have a start-up cost you are comfortable with.
What kind of customers purchase from the businesses that are like the side hustle you want to start, and what will they require from you?
This question is important in deciding what form you want your side hustle to take. It will also give you a head start when it comes time to build and market your business. You want to start a business with ideal customers that you enjoy working with.
You may be good at routines and helping your children through different stages of development, but if you don’t enjoy watching other people’s children, then starting an at-home daycare is probably not for you.
On the other hand, helping other moms plan developmental activities for their kids may be the perfect fit because you get to focus on helping moms rather than watching children.
How long does it take for similar businesses to turn a profit?
Some businesses will start seeing profits within the first month, while others may take a year or more. Again, there is no wrong answer to this question, but it is important that you know the answer before you get started and that the business you choose aligns with your goals.
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Once you have answered these basic questions, narrow your side-hustle choices down. You should keep no more than three.
Take your top three and do a deep-dive into what it will take to start each of those side hustles. Research each one online, watch videos, ask people you know, check out books from the library, and whatever else you need to do to learn about each business idea.
- Find out the different ways that businesses make money in the niche you are considering.
- Look at how these businesses pivot when the economy changes or when trends change.
- Research how much the average entrepreneur can expect to make in that niche and possible growth opportunities.
Gather as much information as you can about these three potential side hustles before you start.
Then choose one and put your all into it.
Remember to focus on doing what you love and then learning how to make money from it. Do this and you will put yourself on a much clearer path towards success.
Side hustles are a great way to bring in extra income and even start building a business that may one day turn into a career.
Lots of people talk about the benefits of side hustles and multiple streams of income, but not everyone understands the truth about side hustles and what they require. Plus, not every side business is the best fit for every person, so it’s important that you take the time to choose the right one for you.
To choose the best side hustle for you, look at the things you love to do, the things you are uniquely good at, and the things that the market is already set up for. The side hustles that line up with all three of these requirements are going to be the best options for you.
I can’t wait to see how you rock your new side hustle!