$100 a Month Spotlight: Each month, I will be shining the light on a resource, hobby, or money-making idea that you can start to implement for $100 or less. Our first guest is Sharon Hujik, who I have been working with since 2011. This is the first in a three-part series on how to start a side hustle. Keep up with part two and three as well!
If launching a new side hustle is on your list of goals for 2019 you are not alone. According to a recent Bankrate survey, nearly 4 in 10 (37%) of Americans have a side hustle, with the average annual income exceeding $8,000. These budding entrepreneurs are using the extra income as discretionary spending, to pay down debt, or to establish a financial foundation for larger business goals. And while you may think the gig economy is driven by Millenials, Generation X and Baby Boomers represent more than 70% of this economic segment.
Why is this such a popular option?
People are starting side hustles for a variety of reasons. They may “want to explore whether an idea or a service or a product that they have is a viable business,” says Diane Mulcahy, Professor at Babson College. Or, you are ready to explore something you’ve been interested in, add some fun and creativity into your life, or even gain a new skill set.
The rise in Side Hustles also reflects a shift in employer/employee relationships, with many people acknowledging that job security feels like a distant memory. One of the best avenues to protect against that insecurity is to create an additional source of income. If you have income from multiple sources, your risk is greatly reduced. And I’m convinced that most people have what they need (right now!) to earn income beyond their 9-5 job.
Whatever the reason, it has never been easier for people to earn extra money. The barriers to entry are exceptionally low, with social media and online marketplaces available for almost every niche. Gone are the days where small business loan applications are the first step in an entrepreneur’s dream. The internet brings the world to your doorstep!
So, How do you get started?
I work with a lot of entrepreneurs who started out with a Side Hustle which has now grown to generate real, transforming income. How did they get started? I commonly see three themes that almost all of them share:
Use What You Have
The very best side hustles utilize skills, talents or passions that already exist, often repurposed into a new arena. With most side hustles it is really important to keep things simple and implement them quickly. You want to try something that doesn’t cost a lot of money, need a large investment of time to learn, or training to get started.
So what should you do? Take an inventory of your resources! You already have expertise or interests that you can leverage. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself what aspect of your current job you feel most confident in and pay attention to see what type of work really brings you joy… Those are great clues on where your side hustle might grow from!
- What is something that you really enjoy doing?
- Pay attention to what you enjoy the most at work – what is the best part of your day?
- What are you good at (at home, at work, in your hobby?)
- When do people compliment you? What do they seek your opinion about?
Pay Attention (and think about how to Sell Shovels!)
There is a wonderful business adage that I often reference… During the US Gold Rush of 1849, the person who made the most money sold the shovels. You see, the fundamental hallmark of a successful side hustle is that it solves a problem or meets a need. People are willing to pay you if it saves them time, makes their life easier/more enjoyable, or helps them achieve a goal they desire. Those rushing to California dreamed to make their fortune by striking gold (a high risk, low probability proposition). But those who sold supplies to those gold-dust-dreamers had a steady stream of predictable income.
Can you leverage this idea in your community (both your real community and your virtual community)? Look for areas where the things you are talented at and that you enjoy doing, overlap with the needs you observe.
- What are people struggling with? How can you make that easier for them?
- What is something you are doing already that helps people?
- What problems can you solve?
- How can you make someone’s life easier or business more successful?
Just Go For It
A side hustle is beautiful because it isn’t complicated. But you can make it complicated if you get stuck in the over thinking, over planning, over analyzing trap. If you are thinking about starting something, you should go for it.
Don’t wait for perfect. Don’t wait for the stars to align. Just start.
Many of my clients will tell you that what they started out doing, is not what they are doing now. However, if they hadn’t started with their first side hustle they wouldn’t have been ready when a bigger, different opportunity popped up. I know from personal experience that this is true!
If you have an idea give yourself a budget ($100 sounds good!) and a month to get it off the ground.
Maybe you’ll learn a new skill. Maybe you’ll make a new connection in your network. Maybe you’ll have a blast. And maybe this is the first step in a journey that turns into something completely different. But you have to get started!
There is also the chance that it doesn’t work out. Maybe you’ll find that you hate it. If that’s the case, don’t be discouraged, this not bad news. You’ve lost very little and learned important information about what you should not do. Pick a new idea that is informed by what you have learned and go try a new idea.
This is Your Time!
Never before has there been greater access to markets and communities to launch new ideas and make an extra income. I am profoundly convinced that each and every person has a talent or skill that they can leverage into a side hustle. I am also amazed by the creativity and passion that shows up every time I work with a new client who has taken this “bull by the horns” and stepped into their dreams. I hope you feel excited and empowered to make it happen in 2019!
Part Two Coming Next: Simple steps to validate your side hustle idea and keep you on track for success!
Ready to Learn More? I invite you to download a free copy of Five Steps to Start your First Side Hustle at SharonHujik.com. It’s a great way to access resources and tips that will help you get started. And if you have questions or successes stories, I would love to hear them!