The COVID-19 pandemic made the number of side hustles rise. The reason for that is not only additional income but also the newfound convenience of remote work.

In fact, one in three Americans has a side hustle. That may be for various reasons, but the majority choose extra income as the main drive. It is also something that you do outside your regular job, so it doesn’t impact your primary job’s responsibilities. 

If you’re considering starting a side hustle too, you’re in the right place. This beginner’s guide will help you plan a side hustle in 5 easy steps, even if you still don’t know where to start.

1. Settle on a Business Idea

If you have a passion, a hobby, or a skill, you can monetize it by building your own business.

Conduct market research on what products or services are needed. Ideas can come from a chat with your friends, online advertisements, research, or a personal need that’s rare to meet, e.g., healthy catering or non-allergic natural soap. 

Note down all of your ideas in a business plan that you can stick to. With some fine-tuning, it can become a solid base, which you can use to track your business growth. 

After getting the blueprint of your business, try to measure how big you want your business to be. For example, a healthy catering business will have a smaller scope of customers as you may not be able to ship worldwide. On the other hand, a small digital marketing agency has no growth limits as there are no limitations on your target market’s location. 

There’s no right or wrong when choosing the scope of your side hustle. No matter how big or small your business will be, the most important thing is to have good time management and be able to juggle your job and your side hustle without any negative effects.

2. Test Your Idea

The next step is finding your niche and making a pilot project of your business idea. Create a buyer persona that can help you visualize your ideal customer and use it to create your business’s branding. 

At this stage, you can start marketing your products to a small audience. Try to approach friends and family that match your niche and ask them to review your product. 

Use the feedback to improve your product or service. Do it consecutively and continue improving until you feel confident enough to present it to a larger audience.

If you sell skills or services, you can use the same steps explained above while also making the most of freelance job portal sites. Upsell your talent by creating a profile with strong personal branding

After testing your business idea, evaluate how much time you have to spare. Does your side hustle affect your daily job? If yes, try to make changes to your business plan.

3. Develop Your Side Hustle

When it’s time to develop your business, start taking technical details into account. Begin by deciding how to manage resources and financial requirements, then turn your research and development into something tangible. 

Start by sharpening your business’s identity, values, and authenticity. Create original designs that make your brand visually attractive to your audience. 

You don’t need to invest a lot of money from the get-go, as there are plenty of free resources available. For example, Canva is a free beginner-friendly tool for designing. Apply the design to low-budget business packaging ideas to make it more appealing. 

If you are selling a service or prefer taking freelance jobs, create an attractive portfolio. Collect all the best projects with their results, and present them to potential employers. 

It is also a good idea to set up a business evaluation system to control the progress of the business. Set measurable and realistic development goals and create a timeline for a regular evaluation. 

4. Launch and Market the Side Hustle

When you first release a side hustle business, the product will likely still be in the “minimum viable product (MVP)” stages. As you introduce your products/services to a broader audience, it might not be an easy journey to encourage people to buy your idea. 

However, you can continually improve your product while maximizing your marketing and brand awareness. Here is the list of marketing elements that you should consider having: 

  1. A unique brand name. Think of a name that will be your brand identity and your business’s domain name when it goes live. 
  2. A logo. Having a logo can help your brand stand out and create a strong identity branding that helps people recognize your business. 
  3. Social media accounts. Implement all your branding elements in the social media accounts, then start creating content. Do it alongside business networking to increase organic traffic. 
  4. An official website. Having a website shows your brand’s credibility

Start small, and don’t orry if your business doesn’t make numerous transactions at first. Keep spreading the awareness and always ask for feedback to improve your products/services.  

5. Analyze and Measure Business Performance

Consider different financial tools to help measure your business’s income. 

Not only that, user experience and satisfaction are equally crucial for your business to survive. Google Analytics is a free but very helpful tool to generate an automated report of your website’s visitors, and it’s customizable to the information you need. To get the most out of it, make sure to have a reliable hosting service.

Using the visitor’s data, you can plan your content more strategically. The measurable metrics on the report are also valuable for conducting general checkups on how your business is performing. 

Regularly set up some new fresh ideas or improvements for your business. If your brand doesn’t perform well, change your strategy and look for better options. 

On the other hand, consider delegating someone else to run your business or make it your next full-time job if it continues growing. 

Conclusion

Having a side hustle is relatively common, thanks to the limitless resources and opportunities available online. It’s a great source of extra income as long as you’re good at managing your time and energy. 

When starting a side hustle, there are five steps that you can follow: 

  1. Choose an idea that you can monetize.
  2. Create a pilot project before launching your business to test your idea.
  3. Develop your business idea and sharpen your business value.
  4. Launch your business and spread awareness.
  5. Evaluate your business’s performance. 

Make sure your side hustle doesn’t impact your full-time job, at least before it grows big enough to become a full-time business. Create tangible plans and evaluations to avoid being overwhelmed juggling the responsibilities. 

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