Whether you’re tired of the rat race and yearn to be your own boss or it’s an art, craft, making, or baking hobby you hope to turn into a money-making passion project, the prospect of being a self-starter is both exciting and daunting in equal measure.
Dipping your toe in the water with a side hustle is a great place to start by maintaining your day job and the security it offers while simultaneously running a start-up on the side.
Time is limited, especially if you’re trying to juggle life, work, and starting a business, so in this article, we’ll share a nine-step guide to help you navigate the path of turning your side hustle into a money-making machine, and share tips and tricks that’ll set you on a track to success.
Before you waste any time, money, or energy on your side hustle, be sure to check it’s allowed alongside your existing job. Dig out your contract and do your homework.
It’s not common for businesses to have a policy stipulating this is forbidden, providing it doesn’t interfere with your job, but it can be the case.
Doing so when it’s prohibited could cost you your job, and the income stream you hoped to maintain while setting your business up, not to mention could lead to you being sued by your employer. It’s mission-critical you check the small print first.
Business ownership is both rewarding and exhausting in equal measure - add to that the pressure of a full-time job and you’re going to end up with your plate piled high. Is that something you’re willing to tackle?
Chances are, you’ll need to devote the majority of your free time, outside of your job, to this business which means making sacrifices to your personal and social life. Be honest with yourself and work out whether this is something you’re truly willing to embark on.
It’s not for everyone, but if you’ve got the passion and drive to proceed it’ll pay you back in spades.
If you’re hoping to eventually give up your existing job to pursue your side hustle full time, it’s super important your finances are healthy first.
If your personal finances aren’t under control before you take the plunge you risk jeopardising your new business as well as your current employment, so having as little debt as possible is key.
Separate personal and business
On the subject of finances, it’s a good idea to keep your personal and business finances separate as it can be tempting to dip into your savings to keep the business going and this can quickly land you in hot water.
Having a dedicated fund for your side-hustle will eradicate the temptation and ensure your security financially no matter what happens.
Test the waters with your friends, family, colleagues, or even willing volunteers in the form of a consumer focus group.
Welcome all feedback and take it into consideration going forward.
It’s also wise to conduct a little market research, scope out the competition, see what’s already out there, and differentiate yourself.
Creating a business plan is a must, it’ll keep you on track at every step of the way going forward.
Outline your goals, a breakdown of how you intend to get there, any marketing initiatives, milestones, etc.
As part of this plan, outline where you need to be with your new business in terms of growth and finances before you potentially leave your current employment. This way you can keep track of progress and always be crystal clear on where you’re at and where you’re going.
Pssst: you can find more information here.
Type of business
You need to work out which type of business ownership your side-hustle come small business falls under before registering it with Companies House. The three most common types in the UK are:
Pssst: You can scrub up on the ins, outs, pros, and cons of the various business formats here.
You want to choose the perfect name for your new venture to give it the best chance of success. Your business name is what consumers will remember you by so landing on something memorable and unique is key.
Come up with a list of options, ranked from best to worst, and head to the Companies House website to check their availability first and foremost. Don’t set your heart on a name until you’ve found out whether it’s already been used or not.
Then answer a few important questions:
*Brush up on all your small business payment options here.
The first impression prospective customers get of your business is everything, so it’s critical you give your side hustle a professional aesthetic.
Start off with your logo and branding and use this to ensure your look across all channels is consistent. Nail down the type of language your business will use as well as the tone of voice your content will carry.
Top tip: It’s a good idea to get all this information written down in a document that you can refer back to whenever you produce fresh content.
On the subject of looking professional, don’t overlook the power of a business website. While you could just stick to social channels for your online presence, the vast majority of consumers head to Google when scoping out their next purchase, so if you don’t have a website you could be missing out on heaps of potential sales.
To start with your website doesn’t need to be anything mind-blowing, but even a well put together homepage with all the information a buyer might need is important.
Good to know: If you're looking to take payments on your website, we offer a payment gateway that lets you do just that. We'll even set it all up for you so you can focus on getting the right content on your website.
As your side hustle builds momentum, it can be hard to let go of the reigns and delegate tasks to other people, but it’s important you do.
Doing it all yourself can lead to burnout, and that’ll put the brakes on all your hard work so far. Not only that, but everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and outsourcing tasks to those more capable than you is the best thing you can do for your business.
Stick to the stuff you’re great at, and accept help with other tasks, and you’ll be giving your side hustle the best possible chance of success.
If your side hustle is doing well and you’re starting to see a real return on your time and investment, it can be tempting to pull the plug on employment and dive into the world of business ownership with two feet.
While this might be the end goal, it’s important you do so at a sensible pace. Rush into it too early and ill-prepared and you could find yourself between a rock and a hard place.
Set milestones you need to reach before considering this.
If the idea of making some money on the side sounds right up your street but you’re not sure which avenue to take, check out our guide to what hobbies can be turned into a business.
And if you want to scrub up on all things small business, be sure to head over to our choc-a-bloc blog, packed full of content curated especially with start-ups and small businesses in mind.