How to start a side business in 7 steps
Investing in your career is the smartest financial decision you can make. Why? Because it affects your long-term purchasing power. And investing in your career can mean creating additional or multiple streams of income. A side hustle can be the first step towards a significant increase in your net worth: side hustle gives you the opportunity to learn new skills and explore new career paths, while creating an additional stream of income.
I talk about starting my business, Clever Girl Finance, in my new book. Choose to thrive: triumph over adversity, get out of your comfort zone, realize your life and achieve your money dreams (opens in a new tab). The steps I share with you were essential in the early stages of building my business, which I started in 2015. As you read, you’ll notice that “getting out of comfort zones” is a central theme to launch a secondary agitation. , because it involves adopting entirely new work habits and mindsets that differ from a traditional full-time job.
If you want to start a secondary hustle, that’s totally possible. But getting your new team off the ground can be a challenge. If you’re having trouble getting your side to move, follow the steps below. With the right framework in place, your new business could grow faster than you think.
Step 1: Evaluate your options
When starting a side hustle, it’s important to find one that matches your interests and availability. Otherwise, you could face serious obstacles when trying to get the business off the ground.
Take a realistic look at how much time you have for a side activity. Look for gaps in your schedule and ask yourself when you will have time to fulfill this dream. Some jobs are more flexible than others. For example, graphic design can be done remotely and at any time, within deadlines. But a marketing consulting job can require face time and phone meetings during the traditional 9-to-5 work cycle.
Beyond your time constraints, find a side activity that you are passionate about. If you’re not interested in one aspect of the business, you’re less likely to commit the time. For example, if you don’t like the inner workings of the human body, starting a medical writing business probably isn’t a good fit, no matter how lucrative.
Step 2: Create a business plan
Once you have an idea for your side business, it’s time to create a business plan. A business plan will serve as a roadmap for achieving your goals. Before you hesitate to write this document, keep in mind that it does not have to be very long. Even if you’re just writing down realistic goals for your business, that’s a good place to start. If you really want to get your feet wet, research your competitors, visualize potential customers, and choose an operating model that matches your goals. Also, be sure to define your initial products or services.
Step 3: Explore business entity options
Before you jump into selling your product or service, pause to determine the right business entity structure. Without the proper legal structure, you will miss out on legal protections and tax benefits.
The main options include: a sole proprietorship; Partnership; limited liability company (LLC); or company. Each offers different levels of legal protection and comes with various tax implications. A sole proprietorship offers the least personal liability protection, but is inexpensive to start. Corporations offer their owners the most legal protections. But setup costs and ongoing legal maintenance costs are higher for corporations. As a business owner, you will need to decide what balance of legal protection and cost is best for you.
Step 4: Take advantage of free resources
When you start your side business, learning is the name of the game. Knowledge is truly power as you embark on this journey. The good news is that there are countless free resources available for secondary scammers. With the help of the internet, you can learn about almost any topic under the sun, like how to start a fashion line, a podcast, or a food business. Take advantage of this opportunity! Whether you need to learn new skills or understand the basics of business structures, find free resources at your fingertips, including blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channels. There are also free online courses, webinars, and one-day summits on specific topics. Check out learning-focused platforms like General assembly, the SBA (Small Business Administration) learning centerand Fiverr Blog (opens in a new tab).
Step 5: Find funding
Whatever side hustle you create, you’ll likely need funding to get started. In some cases, you may only need a few hundred dollars to get the ball rolling for certain fundamentals, like a website. But other hustles, especially those involving physical goods, materials, and equipment, may require more money.
Self-financing is the first option to consider. If you can avoid going into debt, your business will benefit. Consider setting aside some of your regular income to spend on building your side business.
But self-financing is not the only option. Crowdfunding is a useful way to get the funds you need while testing a product idea. You can also fundraise from family, friends, and angel investors. Or you can choose to take out a bank loan. But this too carries risks. Risks to keep in mind when engaging friends and family and/or angel investors include:
- Depending on the amount of money you raise, you may have to give up a significant amount of ownership and even a majority stake in the business.
- If things don’t work out, you risk creating strained relationships with friends, family, and/or investors.
The right financing option will vary depending on the secondary hustle you choose.
Step 6: Set a schedule
A realistic schedule is essential when building a side hustle. Without a set schedule, it will be difficult to find time for your new business.
Start by determining how much time you can realistically devote to your side business. As well as considering your day job, you will need to think about your other responsibilities such as caring for a family, a pet, a household, and most importantly, your own welfare and health regimes. health, whether it’s cooking for yourself or exercising. Determine what will work for you. For example, you might realize that you can only devote time to your side hustle in the evenings or on weekends. Or, you might decide to save time by getting up earlier each day.
Try to be realistic about how much time you have in your week. If there’s no room for your hustle right now, think about what you could cut out of your existing obligations to make room. But don’t forget the nurturing importance of having a personal life and hobbies. Once you have an idea of how many hours you can work, use a calendar to chart your days. When you have an appointment to work on your side hustle marked on your calendar, it’s easier to stick to the plan.
Step 7: Stay with the side hustle
When starting a business, it can take some time to gain traction. Although everyone wants to be successful overnight, it’s not always possible. Don’t give up your side hustle too easily! Set realistic expectations for milestones to hit on your path to big dreams.
For example, let’s say you are starting a service-based business. You can set a goal of landing a client in your first month. Of course, you have plans to keep growing. But ticking off smaller goals along the way can help you stay motivated.
Side Bustle Ideas to Get You Started
The amazing thing about side hustles is the sheer number of options. You can turn almost any interest under the sun into your side business.
It’s best to combine a personal passion with your current best skills. Some popular hustles include:
- Walk the dog
- Baby sitting
- Freelance writing
- web design
- Accommodation on Airbnb
- Deliver groceries with Instacart
- house cleaning
But less common side hustles can still be lucrative. For example, you can sell jewelry on Etsy, teach English, or give music lessons on the side. Take some time to think about and pick one that will hold your interest as you work to get it off the ground.
The above steps provide a great framework for creating your side business. But you’ll also need the right mindset to help you stick to your plan. If you need inspiration to chart a new course and start your own business, be sure to take advantage of these key tips.