The "Side Hustle" is becoming a more and more popular concept and there is a lot more information online helping Side Hustlers to settle into the world of small business and entrepreneurship. A lot of this information really glamorises the life of being a Side Hustler and can sometimes fail to mention the ups and downs - emotional, financial, physical and otherwise - that are involved in the side hustling journey.
Now, don't get me wrong. I think side hustling (starting your own business on the side of your day job) is a fantastic idea, not just as a way to make extra money, but also as an outlet for your skills and passions that aren't addressed by your main gig. I have learned so much since starting Pop Your Career, not only about business, but also about myself and it is a path that I encourage others to take if they are looking for similar fulfilment. What I will say, is that if you are thinking about starting your own side hustle, you should be smart about it. In this post I am sharing 5 very important things that you should consider when clarifying your side hustle idea.
1. What is your SIDE HUSTLE idea?
When thinking about your idea, my first piece of advice is to do it with your own interests in mind. After all, you are going to be talking about this idea and promoting it for a long time (hopefully!), so you want it to be something that you are happy to talk about!
My day job is in human resources and I specialise in recruitment. I absolutely love the work I do and I am super passionate about helping other people find careers that they love as much as I do. So, it makes sense that my side hustle, Pop Your Career, is aligned with my job.
It doesn't have to be this way though. In a nutshell, your side hustle will likely be an extension of your current role, something else you love that may be missing from your day job or it will be a totally different business idea that you have dreamed up and are looking to bring into reality.
2. Is there a conflict of interest?
Most employers these days either have a "conflict of interest" policy or some kind of rules or guidelines around employees having jobs or businesses in conjunction with their employment. My feeling is that it is better to know about this stuff right up front so that you know exactly where you stand.
If your employer doesn't have a policy like this, or it is ambiguous, then I would suggest having a conversation with your manager or a member of the HR team. In actual fact, I think this is a great idea regardless of policy or whether you foresee a conflict of interest, because if you are honest up front there is no way it can come back to bite you later on down the track.
My employer has an "other employment policy" whereby all other employment needs to be approved. My manager and I worked together to identify what would constitute a conflict of interest and have agreed how it would be handled if one of these scenarios ever occurred. Now that we have had the discussion, I feel like I can be totally honest about what I am doing with Pop Your Career and my colleagues are very encouraging!
Don't rush into starting a side-hustle, consider these 5 things first!
3. What are your SIDE HUSTLE goals?
I think it is important to know up front what the goals of your side hustle are and to put measures in place so that you will know when you have achieved your goals. For more information about setting SMART goals, you can check out this post.
If the aim of your side hustle is to make money, that is fine, but I think you need to be realistic about it, especially if you are starting from scratch. Starting a business is hard and you can't always rely on money to come rolling in after your first week of hustling. As long as you understand this, I say go for gold!
Some other goals might include:
- Fulfilling your creative outlet - perhaps you are an accountant or lawyer and don't have much room for creativity in your role. Your side hustle could be a way for you to explore this side of your personality.
- Helping others - you might feel a drive to help other people succeed in certain areas of their lives. Use your side hustle to achieve this!
- Boosting your current career - perhaps you are looking for ways to establish yourself as an authority in your industry? Starting a side hustle can definitely be an avenue for showcasing your expertise.
- Changing career paths - did you know that a side hustle can help you to completely change careers? You know when you want to try something new but don't have any experience? Star a side hustle and develop your experience (as your own boss), then use that experience to sell yourself into a new position!
4. What help do you need?
There are really two kinds of help that you will need to start a side hustle. The first is physical resources, the second is human resources. No matter what you say, you will at some point need help in both of these areas.
Some of the physical resources I use for Pop Your Career include:
- IT systems to manage my website and promote my business
- Equipment, including my computer, mouse, keyboard and Skype headset
- Business stationery such as business cards and promotional flyers
Some of the human resources I rely on for Pop Your Career include:
- a Business Coach to help me achieve my goals
- a Health/Pain Coach to help me keep my health and injury in check
- Friends and family to encourage me and help me in promoting my work
For a full and comprehensive list of Side Hustler Resources I use for Pop Your Career, please click here.
5. What boundaries will you set?
This is something that not everybody thinks of or anticipates when they start a side hustle. Because you have a job, there is only a limited amount of time you have to spend on your side hustle and this can be quite frustrating, especially when you are getting started. It can be very tempting to pull all-nighters, spend weekends locked away working and if you aren't careful, your health and well-being can take a slip.
You may know that in October last year, I was diagnosed with overuse syndrome in my right arm and ended up having to take a six month break from Pop Your Career, under strict orders from my doctor. I am still recovering from this injury and can honestly tell you that there has not been a day in the last nine months that I haven't been in pain. I am not telling you this because I want your pity - this is a serious message to take care of yourself so that you don't end up in the same boat! You can read more about this in my post about work-life balance.
The other thing that can fall by the wayside when you are hustling hard is your relationships and this is why I think it is important that you talk to your loved ones about your goals and put in place some boundaries that will keep you in check. This way, if you are headed down a rabbit hole, your friends and family members will know when to remind you of your word - "We agreed that we would keep Sundays as our family time".
Well my Hustle Buddy, I hope this helps! Please feel free to hit me up if you have any questions about the Side Hustler life and don't forget to grab my list of resources that have helped me to grow Pop Your Career.