Faith in the notion of stable lifelong employment has been ebbing away for decades, teeing up the lockdowns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic to leave it critically damaged. After seeing so many competent professionals from all countries and industries lose their jobs in 2020, who wouldn’t feel the itch to consider their options?
It isn’t as simple as quitting the 9-to-5 for an entrepreneurial follow-your-heart career, of course, because that’s an incredible risk to take. If it doesn’t pay off quickly, bills will stack up, causing bigger problems in the long run (and that’s before you consider all the stress involved).
The smart approach involves starting with a side hustle. If it never becomes viable as a primary business, that’s alright–and if it does, then the transition away from conventional working can be relatively straightforward. In this post, we’re going to look at some tips for how you can run a more financially secure side hustle. Let’s get started.
Look for Additional Monetization Options
Having a side hustle in the first place is an effort to bring in extra income. But, that doesn’t mean you should stop there and simply be happy with what you have. It’s often possible to expand the monetization for a particular operation, allowing one side hustle to generate income in several ways. Key to this is the development of a brand: once that’s there, it can be parlayed into profit.
Suppose that your side hustle were an ad-supported blog, for instance. You could write posts for your chosen audience, bring in views, and make money through the ad placements (not only through Google placements, notable: Single Grain lists various providers). It wouldn’t be much money, but it would be fairly consistent–yet there’s room for more. For example, you could start adding affiliate links to relevant products, getting commission for every resulting buy.
And then there’s the prospect of monetizing your expertise through putting content behind a paywall. Sites like Patreon allow you to divide supporters into tiers. If you’re interested in selling digital courses, Kajabi could be a good option. This is essentially about reviewing the valuable parts of your side hustle brand and taking all opportunities to cash in on them.
Ensure That You’re Charging Enough
New business owners often undervalue their time and efforts, and it’s easy enough to understand why. Not only will they likely lack confidence in their abilities, but they’ll also be inclined to set low costs in an effort to draw people in. Think of a new store running a 50%-off sale to build its brand name and get some strong social proof going.
But it’s a big mistake to set your prices too low. Not only will this make it difficult to raise them later through getting customers used to those rates, but it’ll also lead people to view your services and/or products as less worthwhile than they otherwise would have seemed. In other words, the more you charge (up to a point), the more people will think you should charge.
Lower Your Associated Spending
There are various things to spend money on when you’re trying to solidify a side hustle. Operational equipment, advertising, outsourced tasks, etc. But being willing to spend money where necessary isn’t the same as spending money unwisely. And, you can easily fall into the trap of doing the latter due to the understandable urge to bet on yourself.
If you’re convinced that your side hustle is going to keep growing, then surely it demands ever-increasing investment, right? But growth isn’t consistent or even reliable, and pumping your profits back into the business won’t always pay off. Your best option is to keep your spending down, embrace frugality, save your profits. Then you can build up a decent fund that you can deploy once you’re absolutely certain of where you want to take your side hustle.
Keep the Scope Highly Targeted
The typical side hustle will start out as a niche pursuit: something that can be attempted without a huge amount of time or money behind it. A tiny business can’t compete with McDonald’s in the arena of selling low-cost burgers. However, it can compete for a small niche in that industry (selling very specific burger types that don’t have mass appeal, for instance).
When things begin to go well and the profits creep up, it’s very tempting to expand that scope. Why not try other burger types? Or maybe you could throw in some other fast-food types to freshen things up. Well, this isn’t a great idea. The problem is that success isn’t easy to achieve or predict, and succeeding in one area doesn’t mean you’ll make it in another.
Due to this, you can expand your operation only to find that the new part provides far less ROI and actually drains the resources. Until you’re absolutely sure that you can make money through expansion, it’s better to stick to what you know can deliver you results.
Regardless of how far you want to take it, running a side hustle is a great prospect these days. But you need to steer it to stability if it’s going to be worth your time and effort. Use the tips we’ve set out here to make that happen.
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