Published in New Idea, Michelle provides key tips and tricks to turn your side hustle into a career.
Research shows that the number of people with side hustles is growing, with predictions that it will become the norm as we move into the ‘gig economy’. And with many of us transitioning during and after COVID-19 crisis, we’re weighing up options.
Where’s your selling items online or taking on freelance work in an area in love, turning a hobby into a side business doesn’t have to be a full time commitment – it’s a great way to make extra money if work is drying up.
Assess if there is a market and whether you are going to be able to make money from your hobby as not all hobbies or potential sources of income. Talk to people and test your concept to see if people are willing to buy your product or service.
Work out how much time you have to devote to setting up, and set a schedule and lock out time in your diary to devote to it. Set yourself some clear goals and milestones as to what you want to achieve by when. This also includes considering how much money you are willing to invest in getting your idea of the ground. You may need to start saving so you have some seed capital in the bank.
Be aware of overload
Using the ‘dual track’ approach means you may feel like you’re holding down two jobs for a period of time. You need to think about how long you can sustain it, and at what point you may want to fully leap to your new destination. This also includes being clear on how you can establish a sustainable flow of income before you quit your day job.
Don’t use what isn’t yours
Make sure all the work that relates to your second gig is done using your own equipment and technology. keep a separate laptop, mobile phone and all infrastructure you need to set yourself up, away from those you use at work. Read your employment contract carefully, including the small print you might normally ignore. You may need written consent from your employer to get involved with outside work.
Do you tell your boss?
Whether or not you tell your boss depends on the type of relationship you have with them and whether you think they’ll support you or try to sabotage your efforts. They may be suspicious of your activity, wondering what you are doing on company time. If there’s any potential for a conflict of interest or any concern that your new work might compete – even in a small way – with what you do currently, then be very careful about what you say and do.
Have a safety net
If you have large financial commitments and no savings, walking away from a paid job with no guarantee when you will start earning money from your new venture is risky. Alternatively, you can build up the venture while staying in your current job. Taking this approach is a great way to test the parameters, build the infrastructure and contacts, and transition over a timeframe that works .
Ask yourself why this is important to you
Why is it that you want to pursue this dream? When you put your ‘why’ at the centre of your decision-making, you are considering your career choices as part of your whole life, including family, friends and colleagues, health and happiness, community and societal needs, and personal and lifestyle goals. Having a clear ‘why’ and reason for your pursuit makes it easier to maintain the work and dedication when times get tough.