Side hustling is a trend born out of necessity.
A side hustle can counter concerns about job security and provides extra income. It may even be the first step in becoming a solopreneur.
Why is that, and what does it mean for you?
The COVID-19 pandemic was merciless and has made it very clear for everybody to see that job security is something you really can’t count on anymore these days. Sure, according to the Financial Times, some companies like Amazon, Microsoft, or Apple have insanely profited from this crisis. But on the other hand, many companies in the hospitality and travel industry, clothing retailers, oil companies, and many others suffered dramatically. Here is a recent list of well-known bankruptcies, stable companies, you would have thought. On a global scale, millions of jobs were destroyed. Before you get in a such an unfortunate situation, read about how to react professionally.
Even if you are lucky and work for one of the winners this time, the next crisis might be different and could affect you as well – there are no guarantees. Taking up a side hustle to reduce dependency on your regular job may be something for you to consider.
Being dependent on the salary from only one employer is a high-risk proposition. Imagine for a second when your company terminates you for whatever reason or goes bust. How can you support your family with meager unemployment benefits? Imagine the stress of looking for a new job and going through the hiring process again. You may even have to relocate to get a decent job.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a consistent paycheck
Despite the risk of relying on a single income stream, you should hold on to your current 9-5 job as long as necessary or as long as you can. With a regular paycheck, you have peace of mind, and you can cover your bills. It will take some time to develop a second income stream from a side hustle that will be stable enough to take the jump and call it quits.
But you should start asap to reduce the risk and prepare for your exciting journey towards more financial stability and freedom.
How to start increasing your financial stability and become less dependent
One word before you engage in your side hustle activities:
Be fair to the company that pays your current salary. Using company time and resources is unethical and could result in legal problems.
First step: Change your mindset
See yourself as a one-person company that sells its services. Your current employer is just one of your customers. And it should not be your only customer. Like any other company, you should strive to enlarge your customer base. The more customers you have, the smaller your risk when one of them drops out or fails.
Create a corporate identity for your new self, the NEW-ME, Inc. Create a logo, a website, and a dedicated email address. It will level up your confidence and your professionalism.
Second Step: Evaluate your skills
Your current employer pays you a salary. This should tell you that you and your skills are worth quite a bit. And you are probably worth more than the company is paying you. After all, a company has to cover a lot of overhead costs and make a profit.
Make a list of all your skills. These are, of course, those you are using at your day job. Don’t forget to include the skills, you aren’t using currently in your day job. From now on, you will leverage all of your skills.
Third Step: Decide on your side hustle
While you are still employed, you should focus more on the skills you are not using in your day job. This is to avoid conflict of interest. Once you are independent, it’s a different story.
You can market your skills with a slight modification. Suppose you have a job as a copywriter. In that case, you can do a side hustle as an editor, proofreader, or even as an online marketing consultant.
Get inspiration by looking at what freelancers are offering on Upwork or Fiverr. You will gain great insight into the incredible variety of gigs provided by thousands of freelancers around the globe. You get an excellent overview of the competition and what prices they are asking for their services. Often you will see ridiculously low asking prices set by school kids and people from developing countries.
On these platforms, you can find someone to design your logo at a very reasonable cost. Check out Fiverr, I am sure you can find some great offers for your needs.
Don’t get discouraged by the low prices you see. Present your gig professionally and confidently, and don’t be shy to quote a high price. Higher prices show your confidence and convey an air of quality. Sophisticated buyers can well discern between low and high-quality offers and are willing to pay a fair price.
Fourth Step: Getting customers
For your side hustle to work, you need customers. There are two different approaches, active and passive. Use the one you are more comfortable with or use even both for the best results.
The active approach to getting customers is by approaching friends and acquaintances, attending networking events, sending out emails, or using social media channels. It may be easy and tempting to go after your employer’s customers.
Don’t do that!
It is morally not acceptable and will expose you to legal risk.
The passive approach is by having a classic storefront or a website which is its digital equivalent. Another way is to get in front of potential clients is by displaying your offers on freelancer platforms like Fiverr or Upwork.
This approach is also not quite passive since you have to put in some work to present yourself as a trustworthy professional.
To set up your website, you need a hosting account and a CMS (content management system). The most used CMS is WordPress which has the advantage of being free.
For hosting your website, you may want to start with a reliable company offering a low-cost solution. My recommendation is Bluehost. Using this affiliate link, you can get a hosting plan starting as low as $2.95/month. It comes with a domain, free for one year, and free SSL. Adding WordPress is a breeze, and it’s free, of course. Once your website has reached a good size and lots of traffic, you can easily upgrade your plan to match your growing business.
I am using this hosting solution as well for several client websites and am quite happy with their performance and efficiency.
Another hosting solution is A2 Hosting which is already 18 years in business and is known for ultra-fast servers. In addition, the monthly fee starts at $1.99, an absolutely great deal.
Conclusion – Know your limits
You do not have much time available for your side hustle while working 9-5. You have to deduct the time for commuting, eating, household chores, and taking a rest as well. The time you can dedicate to your side hustle is therefore very limited. And you have to make sure that you record your income and expenses, best with a tool dedicated to freelancers.
Use your time wisely, it is your most important resource. Don’t waste it on side hustles that pay less than minimum wage.