Want to start a side hustle but unsure of where to begin?
If you’re new to side hustling, I imagine you have a lot of questions about finding gigs, getting paid, scheduling time for your gig, and more.
In this sharing economy, there are more opportunities to earn extra money than ever before. Uber. Lyft. Airbnb. Rent your car. Sell stuff on eBay. You name it and someone is doing it to make some money.
Having spent more than a decade hustling outside of my regular 9 to 5 job, I’ve learned a lot along the way about how to find lucrative side hustles that are worth my time.
How did I learn how to find lucrative opportunities? Basically, I learned the hard way. I wasted a lot of time with side gigs that didn’t pay well. Fortunately, you’re reading this post, so you can avoid making the same mistakes I did.
Question #1: What is your goal for starting a side hustle?
You’re looking online for ways to earn extra money. Why? What’s going on in your life? What do you hope to achieve by taking on a side gig?
One of the top reasons why individuals seek side hustles is to achieve a financial goal, like paying off student loan debt or eliminating credit card debt.
Before you start looking for a side hustle, be clear about your “why.” Side hustling requires a commitment beyond your regular, day-to-day responsibilities. Knowing your “why” before you start will keep you focused each time you dive into your hustle.
Use the SMART goal format to construct a goal you can act on that will help you achieve that which you set out to do with your side hustle.
Related Post: SMART Goals for Side Hustlers
Tip #1: Write down your goals for launching a side hustle or a side business.
Ready to make the commitment? Use this worksheet to set your side hustle goal. I’ll reference this worksheet throughout this article, so keep it handy!
Motivated individuals striving to reach a specific goal are more likely to reach their goals when they’ve committed to and have written down their goals. It was true for me and it’s true for many others!
Writing down my “why” helps clarify exactly what it is I want to achieve and it helps me stay motivated when I’m confronted with competing demands for my time.
Want more reasons why you should write down your goals? Read this article from Michael Hyatt, an expert on personal development and productivity.
I haven’t always been a goal-driven person. Before 2015, I didn’t have any personal goals for myself, so it’s no surprise that I struggled to find my place, my purpose, my “why.” I had a full-time job and a great side hustle, but I wasn’t sure what I was really supposed to be doing with my life. Maybe you can relate.
Growing tired of floating through life, I started reading books on business, productivity, and self-improvement. I read everything from The Alchemist to The Slight Edge. I discovered my personal legend. I set big SMART goals for myself, some of which I’ve already achieved!
Question #2: How much time can you devote to your side hustle each month?
Between work, friends, family, volunteering, community groups, and countless other responsibilities, your time is limited. But I bet there are a couple of hours here and there that you can devote to your side hustle.
What kind of commitments do you have each week? Do you need or want a flexible schedule for your side hustle or would you prefer a set schedule?
Take a look at your daily schedule. Highlight free time you have that isn’t designated for another activity. Add up the number of hours you’ve highlighted each week. This could be your side hustle time!
Is there any training or preparation required to start your new side hustle or side business? Estimate how much time it will take to complete training and any other preparation required.
After you’ve completed your training and other preparations, decide how much time you’ll devote to doing side hustle work. Set aside a portion of your free time to your side hustle by adding “side hustle appointments” to your calendar.
Tip #2: Put a launch date on the calendar for your side hustle or side business.
When you launch is important as you want to be mindful of your existing personal and professional commitments. However, the time may never be perfect, so consider launching sooner rather than later. Create a little discomfort–it helps promote growth.
Having a side hustle or side business means investing some of the previously free time into your business. Commit to a time each day or a specific number of hours each week that you will invest in your business, but try to keep that work-life balance in mind. Creating a side business should be the means by which you create fulfillment, not another job.
I’ve been a consultant in marketing throughout much of my adult life. I’ve always enjoyed freelancing. Working to grow small businesses, seeing the progress they make as a result of my efforts, is incredible.
However, I am quick to take on too much work and I lose my work-life balance. Now, I have a schedule for each day to maintain a balance with my business, my clients, and my personal life. Strict adherence to a schedule ensures I am rested and ready to embrace the next day!
Use the worksheet to assess the time you’ll devote to your side hustle.
Question #3: How much money do you want to make in your side hustle each month?
Your limited time is valuable. Treat it as such! Get the most bang for your buck by focusing on side hustles that provide the best value.
Avoid letting “shiny object syndrome” impact the decision you make about your hustle. You won’t be able to do every side hustle, so focus on making your side hustle time the most lucrative you can.
Now, how do you decide which side hustles provide the best value?
Using the worksheet, you can begin assessing side hustle value (usually in the form of an hourly rate). You’ll need to have a couple of side hustles in mind to be able to complete the worksheet.
Lastly, assess whether or not the side hustle you want to pursue requires an up-front commitment of time or money. If you’re learning a new skill, how much time will it take you to learn this new skill before you can get started? Are there online training courses you can complete to accelerate your learning? Budget time (and money) for training for a new side hustle.
Tip #3: Develop an hourly rate for your side hustle work.
There are three easy steps you can complete to create an hourly rate for your side hustle or side business. (You can use the worksheet to figure this out.)
- Fill in the number of hours you can devote to your side hustle each month, e.g. 10 hours per week multiplied by 4 weeks is 40 hours per month.
- Fill in the monthly income goal you set for your side hustle, e.g. $1,000.
- Divide your income goal by the number of hours and you have the hourly rate, e.g. $75 per hour.
To ensure you’re charging enough per hour for your services, call three competitors in your region who have the absolute best reputations and ask what they charge. You want to be the best of the best because a great reputation leads to great referrals, so charge a competitive rate.
Avoid undervaluing your time by charging a low rate for your work. I’ve lost tens of thousands of dollars over the years by not pricing my services at a fair-market rate, thinking that I would be able to beat the competition. I ended up with a lot of headache instead, so don’t make the same mistake I did.
Bonus Tip: Take action on your side hustle as soon as possible.
The worksheet you completed as you read this article is a huge step. Kudos to you for diving right in!
It’s time to take the next step. Now that you know which side hustle you want to consider further, continue your research. Read everything you can on how you can make this side hustle a huge success. Best of luck to you!