How to start a business as a side hustle

How to start a business as a side hustle

 

There are lots of people who want to be entrepreneurs. But there is always something that gets in the way. They have a partner. They have kids. They can’t afford to quit their job. Whatever the case is there is a road block that stops them on their journey to entrepreneurial success.

While I believe most entrepreneurs often find a way through this maze, some require a helping hand (or push). And that is where the value of starting a business as a side hustle comes in.

I’m sure there are many of you who can relate to my situation. I have a wife, two kids, a mortgage and bills to pay for. But I am also an entrepreneur at heart. After selling my past company three years ago I went to work in the corporate world.

That satisfied my itch for some time, but eventually, the passion for entrepreneurship and starting my own business began to burn strongly again. While not able to go full time into my new business, I decided to build my latest startup, Task Pigeon, as a side project to begin with.

Here’s how to get started

Review Your “Inventory”

How to Start a business as a side hustle - review inventory

You can’t jump straight into business building mode. You have to take stock of what you have and can do. The two most important things to consider are:

  • How much time do you personally have to invest in the idea/getting the business of the ground?
  • How much money are you able to commit to outsourcing parts of the project (if required)

This forms the building block of what is a realistic idea to pursue. If you are locking in an office from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, then there is no point trying to build a business that requires face to face meetings with potential customers.

Alternatively, if you work night shifts or part-time, it may be possible to do this and as a result, you have a wider variety of options at your disposal.

Start Small

How to Start a business as a side hustle - Start Small

Everyone thinks they have a good idea until they fail.

I have always been a big believer in starting small and risking the minimum amount of money required to get your idea off the ground. Some typical avenues you can explore to test your idea include:

  • Creating a landing page to collect potential customers details. You can then run Facebook or Google Ad campaigns to test the level of interest in your product/service.
  • Contacting companies in your niche and pitching your product/service in the form of a PowerPoint presentation. While it will be hard to close a sale without a fully built product this process will give you an insight into the level of demand out there.
  • Utilising existing distribution channels to test sales/interest. This works well for physical products where you could test demand on eBay of Buy, Sell, Swap groups before you go the full hog and build an online store.

Outsource What You Can

How to Start a business as a side hustle - Outsource

It’s hard to do it all as an entrepreneur. And that’s when you are working full time on your idea. If you are trying to get this all off the ground as a side hustle or project, then chances are you are going to need some help.

Now, of course, this depends on your project and your budget. If you are a developer or you are just building an e-commerce site and can use something like Shopify, then certainly look to keep it all in house.

In my situation, however, I am a non-technical founder. So I was going to need to find the talent to build Task Pigeon, a task management application that makes it easy to create, assign and manage the tasks you and your team work on each day.

By outsourcing the design and development it meant that I could focus on important things that are critical to the success of any business such as sales and marketing.

Get Used To Sleeping Less, But Maintain Balance

No matter what project or path you choose starting a business as a side hustle means sacrifice. It means late nights, early mornings and missed weekends.

While this can be hugely rewarding, especially if your business grows and succeeds, it is important that you balance your other commitments in life. If you burn out, ignore your family or fall behind in your day job your side hustle will soon grind to a halt.

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Paul Towers
Paul Towers is a 3 x Entrepreneur and current Founder & CEO of Task Pigeon, a simple solution to create, assign and manage the tasks you and your team work on each day. Paul also supports the startup community via his daily newsletter, Startup Soda and early stage startup advice via Startup Engine. You can learn more about Paul Towers on his personal website.