Lately, the idea of the ‘side hustle’, a part-time hobby that can be monetized, has been taking off with enterprising and budding entrepreneurs. Those who enjoy a full-time but perhaps not emotionally or financially fulfilling 9-5 job are turning to online marketplaces like eBay or Etsy to sell their crafts. Similarly, those whose full-time gigs aren’t very challenging are taking on content writing and research in their spare time.
However, for every successful entrepreneur who has managed to hack the science of a side hustle, there is a new entrepreneur or curious full-timer who wants to know how to turn their hobbies into a viable, monetized side hustle.
Does that sound like you?
There are concrete steps that any future entrepreneur can follow to develop their side hustles, and we’re happy to provide our best tips. How can you turn your hobby into a side hustle?
The first tip is to think carefully about the hobby you’re planning on monetizing. This is a critical step because, truthfully, not every hobby or idea is side hustle worthy.
Some ideas work better as hobbies, things you can enjoy stress-free after a hard day’s work. If you aren’t ready to work just as hard on your side hustle after work, no matter how stressful or time-consuming it is, then pursuing it as a side gig would not be a good idea. The worst thing would be to pursue something that you can’t see yourself being passionate about in the long term.
Similarly, deciding on a side gig requires a level of commitment. There may be many days where you might not feel like putting in the effort. This is possible with a hobby, but not with a side hustle, so plan accordingly.
When you think of your favorite businesses or products, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? If they’re good at what they do, you often think about how convenient their product is or how easy their business makes your life. That’s the key to shifting the way you think from hobby to side hustle: every viable business is a solution to a problem, and their market comes directly from those who are seeking out this solution.
According to MoneyCrashers, it’s important that your side hustle idea has a broad enough audience to sustain business. It’s okay to have a niche idea or product, but you may run into difficulties if not enough people want it.
At this point, it’s clear that just because you’re working on a passion project, it doesn’t mean you can ignore the implications of supply and demand. Avoid pursuing a side hustle that doesn’t stack up against its market. Make sure you do your market research to ensure your side hustle has the potential to be someone’s main problem solver.
For many, a side hustle means extra hours on top of your already demanding job. This is where self-care comes into play.
Taking care of your emotional and physical well-being is proven to perpetuate a solid work-life balance. One of the best ways you can do this is getting a full night’s sleep. When you’re well-rested, you have a greater mental capacity for work and for play. You can also severely lower stress, which is a serious factor in poor health. In order to avoid these complications, focusing on self-care as part of the side hustle journey is key.
However, self-care doesn’t only have to look like restful sleep: this can also mean setting boundaries so you’re only working during designated hours, taking breaks during the day to keep you motivated and relax your brain, and treating yourself to a massage, a lengthy walk, or any other physical stimulant as a reward.
Admittedly, it’s easier than ever before to market your side hustle thanks to an array of intuitive apps and processes. Don’t underestimate the importance of social media to help spread the word and get your product out there. Finding out where your audience exists and what kind of marketing will reach them can help you better narrow down which social media avenue you’re going to use.
Additionally, marketing tools, like SEO software or a brand asset management tool, can put you ahead of the curve when it comes to attracting clients to your side hustle. For example, a great SEO software and marketing plan can help you organically increase rankings, traffic, and conversion without spending thousands and thousands in advertising. A solid brand asset management tool can help you as you grow your digital assets, combining latest logos, fonts, and colors in one shared space.
Remote work is the way of the future. Across several industries, like marketing, insurance, and media, there are many jobs that don’t require a physical office space. Having a remote job can help you cut out commute time and save money (and energy) to focus on your side hustle.
However, John Shieldsmith of The Thrifty Dad says that even if your physical office is gone, maintaining a home office will help establish routine and discipline, especially when it comes to planning and executing side hustles. Your success as a remote worker depends on your focus, and what better way to do that with a clean, comfortable home office space.
Working remotely while pursuing a side hustle can allow you to worry less about office dynamics and hone in on important work during daytime hours.
It isn’t easy to make the transition from hobby to side hustle. Because of the presumptions around ‘doing what you love’ and ‘passion projects’, the difficulty surrounding side hustles and how to sustain them is rarely discussed. With a solid game plan, you can take your side hustle to the next level. Invest in yourself, learn your marketing, get some tools under your belt, and take the first step in breaking the entrepreneurial mold.
*Side note, this piece is a colaborration with Louisa Atto of CanIRank. Thank you Louisa!