7 Steps to Starting a Side Hustle
Oct 31, 2017
Are you an Entrepreneur? Or are you aspiring to be one? Maybe you just want to try your hand at starting something on the side. Well, today is the day to start. It has never been easier or more affordable to start your own business, so why not do it…
You could start right now, come up with an idea, plan it all out, and go for it. Think about where you could be six months or a year from now.
What if it all works out and 2 years from now you can quit your job and work for yourself full-time? Isn’t that the dream! Well, it’s possible, and although it can be risky, it’s simpler than you may think.
A while back, I decided I wanted to start an online business. I had no idea what I wanted to do or how I was going to start. After months of starting websites and blogs that ultimately died off due to lack of motivation and knowledge, I finally sat down and took the time to plan it all out.
Research. Game Plan. Commit.
Before I dive in, I want to touch on the fact that so many of us want everything to be perfectly planned out before we begin. Being somewhat of a perfectionist, It would probably take 3 years before I felt completely comfortable to pull the trigger. Instead, get the important stuff figured out, come up with a loose plan, then start.
You will figure it out along the way and learn a lot more by doing (and even making mistakes) than by trying to figure it all out ahead of time.
Here are the 7 Steps to Starting Your Side Biz whether you have an idea or not.
Step One: MCM
(Not man crush Monday in this case) – Motivation, Commitment, and Mindset.
Are you actually, really, seriously, for realsies committed, or are you going to give up at the first inevitable roadblock? Or will it be the second roadblock that will get the best of you? Think about this because you can’t half-ass this. You can’t even 95% this, it must be One Hunna (100).
Before you begin, make sure you are committed. Do you want this more than anything? Are you willing to change your mindset and make sacrifices for it? It won’t be easy and it will require you to make drastic changes to your current lifestyle and routines. But if you go all in for the long-term, it will be well worth it:
If you are ready to commit:
Schedule at least 1-2 hours per day on your MAIN calendar (with reminders and alerts) so you don’t leave it up to your self-control to stop what you are doing and get to work. If you only have a work calendar and a personal calendar that is full of random emails and spam, start fresh. Create a new email (Gmail is fine) that you will use purely for this venture. Our goal is to stay organized and prevent yourself from overwhelm.
Pick 3 of your favorite motivating quotes/pictures and print them out. Put one next to or on the inside of your bedroom door, one on your bathroom mirror and a small one on the dash of your car. Motivation is super important, the more you can do the better.
Search for a motivating or relevant picture or quote to use as your phone background. You will see it at least 60 times a day (probably way more).
Get on Spotify. Music is one of the best motivators. I listen to music most of the time when I am working on my business.
Okay, now that you are committed, motivated and have the right mindset, it’s time for an idea.
Step Two: Coming up with an Idea
We are all an expert at something. We all have our own genius that others don't have, we just need to find it. Make a list by answering the following. (If you already have ideas, make sure they are aligned with the following).
What do you like to do (hobbies)?
What do you know a lot about?
What do you like to learn about?
What makes you happy?
What are you really good at?
Make a list of at least 20 answers to the above questions. Whatever comes to mind, you shouldn’t have to think too hard.
Then go back through them and slowly cross off 5 that you least enjoy out of those 20+.
Then cross off 5 that you are at least likely to want to learn a lot about.
Next cross off 5 more that you don’t see yourself doing long-term.
You should now have at least 5 realistic ideas to start with.
Step Three: Time to brainstorm
Think about problems, pain points, and inconveniences that you experience or see others going through on a daily basis.
Let’s say one of your answers to “what do you enjoy” was “spending time with my family.” Start to brainstorm ways you could provide a product or service for people that love spending time with their families. Maybe you know people that struggle with spending enough quality time with their family due to a busy work schedule. How could you provide assistance on that front?
As an example; maybe I could start with a blog about how to bring your family closer together. Maybe you provide your readers with interesting, local events that get the family together on a budget. Once grown, you could have companies coming to your site wanting to advertise or promote.
You can learn and create as you go, until you know how to monetize that blog and eventually turn it into a publication, community or consulting business. Maybe you could start creating courses on Udemy or on your own platforms.
You could start a podcast, write a book or sell a course for parents who struggle with finding family time or activities. The possibilities are endless; you just need to find what you enjoy and figure out a way to position it in front of potential followers and buyers to provide them with tons and tons of awesome value.
Step Four: Look it up
Look up possible competitors on the internet. Start with your top choice on the list and look it up as if you were a potential customer. Don’t worry, you WILL see a lot of them, that’s a good thing!
I remember I would fall in love with an idea before looking it up, then I would see tons of companies that are already doing what I wanted to do. I would always get the worst feeling ever. It’s like I thought that idea was taken and I had to start from scratch with a completely new idea. Not the case at all.
This means there is a market out there that could benefit from your version of that product or service. Maybe you can find a way to streamline an already proven system or provide it in a completely different way.
Step Five: Time to niche down
You’ve heard this before, but did you take it to heart? You MUST have a niche to be successful. Especially when you are getting started. So, what makes your business unique?
For example: My initial idea was starting a health and fitness business that provides tailored plans to anyone and everyone. Do you know how saturated that industry is? Probably one of the most saturated out there. I would be no match for all the other well established, more affordable and sexier companies and experts out there doing what I wanted to do.
So, I combined the other industry that I know and love and created a far less saturated niche, health and fitness for entrepreneurs. Okay, but how can I get even more specific.
"Helping high performance Entrepreneurs achieve elite health, focus and fitness."
I have now switched over to focusing on quality over quantity.
I have less of a market since non-entrepreneurs might get turned off by my site, but once an entrepreneur comes across my site who has experienced the struggles of this unhealthy lifestyle, she will see that this site was built specifically for her. Therefore, she will be more likely to get involved.
Essentially: At the beginning, you want a very small piece of the pie. The more specific you are about your avatar (your ideal client), the more success you will have. Then from there, if feasible, you can expand into a bigger audience.
Step Six: Let your idea breathe
Once you have decided on an idea, start asking people what they think. Obviously, you can’t listen to everyone but take all constructive criticism very seriously. Don’t feel like you must get it perfect. You are going to have roadblocks; you might as well find them out sooner rather than later. You need to get the idea out in the open and let it breathe! Get a different perspective.
Get on Reddit, Facebook groups, Quora and other platforms and forums that allow you to get some feedback. You must validate or pivot your idea.
“There are no failures, only outcomes…”
Just because one person points out a flaw, doesn’t mean you can’t make minor tweaks and adjustments to that idea.
And on the other side, it’s okay if it doesn’t work out. If your “great idea” isn’t so great once you get it out in the open (which it probably won’t be on your first attempt), that’s a good thing. That means you found out before you invested time and money that it was going to eventually fail. You’ve barely spent any time or energy up to this point and still have plenty more ideas to start with. Go back to step 2.
Step Seven: Set SMART goals including your launch date
You have probably heard of the acronym S.M.A.R.T regarding goal setting, but you’ve probably never actually used it. Use it now. Make sure your goals are:
Seriously, this is important. Without goals, you are just wondering around aimlessly trying to get lucky. Know what you’re doing, what you’ve done and what you are going to do in the future.
Make sure you are setting the right kind of goals. One of the easiest ways to lose motivation is to set a bunch of goals and fail to meet any of them. Make sure you are holding yourself accountable to these goals.
Based on your plan, set a launch date. If you don’t set a launch date you will most likely dabble with your business idea for months or years and risk the possibility of giving up completely.
Find the sweet spot where you just barely don’t give yourself enough time to comfortably hit your launch date. Push yourself!
Thanks for reading.
Miles is a writer, entrepreneur and student of health. He is the creator of Hustle Healthy & Hustle Healthy Society. Miles studied Marketing in Texas and has held multiple marketing and sales positions. His main passion is health and entrepreneurship. Austin is his home, Colorado is his calling. If he is not spreading the word about about health to other entrepreneurs, you can usually find him in the mountains, on the golf course or in a river.