Work is a drag, I know. You’re not earning money for yourself. You’re making it for your boss’s boss. Some person who you don’t even see because he is too rich to care about you, the little guy. Wouldn’t you like to get out of that? Get into earning dough for yourself, not lining the pockets of upper management or C-level execs. If you start to make money outside of work, this could be a reality, and sooner than you expect.
Deciding to Make Money Outside of Work
The truth is you’re not going to want to live without doing some work. You could do it for about 3-9 months depending on the kind of person you are. Eventually, you will need a project. It’s an itch built into human nature.
Once you have Mr. Frugality figured out you can start getting to know Mrs. Side Hustle. Like I said before she is a strong, independent woman who can easily take care of herself. It is very common for people who pursue a side hustle to make more doing their side hustle than they did at their original job.
The most important thing to consider when thinking about a side hustle is why you want to do it. The reason is so, so, so important because it’s not going to be easy once you get down to it. The why will be the fuel that gets you through.
It needs to enable you to visualize where you’re aiming. “I want to make money outside of work and quit my job” is weak. How much money? What will you do after you quit? Leave nothing to the imagination, when you think of the why you should be able to see all the parts of your life when you set out for this. A stronger goal is “I want to make $4k a month, so I can save 3/4 of it for early retirement and then backpack through every country in South America.” Nothing is left to the imagination. It would better if it included actionable steps to get there, but we will get to that in a short bit.
When you are looking for a way to make money outside of work pick something you are interested in and want to improve on. DO NOT pick something that is your passion. If you’re interested in something and want to improve at it, you will be motivated to learn more about it. Interest will fuel your hustle. Passion is a fickle mistress and not only is it fleeting but it also makes it harder for you to relax.
Your reason can also help you determine what you want the side hustle to be. If your reason is “I want to travel around the world and work as a digital nomad,” then you shouldn’t start a business around making candles in your basement. However, if you want to spend more time at home while your kids grow up, a candle shop in your basement is entirely reasonable.
Once you have your why and your what then you should investigate the how. How will you monetize your side hustle? List all the ideas you come up with, regardless of how unreasonable they may be. You should also do some research on how others have monetized their business and how much they have made doing it. It’s a big world out there, and surely someone has achieved something similar to what you’re planning to do. Make sure to ask yourself the question “Will this give me enough to replace, or surpass, my current income?” since our end goal is to make money outside of work and quit that work altogether.
There are a few things that I got hung up on when I got started. I want to point them out to you so you can make sure to avoid them. Or at least not have as hard a time as I did.
Don’t worry about the details
“The devil is in the details,” and by that, I mean focusing on the details at the beginning will stop you from achieving your goals. Instead of planning out every detail from now to your first thousand dollars, concentrate on the next smallest step you will take to get towards your goal. After you complete the first item, only think of taking care of the following step. Small baby steps of action will get you to your goal much quicker than planning every detail but not taking action. You won’t be able to make money outside of work overnight, but with constant systematic progress, you will be there in time.
It’s a Business, Not a Hobby
You should treat Mrs. Side Hustle like a business. Don’t hate it like a job, that’s not why we are doing this. The most important thing you should do is set out a specific time to work on it. I suggest the morning. If you were working a real job you wouldn’t show up late, don’t show up late to your side hustle. It will be hard, if not impossible, to succeed at this if you don’t work on it on a regular basis.
There’s no monopoly on ideas
Just because someone else has done it, doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. Don’t count yourself out because you see someone else doing what you want to do. MySpace was a website before Facebook was around. Google wasn’t the first search engine on the block. Apple didn’t have the first smartphone, mp3 player, or even computer. You can succeed without an original idea because it’s a big world. A small percentage of a large market is still enough to be profitable.
Most importantly, you will have a different take on it than anyone else. I’ve taken 3 Texas history classes in my life. I got something new out of it every time because each teacher was different. You have a unique voice, because of this your audience will connect with you, and that’s why you will succeed.
Pick a Nice Niche
You want to be as detailed as possible when you are choosing a target audience. The need for a specific audience goes back to connecting with your audience. You should have a very detailed image of who is buying your product. How old are they? What’s their gender? What’s their age range? What problems keep them up at night? Why will they like what you have to say?
This blog started out extremely broad. I wanted to talk about everything. A targeted category will help me connect with everyone, I thought. Instead, I engaged no one.
Talk about them not you
Another mistake I made was making my blog about me instead of about you. I have solved that problem now, but if you look back at earlier posts, it was all about me. Then I found learned: no one cares about me. So, now it’s about you! People typically want to look out for themselves. If you want to engage with your market, then talk about them.
Embrace the Mistakes
Did you notice the last two things I mentioned were both errors on my part? They’re going to happen. It’s part of the process. Learn from them and then go out and make more. Don’t have a Silicone Valley level obsession with them, starting out knowing you will fail. Just make sure that you’re not avoiding tasks because you are afraid you will fail at them.
The point of a side hustle isn’t to get out of working, the point of it is to set yourself up to be able to work on something you enjoy to reach a goal you have. The goal is your why, it’s the reason you get up out of bed. It’s what I didn’t have when I was working my miserable job. Once you have your motivation then start working on ideas to make money outside of work. Make sure to watch out for some of the mistakes I made, and obstacles that can trip you up. What is your Why? Let me know in the comments below. Also, post any ideas for a side hustle below too.