Sometimes it’s crazy for me to look back at how my web design roots were born. My whole business began because I decided to start a side hustle. I was working a retail job I didn’t love and designing websites on the side. I’d do a website for just about anyone who needed one—which led to me designing sites for so many different industries from oil and gas companies to interior designers to bloggers!
I had no idea that my little side hustle was just the springboard for an actual career that could sustain my life!
It’s been a wild ride the past 10 years from web designer to full-time blogger back to web designer. It’s all come full circle, but without taking that first chance at a side hustle, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
If there’s something you’ve always wanted to try, consider starting your own side hustle and see where it takes you—you might be surprised where you end up in a few years time.
5 Reasons Why You Should Start a Side Hustle
You Hate your Day Job
This was the biggest reason why I started designing websites over a decade ago. I was working for my family business (ironically, I still work for them, just in a different capacity) doing men’s retail. Yes, it was cool that it was my family business, but it sort of totally sucked the life out of me. I’d end my days thinking, this is it? This is what the next 40 years of my life are going to look like? I decided that was going to be a big HELL NO for me.
You Want Some Extra Cash
Let’s get real—life is expense. When you combine kids, daycare, mortgage, grocery, bills, living expenses, and more, you’re often left with very little to save, invest or do something fun with. I don’t think anyone could honestly say they wouldn’t like making a little extra cash.
When I graduated, I was thrilled to have a job, but I wasn’t thrilled with my paycheck. For a while I lived with my parents so that small paycheck did feel like a lot more, but as soon as I moved out, I realized I needed some extra income to do the stuff I loved like travel, go out to dinner with my friends and save for the future (admittedly, that was not a top priority back then). I started doing freelance web design and it was so empowering! At first, it was only a few hundred bucks a month, but it felt like so much more and really motivated me to grow that side hustle.
You Want to Follow or Explore a Passion
Maybe you like your day job just fine, but have always had a passion for baking or making jewelry or teaching others how to do something you rock at! A side hustle is a great way to take that passion, monetize it, but not fully commit to going full time.
For me, my side hustle allowed me to do the work that other companies thought I wasn’t qualified to do, but I knew I could. I loved designing websites, but I didn’t have a degree in it. What agency or design firm was going to hire little ole me with no more skill than I’d learned from YouTube videos and online tutorials?! The answer is none, because I did try and fail at getting a design job at a real company.
To Test Out a Business Idea
I know so many of you have dreams of being an entrepreneur and being your own boss. It definitely has it’s perks, but also comes with its own challenges too. Starting your business as a side hustle allows you to test the waters, figure out a process that works for you, or figure out exactly what doesn’t work. It allows you to see if there’s a market for what you want to do and how easy or difficult it may be to scale it.
I love it for that reason. You don’t have to fully commit and give up your stable job to do this. It gives you flexibility to try new things, pivot and try other new stuff until you land on the one thing that really floats your boat (and others’ too!).
Less Risk Than Going Full-Time
I’m not totally risk averse, but I am also not into super risky ventures either. Obviously, there is some risk involved with starting a side hustle—maybe you don’t sell as much, but maybe you sell out of everything you create! I love that with a side hustle, you can test the waters before jumping in as a full-time entrepreneur.
How to Start a Side Hustle
Now, you’ve got your why, but how and where do we start? This is probably the biggest obstacle for so many people—the actual getting started. Here’s a few tips to help you start a side hustle:
Consider Your Strengths
What are you actually good at? What do people praise you for? If you think it’s be fun to bake cookies, but you can barely figure out how to turn on the oven, maybe that’s not going to be the most successful side hustle. Finding a profitable side hustle is one part passion, and one part skill. In my experience, you need both to stay motivated and excited and actually do good work that people want.
If you’re sitting there wondering what on earth your side hustle could even be, grab a sheet of paper and write down what you’re good at, what you have experience doing, what you really know!
Next, think about who you ideally want to work with—what other people are doing cool stuff that interests you?
Then start brainstorming, how can I help these people I want to help with the skillset I have? You might come up with something more creative than you imagined.
For example, let’s say you’re an accountant. You’re a really freaking amazing accountant, but you do not like working for small businesses. You’ve always been fascinated by catering companies, but you can’t cook worth a damn. Maybe, you take your accounting skills and love of catering and combine them to become an accountant who specializes in accounting for caterers. You understand the ins and out of their business and their pain points and you are the magical person who swoops in to solve them all! This leads real nicely into my next point!
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
You do not have to reinvent yourself and learn a totally new skill if that’s not of interest to you.
Do what you do best, but put your own unique spin on it. Maybe you’re a PR pro and you want to start a side hustle. But, there are so many PR companies out there already? What sets you apart? Get niche! You don’t have to come up with some crazy idea, you just have to know exactly who you are serving.
Setting yourself apart from your competition is easier than you might think. You can do this by serving a specific niche, having a unique take on things, or your company’s branding. The right branding can make all the difference in attracting the people you REALLY want to work with.
Just Start Already
One of the biggest hurdles for so many entrepreneurs is just getting started. Don’t worry if your logo isn’t perfect, or your Instagram isn’t great or you don’t have the money to invest in the best podcasting equipment or fancy website, just start. In fact, you don’t need any of this to get started, you can email people that you thnk could use your services and start the conversation.
The website, the fine-tuning and refining can come with time as you learn your audience and have a better idea of what you’re offering.
It’s the getting started that gets you excited, gives you momentum and actually GROWS your business.
Be Flexible & Okay with Pivoting
Sometimes your side hustle doesn’t grow the way you think, maybe you learn that a service you added on at the last second is what people are really coming to you for. Or maybe, you change your mind all together. That’s okay! It’s all about trying new things and finding your grove. Be open-minded, flexible and excited and good things will come—I promise!
BTW, how to write blog post titles that don’t suck, and which website platform is best for your small business?