Starting your side hustle
20 Jun

A side hustle or a side job is any type of employment undertaken in addition to a person’s full-time job (your typical 9-5). It’s usually freelance or piecework in nature, providing an individual with supplemental income (wonolo.com). Side hustles are optional, it’s not a must to engage in them, but it is highly recommended for those already employed, especially if they feel that their income is not sufficient to make ends meet.

Some side hustles evolve to become lucrative start-ups if managed well, some fail not because they are bad ideas, but because of timing, lack of skill, and passion among other things. This article looks at a summarised version of the steps I have found to be quite useful when selecting the best side hustle to start. Depending on the author, these may vary.

Find something you enjoy

Forcing yourself to do something you don’t have a passion for will only complicate things. Remember what we said above, a side hustle is optional for people already employed, so choosing something that you love doing or something that you enjoy doing can help you blow off some steam in a productive manner. The last thing you want is to take on something stressful or demanding, this will eventually affect your performance at work, your family, your mental and physical health. Don’t pick something just because someone else you know is doing it and yielding positive results. It might not be the best for you.

Find something that you are good at

Depending on your skills, it may prove to be easier identifying and kick-starting your side hustle when it involves something that you are already good at. Not everyone has the time to invest in learning and perfecting a new skill without congesting their schedule or delay their side hustle’s commencement. Again, don’t choose a side hustle by default just because you see someone else doing it. It often pays to be unique or working on something you are good at. This increases the chances of success.

A few years back when I was still employed in the retail sector, I helped several subordinates identify side hustles that best suited their skills. It was a time of hyperinflation when salaries lost 25% of their value less than 72 hours after being deposited into bank accounts. The result was a workforce that seemed defeated, choosing to discuss their money problems more than finding solutions. Getting new jobs was also much harder than getting a raise so you can only imagine the situation they were in.

One of the people I remember helping was a young till supervisor, by going through the first two steps we identified his skills, qualifications, and passion for accounting, auditing, and teaching. Even though he couldn’t get a job in the field to match his skills, he could easily become a tutor in his spare time. Also, he went on to tell me about how he used to help random high school students and some of his colleagues studying the courses, people who passed because of his lessons. He was visibly excited and couldn’t wait to start.

Choose something flexible

Your side hustle shouldn’t interfere with your work, in some industries or with some employers, it may prove useful keeping your side hustle to yourself. Remember, it is important to achieve a balance between work and family/ relationships. Some like to include religion and personal introspection time to the two. A side hustle should not be demanding.

Know how to monetize it

The main purpose of a side hustle in most cases is to supplement a person’s salary. Going through the first three steps and then fail to make money from it turns your side hustle into a hobby. In the example I provided above, the supervisor had the passion and skill, but failed to make money from it, as a result, he was just another experienced professional with a benevolent heart while he struggled to provide for his family. Helping people without expecting some form of payment is a noble undertaking, I encourage that, but in the case of the young supervisor, that might not have been best at that time. At least strive to balance the two so you can benefit from your side hustle as well.

Make sure you have the extra time

How can you house sit, walk dogs, or become a tutor when you only knock off at work around 11 pm? Of course, with technology, a lot of things are now possible that don’t demand that your presence for execution but try as much as possible to find a side hustle that fits into your schedule. For example, if you know that you don’t report for duty every weekend, your side hustle can be slotted on your Saturday or Sunday free time. Just make sure that you don’t overburden yourself, get ample time to rest so you don’t affect the work/ life balance highlighted above.

Bringing it all together

Side hustles aren’t meant for everyone so do not feel pressured into starting one. However, if you do choose to start, I recommend you try following the steps highlighted above. Picking something that you love and have the necessary skill for is always the default strategy, but that should not limit you in any way. You can also research, find out what other people’s experiences have been like, don’t limit yourself to these five. At the end of the day, what is important is picking something you are comfortable with, making sure you are able to generate income from it.

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