The Art of the Side Hustle
Side hustles: it can seem like everyone has one. From that fashion influencer account you follow on Instagram who works full time, to your rideshare driver who’s also got a day job, to your friend who has his own YouTube channel, you’ve probably come across side hustles across both digital and IRL platforms.
What is a Side Hustle?
So what exactly is a side hustle? Think of it as a passion project that also brings in some extra money.
Anyone can have a side hustle, and it can be almost anything: a teacher who is also a crafter and sells custom party accessories through Etsy, a military spouse who coaches Beachbody clients, an office worker who also makes money by blogging about wellness trends and sells online ads.
The difference between a side hustle and a hobby is the hustle—you’re doing it, at least in part, to make money.
Making some more money may sound great—after all, who wouldn’t want some extra cash? But there are a few things you may want to consider first:
What Do You Want to Sell?
Let’s take a look at two broad categories of things you can sell: products or services.
Examples of products you might sell are things that you make—this could be anything from physical objects, like handmade crafts, to online content, like courses, videos, worksheets, webinars—the list goes on and on.
Examples of services you could sell could be coaching, driving for a rideshare app, doing tasks for other people, or even freelance services like graphic design, writing, digital marketing, and more.
How does one go about launching a side hustle? If your side hustle is something like driving for a rideshare app, joining TaskRabbit, or selling on Etsy, the good news is that the platform likely already has a marketing department to get customers on the site or app—this may help make it easier to get started.
If you’re working on something independently, it’s on you to get the word out. Some communications assets about you and your business, such as short bio and nice headshot, could be helpful!
You’ll also likely want to find some ways to get the word out—after all, what’s a business without customers? This could include an email list, one or more social media channels, and/or a website.
If you’re selling a physical product, you’ll likely need to consider packaging and shipping products, plus storing additional inventory. If you’re selling a service, your needs could vary. You might not need anything beyond your phone, or you could need a digital platform to house content that you’ve created.
When it comes to fitting your side hustle into your life, remember that it is, by nature, on the side. Unless you are turning your side hustle into a full time business, it means you’ll likely be working on it nights and weekends, or whenever you’re not working at your regular job.
Keep this in mind when you’re thinking about what you want to do, and how you’ll balance your other commitments.
What About the Money?
As you may have guessed, there are a wide variety of ways that you can execute these things, from totally DIY at no or low cost, to hiring professionals and paying for access to software or other tools.
If you’re just starting out and not sure how far you want to take this, the good news is that some platforms offer “freemium ” models, where you can access some features for free while you get a sense of the product.
When you’re just getting started, you may want to ask friends and family to try out your products or services for free in exchange for their feedback. Eventually, you’ll need to set your price and make your first sale.
If you’re not sure how to price your product or service, you might want to do research on what others are charging in your space. It’s also important to remember that your time is valuable.
For example, if you make hand crafted party favors and plan to sell them on Etsy, you could search for party favors on Etsy and see what the pricing is like. Take into account the cost of the materials, how long it takes to make the items, and how much they are being sold for, to ensure that a profit is being made.
One note of caution before turning a hobby you’re passionate about into a side hustle: If knitting scarves for friends gives you joy, knitting scarves for customers may eventually create stress. But that’s the beauty of a side hustle: you can start, stop, or change with much more flexibility than you could a full time job.
SoFi Career Services
If you’re ready to get ahead or figure out what’s next in your career path, consider SoFi career services.
It’s free for SoFi members, and you can get guidance on your LinkedIn profile, resume suggestions, and a customized plan to suit your needs.
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