The word side hustle means something different to everybody. Many people first start a side hustle to help pay the bills. But, your efforts can eventually help you quit your job as you pay off debt and your earnings increase.
If you currently think a side hustle can only help you stop living paycheck to paycheck, it might be time to re-frame your mind.
If you love your current job and you want to ride it out to retirement, great. But, for many people, a side hustle is one way to change careers. Or, to retire early.
Two Good Reasons to Have a Side HustleThere are many reasons to have a side hustle, but here are three of the best reasons:
People usually start a side hustle for one of these two reasons. First, their day job isn’t paying enough. Second, they want a new job or retire early from “corporate.”
Or, if you’re like me, it’s a combination of these two reasons.
For many, it’s easier to make more money than reduce expenses. Even if you’re debt-free, you still must eat, pay taxes and have a place to sleep. But, your income potential is limitless with a side hustle.
Still need to pick a side hustle? Ask yourself these questions to start on the right foot.
Can You Retire on Any Side Hustle?No. Some side hustles are only designed to help you pay the bills. Take online surveys and cashback apps like Ebates or Ibotta for instance. Minimal effort usually means minimal income.
To scale your side hustle, you need to treat it like a business.
If you want a hustle with long-term potential, you need to spend hours on a task, not minutes. Eventually, you can get to the point where you can outsource the hard work to others and you earn passive income. But, it takes time. And, it’s not always easy.
6 Tips to Scale Your Side HustleWhen you want to turn your side hustle into an income machine, follow these tips.
If you haven’t started a side hustle yet, consider all these tips as you consider your different options.
Start Small and Dream Big
Most people think a side hustle is going to change their quality of life instantly. Except for a select few, this isn’t the case. Therefore, so many people stop hustling after the first few months.
Like anything in life, you don’t start at the top rung of the ladder. This is for side hustles too. Some side hustles like donating plasma and online surveys pay steady income from the start. But, your income potential may never increase. It’s just the nature of some side hustles.
Most side hustles with large income potential require you to gain experience to make more money. As your skill level increases, your earning potential increases.
I began freelancing in my free time because I knew I could eventually replace my daytime income with my side hustle. But, it took three years to reach that point. And, I’m still working each day to increase my income further.
It takes time to scale your side hustle into a business. We live in a world dominated by instant gratification. As a result, we think it’s not worth pursuing a goal unless you’re an immediate success.
At first, your side hustle will only pay the bills. If you want it to help you quit your job, you need patience and determination.
Have Multiple Income Streams
I’m a huge fan of having multiple income streams. My wife and I are both self-employed and have two income streams each.
When you work for an employer, you receive a steady paycheck regardless of the business levels. Sure, you might not work overtime in off-peak season. But, you can predict how much you make each month.
Even if your side hustle is only in one niche, you have multiple platforms to find clients. For example, you can join two online survey sites. Or, you can drive for Uber and Lyft. If you landscape, you can also mow lawns and remove snow.
Discover Your Long-Term Interests
By trying multiple activities, not only do you increase your income potential. But, you also discover your strengths and weaknesses. And, you also find out what activities you want to do long-term. If you're going to replace your income or retire early, it’s the long-term side hustles you want to focus on.
If you only concentrate on side hustles you want to do for a short-time, you’re only going to keep paying the bills. Once you hit that savings goal or pay off that loan, your motivation level starts to decrease. Then, you go back to only relying on your day job. If you only want a temporary side hustle, this mindset is okay.
Network with Others
Turn the old cliché “Misery loves company” upside down. Success loves company too.
To turn your side hustle into a business or your job escape plan, you must network with others. Although I found my first clients using the Upwork freelance platform, it was my network that helped turn my side hustle into a full-time income stream.
Sometimes, you may help connect one of your friends with a client. In other cases, they might share a lead with you. In other cases, you only share experiences, so you can avoid common mistakes. The only way to find out is too network.
Find a Hustle That Fits Your Schedule
Finding time to scale a hustle can also be tough. If you don’t have a lot of free time, you might be better off focusing on earning passive income. Investing is one of the best time-proven ways to build wealth. Your money works when you sleep or vacation. But, it takes time to build a nest egg.
With any side hustle, you must decide how much time you’re going to dedicate each week. As your side hustle income increase, you might even reach that point when it feels impossible to work full-time and hustle.
This was my case for almost a year. I finally made the leap when our monthly expenses were as low as possible. And, when we built our savings to a comfortable level. In other words, we could afford to take more risk to earn a potentially higher reward. After first using the hustle to pay the bills, we started saving the money to improve our future quality of life.
With any side hustle, the sooner you start, the better. Here are several reasons why:
Each day you wait to start hustling, the odds of starting decrease. Instead, doubts and distractions replace your desire to make more money.
To avoid wasting time, you should have a plan. But, the hardest step for many is deciding to start.
Zero risk equals zero rewards. If you don’t start, you never know if you will be successful.
Even if you don’t have a lot of time or money, start now. Many side hustles have few barriers to entry. You learn from trial and error. And, you gain money and experience with each gig.
SummaryAny side hustle can help you pay the bills. But, you can also use your experience to reshape the way you live life. At first, use your hustle earnings to improve your current finances. But, always keep an eye on your long-term goals. You’re behind the wheel. Now, you can decide which direction to head.
Written By: Josh Patoka
This article contains the second 3 of 10 total steps I follow to start businesses. See Steps 1 through 3 here. Next week we will discuss steps 7-10. STAY TUNED!
Starting a business can be a daunting task. There are a million variations to accomplish
a variety of goals. And when you list it all out, it can cause you to second guess the idea. However, as a persistent business owner, you must acknowledge that the road won’t be easy. Identifying a plan and chopping it into bite size pieces is important.
While there may be no one single way to create a business every time, the ten steps discussed on this blog series over the next few weeks have been proven to work in my businesses (no matter how big or small) TIME and TIME again. For this case study, we will also use my business, The Cashflow Hustle, to go through how I utilized each of these steps
4. Establish your contract / employee needs & budget
Check out this article which talks about the importance of understanding what you are NOT good at. In essence, that is what we want to then delegate so we can focus on things we are good at and therefore help the business thrive.
There are many ways to build a team – from bringing on partners to hiring employees. Starting out, the idea is to put your ideas onto paper. Identify the tasks needed for your organization to stabilize and begin to grow over the first 1, 3 and 5-year periods. This will give you a list that you can then put into groups.
The Cashflow Hustle: Tasks included in my list were website creation, logo creation, blog content creation, guest scheduling, editing audio, art/marketing creation, podcast hosting management, website podcast content updating, affiliate linking, basic bookkeeping to track revenue and expenses.
I can do (or figure out how to do) all of these items listed. I enjoy a few of these items. I dislike other items. And I am bootstrapping this effort (financially) as well as working full time. So, I definitely need some help. But I don’t have the money or need to hire anyone full time.
Enter the arena of contract labor and “gigs”. Fiverr offers a unique solution for qualified help on an easy to use and understand platform. Think of it as shopping for a new car online – you get to pick your budget, style and ever read the reviews.
A few examples of tasks for year 1:
In the very beginning, I did it all. Now I am building out my teams. Years two and three have target milestones for management of other business tasks. The idea is to have a plan in place with goals and then take action and work your plan as you move forward.
5. Build your website
here are various web building platforms out there. If you are new to the space and not overly savvy in website design, Weebly is a phenomenal resource for all things from blogs to e-commerce.
The importance of having a well built and effective website should not be overlooked. Many times, your website is the first thing people will see when they begin researching you and or your business. As you look at different “templates” to use, no matter the platform you choose, keep in mind the brand’s message as well as your target audience. You want to make sure that as soon as people land on your page, they are captured by what you have to offer. From images to text, every piece paints a picture of the quality and value you are providing.
A few samples of business sites I have built include:
Real Estate Service - NoteFlowRei.com
Grooming E-Commerce - ElChoppoHairCartel.com
If you are interested in some help on building out your site, I would be happy to look at your project with you. Click Here to get in touch.
6. Build your social platform
Once you’ve got you website built out and have a basic “look” and “feel” for consumers to connect with, it is time to tie in social media accounts. Like it or not, social media participation and presence is an aspect of your business that will be judged by your target audience. Therefore, it is important maintain consistency with your branding.
This can be as simple as using the same or similar images and text. For example, when you look at TheCashflowHustle.com and then compare that to our Facebook group page and Twitter account, you know when you land on any of the accounts, they are connected. Our website headers and social media headers all match. This may seem like common sense, but I have seen many brands with significant inconsistencies in their various platforms.
A terrific app I use to maintain consistency on branding is Canva. The platform basically allows you to use templates (sized according to your target platform) and create designs that have a very professional look and feel. As an example, all of The Cashflow Hustle podcast episode artwork has been made using this simple drag and drop app.
Next week, we will talk about ways to automate social media posting in order to remain top of mind when it comes to your target audience as well as making sure you are setup to keep clean accounting records and boost sales by driving traffic. STAY TUNED
Justin Grimes has been an active real estate investor since 2007 participating at various levels in asset classes from single-family rehab and mortgage note creation to multi-family, self storage and mobile home parks.
NOTE: This content may contain affiliate links through which we are compensated when you click on or are approved for offers from our partners. It helps cover some of our expenses to continually run the podcast and platform. See our disclosures for more info.
SALES LEAD GEN.