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How to Start a Side Hustle in a Few Easy Steps

Do what you love spray painted on wall. Start your side hustle!

Thinking about how to start a side hustle?  Realizing that you might not be living the dream working for a large corporation?  You wanted that corporate job in part for the steady income, right?  Problem is, ‘steady’ today doesn’t exist, as our world is anything but steady.  Corporations are downsizing and jobs are no longer certain.  And most importantly, what started out as YOUR dream, has turned into the COMPANY’S dream.  You need more control over your dream, more purpose!  Sound familiar?  Absolutely!  

That’s where a side hustle comes in.  A side hustle is a small start at your own business.  It’s where you start to make income on the side while still holding down your day-job.  It’s not just a hobby, because the intent is to create a business and make money.  It could be as simple as selling homemade scarves on Etsy or doing freelance copywriting.  Or it could be more complicated, like creating a website store to sell products.  In many cases, your side hustle can become big enough to become your Main Hustle!  And in just a few low-risk, low-investment steps, you too can officially start your side hustle with a virtual office.  This article will walk you through those steps.

Step 1: Select Your Side Hustle

This is obviously an important step, but the time it will take will vary.  If you absolutely know what it is that you want to do, great!  You just need to think about what the customer-facing execution is.  For example, if you love to make cakes and want to make that your side hustle, there are different go-to market paths.  You could sell actual cakes for people for birthdays, weddings, and other events.  Or you could start a blog with cake recipes and monetize with advertising.  You could also sell an in-person or online class to teach people how to make cakes?  

For those that are not yet sure about what that side hustle might be, it will take a bit longer.  Here are some questions that you can ask yourself?

  • What is your current career?  Are you an attorney, marketing manager, engineer, accountant, finance manager, or other profession that you could do on your own for private clients?  Many people start their side hustles by consulting on the side.  Just be sure to understand what non-competes or other contractual limitations may exist with your current employer.
  • What specific expertise do you have?  Do you have a specific expertise within your current profession?  Perhaps in your Finance Manager profession you are an expert with developing financial documents and can work with small local businesses to help them develop their own.  Or maybe you create templates for anyone to purchase online?  Or maybe you just mastered a certain software and can teach others to use it?
  • What hobbies do you have?  Have you been playing guitar all your life and can teach kids?  Or do you love to read and could start a paid book club?  Or maybe you love to sew or paint or sculpt and want to sell your artwork?  Perhaps you love to camp and have specific knowledge on what products would be perfect for new campers?  You can create your own online store with drop shipment from Amazon!  These are all hobbies that you can turn into side hustles.
  • What do you love?  Your side hustle should be something that brings you joy, not dread.  Whatever you put on the list for potential side hustles, double check it to see if it makes you smile.  

Check out this article for 50 Ideas for your Side Hustle (Entreprenuer.com)

It’s important to recognize that your side hustle may change and/or evolve as it turns into a growing business (if that’s your goal).  And that is more than OK!  The reason you start something on the side, is so you can test and learn along the way and then pivot and make changes as needed.  You can be flexible and more risky with a side hustle when you have your day job to fall back on.  

Finally, get inspired!  Listen to a podcast on your commute to/from your day job that will teach you more about starting and running your side hustle, such as  Side Hustle Nation.

Step 2: Formalize the Biz!  It’s Literally How to Start a Side Hustle

Once you have your idea for a side hustle, it’s time to formalize it.  Now, keep in mind, this does not mean that you cannot change the business idea or the way you monetize it going forward.  This just means creating the ‘Company’ that all legal, financial, operational, and transactional activities fall under.  This protects you, the person, and puts the liability on the company.  

If you’re still playing with the side hustle idea, the Company Name that you choose, can be somewhat generic.  You can always create a separate brand later that will be your Doing Business As name.  For example, if you know that you want to do something with food, but you’re not exactly sure what, you could name your business ‘Home Foodie’.  You may have a different go-to-market name later and that’s ok.  

Regardless of the type or size of the business you start on the side, you should create a formal company and register with your state.  For more on the details for how to do this, read How to Start & Run a Business From HomeYou can also check out: LLC vs. C-Corp: Best Business Structure for my business 

Registering your business not only legitimizes it, but also gives you privacy and liability protection.  It is also important when looking to create business accounts, such as banking, online payment gateways, and more.

Step 3: Set REALISTIC Goals & a Schedule

Set Realist Side Hustle Goals

Setting goals in your life and business helps you to stay focused and develop actionable plans to achieve them.  For your side hustle, you will want to set realistic, actionable goals to help you identify where you are and need to go with it.  For example, is your goal to make enough side income to pay for vacation?  Do you want to grow your side hustle into a business that can replace your day job?  Or are you just playing around and having fun with no major income expectations (frankly, this is just a hubby then)?  These are critical questions to help identify what steps you need to take with your side hustle.

Let’s use the example of paying for two family vacations per year.  You then need to start put metrics to the goal so your action plan can achieve it.

  • What does a family vacation cost?  
  • When do you need to have the money?  How many months and weeks until then?
  • How much side hustle income do you need to make each week/month to achieve this?
  • What will it take to make this level of income each week/month?

Set a Realist Schedule

Next, you will need to determine HOW and WHEN you will work on your Side Hustle.  Remember, you still have a day job, so nights and weekends are when you will likely be able to tackle your side hustle.  Be careful not to overwhelm yourself or to neglect other areas of your life and family that will ultimately have a negative impact.  

Establish days and hours that you will dedicate to the side hustle and then make anyone else in the house aware of that.  Consider a co-working space for these days/hours if your house is too difficult for productivity (read more on this below).  You will have limited time for this, so make that time as productive as possible!

Each month, assess your progress towards achieving your goals and adjust your schedule and activities accordingly.

Coffee mug that reads 'begin.' sitting on wood table.  When starting your side hustle, start small, be just start!

Step 4: Start Small, but Just Get Started

The great thing about starting a business as a side hustle is that it allows you to start small and grow it slowly over time.  You still have your day-job to fall back on, so there is less pressure to make big money.  That means you can take time to test and learn.  The key is to just get started on something!  If you wait for the idea to be perfect, the timing to be right, and the stars to align, you will be waiting forever!  For this type of venture, you will learn better and faster by doing and as you go.  Customers will tell you what’s working and what’s not!  It’s PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION!

That said, be sure to do some research to ensure you are providing a quality product or service that meets your target market’s needs.  This could just be talking to your target customer.  Network and talk to others that have started their own businesses, specifically side hustles.  They can share their lessons and experiences with you.

Finally, LEAN ON THE EXPERTS!  Read and follow blogs and publications, listen to podcasts, join your local entrepreneurs group.  And when it comes to the up-front logistics of making your business formal?  Well, turn to the experts there too and get a Virtual Office.

How to Start a Side Hustle with a Virtual Office

More and more, Entrepreneurs are starting businesses out of their homes using a Virtual office.  A virtual office is a low-risk, low-investment way to legitimize and help grow your consulting business.  It gives you a professional physical business address.  This address can be used to start your business, receive your mail, and publish on any and all business communication.  In addition to a physical office address, a virtual office can provide you with other key benefits.  

Register Your Business

One of the first important steps before starting your business is registering it with your State.  In order to do so, you will be required to have a Registered Agent.  There are many options for Registered Agent services.  One of the easiest ways to obtain both an Office Address and a Registered Agent is with a Virtual Office.  This is a service that many Virtual Office providers, such as Starthub provide. 

Office Space as Needed

It can be difficult to focus on your business in limited times from your home.  This is especially so if you don’t have a designated and separate office area. There are so many opportunities for distractions at home.  Family members, pets, backlogged chores or repairs, and easy access to television and other devices are just a few examples.

A Virtual Office will also give you access to a physical work space with coworking desks, private offices, or even conference rooms.  These types of shared office spaces can increase your productivity by providing you with a working area that is quiet, structured, and free from life’s distractions. 

Learn From Others through Networking

With so many entrepreneurs using Virtual Offices today, when you join, you have exclusive access to a network of like-minded people.  These are professionals that often started out right where you are and would love to impart their experience and knowledge.  You can tap into this network to learn from their success and the mistakes they made along the way. 

Professional Services Ready when Your Business Is!

One day, with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, your business will be booming!  When that time comes, likely somewhere along the way, you will realize you need help.  This is where having a Virtual Office can set you up early for money and time saving services.  A Virtual Office not only gives you a physical address, but it can offer a comprehensive package of online business solutions. Mail Management and Virtual Receptionist services are two of the most notable services.  You can manage your important mail remotely and request actions such as scans, forwards or shreds.  A virtual receptionist is a live person that can answer your dedicated business phone number.  You will never miss a customer service call or potential client inquiry with a virtual receptionist.

Try Starthub Virtual Offices Risk Free Today! 

If you’re feeling a bit trapped, stifled, or uncertain in your corporate job, starting a side hustle imay be your salvation!  A side hustle can be your ticket to freedom and fulfillment.  Start thinking about some ideas today and as soon as you’re ready, get set up with a virtual office! 

At Starthub, we offer comprehensive virtual office solutions. We’ll even give you your first month FREE. Just click here to get started.  You’ll receive a prestigious mailing address in downtown Miami, dedicated mail handling services from a talented team, and an innovative digital platform to receive and direct your mail. Plus, 24/7 customer support. For more information on why Starthub is the best choice for your virtual mailbox, click here.

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