There has never been a better time to have a side hustle, with interest rates rising and the cost of living rising with it. Millions of individuals all over the world have found a way to turn an interest, skill and passion into something that can be sold or offered to a market. If you find yourself nurturing such a skill but do not know how to translate this into something more, here are a few pointers to get you turning this side hustle into a real business.
Fill the skill gap with formal or informal training
Perhaps you do not feel fully equipped with the right skills and experience to go all the way with your side hustle. Perhaps you would consider returning to study to bridge those skill gaps so you can connect the missing pieces. Many universities and TAFEs will offer short courses, as well as more structured courses that issue certification at completion. Search for courses and training in the areas you need, like bookkeeping, for example, so you can feel confident in proceeding with your business.
Also, if you do not have the time or budget to spend on formal courses, there may be some YouTube tutorials that can be just as effective. Udemy is another comprehensive training platform that offers very affordable training. The quality and effectiveness will depend on the area you are skilling up in, but take a look around at what free sources are available before you invest.
Create a digital presence
Your side hustle may feel like a fully-fledged business to you, but you have to alert your audience to the fact that you exist and you are open for business. Before you rush off to create a website, there may be value in testing the market with a social media presence. Depending on your niche and audience, you will find the right channel, but generally speaking, it is Instagram, Facebook and TikTok have the highest engagement. Use your digital presence to introduce your products or service to your audience, and commit to publishing a wide range of content types: static images, video content, how-tos, testimonials, Q&A and more!
Instagram Shopping is quite an efficient platform for businesses wanting to manage their business and communications all in one place. If the time comes when you outgrow Instagram, you can always move to Etsy or work with a web developer to create a website befitting your needs.
Get some customer feedback and testimonials
As you are launching your business to the masses, you want to do some early testing so you can figure out if you need to iterate your product or service. Have your friends and family try or experience your business offering and ask them for real, honest feedback so that you can implement that gold. You may uncover a benefit or opportunity that you had not considered which may totally change the way you market your business.
You can also ask them for a testimonial (preferably a positive one) so that you can share that feedback on your social media or on your website. The questions that your friends and family ask before and after they experience your business product or service may even be your FAQs, so do not skip the opportunity to do some user testing.
Get your paperwork in order
Launching a business can be incredibly exciting, but there are some more boring tasks that you have to get in order too. Administrative tasks like registering a business name, setting up a business bank account, registering for GST and creating an ABN are all going to get your business set up correctly and ready for commercial success. Beyond these essentials, there are other administrative tasks you can complete which will make your business look and feel more legitimate. This may include designing an invoice template, an email signature, and setting up a dedicated email.
If you know your way around Canva, you will find that designing a logo is so easy to do and then you can reflect this branding on all of your templates and business forms. This might feel like a small addition, but perception is such an important factor and it’s what separates the side hustles from fully-fledged businesses.
Seek peers, partners and a community
The success of a business rarely happens in a vacuum, and it’s often through strategic partnerships that businesses can thrive and tap into the right audience. There are many mastermind groups and courses out there that dubiously promise to double your income, but ultimately you find authentic growth through community. Find a Facebook Group or in-person Meetup that connects people operating in your niche, and start engaging with this community on some of the struggles you are facing, the excitement of the journey and anything business related that you can’t discuss with family and friends who haven’t had the same experience with business ownership. In this community, you will find so many peers that are like-minded and may be the ideal partners to cross-promote with.
We hope this guide has put you on the path to business success and shaking off that side hustle mindset and replacing it with market domination! Like any business, you will have periods of growth and periods of learning, so stick with it and remember to upskill and connect with other business owners. Be sure to check out our Melbourne Culture content!