“What’s your side business?”
“Do you have a side hustle?”
“You know working a 9-5 won’t ever make you rich… right?!”
If you’ve been to a networking mixer in the past year there is a good chance you’ve been asked these questions. At minimum you’ve overheard others discussing what they are doing to bring income into their household outside of their regular 9-5.
It makes sense. We are a generation of hustlers.
With housing prices once again on the rise, uncertainty in the global economy, and companies cutting overhead by making mass reductions to their workforce, it is wise to have a plan B when it comes to your finances.
But behind all the glitz and rush to make money on the side are some uncomfortable truths you should know before you start the journey.
Finding Your Passion Can Take Time
Before you can start a side business you must decide what you plan to sell.
Anyone with experience will tell you that the best side businesses don’t feel like work. The idea is to find something you love so much that you actually enjoy it. When you think about working on your side biz, your face should light up with joy. It should be something that you could do until the wee hours of the morning and not feel upset that you missed out on a few hours of sleep. You really should love it THAT much!
And the truth is… getting to that place after years in a corporate environment can be hard. Depending on your work history, you may have become accustom to doing things because you are good at them. That’s a lot different than doing things because you enjoy them and they enhance your life.
That’s the reason that so many of us will first default to doing more of what we do in our day job on the side to make extra cash. However, if you don’t really (and I mean realllly) love your day job then adding more of the same kind of work can actually drain your energy.
Your Should Know:
It’s normal to start a few different businesses or side hustles before you find something that really sticks. No need to worry about how long it takes. Instead focus on the sense of accomplishment you feel in finding something to do that you love.
You Still Need Protection
Your side business, even if it’s tiny and just starting, can be a huge liability in your life without the right protection. Exactly what kind of protection am I talking about?
Your side biz needs legal protection that will allow you to treat it as an entity separate from yourself. This can easily be accomplished by establishing your company as a documented entity. Talking to an attorney will give you insight on the best setup based on the type of side business you plan to open.
This will protect your personal assets in the unfortunate event that you get sued. If someone sues you (and there are a million possible reasons you might not even think of) and you haven’t properly structured your business, there’s a chance that your personal property could be seized to repay any debts or settlements if you lose the case. Avoid that by getting setup the right way the first time.
You Should Know:
Protecting yourself and your side hustle is a good idea and shouldn’t be postponed. It is well worth the investment to talk to an attorney who can talk you through things.
It Helps To Have A Schedule
The best piece of side business advice I’ve received in my entire life was this…
If you won’t make time to work on your side business while you have a job, you should probably keep your day job.
This sage advice comes from knowing that how you do one thing is how you’ll do anything.
If you want to find success in making money outside of work you’ll need a process and schedule to stick to. Making this a priority will help you grow your side hustle faster. It will also make the transition easier if you one day decide to turn your side hustle into your main stream of income.
You Should Know:
Creating habits for your side hustle will help you keep it going long-term. The stronger your habits are the better your business will be.
If You Aren’t Making Money, It’s Just A Hobby
I have a friend who started a side business as a DJ about 4 years ago. They bought all the fancy equipment, created a stage name, and even got super fancy business cards to make it legit.
Over the years they have played a few small gigs and even worked one wedding. Sounds like a growing business right? Wrong!
They never got paid. Outside of a few tips, there was no regular cash flow coming in. What my friend really had was a very expensive hobby. Hobbies are great, but they aren’t the same as running a business.
You Should Know:
It’s OK if your business isn’t making money. However, it’s important to classify it accordingly. Be honest with yourself regarding your goals before making large investments of time or money.