Everyone needs a side-hustle today – it’s the only way to guarantee any semblance of financial security in an economy where jobs can disappear without warning. The even bigger benefit, though, has less to do with your bank account and more to do with your happiness level: Launching a side-business might be the most professionally satisfying thing that you ever do.
That’s because unlike most day jobs, it’s all about you: What can you create? What do you have to offer the world? How can you help people? When people buy what you are offering and, even better, tell you how much they love it, it’s incredibly validating – and empowering.
If you’re thinking about launching your own side-hustle – or already have one going – consider these five secrets of success, based on my interviews with over 100 side-hustlers:
1. Know what motivates you.
A surprisingly large number of side-hustlers got their start as a result of a major event in their lives. The two most common were lay-offs and new babies. Having your motivating factor seared clearly in your mind will be helpful whenever things get tough, because of a slow sales week or late nights playing catch up. If you know you’re doing it because you never want to rely on a single paycheck again, or because you want to know that you can always provide for your family, then it will be easier to find the energy to keep going.
2. Leverage your existing skills.
Chances are that you are already really good at something. Maybe it’s party planning, or connecting with people online, or designing websites. It might even be something you do in your day job. Take some time to reflect on your greatest skills, interests, and passions, because that will lead you to the best entrepreneurial pursuit for you. The main categories to consider are: creating products, providing a service, running a business, helping others, doing physical work, and performing.
3. Master your money.
You might be launching a side-business to improve your own financial outlook, but it’s important to first make sure you’re on top of your money management. Side-hustlers often pay down debt, shore up savings, and reduce expenses before launching their business, because doing so gives them more flexibility to invest in start-up costs or scale back their primary earnings as they devote more time to their budding side-business.
4. Learn to pitch yourself.
Getting word out about business is often the most challenging aspect of building a new venture, but it’s an essential aspect of entrepreneurship. Come up with an easy way of explaining exactly how your product or service helps other people, because that is what will convince them to make a purchase.
5. Connect with other side-hustlers.
Running a side-business is hard, and joining communities of people doing the same thing, in your own field, offers much-needed encouragement, support, and even extra publicity. Start by reading up on the bloggers and entrepreneurs in your own niche field, whether it’s creative entrepreneurship, woodworking, or millennial career coaching. Leave comments and help wherever you can. You’ll probably pick up on tips and strategies that will help you get ahead, too.
I hope this year brings you much success, and satisfaction, with your own side-hustle!
This was guest post by Kimberly Palmer, an author of the new book, “The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life,” and senior money editor for U.S. News & World Report, where she writes the popular Alpha Consumer blog. In addition, she is the creator of Palmer’s Planners, her own line of digital financial guides and money organizers for major life events and goals. You can connect with her at bykimberlypalmer.com, where you can also download worksheets to help you build your own side-hustle.