One of the best ways to pump extra money into your life is to have a solid side hustle. Side hustles are a great way to pay for things like vacations, gifts or even funding a retirement plan. They also provide an excellent sense of security if you ever decide to leave your job. I talk about side hustles with people all the time. I always ask, what has been your biggest challenge with starting and maintaining a great side hustle. This is the number one challenges people face and my reaction.
They don’t have any good ideas
This is the most common response I hear from people when it comes to starting and maintaining a great side hustle. They look online to see what others are doing. They join social media groups to see if anyone is having success with something. Or they take a course from someone promising to teach them how to make huge money with little effort.
In the end, they’re more confused and have a greater sense of failure. Meaning, they’re worse off than they were before they started.
Here’s the thing to me. It’s not a lack of ideas. It’s about your mindset as you’re searching for opportunity.
Here’s the recipe for opportunity.
Market Knowledge → Missing Value → Skill = Opportunity
I’ll explain by using my first pizza place as an example. I had a little pick-up and delivery pizza place back in my 20’s. It was across the street from a High School with open campus for lunch. Having once been a High School student myself I knew that teenagers were on a limited budget. So, I started selling slices of pizza for $1. Within weeks I had a line out the door.
Then I went to a couple of places that hosted kids’ birthday parties. You know, the places with bounce castles and stuff. I asked them what they were struggling with in terms of food. Reliable, punctual, and affordable deliveries were their #1 issue. I promised 100% on-time deliveries and a 20% discount. Immediately we were delivering $100 per week to each place. We held up our end of the bargain and were never late with a delivery.
Then I went to the nearby office buildings. I asked the people at the front desk what their biggest issue was with lunch. Menu variety, timeliness, and quality food was the top of the list. So, I created a catering menu and went back to the office buildings. I promised all the things they struggled with and I offered the front desk person a free lunch if they ordered through us. It didn’t take long before we were delivering $1,000’s per week to nearby office buildings.
I could go on and on, but with each example it’s the same formula.
Market Knowledge → Missing Value → Skill = Opportunity
My guess is you don’t have a pizza place. So how can you take my examples and apply them to your situation?
First let’s ask a different question. What’s at your core? See the $1 slices, the punctual deliveries, and the catering menu were just revenue streams that branch from the core business. We also had night deliveries, take and bake, grab and go, frozen pizza and dine in. At the core we were a quality eatery for people in my community.
Think of a tree. The revenue streams are the branches and they all lead back to the trunk which is grounded by its roots.
Earlier I said the issue isn’t a lack of ideas. It’s about your mindset as you’re searching for opportunity.
In my conversations with people they say, maybe I could do an amazon business, maybe I could drop-ship, maybe I could blog, maybe I could coach, maybe I could ____________.
That’s fine. But what is the core of your business? What does everything lead back to? What are the principles? What market are you in? What do you believe in?
If you want to sell fitness apparel, wouldn’t it be best if you developed your brand around fitness? Then you can also expand to sell meal plans, supplements, equipment, etc.
If you want to be a coach, wouldn’t it be best if you developed your niche? That way you could tell people, I help realtors develop their branding and marketing plan. Then you could expand to sell courses, coaching, books, etc.
If you want to be a dog walker, wouldn’t it be best if you developed your brand around pet or home care? That way you could branch out to pet supplies, vacation sitting, personal errands, etc.
Once again, I could go on and on. Here’s step by step advice to help you understand and develop the core for your worthy side hustle.
- Think about how you want to spend your time. What are you good at? What do you enjoy? What do you like talking about? Who do you like helping? What do your friends ask you about?
- Start with an industry or market. If the market is unfamiliar to you, then research that market. Read about it. Find role models. Identify who is succeeding and figure understand what they’re doing to succeed. Understand how they’re communicating their principles.
- Understand that anything worth while takes time to develop. If you need money now, then maybe you should get a side job. A worthy side hustle is a process. A worthy process, but a process.
- If you still want to proceed with building a worthy side hustle, then don’t think in terms of making money - yet. Think in terms of building your core principles. Your core consists of your market/industry, your uniqueness, and the value you’ll provide. Write this stuff down and even test it out. Join some specific groups on Facebook. Talk to people. See if anyone enjoys your message. Practice your message and develop confidence.
- If you’ve made it this far and you still have energy, then maybe it’s time to put a plan together. A vision without a plan is nothing. Map things out. Will you need a website, social media, a communications platform, business cards, equipment, etc? If so, you’ll need to write the copy for these things. This is an opportunity for you to really develop the core of your business. My advice is create the copy before you pay for anything.
- Understand that marketing and sales is fundamental to any business. Revenue streams come and go. Seasons change. People move. Economics change. If you want to remain then marketing is part of the game. Your website, social media, and any other print material should all communicate a clear message. Marketing and sales are simply a message to communicate the value you provide.
- If you’ve made it this far, then it’s time to execute. Understand that you don’t know how your side hustle will develop. You don’t know what revenue streams will develop. However, if you’re always working to provide value to your community/customers then my guess is you’re building a worthy side hustle.
Building a worthy side hustle is about your ability to contribute value. It’s not about making money. Money is made when value is exchanged. That’s what money is - It’s a tool we use to exchange for things of value. Meaning, if you’re creating value then making money will happen.
My course on building a worthy side hustle will be out in early 2020.
Join the wait list here