So you have a big idea that you can’t stop thinking about. But where do you start? How do you create a product or service and get it in front of the masses? The world isn’t lacking in good ideas. In order to have a successful side hustle, you need to be ready to work hard. Here are some things to consider before you launch your side hustle.
Are You Solving A Problem?
Steli Efti, CEO of Close.io, said: “Don’t fall in love with your idea, fall in love with the problem you’re solving.” Are you solving a problem? Will your product or service turn into something that people need or is it just a good idea that people may look at it as a luxury? Or, could you market it in a way that people will believe it is something that they need? I think about Starbucks. I don’t need Starbucks. It technically is a luxury in my life. However, they have somehow marketed their product to solve a problem that I think I have: a constant lack of good caffeine?! Either have a product that solves problems or market your product so people think it solves a problem they have. Remember, you’re going to be living, breathing, dreaming about this so if you don’t love it, you’ll have a hard time sustaining through the tough times.
How Are You Different?
Unless you’ve created something entirely new, never before done in the history of the world, your product probably is already out there. This means that somehow, you will need to stand out. So how is your product or service different? Have you thought through what makes you stand out from the rest? Is it cheaper? Is it better? Is it more efficient? Do you have better customer service? No business has it all so you have to do a bit of research to see what you can offer that others are not! Although there is a lot of competition out there, I also believe that there is enough pie for everyone. There are people that you will be able to reach that others can’t and there are ways to reach them!
Where Are You Financially?
I don’t like talking about this part either, but you have to come face to face with where you are at financially. Do you have a family? Are you the sole provider? Take a look at your finances form an eagle’s eye view and identify the weak spots. Do you need to focus on getting out of debt before you launch your business? Do you have a 3-month emergency back up plan just in case? Make sure you talk it over with your spouse so that you are both comfortable with your financial situation. This would make it easier for you to focus on growing your business versus thinking about your debt or financial instability. Before you go and quit your job, be sure to lay out your financial benchmarks and how much you need to make each month from your side hustle before you can actually go all in.
How Many Free Hours Do You Have?
If you work a full-time job and you have a family, how many hours a day do you have to devote to your side hustle? I would not encourage anyone to take the 2 hours you have to see your kids and spouse before they go to bed in order to grow your business. I believe in working hard SO THAT you can have a healthy thriving family, not take away from them. If you don’t have much time during the weekdays, then you may have to say goodbye to sleeping in, your weekends, or side hobbies. You have to make conscious decisions on what you are saying yes and no to. If you’re not ready to spend all of your free time on your business, it may not be the business for you. Be prepared to be tired! But it’s so worth it.
Is Your Product/Service Sustainable Long Term?
I often talk to people who have a great idea but the idea would be hard to sustain in the long run. I made custom wooden signs for awhile and I loved it. It was a fun hobby that I was able to make money off of from the get. It didn’t require a huge start-up cost and people loved them. But after a while, I realized that in order to make a full time living off of wooden signs, I would have to make about 800 personalized signs a year. I don’t mass product my signs so each one is handcrafted and made specifically to the order. That just isn’t possible for me. So although the wooden signs was a great small time money making hobby, it wasn’t sustainable long-term and now I only take orders when I can. So are you trying to make a few bucks on the side? Or are you trying to make your side hustle into your main hustle?
Have You Tested Your Product?
Are you using your products? Is the service you provide one that you couldn’t live without? Have you introduced your product or service to your friends and family? Before you fully launch your great idea, vet it against your greatest critics. Although this may seem like a dream-killing exercise, their feedback can be invaluable in reconstructing and improving your product before it goes live. You don’t have to take all of the advice or opinions either. As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to know when to receive constructive criticism and when to throw it out.
Research. Research. Research.
I think starting businesses may be the easy part. I’ve started and stopped at least 5 of my own. The launch of a business is an adrenaline rush for sure! But it’s the sustaining and growing aspects of a business that becomes laborious and discouraging. My biggest advice? Do your research. And implement as your research. If you’ve hit a plateau, look up success stories or other CEO’s failure stories and how they got back up. Learn before you launch!