You clearly know how to hustle. But do you know how to “side hustle?” It’s a popular phrase in today’s work world because it’s a popular thing to do. A Side Hustle (noun) is something you do on the side of your “day job.” Side Hustling (verb) is the act of getting your butt out there and pounding the pavement to make extra cash and figure out if there’s more out there for you in the career sense than what you’re already doing.
A side hustle can serve many different purposes. It can be purely a money-making tool (like becoming an UberX driver or a Postmates delivery person for instance) but it can also let you delve into your passions with the hope of turning them into a full-time job. And the right side hustle can be both. Follow these steps to find out what’s in your side hustle sweet spot, one that will make you the most cash and help write the next chapter of your career:
Find your passion.
You likely have more than one interest outside of work that gets your side hustle juices flowing. However, for the purpose of this exercise, focus on those passions which fit the following criteria: a) you are really good at it; b) it’s a service or product that fills a void in the market; c) you can realistically make money doing it. List everything out. Don’t hold back. Do you like dancing? Talking on the phone? Start with the whole shebang and then methodically decide each activity’s payoff potential. You can make money doing virtually anything if you think about and are creative enough. Make a Venn diagram of the things you’re passionate about and the things that can make money. The shaded part? Do that.
Allocate your time.
How much time do you have to pursue this side hustle? And can you realistically stick to a self-imposed schedule while also working full-time? Tackling your side hustle after a busy workday is going to require more than a little discipline. Look at the list of skills you made and now analyze the time you can devote to your hustle. Is it worth the money you’ll be getting? Worth the time?
Think of the 24/7 potential.
When sorting through your side hustle ideas, give some good thought to whether they at least have the potential to provide a pathway to a long-term career (you know, the kind that pays you enough to live). Even if you never thought you’d switch careers, you might feel differently in six months or a year if you start crushing the side hustle game. And if (when) that happens, is it something you’d be down with doing 24/7?
Is it a “hobby” or a “jobby”?
Before you try and take your side hustle from being your recreation to your vocation, get serious about determining if it’s really a “jobby” — or just a “hobby.” Are you confident that you can do the less exciting parts of the hobby when turning it into a business (i.e. sourcing, bookkeeping), day in and day out? Are you someone who stays focused without getting distracted or antsy and easily bored? If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, then you may be onto something.
Make sure to give your employer a heads up that you are going to do something on the side, especially if it competes with the job you are currently doing. You want it to be kosher with your primary gig; otherwise, your side hustle will become your main hustle sooner than you expected.
Testing out a business idea as a side hustle while you’re still employed allows you to determine proof of concept with fewer risks, because you have a job that pays you already. After all, figuring out that you don’t want to do something is just as important as figuring out that you do. Why? Because you got it out of your system. You tried it and you’ll either a) appreciate your job more or b) you’ll come up with a new idea for a business you want to try next. Or…both!
But, if you love it, and your goal is to parlay this side hustle into a new career, the payoff can be incredible. I’m speaking here from experience. That’s because, after almost 18 months of juggling my rapidly expanding side hustle (my production company) along with my day job as news anchor, I resigned from that full-time job to pursue my side-hustle 100%. And that can happen to you, too.