5 Steps to Winning in Your Side Hustle

Part 3, Back to the Basics Financial Series

The term “side hustle” has become very popular over the last decade. From making meals on the weekend to opening a restaurant, side hustles for many have turned into main hustles and African American women are leading the way. Although I applaud anyone’s efforts in stepping out and hiring themselves, I do not believe everyone should be a full-time entrepreneur. I do, however, believe everyone should have a side hustle or two. Why? Because you never know when you could be fired, laid off, or hear an announcement Monday morning that your company is filing for bankruptcy. If you do not have other means of generating income, it could have a catastrophic effect on your finances.

So, what exactly is a “side hustle”? According to Entrepreneur.com, a side hustle is “a way to make some extra cash that allows you flexibility to pursue what you’re most interested in. It can also be your true passion – a chance to delve into…whatever it is you care about the most without quitting your day job.”

What are you passionate about?

What do you love doing?

How can you make money from doing it?

We paid off tens of thousands of dollars of debt from just our side hustle alone. What can you do to get you closer to your financial goal? Whether you have a side hustle or would like to start a side hustle, here are 5 Steps that will help you to Win in your Side Hustle Journey.

Determine what you truly want to do

I am a believer that we all have at least one skill that we can do better than anyone else—at least one. The problem is, most of us do not know what that one skill is. And to be honest, for most of us, it really is difficult to narrow down. For me, it was a process. I began with asking my friends in family what they thought I was naturally good in; then, I created my own list of things I truly enjoyed. Lastly, I prayed and asked God to reveal to me what it was He created me to do and be. After I did all of this, I began seeing glimpses of things I could start. So, I stepped out on faith and tried something. That something led to another thing and another thing led to something else.  And although I am not where I want to be, I am definitely a few steps ahead of where I use to be. See, I believe that if we just take one step, do our “due diligence” and start moving, God will begin leading us to the right people, places and things. And although the first step I took does not look like the step I am on now, the point is I took a step. Even though I have failed, skipped a step, fell down some steps and even had to climb up a whole new set of stairs, I stepped! And so can you!

What are you good in?

What are you skilled in?

What are your natural abilities?

What are you passionate about?

Determine how you can meet a need or solve a problem

Now, I must say, having a side hustle goes far beyond what you are passionate about. It involves using those gifts, skills, talents and even education to either meet a need OR to solve a problem. For example, you can be passionate and even skilled in making paper mache, but if no one is interested in paper mache and you are not meeting a need for paper mache, then creating paper mache is NOT a side hustle…it is hobby!

The goal is to determine where your skills meets a need. When you can determine this, then you can begin to monetize your skills and make money. For example, a mom I know loved to cook and she saw how difficult it was for families to eat homecooked, healthy meals due to busy schedules. So, instead of just opening another restaurant, she began creating casserole type meals for busy families. They were “freeze-able” and big enough to feed a family of five-six for an economical price. Initially, anyone could just “Facebook” her and tell her we were picking up the two entrees she listed for the week from her house; but, now it has grown so we can order online and pick-up our meals at a cute store-front right here in Savannah. She used her skill to meet a need for busy moms (and dads) on-the go! (Side Note: Her website by the way is http://www.whatsfordinnersavannah.com/).

How can your skill, talent, gift or educational attainment solve a problem and make you money?

Determine your Goal & Create Actionable Steps

Earl Nightingale simple stated, “All you need is a plan, roadmap and the courage to press on to your destination.” If you do not have a plan or a road map, it will be very difficult to make it to your destination. What is your destination? Where do you want to be 6-months, 1-year or 5-years from now? Write out what you want to do and even create a vision board that will inspire you on the days when you feel not-so inspirational.

Then, create a plan/roadmap. I believe creating the roadmap can be the most difficult part. Why? Because most of us do not know where to begin. And instead of doing something, we do nothing. So, how can you create a roadmap? Look at someone who is doing what you want to do. Read blogs, articles and books to determine how to do it. Listen to podcasts, audible books and messages that will help you get there. Nothing is handed to any of us. If we want it, we have go after it.

If you already have a side hustle, what goals have you set to take it to the next level? What’s your marketing strategy? Do you have any social media pages? A website? A blog? What are you doing each week to help you earn extra income with your side hustle? Write it down. Plan it. Put realistic “accomplish by” dates on it. And do something EVERY week that will help you accomplish those goals.

Master Your Craft

When starting one of my side hustles, I realized there was a ton of people doing what I trying to do—teach people about personal finance. I also realized this is not necessarily a bad thing. If many people are “coaching” about it, it means many people are inquiring about it. So, if your side hustle is a little crowded, determine a way to stand out of the crowd.

What do you do that no one else does?

Why should people come to you?

What is your specialty?

Then own it. Read everything about it and become a “master” in it. Carve out time each week to learn something new about it. Become the “go to” person in your side hustle field.

Don’t be afraid to tell the world

Fear is something that everyone struggles with…I can definitely attest, particularly when starting something new. I am a planner by nature. I like to know what I am getting into, what my next steps are and know the destination before I start the journey. Unfortunately, life is not like that. And as a Christian, I have definitely learned that God does not even operate in this way.

I believe many times when we are unsure of ourselves or not as confident in taking the next step, we do not put 100% in it. We do not tell people about our new hustle. We say we want people to know, but we do not go out of our way to ensure people know. I remember asking my husband one day, “Should I send letters and email these organizations about my new venture?” He just turned to me and asked, “How else are they going to know what you are doing?” Point taken, blank stare!

So, put it on Facebook. No, actually create a Facebook Business Page and share it. Get a website with a blog so people can find you on the internet and read about what you do. Get business cards and go to networking events so you can pass them out. Don’t be afraid to tell the world about your gift, your skill, your hustle. You are the only one that can do what you do the way you do it. No one else can do it like you. So, do It! Start! Jump! And Make Moves! Why? Because you are only

One project away from contracting with that big Fortune 500 Company

One book away from being on the New York Times’ Bestseller’s List

One photograph away from being the lead photographer for the NBA

One meal away from becoming the personal chef for Steph & Ayesha Curry

One lawn away from becoming a franchise

And one prayer away from God taking your side hustle and turning it into something you never dreamt of!

So, Go. Win. And Be Great. You are only One Step Away!