As more and more employers are reversing the progress made during the pandemic and expecting their teams to come back to the office, people are seeking new, flexible opportunities that suit their post-pandemic lifestyles.
It may not be the best time to quit your job and build a business from scratch. However, you can give yourself time to develop a sustainable business structure by starting a side hustle at home. It’s the ideal opportunity to get familiar with business running while you still have the security of a regularly recurring income. How long will it take to bring your side hustle to a size that is profitable? The answer depends entirely on a variety of factors, including the type of industry you’re in and the positioning of your brand. But one thing is for sure: You need to hit the right balance between the investment you make in your side hustles and the profits it can generate. So the key to success is to ensure you don’t run out of budget or resources — such as time or equipment — before you can recover your investment. In other words, it is crucial to plan the early steps of your side hustle so you can construct sustainable growth — and perhaps, if it is your goal, quit to run your own business in the long term!
Create a plan
A business idea is worthless without a plan to structure and establish the crucial concept. Your side hustle plan will answer three important questions:
Who is your buyer?
What do you sell?
How do you sell it?
Your business plan will help address these areas and identify the best go-to-market approach. The plan doesn’t need to provide guidance for your future business development. But it needs to offer direction and activities to bring your side hustle idea to life. At this stage, it is more than likely that your plan will change and improve as you gather more knowledge and experience. But, the first side hustle plan is designed to help you turn the “what if” idea into a complete and actionable solution. Side hustles often struggle to grow because they lack structure, strategy, and schedule. It’s where a simple plan can help you identify how to best use your time and investment in creating a sustainable side hustle venture that can grow into a full-size business.
Establish your budget
How much does it cost to start a side hustle?
Remember the business plan mentioned just above? This will help answer your question. Not all side hustle ventures need a high budget to start. Yet, you still have to consider essential investments such as:
Creating a side hustle web presence
Creating a professional logo
Professional email address for your side hustle — different from your personal email address
An at-home work station
Further expenses, such as equipment, may not be necessary, as some side hustlers use their personal laptops as a first setup. Yet, launching your side hustle is never free. So, if you wish to keep your business-related costs separated from your household budget, it can be a good idea to consider a specific investment pot, such as creating a savings fund or applying for a small loan. For a simple side hustle setup, you may not need more than a £300 loan to purchase your domain name, logo, and hosting plan. Side hustles are not eligible for commercial loans. If you need to consider the purchase of expensive equipment, it is worth considering a personal loan for large amounts.
Wait, what’s the essential work station?
If you’ve worked from home during the pandemic, you probably have a good idea of what the typical home office needs. The home office essentials include a laptop, a desk, a set of drawers, and a chair. However, not every industry sector has the same requirements. Your side hustle activities will help define what you need to add to your existing home office.
The most common additions to create a sustainable side hustle include:
Extra storage solutions, such as lockables, more shelves and drawers, etc.
Additional screen(s) and screen holders
Secure hardware storage for your side hustle creations and confidential data
A printer, scanner, fax machine (typically all-in-one)
It is fair to say that bringing further items to your home office may also require further decorating investment to create a structured, organised, and productive space.
Do I need a marketing budget and strategy?
You may not need a marketing budget beyond getting a professional-looking logo for your side hustle. But you can help grow your side hustle presence online through targeted marketing activities. The good news: Digital marketing for your home-based venture doesn’t need to break the bank. However, you need to be willing to invest time and effort into creating valuable content.
As a rule of thumb, you should be able to post new content regularly. It can take a lot of time to build up your audience online. So, it is essential to create a content schedule that enables you to remain visible on social media platforms.
A social media presence is a no-brainer. Platforms such as Instagram and Tiktok can be instrumental in building a recognisable brand. You can rely on your smartphone to create quality content for both platforms. You can utilise popular hashtags or seize the trending social media challenge to introduce your work to a broad audience group.
YouTube is also a free platform for brand content. However, you may need to invest in a video editing tool and additional equipment such as a quality camera and microphone. Building a video channel can be a great way for creators to showcase their work or behind-the-scenes.
How much time should I invest in my side hustle?
Experts recommend breaking down your side hustle activities into 3 crucial tasks:
The actual work
Ideally, you want to invest almost one half of your time in marketing and almost one half in doing the work. The remaining time should be dedicated to miscellaneous tasks. So, it is important to consider how much time you’ve got available. If you commit half a day over your weekend to your side hustle, it’s about 4 to 5 hours, which divides as such:
About 2 hours marketing
About 2 hours work
About 1 hour or less miscellaneous
The real question you need to ask yourself at this point is: Is it sustainable? Can you establish a successful side hustle venture when you have limited time available? As every entrepreneur and their side hustle are unique, it is for you to figure it out. But you have to be realistic. Even if a side hustle is cheap to launch, it doesn’t survive in the long term without the appropriate time investment. If you can’t afford to make time for it, perhaps now is not the right time to start your side hustle venture.
Do I need to build up my skills and knowledge?
Yes, you should also focus on improving your existing skills. For instance, if you are ready to start a crochet venture, it can be helpful to learn new crochet trends and techniques.
If you wish to promote your creations online, improving your photography skills can also make a big difference.
Thankfully, there is plenty of free material available online to help boost your skills. However, specialist knowledge may need dedicated training utilities, which can come at a high cost. However, not remaining relevant to the market is more expensive to your side hustle!
Are you considering whether you should launch a side hustle at home? A side hustle can provide a great opportunity to develop your entrepreneurship career and grow your venture. However, at the time of launch, you will have to consider the costs of your side hustle in terms of time investment, purchases, training, business presence, and communication. It is worth thinking about these before you take your first entrepreneur’s step.