Cesira Leigh, Digital Solutions Advisor
Australia ranks as one of the best countries in the world to sell your skills on the side according to recent analysis by the team at Canva. As most side gigs don’t require expensive infrastructure or equipment, and can be built up progressively; it can be an entertaining thought for many. A side hustle is any activity you do to make money separate from your day job. It can help to bring in those much-needed extra dollars, top up your skill set or create the opportunity for you to become your own boss.
There are some clear steps that can help guide your thinking before jumping into a side hustle.
- Firstly, consider your goal and determine your ‘why’.
- Spend time researching your idea.
- Test the idea using a business plan.
- Take care of the details (ABN, bank account, trading name etc)
So, what next? Well, time to get the ball rolling…. Kicking things off should be an iterative process – evaluating, learning and modifying. You also need to rely on the tools and external advice you can access to help you on your journey.
If things really take off, your side hustle could end up being your full-time job.
Steps to Kick Starting your Side Hustle
Determine Your Why & Research
You will need to check your current employment contract for IP or non-compete clauses, and to assess whether there could be ramifications with your current employer/contractor. It’s equally important to determine you have the additional time to take on a side hustle!
To get things moving and ensure your side hustle gains traction, you will need to give some rigorous thought to setting your goals and expectations. Start by looking at the amount of time you have to work on your side project and ask yourself what’s realistic to expect. This is crucial to ensure you are investing time and (perhaps) money effectively and efficiently.
Of course it’s important to consider the ‘what’ in terms of your idea. In simple terms this involves finding a topic you are passionate about, good at, and other people are interested in. This part of the process may require some effective brainstorming.
Side hustles are really common so you need to research widely and deeply – your market, competitors, logistics, marketing strategy, revenue model etc. Don’t be tempted to skimp on this step as it will inform your business plan.
Test Your Idea
To bed down your research and business idea/goals, you’ll need a plan. This will help give you clarity and provide guidance as you get your hustle going. You will want to keep it simple and adaptable (as your business needs change) and the Business Model Canvas can be a really useful tool here.
Further to your business plan, consider how people will learn about your offering. This is where the marketing strategy becomes important. The Government has developed a Marketing Plan for small business that you can adapt for your side hustle.
Take Care of the Details
The next step is take care of some basic infrastructure issues including; applying for an ABN – Australian Business Number, GST registration (required where your turnover is greater than $75,000 per year), registering your business name via ASIC and potentially chatting to your Accountant regarding an appropriate business structure. You may also need to consider issues such as merchant facilities, insurances and licences.
So you have decided the side hustle is a viable idea, so what’s next? The launch phase is going to vary from business to business but may include things like; setting up your website and choosing a blog design, getting your social media pages set up, and acquiring your first customers.
Evaluate, Learn, Modify
It’s almost a guarantee that there will be good months and bad months as you progress your side hustle. It’s important that you’re diligent about tracking and evaluating your progress. Endeavour to establish a system so that you can track how things are going and continually evaluate, learn and modify your practices to ensure relevance and revenue.
Your side hustle may be your first experience in setting up a business. If that’s the case, know that there are plenty of resources and avenues of support to help you through the process. Some of these include networks to connect with like the Brisbane Junior Chamber of Commerce, a plethora of Government grants, the Department of Small Business or the many online free short courses. Getting advice from a Business Advisor, through the Commonwealths Digital Solutions program is also a great starting point.
From Side Hustle to Full Time Gig
Your side hustle may grow and become your main income earner, or maybe it won’t. It will however provide you with plenty of opportunity for learning. Keep in mind the Airbnb story; three guys who turned their side hustle renting air mattresses in their apartment into a $31 billion company.
For further information, please contact Cesira Leigh, Digital Solutions Advisor.