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Gone are the days of the straight 9 to 5 careers. Instead, employees can be part time, work from home, contractors or pursue several passion projects in addition to full term employment. As we like to call them, side hustles. While it may seem like everyone’s doing it, there are still a few things to keep in mind before kicking off your own side hustle.

  1. Make it a passion

Whatever you decide to pursue it’s important to make sure it’s your passion. As this is your side hustle and not your main income, you’ll find yourself working late nights and weekends on top of your actual employment. Simply put, if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t be tolerating those extra hours for long. Passion is also a common ingredient in the successful side hustles that went the extra mile (perfect examples are Canva, Apple and Showpo). The power of loving what you do should never be underestimated.

  1. Research, research, research

It should go without saying that before you start your venture, you need to check the market. Is there someone already operating in the same space you hope to be? Or perhaps there’s not a demand for your service or product?

Before putting in the groundwork or setting up your brand, business plan and commencing any registrations, it’s best for all involved to make sure whether or not it’s viable.

Seek advice from a specialist in the industry and look up industry magazines and resources. Sites like Founder and Inc are great for discussing successful and failed business concepts. Be sure to look at the local side of the industry too, as this will be your first customer base and biggest competition.

  1. Ask around

Running a business is never easy, and the best way to learn is from others – and specifically from their mistakes. Things like how to do your tax, registering a business, getting your name out there and prices to charge are great questions to ask someone who has lived it.

While there will be questions only you can answer, peer support is always a positive thing. It’s also worth setting up a support network around you for whenever you encounter issues with IT, accounting, design or other heavy service-based skills.

  1. Plan

Life gets in the way and side hustles are often the first to suffer. With all the elements involved in running a business (socials, website, customer service, admin tasks etc) it can often get a bit much – especially when this isn’t even your main shtick.

Putting together a colour-coded planner on Excel is the basics when it comes to mapping out your time. It keeps the planning process low-stress and will do wonders for your mental health.

When is your busiest time with your main work? Do you have any holidays planned? Are there any key dates for your side hustle? These are the kinds of things you should map out in your planning. If there are any areas that are looking particularly busy and unachievable, move things around or look for help outside yourself.

Even simpler than setting up a planner is setting aside a few hours or a day each week to dedicate to your side hustle. Block it out in your calendar so that no other events will take up its time and really dedicate that allotment to establishing and nourishing your business.

  1. Network

So you’ve completed your business plan and your branding is ready to go, now what? Well, aside from launching it, talking about it! While it may seem quite a daunting thing to do, attending networking events is one of the greatest tools for marketing your new business – we’ve all heard of the wonders of word of mouth.

Even at events with friends and family, or strangers, spruik what you’re doing and be proud of what you’ve created. Got a product? Get yourself out there at markets and in the physical space and let people see the creator behind the items. Think about investing money into networking memberships and attending large scale networking events, if chosen carefully and done right, these things can have massive returns for your business. Finally, it goes without saying the reach of social media. Get on there and do your thing.