Launching any business, large or small, is never all lollipops and rainbows. I grew up amongst entrepreneurs who periodically lamented about their struggles with owning their own business, but was also encouraged from a young age to pursue and build my own dreams. Many of us spend years helping others build and achieve their dreams while letting our own fall to the wayside, and I believe that is why side hustles have become such a popular trend among millennials. They allow us to focus on our own goals without sacrificing income or giving up opportunities to learn and grow from working with or for others.

A side hustle is an old concept made popular in recent years by young go-getters who recognized (and still do) that they have passions and dreams of their own that they may not be able to pursue full-time due to various reasons; we need jobs to support ourselves, experience to grow, a way of earning enough money to put food on our tables. Side hustles allow us to still build our dreams without giving up our monetary support systems (such as full-time jobs).

Often, most people stumble into a side-hustle, realizing they can truly succeed at it without having to sacrifice other aspects of their lives. I’m one of those side hustlers, and I’ve developed a few tips and tricks to help you launch a side hustle, perhaps one you’ve been dreaming of getting off the ground.

Understand your strengths

Before you can even consider launching a side hustle, you need to have a solid understanding as to what your strengths are. This is the point at which you may ask yourself,  “What am I good at?”

If you love graphic design and making logos, logo design could be your side hustle. If you enjoy making jewelry and find passion in creating new designs, selling your items online through a platform like Etsy could be your side hustle. Successful hustles begin with a strength you have and something you’re passionate about. If you believe you can provide people with something tangible from that passion, chances are you can launch a side hustle from it.

Build a plan

Once you’ve discovered what your side hustle will be, you need to build a plan which centers around how you’ll launch your side hustle. Most hustles begin through platforms like Etsy and Fiverr, where you can sell many types of products and services, build a portfolio, gather a roster of clients or customers, and gain experience in your niche.

If you already have experience in your niche, and would like to use your side hustle as a way to work for yourself or freelance full-time, try creating a website through a cost-effective CMS platform such as Wix or Squarespace, where you can sell or advertise your services and provide people a way of connecting with you. You should also consider looking into methods – both free and paid – of advertising your goods or services; social media is the perfect place to start, as it offers free advertising. With a plan in place, you can map out what you need to do, and how you’ll do it, to get your side hustle off the ground.

Be both an employee and a boss

Like any entrepreneur, a side hustle requires that you be both an employee and a boss…for yourself. If you are truly dedicated to a successful side hustle, you need to be willing to put in the hours of work to launch it but also run it, which essentially makes you an employee doing the work, and a boss ensuring the work gets done.

When I first started my side hustle as a content creator, I used Asana as well as my synced iPhone and MacBook Calendar to log my hours, create tasks, set reminders, and hold myself accountable. Doing so allowed me to schedule time to work on my side hustle and kept me from experiencing burn out with my full-time job. I highly recommend keeping organized through such software!

Be a social butterfly

These days, networking is a somewhat passe idea, because networking no longer requires us to stand around in conference centers in stuffy suits, shaking hands while awkwardly holding watered-down cocktails. We can network with potential collaborators, customers, and/or clients through the world wide web, which is why I recommend using social media networking and connection platforms to market your side hustle when you’re ready to launch it.

The two platforms I used (and still use) the most to gain exposure for my services are Facebook and Instagram, but I also connect with fellow content creators, join Facebook groups, join coalitions or clubs, and connect with people on LinkedIn.

It sounds like a daunting amount of work, but being social and networking online actually pays off. In fact, you may find your first client through social media; I am, for instance, often contacted by clients who find me through Instagram. Don’t be shy about harnessing the power of social media and using it to your advantage.

For more tips on launching a side-hustle for creatives, check out my article here.

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