Growing a side hustle into a six-figure income takes time and a ton of work. Typically when most think of the term “side hustle”, they think it’s just a hobby or an interest that doesn’t really need to be nurtured as one would a full-time business.
The great thing about a side hustle is that you can have more than one, you don’t have to think big before starting, and you have the control to scale it as much or as little as you want.
I’ve written a few other blog posts about side hustles, so if you haven’t yet, feel free to check these previous blog posts out after reading this one or even before you continue on:
- The Growth of the Side Hustle
- How to Jump-Start Your Side Hustle with This 60-Day Action Plan
- How to Build a Six-Figure Income with Your Side-Hustle
In today’s blog post, I’ll walk you through the five key ways to make a six-figure income with your side hustle. Here’s what you can expect to learn that you can apply to your own side hustling:
- Why most side hustles fail and how to avoid the pitfalls
- How to develop a solid financial model that will help your side hustle thrive
- How to create a clear roadmap that will hold you accountable
- Why you should adopt the “get shit done” approach for massive growth and more
What is a side hustle?
One of my favorite definitions of a side hustle is by Urban Dictionary:
Now on a more serious note, think of a side hustle as supplementary income to your full-time gig. The general nature of a side hustle can be narrowed down to consulting, freelancing, blogging, etc. These all fall within the realm of things that you’re passionate about.
A great example I can lead with is that I started my company (a marketing agency) as a side hustle while working full-time as a marketing executive for tech startups. I was always open about my side hustle — it was never a secret and my employers were always aware that I was either blogging about marketing or helping other companies with it.
The most important thing I made sure of was that I never let my side hustle interfere with my full-time gig. Therefore, the ability to compartmentalize — as well as prioritize — was a key growth factor when it came down to doing something I was passionate about and then turning that passion into a full-time venture.
Why do most side hustles fail?
The short answer here: you weren’t really that passionate about it in the first place.
The more expansive answer is that side hustles do take a decent amount of time before you can start reaping the rewards and even seeing the type of growth that would yield a six-figure income.
When I first started my side hustle, I started out small by developing a website and blogging about the area of expertise that I was passionate about. By doing this, blogging never felt like a chore. Instead, it was a creative space for me to provide valuable insights to my readers, and over time, turned into a revenue-generating asset for me.
That being said, here are the common pitfalls you should avoid if you want your side hustle to succeed:
- Start with a clear vision and align your goals with your passions.
- Don’t do it just for money. If money is all that you’re after, then there are side hustles that will provide quick payouts. But if you’re wanting to grow to six figures, you’ll have to have a higher purpose top of mind.
- Know your superpowers. Sometimes being good at everything — and having to do everything — also means you’re really not getting anything done or good at any ONE thing that you can truly capitalize on. Put in the time to really explore and discover what it is that makes you jump out of bed every morning or that ignites excitement after a long workday — where you actually want to commit more time to learning and doing.
- Stop copying your competitors. I think it’s great to have a pulse of what competitors and like-minded people are already doing that you want to get started with. However, don’t let that take up so much of your time that it hinders you from actually making progress.
- Rest when you have to. Don’t overwork yourself and push to the point where you aren’t enjoying the work anymore. Remember, a side hustle is meant to be a creative place for you where you can indulge in your passions, not a place that will create more stress — so be mindful of that.
1. Be ready to commit to a longer vision
The initial rush of getting started can be a bit misleading because you’re beginning the process of starting something you’ve envisioned for yourself. As time goes on, you’ll start to feel the ups and downs of what entrepreneurship really feels like.
There are good days and there are bad days. Some days you’ll feel excited about accomplishing a lot and checking things off your to-do list. Other days, you’ll feel discouraged and impatient that better results haven’t kicked in yet. Here’s a clear depiction of what you can expect when it comes to experiencing success in general as you start your side hustle:
That being said, being ready to commit to the longer vision is what will keep you moving forward. As I mentioned before, there has to be a higher purpose than just making money. It has to be something you’re really interested in so that the work you put in feels less like work.
2. Don’t bite off more than you can chew
Setting realistic goals and expectations is important to helping you make progress and also enjoying the process that it’s going to take when it comes to scaling your side hustle into a six-figure earning business.
From a simple standpoint, it’s important to think about how you’re going to make money, who you’re going to target, how you’ll position yourself in the marketplace, and the specific marketing activities you’ll be implementing.
Here’s an example of how to start with an initial business model that will foster your financial plan to achieving the six-figure side hustle goal:
The great thing about building your side hustle business model using this canvas is that it will allow you to holistically see the key parts that will propel you in the right direction. Once these items are laid out, you can then start to lay out a clear roadmap for taking action.
3. Keep taking steps forward, even if they’re small
Achieving a milestone sometimes takes months or even years before you are able to reap the rewards of your hard work. Something to keep you pushing through and motivated is to make sure that you have a clear roadmap in place.
A roadmap, much like your side hustle canvas, is a way to help you see what your longer-term vision is and what you need to do to get there. Inputting action-oriented initiatives alongside your desired outcomes will help you see where you may need to make improvements and also what is working.
4. Adopt the ‘Get Shit Done’ approach
In a previous blog post, I highlight the following which I believe are helpful and worth trying to get you to stay focused:
Create multiple lists and utilize the Kanban method:
Create an Incoming list for new ideas, a Today list for items to accomplish on a certain day, and a Backlog list to use as a dumping ground for all non-urgent tasks.
Consider the Eisenhower Box
Draw a box and divide it into four quadrants. Label the two columns as Urgent and Non-Urgent, and label the two rows as Important and Unimportant. At this point, you’ll have four boxes in which to sort your tasks: Urgent and Important, Urgent and Unimportant, Non-Urgent and Important, and Non-Urgent and Unimportant.
Do the Urgent and Important tasks first — these are the equivalent to putting out fires. Eliminate the ones that fall into the Non-Urgent and Unimportant Box. Then figure out how to prioritize the rest.
5. Make content a top priority for driving traffic, leads, and sales
As a marketing enthusiast, I had to add a blurb about the importance of content and how it will influence buying decisions as well as position your products/services in the marketplace. Content only works if you use it to create a meaningful connection with your target audience and actually add value.
There are a multitude of ways that you can look at content when creating it:
- Make sure you have a website, specifically a blog where you can publish all of your content efforts and even cross-pollinate with other social media platforms. If you don’t have a website yet then check out Kinsta. They offer super cost-effective plans to get your website registered and going.
- Push to figure out what your target audience is searching for and develop content that will have the potential to rank within SERPs. A tool I highly recommend to help with this is SEMRush.
- Don’t get too caught up with perfecting every piece of content that you push out. The only way to figure out which content type and topic is going to drive the most engagement is to get it out there and collect the data points.
- If you don’t have time to write up content yourself, consider outsourcing to a freelancer. Fiverr has reasonable rates and many skilled freelancers that you can utilize to free up some time for yourself.
Wrapping It Up
Keep in mind that growing a side hustle to a six-figure earning business will take time and hard work. What will help you along the way is being patient while also making sure you choose to build something that you’re incredibly passionate about.
Additionally, as you develop your game plan, remember to make sure you have a solid financial model that will foster growth initiatives. This means that profit margins are 50% or higher and that you are also not shy about investing back into your own side hustle as well.