If you’ve been thinking about starting a side hustle, then now is the time to get it going. As many are looking forward to the new year — and leaving the craziness of what 2020 brought behind — there are also many who want to figure out ways to make more money.
I don’t know about you, but one thing I noticed with the onslaught of the pandemic was that many were facing a financial crisis, which manifested in these ways:
- The Department of Labor shows tens of millions of people are out of jobs and struggling to pay bills, as well as rent.
- ~27M adults reported they were struggling to even put food on the table.
- People are pushing to figure out other means to generate additional income to help themselves and their families.
That being said, keep in mind that 57M Americans freelanced last year alone and that number continues to grow. Putting semantics aside, if you’re freelancing as a way to build your credibility with your field of expertise, then that’s a side hustle. In alignment with the hardships that have come with this year’s pandemic, it only makes sense to start a side hustle. These are the top reasons why people choose to start a side hustle:
Why You Should Start a Side Hustle Pronto
One of the things that I hate most is waiting around for the ‘right time’ to make a goal or a dream a reality. If you keep waiting, you’ll be waiting for the rest of your life. In fact, 50% of side hustlers are just thinking about getting started, but not you. After you read this blog post, I want you to take the action needed to make your side hustle a reality. Stop waiting.
With the advancement of technology and the ability to reach your target audience digitally, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t at least start laying out the key steps to getting your side hustle going.
Doing so will help in dire times and also support you through the good times for more growth opportunities. More importantly, you’ll be more proactive about taking control of your life and your finances without being solely dependent on your 9-5 income alone.
Here are the key takeaways of why you should start a side hustle:
- Costs very little to no money to get going.
- No ceiling for what you can earn, but think big and start small.
- You can generate immediate income and eventually scale it to a six-figure side hustle.
Having a place where you can direct traffic is going to be an important part of your side hustle. Your website is going to serve as a way for potential and existing customers to get in touch with you. You’ll also be able to use it to funnel in visitors who may be interested in what you are selling and provide a clear call-to-action (CTA) that will generate revenue.
Here’s why having a website is imperative to your success:
- The average revenue for a small business is $3.6 million, but the average revenue for a small business with a website is $5.03 million. (Source)
- 46% of consumers in the study based their decisions on the credibility of websites on their visual appeal and aesthetics. (Source)
- Nearly 8 in 10 customers would stop engaging with content that doesn’t display well on their device. (Source)
- 62% of companies that designed a site specifically for mobile experienced an increase in sales. (Source)
So where do you start with your website?
The top elements I recommend for your website are a homepage, about page, contact page, and a blog. Of course, if you are looking to sell actual products, then you would want an e-commerce functionality (i.e. a shop page) as well. Here are the steps to consider when creating your website:
Step 1. Register Your Domain
Figure out what domain name you want to buy and register. In other words, you need a place to actually host your website before you can start developing it. I recommend checking either BlueHost or DreamHost. I’ve used both and love their customer service, as well as the ease of getting your website up and running.
For BlueHost, you will see that their cheapest plan starts at $3.95/month and includes a free domain name. Simply go to www.bluehost.com and click the “Get Started” button. From there, you can choose the basic plan to start.
As for DreamHost, you can see that their basic plan is priced at $2.59/month. Once you click on the “Get Started” button, you’ll be able to get your domain registered.
Step 2. Design Your Website
This part is probably the most daunting, especially if you don’t have any web design experience. However, you’re in luck because there are a ton of awesome drag-n-drop tools available. You just have to decide which one is the right one for you. I’ll walk you through the options that I believe are worth it and make it easy to get started.
- Option 1. Consider Instapage. With templates ready to go, you don’t even have to think twice about HTML and CSS. You can choose one of their templates, set it up to live under the domain you registered, and go from there. Pricing for Instapage starts at $149/month.
- Option 2. Check out Unbounce. Similar to Instapage, you can do the same things, but at a cheaper price. Unbounce pricing starts at $80/month and is easy-to-use as well as intuitive. Plus, you can sign on now and get 20% off your first three months.
Option 3. Should you decide to build your site using WordPress, you definitely need to consider Elementor. It has been a life-saver for me and has made making changes to my website super easy. The starting price is free, but I’d recommend you upgrade to at least the “personal” plan which is $49/month. It’ll be worth the money, especially because your website is going to be used so much to drive quality traffic and sales for your side hustle.
Make Marketing a Top Priority
Here’s the amazing thing about marketing — you can control how much you want to spend to promote your side hustle. It’s all about finding the right marketing mix that works for you, optimizing it, and getting the most out of every dollar you spend.
More specifically, focus on digital marketing and push to narrow down at least 3 tactics that you want to start off with. The biggest hurdle I see with side hustlers is that they think they should be doing it all. That’s just not true. I’m a big fan of starting small, making progress, optimizing where needed, then repeating and introducing new tactics you may want to test.
Three tactics worth starting off with would be email marketing, blogging, and SEO.
Why these three? Because they’re an easy point of entry for any side hustler. Let me elaborate:
You’ll need a tool that can help you capture potential/existing customer information, especially their email addresses. Plus, you’ll want an easy way to communicate with them. Therefore, email makes the most sense.
Additionally, tools like HubSpot and Ontraport allow you to automate simple things like sending out autoresponders for new subscribers, customers, inquiries, or even if someone has abandoned their cart.
Both tools do similar things, but you can certainly check out their sites to figure out which one is going to work best for you from the start. Just a quick note, I do recommend Ontraport only because it is less expensive for everything you get, and when you’re just starting out, every dollar counts.
Other reasons why email marketing is a no-brainer tactic to start with:
- Email marketing has $44 ROI for every $1 spent.
- 44% of users check their email for a deal from brands.
- Successfully implemented retargeting emails drive 28.3% of all e-commerce revenue.
- Automated email messages see a 70.5% increase in open rates and 152% higher CTR.
When I first started my side hustle, all I did was blog. This was how I built an email list, website traffic, leads, and sales. It took me a good 2 years to land my first 5-figure client that eventually led to a 6-figure deal. All in all, I ended up making about $1M off of that client as time went on.
Again, I spent 2 years blogging without anyone even really reaching out and wanting to work with me. It took time and effort. I made sure to make a commitment to providing value through my content, and it paid off.
That being said, here are specific blogging stats that you need to check out to see the importance it will play in helping you generate revenue for your side hustle:
- Businesses that blog experience twice as much email traffic as businesses that don’t.
- Each month, approximately 409 million people view more than 20 billion web pages.
- Companies that blog get 97% more links to their websites.
- Businesses that prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to have a positive ROI on their efforts.
- Blogs that post daily get five times more traffic than those that don’t.
As you blog and generate more website traffic, you need to make sure that you are writing about topics that are being searched for and that the traffic coming to your site are potential customers. Managing these keywords and website traffic should be at the forefront of your SEO strategy.
Additionally, Google implements “core updates” with its algorithm that will make sure they are pulling relevant and authoritative content per the searcher’s intent. Therefore, making sure that you keep your target audience top of mind while crafting content should be a priority.
A top tool I turn to that helps me figure out trends, what competitors are doing, content that’s working well, etc. is SEMRush. More specifically, I use it regularly to figure out which keywords have enough search volume that makes it worth me writing a blog about.
That’s the beauty of leveraging a tool that gives you data-backed findings that you can then use to your advantage. That way, you are sure that the topics you are blogging about are relevant and have the ability to convert readers into paying customers. Check out SEMRush and their pricing plans here.
When many people start their side hustle, they have one financial goal: make more money.
Making money is a great long-term goal, but it shouldn’t be your main focus, especially in the first couple of years. Initially, you need to plan out financial goals for your side hustle that are realistic and attainable, while also pushing you to consistently improve.
In order to make financial goals, you need to know where you are starting financially. Calculate how much you can realistically expect to make in your side hustle right now. Yes, in the future you hope to make much more, but how much can you reasonably expect to bring in this month or next month? Keep in mind that your time is likely limited (especially if you have a full-time gig on top of your side hustle) and that you risk burnout if you don’t give yourself at least some downtime. This is the time to be honest with yourself, and not create models based on you stretching yourself so thin that you eventually break.
Once you have these figures, subtract your overhead from your gains and that shows your expected profits. With this data in mind, how can you improve your profit margins over time? This is where developing financial goals comes in. Are there places where you can cut costs? How can you use your money and time more efficiently? Are there certain tasks you can outsource in order to free up more time? Using all of this data can help you make financial goals to build your side hustle into a money-making machine.
Develop a Roadmap for the First 30 Days (and Beyond)
There is a lot to do when you are starting your own business. After you create your website, these are some next steps I listed out in my previous blog:
- Know “who” you’re going to target and “how” you will reach them.
- Launch a blog and write at least five blog posts to give it life within the first month.
- Make sure you install Google Analytics onto your website so you can collect data on who’s visiting your website, from where, and the top-performing pages and content.
- Research different ways to organically promote your side hustle.
- Research different ways you can cost-effectively pay to promote your side hustle.
- Build an email list, so you have people you can nurture into paying customers
- Build out your social profiles so you can share your content there.
- Look to repurpose your content where it makes the most sense.
- Look at niche sites where your target audience hangs out, and make sure you have a presence there as well.
- Test social ads and Google Ads with a small budget.
- Look at who you can build strategic partnerships and working relationships with. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, look at people who are already doing what you want to do and learn from them.
- Are there affiliate products that are complementary to what you are doing? If so, look at how you can sign up to become a partner.
This may look like a lot of things to tackle, and that’s because it is. However, you don’t need to do everything in one day. Choose one item to focus on each day and make it happen step by step. Again, this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Wrapping It Up
The beginning of your side hustle can feel more romantic — it’s about following your dreams and taking a leap of faith. However, many side hustlers fizzle out when the going gets tough and you need to focus on goals, metrics, and a never-ending to-do list. This is where success and failure are often decided.
Don’t shy away from the work ahead of you. Instead, embrace the hustle. There is nothing that I have detailed in this blog that is impossible. All you need is time and a drive to do what needs to be done. As you create your financial goals and develop your roadmap, remember that success requires work, and if it was easy, everyone would do it. Keep focused, keep organized, and learn to embrace the “get shit done” attitude.
Previous blog posts referenced:
- Want to Start and Build a Six-Figure Side Hustle? Do This. (Part One)
- Want to Start and Build a Six-Figure Side Hustle? Do This. (Part Two)
- Want to Start and Build a Six-Figure Side Hustle? Do This. (Part Three)
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. I only recommend products and services that I use and stand behind, and if you decide to try them, I will earn a commission at no cost to you. Doing so helps me run this blog and provide free content for you, my readers.