My Guide To Choosing A Side Hustle
You may be sitting on your couch right now, wondering if you can turn your passion into a profitable venture, all while keeping your day job. Maybe you’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of business ideas and not sure how to navigate the choppy waters of entrepreneurship. Or perhaps, you’re feeling stuck in your current job and craving a fresh challenge that aligns more closely with your interests.
Dear friend, I want you to know you’re not alone. I’ve been there, felt that. I understand the desire to build something of your own, the excitement and apprehension that come with it. I started my journey just like you, unsure but undeterred, experimenting with various gigs until I found what resonated with me.
Today, I want to inspire you with the success stories of five amazing women who faced similar dilemmas but didn’t let their uncertainties stop them. They pushed past their doubts and fears, stepped outside their comfort zones, and started their own successful side businesses.
These incredible women include Rachel, a talented writer who kissed her stressful job goodbye to embrace freelance writing; Julie, a stay-at-home mom who runs a popular Etsy shop selling digital downloads; Amy, who turned her baking skills into a booming business; Stacy, a dedicated fitness trainer; and Sarah, a gifted photographer who I encouraged to monetize her skills.
Their businesses not only boosted their income but also provided them with greater career satisfaction, work-life balance, and the opportunity to do what they genuinely love. As we journey together through this guide, my hope is that their stories will fuel your ambition, provide valuable insights, and encourage you to make the leap into starting your own side business. The world needs your unique skills and passions—let’s turn them into a thriving venture!
Starting a side business – Why it’s worth your while?
Before we venture any further, I want to share something I learned from personal experience:
Starting a successful side business requires dedication, patience, and yes, a significant investment of your time.
As a serial side hustler, I’ve tasted the thrill of various ventures over the years. From crafting handmade jewelry to writing blogs, I’ve tried it all. The allure of these creative outlets and the prospect of earning an extra income has always been irresistible.
However, the excitement does come with its fair share of challenges. Making substantial money from a side hustle requires perseverance, dedication, and countless hours of hard work. But as I’ve learned, every minute spent is worth it in the end.
You might wonder, “If it’s so demanding, then why even consider it?” Here are some compelling reasons why you should dive into starting a side business:
Supplementing Your Income
In a world where the cost of living is skyrocketing, starting a side business can serve as a lifeline. A well-planned side business can help pay bills without the exhaustion of working a second job. For me, it was my handcrafted jewelry business that served as a cushion during a challenging financial phase.
Working Toward Early Retirement
If you’re a F.I.R.E (Financial Independence, Retire Early) follower like me, your side business could serve as a stepping stone toward that goal. Every dollar earned can be saved, helping you build your retirement nest egg.
Paving the Path to a New Career
Let’s face it; not everyone is thrilled with their 9 to 5 job. Starting a side business can offer an escape route, a chance to pursue your passion while still maintaining financial stability. My leap into freelance writing from a corporate job was indeed a risky but gratifying move.
Turning Your Hobby into a Self-Sustaining Venture
I have a couple of artist friends who are immensely passionate about their craft. They love creating art, not as a job but a hobby. They found a way to make their hobby pay for itself by selling their art pieces at local fairs and events.
This idea isn’t limited to artists alone. If you have a costly passion, like running marathons or collecting antique pieces, consider turning it into a revenue stream. For instance, you could start a blog or a YouTube channel reviewing your marathon experiences or antique collection. The content you produce could be monetized through ads and affiliate marketing, helping offset your passion’s expenses.
Deciding Which Side Business to Start
Determining which side business to kick start can be a daunting task. I’ve been there, scrolling through endless threads of forums and social media groups related to entrepreneurship and side hustles, seeking an answer.
If you’re experiencing similar doubts, here’s an approach that helped me: ask yourself these critical questions.
What Do I Have That People Will Pay For?
The answer to this question lies within your skills, knowledge, and resources. Draw up a three-column list: Skills, Knowledge, and Resources. Fill it with everything you can offer that holds the potential to make money.
For example, under “Skills,” list down everything you can do that people might be willing to pay for. These could range from fixing a leaky faucet to playing a musical instrument. Don’t underestimate any skill you possess!
Under “Knowledge,” write down your areas of expertise. You’ll be surprised how sharing your knowledge can open doors to tutoring or content creation opportunities.
Finally, under “Resources,” note down everything you own that can help generate income. For instance, a sewing machine could launch a tailoring business, while a good quality camera could kick start a photography venture.
What Can I Do Without Burning Out?
There’s a saying that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. But the reality can be different, even if you’re passionate about your side business.
There will be days when challenges arise, and your hustle feels like hard work. The key is to find a hustle that makes the tough days worthwhile. So, from your list, eliminate any options that you might lose interest in or might lead to burnout.
What Can I Start Without Draining My Savings?
While you can start a business with minimal funds, a small investment can make things smoother. Research potential startup costs for your business ideas and assess their feasibility. Remember, starting small and growing gradually is the best approach.
Remember, a side business should serve as a stepping stone towards financial freedom and not a financial burden. So, consider ventures within your budget. Your dreams of a high-cost side hustle can always be revisited once your current affordable hustle starts reaping profits.
5 Stories Of The Power Of A Side Business
Freelance Writing: A dear friend of mine, Rachel, is an exceptional writer. For Rachel, freelance writing wasn’t just a career change; it was a complete lifestyle transformation. As someone who had always loved words and had a natural knack for storytelling, Rachel often dreamed about making a living from writing, but the steady paycheck of her stressful corporate job was hard to let go.
Her job, while stable, was both mentally and emotionally taxing. Long hours, tight deadlines, and an uninspiring work environment were taking a toll on her well-being. Yet, leaving her job to dive head-first into freelance writing felt like a leap into the unknown.
So, Rachel began her freelance writing journey as a side business while she maintained her full-time job. Juggling both was far from easy. It involved many late nights and early mornings, a lot of coffee, and even more dedication. But Rachel was driven by her love for writing and the prospect of creating a lifestyle where she was in control.
As she gradually took on more clients, she started to see the potential of her side business. Her portfolio expanded, and with it, her reputation as a reliable, talented writer. Soon enough, she found herself in a position where her freelance income was rivaling her full-time job’s paycheck.
At this juncture, she had to make a decision, and she chose to follow her passion. Rachel bid goodbye to her corporate job, embracing freelance writing full-time. Her side business had given her the freedom she’d always craved – the freedom to choose her projects, to work from wherever she pleased, and to manage her own schedule.
This switch was beneficial for Rachel in more ways than just financially. She found herself more content, less stressed, and felt a sense of fulfillment that her previous job never provided. Sure, there were new challenges, but the satisfaction of overcoming them and succeeding in her own business was unlike any other.
Rachel’s journey underlines the power of following one’s passion. By starting as a side business, she mitigated the risks and was able to transition smoothly into her dream career. Today, she isn’t just a freelance writer; she’s an entrepreneur, in charge of her own destiny. Rachel loves to say that she’s traded her office cubicle for the world, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Etsy Shop: Remember my friend Julie who I interviewed that sold digital downloads on Etsy? For Julie, her side business was born out of a unique blend of passion, talent, and necessity. Julie is a gifted artist with an affinity for graphic design, and as a mother of two young children, she wanted to find a way to stay home with her kids without sacrificing her own aspirations and financial independence.
That’s when she turned to Etsy. She saw it as the perfect platform to showcase her digital art while reaching a global customer base. Julie set up her shop, offering beautifully designed digital downloads – everything from printable wall art, to custom invitations, to graphic elements for other designers.
What made this side business ideal for Julie was its flexibility. With digital products, she only needed to create the design once, then could sell it multiple times. This passive income model was perfect for her busy lifestyle, juggling between her roles as a mom and an entrepreneur.
Furthermore, being digital products, there was no physical inventory to store, no shipping to worry about, and her customers could instantly access their purchases. This streamlined business model allowed Julie to spend more time with her children, without being swamped by order fulfilment.
As her business grew, Julie was able to contribute to the family income while also being present for her kids’ milestones – the first steps, the school plays, the impromptu picnics in the backyard. This balance between professional fulfillment and personal happiness was what Julie had strived for, and her Etsy shop gave her just that.
Her side business did more than just provide an income – it gave Julie a creative outlet, a sense of purpose, and the flexibility to build her business around her family, not the other way around. Julie’s journey is an inspiring testament to the power of leveraging online platforms and your own creative talents to create a lifestyle that aligns with your values and priorities.
Home Baking Business: My neighbor, Amy, used to bake the most delightful cakes and cookies for neighborhood gatherings. The compliments she received were endless, so I suggested she start selling her baked goods.
Amy’s passion for baking started when she was just a little girl. She used to watch her grandmother work her magic in the kitchen, making the most delicious pies and pastries. Those fond memories turned into a lifelong love for baking, and she soon found herself baking every chance she got. She loved the science behind baking, the creativity involved in decorating, and of course, the joy of seeing people enjoy her baked goods.
As she started selling her goods from her home kitchen, word quickly spread about Amy’s extraordinary baked goods. Orders came pouring in, and she soon found her home kitchen becoming too small to meet the demand. She knew she needed more space not just for baking, but for the packaging, deliveries, and customer consultations that had become an increasingly large part of her day.
Making the decision to open a storefront was a big leap, but Amy was ready to take her business to the next level. She loved the idea of having a dedicated space for her business, a place where customers could walk in, smell the fresh baked goods, and choose from a display case full of her creations. She thought of it not only as a necessity for growth, but also as a way to connect more closely with her customers and community.
The opening of her bakery shop brought about a new chapter in Amy’s baking journey. Yes, it was more work, and yes, there were challenges along the way. But she found immense satisfaction in her bustling bakery, with the joy it brings to people’s faces, and the sense of accomplishment she feels every day. She often says, the smell of fresh bread in the morning is her favorite perfume, and seeing her customer’s happy faces is the best reward she could ask for.
Amy’s journey from her small home kitchen to her successful bakery is an inspiring example of how passion, when combined with determination and hard work, can create something truly special.
Personal Fitness Training: My fitness-enthusiast friend, Stacy, transformed her passion for fitness into a side business.
Stacy has always been passionate about health and fitness, but becoming a personal fitness trainer allowed her to share that passion with others in a deeply fulfilling way. She loves being able to empower her clients, helping them reach their health goals and build confidence. She enjoys the personal connections she makes with her clients and the satisfaction of seeing their progress.
Furthermore, Stacy loves the freedom and flexibility that comes with being a fitness trainer. She can set her own hours, choose her clients, and design personalized training routines. She often says there’s a special kind of joy in turning your passion into your profession, and she loves that her job allows her to stay active and engaged in a field she adores.
Additionally, she’s always learning – whether it’s new training methods, nutrition trends, or ways to motivate her clients. This aspect of continual learning and growth makes her job exciting and fresh.
Stacy often shares that being a fitness trainer isn’t just her job, it’s a core part of who she is, and she wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
Photography: Sarah, a friend from my photography club, has an amazing eye for capturing moments.
Sarah and I met at a local photography club about five years ago, bonding over our shared passion for capturing life’s most beautiful moments through a lens. At every meeting, I was always impressed by Sarah’s uncanny ability to capture the world around her with a unique and artistic perspective. Her photographs told stories, captured emotions, and connected with everyone who saw them.
Seeing the talent she possessed, I remember sitting with Sarah one evening after a club meeting, encouraging her to explore the idea of turning her photography passion into a business. Initially, Sarah was hesitant. The idea of charging for her work seemed alien to her, almost as if it would tarnish her love for the art. But I could see the potential and wanted to ensure that Sarah’s remarkable talent didn’t go unnoticed.
After a few more conversations and a lot of reassurances, Sarah took the plunge. She started her photography business small, offering services to friends and family. Word quickly spread about her exceptional talent, and it wasn’t long before she was getting inquiries from outside her immediate circle.
Seeing her business start to flourish was incredibly rewarding. Sarah was able to use her photography skills to bring joy to others and simultaneously turn a profit. Her success also led her to specialize in specific genres like portrait and event photography, each contributing to her growing reputation and client base.
In the initial stages, Sarah had to juggle her day job with her budding photography business. It was a lot to handle, but she was fuelled by her passion for photography and the excitement of watching her business grow. As her side business began to thrive, she was eventually able to leave her day job and focus solely on her photography.
Today, Sarah runs a successful photography business, capturing the most precious moments in people’s lives. I couldn’t be prouder of her achievements. She’s living proof that when you combine passion with persistence, incredible things can happen. Sarah’s story serves as a reminder to all of us to have the courage to follow our dreams and turn our passions into our profession.
All these stories serve as a testament to the power of transforming your passion and skills into a profitable venture. With dedication and the right approach, a side business can indeed turn into a fulfilling full-time job. Trust me, it’s possible!