The biggest challenge with a side hustle is that you eventually want it to become your main hustle. I talk to a lot of people who want to start their own business, and acknowledge that they will need to keep their day jobs for awhile before transitioning over completely, but in making that concession, tend to play “safer” than if they were working without a net.
The 4 Biggest Mistakes
Fifteen years ago, I started my first business completely by word of mouth. The internet was just starting to become a marketing tool (sheesh, I sound old!) and in financial services, you weren’t even allowed to email people! Then almost 10 years ago, I sold that business, moved and started over again completely. I only started getting online in 2010 or so. And that speaks to the first mistake I see with people starting their side hustle:
Focusing on the wrong thing. Nowadays, people get a little too obsessed with their online presence and social media. Or get sidetracked by making sure everything is perfect before putting themselves out there. The down and dirty truth is, you need to be connecting with people almost every day, spreading the word about your business and sharing what kind of clients you’re seeking. Nothing matters until you connect with people one-on-one who are interested in your work and interested in helping you.
The second mistake is pretty common:
Undercharging. I get into this with everyone I work with—I always want them to charge more than they feel comfortable charging! My coaching clients who are starting businesses tell me about all of the awesome things they are going to do for their clients, and then when I say, “That’s worth SO MUCH!” they start to back pedal and justify why they can’t charge as much as I want them to. Instead of scaling back your prices, flip the conversation: What would you need to do in order to justify to yourself charging that much?
The money-worth conversation is the most loaded one and you have to keep identifying your pain points—those will prevent you from moving forward in business full time. You have to be able to see yourself working in it full time before actually achieving it. And that’s why it’s a good idea to keep your day job so you can prove to yourself first that you can replace that income, before losing it.
Solid Offers. The third mistake is about uncertainty with how you create attractive offers. Many prospects want a taste of your service before they do a deep dive with you. My solution for service-based businesses is to always have an “Initial Assessment” lower-cost package, where you get to inventory a person’s situation and provide feedback for where they should take action first to gain the most leverage.
It would cost the client more to take that specific action with you (and you can provide an additional proposal for that work), but when I was coaching other advisors (right before I started my current practice), every single one of the advisors I pitched wanted the assessment. And no matter what I have on my plate, if someone offers me a low-cost assessment, I do it, just to get to know them and see what they offer. It helps me prioritize and decide what is important for me to accomplish now versus later, without a major commitment.
Energy Balance. The last mistake I see people making when trying to start their side hustle is putting all of their energy into their day job. I’m not saying be a slacker, but most people with entrepreneurial spirit give 200% at their day jobs, and leave nothing for themselves at the end of the day. I used to do this when I was working on my masters in the evenings. Once I realized I cared too much about my day job (and I was basically doing my job AND my supervisor’s job), I emotionally stepped back a bit. I was still on top of everything, but I didn’t give my entire heart. Save your heart for your life’s work.
Actions This Week
- Recommit. Are you trying to get a side hustle off the ground? Most of the time, you just have to start identifying people to talk to about it to gain momentum.
- Turtle Steps. Even though I think people tend to stress over operational issues too much, they still need to get done. Make a list of tasks and break them down until they are all very small, specific and finite things to get done.
- Schedule Balance. When you work full-time, you have to squeeze in the side hustle when it works, but that doesn’t mean you have to work 15 hour days. Have some sacred times in your week to recharge.
And in the comments, tell me…
What is the side hustle you would like to create?
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