Side hustles are the thing of the moment. Whether you’re making jewellery or walking dogs, there’s no end to the number of ways you can earn an extra few bucks in your spare time. The mistake I’ve made in the past with side hustling – and the mistake so many others make too – is not knowing when to level up and allow ourselves to make more money.
When it’s a side thing, you probably don’t rely on the income as much as you do your salary. You put time in when you can and less so when you can’t – that’s kind of the beauty of it. But as side hustlers, we’re doing ourselves a disservice. Just because it’s not our full time gig, doesn’t mean we can’t lock in processes and power up our earning potential. It doesn’t need to just be “a nice bit of extra pocket money” forever. You can run a fully functioning business on the side of your full time job, without going stir crazy. You can still keep things on a smaller scale, but move towards big-girl-panties processes that’ll make you a ton more money, while retaining the wonderful fact that it’s a side thing you’re not relying on to survive.
As a seasoned side hustler, here are my top 6 ways to make more money from your side hustle, and level up your operations to grow.
1. Separate Your Finances
Super simple but one so many of us ignore – get a separate bank account for all your side hustle income AND expenses. Most side hustles start off as an extension of your personal spending, but by separating the two, you can make yourself much more profitable by making any biz-related purchase decisions based on how much money the side hustle has actually made, rather than what you personally have.
Of course in the early days of side hustling, there’s a good chance you’ll put in far more than you’ll get back. That’s not to say you can’t still operate a side hustle bank account. Simply save up a set amount (perhaps $500) and plonk that straight into your side hustle transaction account. Call that your seed investment in the side hustle, and use that money to earn more. It keeps you accountable and quantifies exactly how much personal money you’ve put into the side gig.
2. Go Private
If you’re using a third party platform for your side hustle (i.e. Etsy, Pawshake, Madpaws, Rover, Airtasker, etc), going private could save you big on fees and allow you more freedom to market yourself and grow your side business.
Generally you’ll need initial upfront cash to build that website/buy that public liability insurance/print those flyers, but in the long term it can mean big money. You’re not giving 3% here and 1.5% there to fees, and you’re opening yourself up to bigger possibilities in the future.
3. Optimise Your Time
When it’s side income that you’re not relying on to survive, it’s easy to waste time or dwell too long on things that don’t need that much of your energy. Yes, side hustles are hard work, and growing one means you’ll put in hard hours sometimes, but by optimising your time when you can, you can get a much better return on your energy.
Allocate specific time to specific tasks, and every so often take stock on how long you’re spending doing specific things. It’ll help you understand whether you’re charging enough (and when to charge more), and also help you understand the value you’re offering your customers or clients.
I use Google Keep and Trello to manage all my side hustle tasks and to-do lists, and it keeps me on track and utilising my time purposefully.
Six words every side hustler needs to hear: you don’t have to do everything! I get it, you wanna do your own social media and you want to build your own Shopify site because spending money on getting someone else to do it means you won’t have much left over – if any at all. Yes, side hustles often bring in smaller amounts of money, so hiring a team or using contractors isn’t always an option. But consider how much time and energy you’d save if you did pay someone else to do certain things for you? Would it take you 3 weeks to sort that Shopify site when you could pay someone else a few hundred bucks to have it done by Friday? The quicker your site is up the quicker you can start selling.
Spending money helps you make more money, so try to connect with the idea that by investing back into your biz, you’ll eventually see a much bigger return. You’re not an expert on everything, so knowing what you do best and outsourcing what you don’t means more time spent on what you’re good at – which means more revenue.
5. Raise Your Prices
Why are we so afraid to raise our prices? I’m the worst for this, and only in the last year or so have I had the kahunas to actually start charging a decent amount for things. Raising your prices even the smallest amount can make a huge difference to your side hustle income. Let go of the fears around doing it – very rarely will people turn their nose up. If you’re doing what you do best, and doing it really bloody well, people won’t care whether you put your prices up by $10.
As you may know, I do cat sitting in my local area. Christmas bookings have been rolling in, and I’ve wanted to raise my prices by $5 per day for the peak Christmas period. I put it off and put it off, but when I did send the message out, every single client was more than happy and completely understood. Raise those prices – and do it regularly!
6. Invest in Advertising
Marketing your side hustle can be scary. What if my friends see my posters? Ummmm, screw all that! Even if they do see it, who cares? If they do judge you or laugh because you’ve plastered your face all over a flyer with cat photos (yeah, that’s me), who freaking well cares? If they think that’s funny or silly or lame, fuck ‘em. They won’t think it’s lame when you say you brought in an extra $2000 over your Christmas break just by hanging out with a couple of cats for 20 minutes a day. Personal experience, just sayin’.
Advertise and don’t be afraid to pay for exposure. Whether that’s Facebook ads, influencer marketing or good old fashioned printed flyers, place that order and go tell the world why you’re awesome. Because in case you hadn’t heard it for a while, you SO. TOTALLY. ARE.
Over and out.
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