If you’ve got $25,000, $50,000, $100,000, you’re better off paying off any debt you have because that’s a guaranteed return. –– Mark Cuban
Nearly a year ago, I had lunch with a friend who runs a consulting business, on the side.
At one point in the conversation, she told me she was struggling to run it because it was costing her too much money. I was surprised to hear that — to me, a side hustle is not about assuming a lot of risks and spending a lot of money. It’s about using the resources you have right now, such as a short amount of time before/after work and a small amount of money outside of your bills.
When I asked her why she was spending so much money, she replied: “you have to risk money, to make money… right?”
This is really dangerous thinking.
Some people hear that a friend used social media to grow their business, so they feel they now need to also use social media, and hence, spend money on tools or marketing. Let me be clear, marketing is valuable, but side hustles are about making at least some potential income with the tools and skills you have now.
There are some people who stress the need to invest in yourself and reinvest in your business, and they try to guilt others by saying you’re not really committed to your side business if you’re not putting every bit of your free time and money in it.
I urged my friend to look into free/cheap resources and tools that would make running her side hustle as easy as possible. I recently read a book by Chris Guillebeau called Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days, and he offered an excellent tool to help you pick between multiple side hustle ideas. The essence of it comes down to three criteria for judging side hustles:
- Ease – how possible is this idea?
- Profit – how much can this idea earn?
- Motivation – how engaging is this idea to you?
Once you’ve answered those questions, it’s time to grow your business. I would choose to do this gradually. The idea of a ‘launch’ and press releases and the big unveiling is nuts. Instead, plan on the gradual build that turns into a tidal wave. Organize for it and spend money appropriately.
Now, take a look at this list of resources I’ve gathered for you to help you grow your side hustle.
Market Research Tools
- Google Insights
- Shopping Insights
- Consumer Barometer
- Benchmark Insights
- County Business Patterns
- American FactFinder
- Business Dynamics Statistics
Lean Methodology Sources
Project Management Tools
As a bonus, I’ve included an eight-year-old piece of advice from marketing legend Seth Godin. He offers an easy way to grow your business that’s still relevant today.
“Find ten people. Ten people who trust you/respect you/need you/listen to you…
Those ten people need what you have to sell, or want it. And if they love it, you win. If they love it, they’ll each find you ten more people (or a hundred or a thousand or, perhaps, just three). Repeat.
If they don’t love it, you need a new product. Start over.
Your idea spreads. Your business grows. Not as fast as you want, but faster than you could ever imagine.
This approach changes the posture and timing of everything you do.
You can no longer market to the anonymous masses. They’re not anonymous and they’re not masses. You can only market to people who are willing participants. Like this group of ten.”
Using these resources, while others make excuses… you can make an enterprise.
Let me know what you think! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!