Your feedback is essential to help us improve - click here to take our 3 minute survey.

5 pro tips for starting a successful side hustle

5 pro tips for starting a successful side hustle
Image source: Getty Images

If you’re looking to start or grow your side hustle, there’s always more to learn. Being productive and earning some extra money can be rewarding. But you don’t want to let your additional work take over your life, or even worse, let all your efforts be in vain.

So to help you on your money-making journey, I’m going to share some expert tips with you that will allow you to kick off your side project successfully or improve what you’re currently working on.

5 pro tips for starting a side hustle

Here are five nuggets of wisdom that you can apply to help you succeed in making money whilst also keeping things manageable.

1. Pick something you enjoy

Don’t worry, I’m not going to hit you with something cheesy like ‘follow your dreams’ or ‘live your passion’. But it does really help to work on a hustle that is in some way enjoyable.

If you have a main job, remember you’re going to be working on your side hustle in your downtime. So, picking something you hate simply because you think it will make money could be your downfall.

When you finish work in the evening or for the weekend, you don’t want to be dreading putting some time into your side hustle. Also, if your extra work ends up being successful and making you decent money, you’re probably not going to want to scale and grow it either.

So by working on something you have no interest in, you’re pretty much setting yourself up to fail. Not all of your interests will be money-making opportunities, but there should be some pleasure found in your chosen side hustle!

2. Think about your audience

It’s always worth thinking about your side hustle as a business, no matter how small it is. And one of the key things to consider when you’re starting out is who you’re going to be serving.

The easiest way to do this is to grab a piece of paper and write down either:

  • Who you’ll be helping with your side hustle
  • What problem you’ll be solving

This may sound really basic, but it’s just going to make sure you know where you stand from the get-go and will help provide you with laser-pointed focus.

3. Don’t let it take over

The whole point of a side hustle is that you can do it alongside something else. Its very nature is to be relatively small and manageable.

You shouldn’t find yourself ploughing every spare minute you have into your extra work. This defies the point of it being bonus work to do on the side. If it’s too time-consuming, you won’t be able to keep it up over a long period because you’ll probably burn out.

Another risk is that if you’re exhausted from your side hustle, it could begin to affect your performance in your main job. So make sure you set boundaries and if it feels like it’s taking over your life, take a step back and either see how you can make it less draining or consider a new project.

4. Keep your costs low

When deciding what to do as a side hustle, think about how much you can afford to put into it. This amount will be different for everyone. But if you pick something that’s going to stretch you financially, it can make things more stressful and increase the chance you have to bail.

I had this experience with dropshipping. I was seeing some success, but it was costing me so much money running different adverts and tweaking things that I ran out of capital before making it profitable.

So if you can, start a hustle that fits into your budget and will afford you some decent runway. You can always grow things if it works. But in the beginning, it’s a good plan to try and keep your upfront costs small. There are many simple and cheap ideas that could inspire you.

5. Just do it!

You just don’t know how something will work out until you give it a go. The side hustle you want to do may not end up making much money or you may not enjoy it. But you won’t know whether it’ll be fun or successful until you actually do it.

And if you need some extra motivation, just remember these wise words from one of the greatest philosophers of our generation: “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” Got to love Yoda.

Compare our top-rated business credit cards

A business card offers practical benefits that appeal to – and in many cases are extremely helpful to – business owners.

To help you see what kind of perks you could unlock, we’ve created a list of some of our top-rated business credit cards.

Was this article helpful?

Some offers on The Motley Fool UK site are from our partners — it’s how we make money and keep this site going. But does that impact our ratings? Nope. Our commitment is to you. If a product isn’t any good, our rating will reflect that, or we won’t list it at all. Also, while we aim to feature the best products available, we do not review every product on the market. Learn more here. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, Hargreaves Lansdown, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, and Tesco.