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How to get a side hustle off the ground in 7 easy steps

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite, many Aussies are turning to side hustles to bump up their income.

Compilation image of Emma sitting on a chair and pile of $100 notes to represent side hustles
Many Aussies are picking up side hustles to make extra cash. (Source: Supplied/Getty) (Samantha Menzies)

Whether you’ve got an entrepreneurial flare or you’re looking to top up your salary, a side hustle could offer you the career opportunities - and cash flow - you’re looking for.

As more and more Aussies pick up side gigs amid the cost-of-living crisis, research has shown we’re side hustling an extra $21,400 per year, on average.

Also by Emma Edwards:

If you’re keen on a slice of the action, here’s how to turn that side hustle idea into a reality in seven easy steps.

1. Decide what it is and who it’s for

When you have an idea for a side gig percolating in your mind, the specifics aren’t always that clear.

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If you’re ready to get this idea out of your brain and out into the world, it’s time to get clear on what you do and who you do it for. This is the first step to bringing your idea to life.

2. Decide why you do it

Take your what and who from step one, and explore why you’re doing it for your audience. Think about what value you’re adding, why your customer needs that value, and what it is about how you do it that makes it worth considering.

3. Establish your potential market

Now you know what you’re doing, who for, and why, we can cross-reference that against your potential audience market. This is all about assessing potential demand and is often forgotten when it comes to starting a side hustle.

Your potential market is important because it can help determine the viability and feasibility of your side hustle. For example, if you want to offer daytime dog walking to busy professionals in your area, but you discover that there are only 50 households you could potentially serve, only 10 per cent of which have dogs, you might need to rethink the what, who and why of your idea.

Making sure you’ve got a big enough potential market helps you understand how much demand there might be for your product or service.

4. Solidify how you’ll do it

Once you’ve ensured you have market feasibility, you can start nutting out the actual process of doing whatever it is you’re doing. What resources, tools or equipment will you need to produce your product or service? How will it get into the hands of your customers?

Make sure you’ve equipped yourself with everything you need to do it right, at least for now. Many bigger businesses work to an MVP, which stands for minimum viable product. Look at your side hustle idea, what it is, who it’s for and why, and connect the ‘how’ component to arrive at that first viable thing you’ll offer to your target market.

5. Set your prices

Pricing is notoriously difficult for new businesses, but it’s important in ensuring you’re profitable and that your side hustle is worth your time. Your pricing might consider several of the following things:

  • Your skills, experience and expertise

  • The value you’re adding to your customer or client – are you saving them time, bringing them entertainment, solving a problem, etc?

  • The costs you’ll incur to deliver your product or service

  • The time you have available to work on your side hustle – if you want to make $500 a week and you have 10 hours a week to work on your business, you’ll need to be bringing in $50 per hour of work, plus tax

  • Pricing of similar businesses – while you don’t want to centre your whole pricing model on this, it can be helpful to understand what customers have been willing to pay other businesses in the past, and adjust that price to best match how your offering stacks up

6. Decide how you’ll market yourself

This stage is all about connecting the dots between you (and your product/service) and your target customer. How will they find out about what you’re offering? And how will they give you their money?

Think about where your potential customers hang out and think of ways to get in front of them. Will you distribute flyers around your local community? Start promoting yourself on social media or LinkedIn. Will you need a website, email address or separate phone number?

7. Map out a simple customer journey

To bring all of these aspects together, it can help to map out a simple end-to-end customer journey or experience to ensure you’ve not missed anything.

Start with who they are and what their needs are, how they’ll find your product or service, how they’ll book or buy and make payment, how you’ll deliver what you’re promising, and anything that happens at the end of the customer relationship.

Once you’re clear on all of these aspects, you’re ready to launch your side hustle with confidence. It’s time to start telling your target market about what you do and making it happen.

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