If you’re planning to start a side hustle, or you’re already earning extra income from it, this article will open your eyes to what’s ahead. The thought of doing work on the side to earn additional income can be a little overwhelming, particularly when you consider all of the tasks that you need to do.
At some point, every entrepreneur or marketer engages in one form of side hustle or the other. When a friend of mine started freelancing on the side, he did a lot of research. He tried to figure everything out. Trust me, this is really important whether you’re in a real business or just doing it for the extra money or passion.
Personally, I like to jump straight in and figure out the details as time goes on, but that doesn’t always yield tangible results. It further lowers your chance of succeeding in a new business.
In any case, whether you’re loving a side hustle or you’re still figuring out how to make it work, the truth is, it can delay your real business. Why? Because everything worthwhile thrives on specific timing. If you fail to start and grow a real business, and decide to stick to a side hustle just because of the quick bucks, you may not be happy at the end of the day.
Let’s consider a few of the reasons why a side hustle may not be right for you and why it can hinder your business.
1. Side hustle isn’t a real business.
It’s no secret that many people wish to quit their 9 to 5 job and work on a venture that will be more fulfilling. If you’ve made up your mind on this, here’s what you need to know -- a side hustle is not a real business. That’s why it’s called “side.”
Instead of waiting for your side hustle to mature, why not turn it into a real business? It’s not easy, but it’s doable. How? Use this side hustle worksheet to write down your ideas, then choose the one that you’re most excited about and launch a full-fledged business.
A real business fulfills all the basic requirements. Most importantly, it’s registered with the appropriate body, and it becomes ready to provide solutions. A side hustle, on the other hand, doesn’t need any of these requirements.
You can start now. Unfortunately, that’s where the problem lies. For example, if you’re a startup entrepreneur, you could take on a copywriting job or project with another company. There’s no requirement -- except the skills for the job. All you have to do is write the copy and get paid.
One of the advantages of a side hustle is the fact you can get started with little or no resources to fall back on -- but lack of proper planning could give you a negative mindset. “Why should I take the side hustle seriously when I didn’t invest so much into it?”
When I teach wannabe entrepreneurs how to make a living online, I don’t encourage them to get a day job, and take on another side project. Instead, I advise them to start their agency fully. Your side hustle tricks you into thinking you have a real business, but you don’t have the urgency to make money like a real business.
In fact, a study by the Academy of Management shows that businesses that are launched while the founder is still working a day job and only later becomes that person’s full-time focus, are one-third less likely to fail than those that started out as full-time business.
Last but not least, there’s no long-term plan when you’re engaged in a side venture. Most side hustlers are just concerned about the money that they can make now. But a real business looks at the future, and sets long-term goals.
Making money in a business is good, but it’s just one aspect of it. The long-term business goals could be building a strong brand, establishing goodwill and fostering social causes. It’s really hard to do all of these in a side venture. So don’t dwell too much on it.
2. It’s time consuming.
When I first started this side thing, I really didn’t consider how valuable my time was. How sad. As a result, freelancing on the side delayed me from starting a real agency. It’s pretty hard to juggle being a good employee when you’re working late into the night on your side venture. Don’t delay any further. You have to set a date to make your side venture your full-time business. Time is not your friend.
Side hustle has become a buzzword. Sure it’s helped many people to make additional income, but it’s also kept them from doing big things with a real business. They spend most of their time working a side hustle, with no proper plan to scale. The income from a full-time job inhibits you from feeling the urgency to turn your side gig into your main gig.
Time management is critical if you plan to run a successful business. Sure, you don’t have to work on your side hustle every day, but even the time you will spend part-time working for a client can be well utilized in your real venture.
3. It’s hard to scale a side hustle.
Scaling a side hustle means growth. You may think that moving from a side hustle to a real business is easy, but it’s not. In fact, not many people have been able to do it. A lot of millennials are side hustling, but how many of them have been able to scale it?
Worse, people view side hustle differently. According to U.S. News, the IRS doesn’t view side hustle the same way entrepreneurs view it. You may think that a side hustle is a hobby or passion, but if the activity earned a profit in three of the last five years, the IRS considers it a business. And that means that you’re required to pay taxes on it. Sounds good, huh?
Well, there’s a problem. There are several things you need to factor in when running a real business. All of these factors will either cost you money, time or invaluable resources. How do you value them in a side hustle?
At the end of the day, if you want to be rich and safe, you’re better off keeping your day job than starting a real business. However, if you’re like me, and you have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, then you will have to take the plunge and quit that day job.
Stop waiting to start your real business. Start small and grow your real business slowly. Countless entrepreneurs have started small and scaled. However, there will come a time when you have to say this side hustle will become my full-time hustle, and the best way to do that is to set a date when you will finally take the plunge. Trust me, you won’t regret it regardless of the outcome.