Your Side Hustle's New Year's Resolutions
It's that time of year when we resolve to improve. In 2023, why not commit to taking your side hustle to the next level?
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Everybody wants a side hustle or two these days. Not only is money tight, but such great opportunities are available; spurred on by the ease of online culture and the gig economy, it seems like a no-brainer to capitalize on them. If you're here reading Entrepreneur, you probably already have a side hustle or have a great plan. 2022 is behind us, so it's time to consider what you want to accomplish in 2023. Why not plan to make your side hustle more profitable, or even turn it into a full-time gig, become your own boss or start your own business?
Last year, my freelancer friend, who had already turned her side hustle into a full-time job she loved, decided to forego the usual "lose weight, eat healthily, exercise more" resolutions and instead planned to take her freelancing to the next level in 2022. She incorporated as an LLC and is now a small business owner (with some tax breaks), with both new and repeat clients, plenty of projects on the horizon and an employee. By breaking the steps down month by month, she could accomplish all this without feeling bombarded by the to-do list.
Let's consider what you can do with your side hustle in 2023.
Turn it into a full-time business
Now, this is a big step that you probably can't dive into immediately. We don't want to jeopardize your finances or rashly throw you to the wolves. But that's what resolutions are for. It's not about switching overnight from a side hustler to a business owner; your resolution can involve starting (or finishing) the steps needed to make that business dream come true in the next couple of years. Consider:
- Do you really want to start a business? Do you love this work enough to do it every day? When I started my company, Hollywood Sensation Jewelry, my "why" — offering affordable, beautiful jewelry to inspire confidence in women — kept me going. Resolve to find the "why" behind your goals to see if it is powerful enough to move you to business ownership.
- Can you make a living with it? Take a careful look at your finances, including perks like vacation time and health insurance, and be sure that your side hustle can eventually cover those bases. Drawing up a business plan is a good resolution.
- Are your finances in order? If you want to move to full-time freelancing or small-business ownership, you'll need to have a good grasp of your financial situation before you take on the second level of fiscal responsibility. Resolve to get your finances in tip-top shape, pay off burdensome debts or arrange a monthly budget, so you know where all your money is going.
- Can you upgrade your side hustle to the point where you can make a living from it? Perhaps you need to shore up your skills and training. That's an excellent resolution — vow to take a class or earn an accreditation or certificate.
- Are there networking opportunities out there that will build your customer base? Join associations and online groups, polish up your LinkedIn profile and resolve to make a certain number of connections each week or month.
- How can you promote your freelancing? Join an online freelancing service like Fiverr or Upwork and build a portfolio of projects and customers who know you do good work. Building your brand on such a site can take several months, and at first, making money takes a backseat to a reputation, so it's a great idea to get started long before you make the leap from side hustle to full-time. Making a couple of excellent connections can lead to big things. Resolution idea: join a service, build a profile and apply for a certain number of jobs daily.
3 Ways to make your side hustle more lucrative
Maybe you love your full-time job, and your side hustle is just that. That's fine! You can still amp up the profitability and enjoy the increase in that extra income stream. Bonus: these pointers also work for anyone planning to move to full-time, freelancing or a small business.
- Learn to market yourself. I cannot overemphasize the importance of building a brand from the beginning, but this doesn't have to cost you. Marketing scales to size, and there is a lot of great, free advice about it out there. Get online, and be sure your website and profiles are current and catchy. Take advantage of every bell and whistle available, like linking videos of yourself so customers can know you. Ask your current customers for reviews. Make a YouTube channel, connect on LinkedIn and network. You'll be amazed at how well people respond when you put your personality into your profile. Resolution ideas: update your profiles weekly, make an intro video or regularly contribute to relevant discussions.
- Learn to manage your time. We are all guilty of time-gobbling activities (binge-watching, anyone?). If you're serious about leveling up your side hustle, then start with a resolution to find out how much more time you could spend doing it. This might be tough; it means writing down what you do all day and for how long, then being honest about how much you can change. Then take it slowly. Resolve to spend a certain number of hours each week on your side hustle, then try increasing that number by another hour each week. Keep your health and sanity in mind — no one expects you to work 24/7. This is about spending your time wisely, and if you love your side hustle, those extra hours could really feel great.
- Look into increasing passive income. That's the pot of gold at the rainbow's end. Passive income can spring from simply renting out property or space you own, or it can mean you've done your share of the work, but the profits keep coming. Does your side hustle afford an opportunity like this? For example, if you have the expertise, you might write a book, create an online course, or post a how-to video series online that draws enough viewers for advertisers. This is an exciting field where creativity is welcome, so resolve to discover where your passive income streams lie.
I hope this has inspired you to use the tradition of resolutions to jumpstart your side hustle's next important moves. I wish you a happy, healthy and hustling New Year!