6 Steps to Find Your Hustle

TRNR Leather Workspace Photo Credit: Ryan Turner
TRNR Leather Workspace Photo Credit: Ryan Turner

A Simple Blueprint To Uncover a Side Hustle of Your Own

I say and hear the term side hustle so often. It’s becoming a buzzword and so many people have one or want to start one. I’ve brewed up a simple list of how anybody can take an inventory of their own skills and interests to find their own hustle.

When people ask me about Mattmade, I often shift the conversation away from the items that I sell to Mattmade itself. Just the other day, a friend of mine commented on an item that I made and asked where I got them printed. I was surprised and flattered to find out that some people didn’t know that I actually create every finished product that I offer. That conversation led to the discussion of starting a side hustle. Anyone can create a side hustle and I’ve come up with 6 simple steps to get started. Like a mini business plan, just less work.

It’s simple, not easy

This is important to note. A lot of things are simple and not easy, however, with a blueprint, these things become a lot easier.

The Difference Between Simple and Easy

Let’s say you have a fitness goal of losing 10lbs. All you need to do is eat better and exercise more. That’s simple. You know what you need to do, it’s just actually doing it, that’s not so easy. In order to be successful in losing those 10lbs, you’d achieve your goal faster by planning your meals, shopping for those ingredients and sticking to the plan. You’ll also want to create an exercise routine by researching what is most effective for your goals and actually putting in the work. It takes some learning, planning, dedication, motivation and action. How to lose 10lbs is simple, it’s just not always easy. Starting a side hustle (and a lot of other things in life) is no different, it’s simple, it just takes some preparation and action to make it easy.

Let’s break this down and uncover your side hustle.

1) Take an Inventory of What You Know Well

Make a list of skills and industries that you know. If something comes to you, write it down. Think about things like:

  • Hobbies
    • Cliché, but what are your passions & interests? Are you good at sewing or photography? Maybe you collect stamps. Make a list of your hobbies & interests.
  • Industries
    • Are you thoroughly interested in the stock market? Do you know a lot about farming? If you know enough about an industry, you might find an opportunity to get involved.
  • Professional Skills
    • Your 9-5 might not be your dream job, however, there’s a good chance that you learned some valuable skills there. Don’t take your knowledge of Excel for granted…Jot down some marketable skills. Just avoid creating a conflict of interest if it directly competes with your day job.
  • Things That You Wish Were Easier
    • Successful businesses solve a problem or fulfil a need. Is there something that you know that could be done easier? Can you create a solution for that problem?

2) Ask Yourself if You Can Make Money With it

With the list that you created, go through and ask yourself, “Could you make a sale doing this?” If you can think of one person that would buy what you have to offer, there are probably more people out there that would buy it as well. Go through your list and create an example of how you could sell a product or service around each item. Some are easy like:

  • Photography (Hobby) – Freelance photography or selling your prints online
  • Fitness (Hobby) – Personal training or start a fitness blog

Some are a bit more difficult and these are opportunities because if you need to really think about it, it means there might be a niche opportunity.

If you’re thinking how you become a pro freelance photographer, here’s a guide include brief introduction of freelance photography, how to turn your freelance photography as a full-time profession, marketing strategies and much more, check out How To Become A Freelance Photographer.

  • Coffee (Industry) – Learn how to roast your own coffee beans around a specific flavour and sell them at local markets or start an online store for coffee accessories
  • Presentations (Professional Skill) – Host classes at a community centre or library on how to do effective presentations. Teach others what you’re good at. It’s not a bad idea to offer this for free until you really dial it in and get some amazing feedback from your students.

3) Figure Out What Else You Need to Know

If you’re a coffee-lover, it doesn’t mean that you know how to roast your own coffee beans, let alone sell them. There are a few things that you should think about before you get rolling, and you can learn the rest along the way. As an exercise, pick your favourite opportunity from earlier and make another list of things you need to know to actually sell your first few items or services. Just keep in mind with things like blogs, it goes from a hobby to side hustle when it starts making money. Below are a few questions that you should ask yourself, and a few more specific questions to dial in on:

  • What am I going to sell?
    • Where do I buy them, or how do I make them?
  • How am I going to sell it?
    • Online or in-person? How will customers pay? Do I need permits?
  • Who is going to buy it?
    • Who is your ideal customer?
  • How much is it going to be?
    • How much are similar products or services? Can my customers afford it and am I making money selling at that price?
  • How will people know about it?
    • Can I promote it on social media? Can I put flyers up? How else can I promote for little or no cost?

4) Map Out Your Sales Pitch

Can you describe what you sell and why someone should buy it in one or two sentences? If someone can understand enough to know what you’re selling after hearing your quick pitch to interest them, you are on the right path!

5) Brush Up on What You Need to Know in Order to Get Started

It’s okay to not know everything to get started, however, there are some things you must know. The idea here is to sell once or twice without spending a lot of money. That means you can’t exactly hire someone else to do much for you. For example, if you can’t create a website or find a super awesome friend to help you out, you should learn the basics yourself. The good news is, you can learn the basics (and then some) of just about anything on the internet for free or super cheap. In a previous post about improvement, I talk about some online resources, be sure to check it out here to find some ways to gain some free and cheap knowledge. I talk about joining online communities, the library, etc. and for more specific skills like web design and how to sell your work, check out online course platforms like Udemy or Skillshare to up your know-how on specific topics.

6) Get Started

Here’s where you stop talking about it and lock yourself in a room and get started. Figure out your suppliers, payment methods and all those steps to complete a sale. Create a basic website or set up a new Instagram account that talks about your new hustle. Since you’re not relying on this as a primary income (It’s a SIDE hustle), be patient. It might take some time for your first few sales. Introduce your minimum viable product (MVP) and improve as you go.

BONUS For Makers

I started on the Etsy platform, so if you’re creating something that fits a handmade marketplace, use this link to get some free listings to start you off. It’s an affiliate link, so we both win if you use the link to sign up.

What’s Next

Assess your hustle. Ask friends or customers for feedback and see what’s working and what isn’t. You can create a free survey at Survey Monkey or by using Google Forms to ask specific questions on what is working and what isn’t with your side hustle.

Good Luck!

I mean it! Day jobs aren’t always a blast, so finding fulfilment from a side hustle is just one of the benefits. When you get rolling, you might even forget that you’re making money too.

If this post helped you at all, share it with your friends and who knows, maybe your side hustle evolves into something even bigger!