Maybe you’ve picked up a new hobby and want to get more experience doing it. Perhaps you’re saving for a big goal like buying a house and would like to earn some extra cash. Or maybe you’ve been harbouring dreams of owning your own business and an extra deposit into your bank account would be helpful. Whatever the reason, it might be time to think about starting a side hustle.

A side hustle is a second job, in addition to your full-time or “main” job, that allows you to earn additional income while providing some flexibility. For wanna-be entrepreneurs, techies, and creative types, it can also be a way to dip your toes into the water and experiment with that great idea you’ve had. If you’ve been toying with the idea of launching a side hustle, here are some things to keep in mind before beginning on your great adventure.

Decide what your goals are.

Your time is limited, so it’s important to identify what you’re hoping to accomplish with this side project. If you have a financial target you’re trying to meet, you might hunker down for a few months, get as many paying jobs as possible, and then shut the doors when you’ve reached the magic number.

On the other hand, if you’re eventually hoping to turn this into your full-time job, you may be more strategic about what clients you take on and how you market your services. Of course, your goals might change along the way, but it’s a good idea to consider how much time and energy you want to spend on your side hustle.

Know what you’re trying to solve.

“Following your passion” is a nice idea, but if your passion doesn’t correlate with what people need, your passion isn’t going to bring in any money — it’s a hobby, not a side hustle. Speak with people in your industry early on to get a sense of what the market is lacking and how your skills can fill that void.

This isn’t a one-time thing, either. As the market changes, the way you tackle the problem may need to change. Ask for constructive feedback, keep up-to-date on trends, and take a step back when necessary to ensure that you’re still fulfilling your “why.”

Don’t wait until everything is perfect.

The stars will probably never perfectly align for your big debut. If you find yourself putting off launching because everything has to be just right, you’ll never get off the ground. Buy a .melbourne domain name, set up your website, take the plunge, and get going!

If you’re unsure about how to reach new customers, work on getting the word out to your own networks first. Reach out to friends, family, LinkedIn connections, and past colleagues, and let them know about your new side hustle. As you complete projects, ask for honest feedback that’ll allow you to keep continue honing in on your offerings and how you market your service. Don’t be shy about asking for references, either!

Do it on your own time.

Finally, a side hustle is meant to be done on your own time. That means early mornings, nights, and weekends — not during company time at your full-time job.

If your side hustle is similar to your day job, be especially mindful of crossing lines. You shouldn’t be approaching clients you’ve met at your 9-5 to do side projects. Look over your contract as well; some businesses have clauses preventing employees from doing similar work for competing companies, even if it is done outside of work hours and as an independent contractor. If you’re found in breach of that, your side hustle could end up becoming your full-time job — whether you wanted it to be or not.

A lot of hard work and long hours goes into getting a side hustle off the ground. But whether it’s for a few months or forever, you’re guaranteed skills and lessons you wouldn’t get elsewhere.

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