Could your side hustle become big business?

Amy Hamilton Chadwick
Could your side hustle become big business?

If you have a little extra time and you’d like some additional cash, you’re probably considering a side hustle.

It could be a traditional side hustle like tutoring, dog-walking or baby-sitting. You might take on a modern side hustle like Airbnb or Uber. Or you could have a go at making money out of your passion, whether it’s photography, baking, or graphic design – and that passion could potentially become a full-time business.

All types of side hustles can have a very positive impact on your finances. Like many Kiwis, writer Joanna Jefferies uses side hustles to boost her family’s income. She rents out the spare bedroom and hosts exchange students; in the past she’s drawn portraits and sold stock-car tickets.

“I had four exchange students last week and they were a lot of fun. They teach the kids about other cultures, too,” she says. “Having said that, filling seven lunchboxes a day isn’t something I want to do all the time, but it was a good little earner.”

Jefferies’ side hustles paid an impressive 25% of the mortgage last month and now she’s considering something new: sewing workshops. It might not seem like an obvious money-spinner, but Jefferies would love a way to boost her income and incorporate her love of clothing design.

Using a side hustle as a creative outlet is something Tania Rowland sees all the time. She’s the founder of the Side Hustle Institute, which supports women who are aiming to make their side hustles into a full-time business. She says it can be a fantastic way to test out an idea: “Rather than burning bridges financially, you can test your business idea to find out if the market thinks it’s a good idea, too.”

Rowland has some tips for budding side-hustle entrepreneurs:

  •   Research your market: “Who are my competitors? How do I stand out? Am I clear about how to communicate my differences effectively?”

  •   Be prepared to risk some money: “You may need to allocate $2,000 or $5,000 to the business – and be prepared to lose it.”

  •   Work out how best to monetise your side hustle: “Building a website is not building a business. Do your fundamentals and focus on your customers.”

  •   Know when to stop: “If you’re burnt out and getting no quality time with your family, let it go.”

Side hustles can satisfy that creative urge that your nine-to-five job isn’t meeting, says Rowland, without taking on too much risk at first: “We know these businesses won’t always succeed, but if it works, it can be incredible.”

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