5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting Your First Side Hustle

David Powers
Mar 28, 2018 · 5 min read

Day jobs can be a boring but necessary evil in life. Bills never stop, whether it’s student loan payments, car payments, or just trying to keep the lights on, it never seems to end. So how can you get away from the grip of the necessary day job? Two words: Side Hustle(just let that play softly in the background while reading this article).

Getting started on your first side hustle can be a little confusing, but I’m going to break it down for you question by question to make this as easy as possible.

What opportunities are sitting right in front of me? — Question 1

When I first started my side hustle, I kind of went about it backwards. I got lucky and I realized a major opportunity had presented itself. When I was in high school, I was on a robotics team, every year we would go about creating a t-shirt design for the team, order about 100 of them, sometimes even in the offseason. There were thousands of teams across the US, every team doing the same thing we were.

I realized there wasn’t really an easy way to go about ordering these shirts. Local companies never wanted to help us out, and since we were a bunch of high school kids, the design work was never up to the standards they needed too be.

I saw an opportunity to capitalize on this. I hoped online, bought a press for $400, and got to work.

Talking about it now makes it seem obvious, but the true task is figuring out those opportunities that you have right in front of you. It might not be obvious, but if you challenge yourself to think outside the box and start to force your brain to analyze every opportunity as a potential business, before you know it, you’ll find your thing.

How Saturated Is The Market? — Question 2

Once you’ve figured out something you’re interested in, and you’ve figured out what opportunities are avalible, you must learn everything you possibly can from those who are already doing what you want to do.

If there are a bunch of other people that are trying to do the same thing you are, then it obviously becomes a lot more challenging to become successful. It’s not impossible, it just takes more effort.

You need to learn everything you can about your competitors. What are your competitors niche’s? How much revenue do they do a year? What equipment do they have? What makes them different?

Once you’ve learned everything you possible can, then it’s time to move forward.

What Makes Me Different? — Question 3

After you’ve educated yourself in everything your competitors are accomplishing, it’s critical that you figure out what will make you different.

What can you do that your competitors can’t do? Whether it’s superior customer service, better pricing structure, or better quality, find whatever makes you stand out and capitalize on that.

Don’t try to make yourself better in every aspect, that’s a good way to bury yourself in too many requirements. Pick what’s important to your business structure and make it happen.

How Does This Idea Make Money? — Question 4

More important that just about everything else, is how does this idea make money? What is your bread and butter? What are your profit margins for each of your products, and is this idea sustainable?

It’s easy to sit down and pump some numbers into excel if you educate yourself first. What are the requirements to run your business? Do you need insurance? What type of equipment are you going to use? How many rolls of paper towels am I going to go through each month?

These numbers can add up, and it’s important to give yourself a buffer. Set yourself up with a profit margin that you can’t drop below. Figure out exactly how much it’s going to cost you, then price the product accordingly. Don’t ever undercut that profit margin, if it’s not paying you what you need to hit that, then don’t accept the job.

Lifestyle Business or High Growth Business Model? — Question 5

Last but not least, it’s important to establish whether or not you want to create a lifestyle business, or a high growth business model.

Both are extremely different, and can effect your day to day operations.

If you’re looking to just create a small side business, that will grow slowly and consistently, then there is nothing wrong with taking some of the profits from the company, and paying yourself. If you’re looking for some high growth, then you better be putting every dollar you make back into the business.

There are pros and cons for both sides, but it’s impossible to ride the line and try to do both. Figure out what aligns with your goals and develop your business plan around that.

Call To Action

The most important part of developing your new business is created a structure of your goals and developing the discipline to make it happen.

It’s possible for anyone to start a side-hustle that could grow as big as you’d like. If you have a goal, then create a plan and stick to it. Again, discipline will make or break everything you do. As you grow more experienced, then it’ll become easier. Everyday will become better, and each day you’ll make progress to achieve your end goal.

If you like(or don’t like)what you’re reading, give me a follow and check out my website to shoot me an email. I love getting feedback, good or bad, as long as it’s honest. Keep grinding!

David Powers

Written by

Manufacturing Engineer at ETM Manufacturing, Former Co-Founder and CEO at The Hum, Former Owner at Bleed True LLC, Management Engineering Student at @WPI

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