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Oftentimes your “side hustle” is something you have more passion for than your primary means of generating revenue. However, it’s also something that likely won’t bring you as much money as you need it to in order to rely on it totally. That’s why it’s on the side. Still, with a little strategy and nurturing, you can make it profitable enough to outpace your previously primary revenue stream. Following are a few ways to do that.
1. Have a Good Side Hustle
If your “side hustle” involves selling wooden figurines which take ten hours per unit to carve, then you’d better sell them for no less than $200 per figurine. $400 would be better. Obviously, it’s a niche market. If you can’t push them for more than $20 per, then such a side hustle is going to end up being more pain than pleasure in the fullness of time.
In such a scenario, you’ve got two tactics. One, find a way to optimize production such that cheaper asking prices are justified by the reduced workload. Two, a transition that side-hustle into “hobby” territory and branch into something else like installation of solar panels, or some other eco-friendly remodeling service where there’s a market need you can fill well in your free time.
Also, take into account the seasonal angle. Maybe your side hustle involves selling sweaters or other garments with holiday styling. If that’s the case, you’ll only be making money at one time during the year. Unless you can make enough for two years annually, such a side hustle may not necessarily be viable in the long-run; what if the bottom dropped out unexpectedly one year?
2. The Bill Watterson Approach
Bill Watterson has a net worth of $100 million presently. Before the cartoonist penned world-famous comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes, however, he worked two jobs simultaneously. He would work for the newspaper in a non-cartoonist capacity, designing grocery store advertisements, and as a cartoonist.
Through syndication, his cartoons began to make money. When what Calvin and Hobbes brought in was greater than what he was paid at the newspaper, he cut the line to the previous “primary” income source and proceeded with the syndicated cartoon from then on.
If you’ve got a side hustle of this kind, you could just slowly phase out the initial money-making enterprise which sustains you and replaces it with the more effective one.
3. Organic Clientele Development
The best possible advertising is the word-of-mouth variety. When clients like what you do and tell others precisely because they like it, then it’s more likely those they communicate with will look into what you do. With a side hustle, you’ve got the opportunity to build a client base person by person.
Now this will take longer than some traditional marketing strategies. However, a side hustle is built for the long haul. Make every customer interaction a job interview for you, with the client as your new prospective employer. If you only see 100 customers in a year, and keep 80 of them, in ten years you’ve got 800 regulars.
Provided you encourage them to give you good references, and spread the word about what you provide in your side gig, that number could be enough to transform the side business into something more primary. It all depends on what the “hustle” is. If you’re providing a service, this approach is more effective than if you’re providing some non-consumable product.
4. Automation of That Which Can Be Automated
Automate where possible. Granted, if you’re automating something like an invoice, you’re naturally going to want a pre-designed invoice template in the format you prefer. As tech and automation expand, finding solutions designed for such time-liberating, complication-reducing purposes are in plentiful supply.
You can cut the costs of traditional employee management through technological automation. You can outsource internal server arrays through cloud computing solutions. You can even outsource your office through BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, an operational paradigm where employees access your cloud network remotely through the web, using their own tech.
Automation reduces infrastructural complication, simultaneously expediting operations. Expenses likewise decline even as profits increase. Automation gives you greater buying power, making you a more competitive entity, and allowing you to have a more successful side hustle.
5. Keeping Careful Records That Have Deep Metrics
The numbers don’t lie, but they can be influenced based on which metrics you ultimately focus on. You want to know how many customers you have, you want to know how much you’re spending, you want to know what average unexpected costs are, and you want to know how much you’re making.
If you spend $1k a month and spend 40 hours over that time to see revenue of $1,500, then you’ve acquired $500 for your trouble before taxes, which will knock that down to about $200. That’s $5 an hour. Something’s got to give!
The same numbers at only 20 hours a week, however, produce a $10 an hour payout. If you can do it in 10 hours, you’re at $20 an hour. If you can do it in 5, you’re up to $40 an hour; and now you’re to a point where it’s worthwhile to start expanding that side hustle. When you’ve kept careful numbers, seeing where you’re at in this regard is much more likely to be accomplishable.
Rounding Out Your Side Hustle
Keep careful records, automate where possible, facilitate organic clientele development, carefully phase out primary income with your secondary source, and ensure your side hustle is viable from the beginning. These tactics will help you greatly as you go about establishing secondary income sources as more primary revenue generators.
Ashley is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion in providing creative solutions for building brands online. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver awesome content through various niches.