How to turn your hobby into a sustainable side hustle
It was following my dream as a life coach and writer that allowed me to make an additional $ 4,000 a month on the side. Everyone asked me how I did it, so it’s become the focus of my business and the subject of my new book, “What if It DOES Work Out?”
One of the most popular questions I get is, “How do I follow my dreams with a side hustle?”
Most people don’t realize that just one dollar can turn their favorite hobby into a lucrative side hustle.
Love to knit hats for the winter and give them away as gifts? Side-hustle alert! Do your friends come to you when they want to spruce up their resumes and nail their job interviews? Side-hustle alarm! In fact, any product or service that you can create that people, including your friends, need and love can be a business opportunity if you think about it.
And there’s a good chance you might be side hustling now – but for free.
A side hustle is a business you run outside of your 9-to-5 job that allows you the flexibility to pursue what you’re most interested in. It’s a chance to delve into fashion, baking, yoga or whatever you’re passionate about whilst keeping your day job and all of its benefits.
While I was working fulltime as a sales director for a Fortune 500 company, I started my side hustle as a life coach. This felt natural to me as I’ve read more than 500 personal development books and I was a natural adviser to the people in my life – especially when it came to connecting them to their purpose, feeling more confident, negotiating a raise, and growing their network.
It turns out I was an unpaid life coach for years. That changed the day I released a coaching package and started charging for my time and advice in a structured, more formal way. And people responded to it.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to get started. Consider it a sneak peek into a life-coaching session.
1. What makes me feel alive?
What do you just love doing? Loving your side hustle is critical, because running a business can always be challenging. Too many people launch businesses they “kind of like” just because they think they’ll make a lot of money. I had a client who was importing goods from China to sell at a profit but quit after her second or third setback, because she didn’t truly enjoy the work. When the going gets tough, your strong passion for your side hustle and the work will be the thing that keeps you going.
2. What do people come to me for?
Think: What am I naturally good at? What problems am I good at solving? What comes easily to me? These are all solid indicators of what could be a brilliant side gig for you. My client Christina is a natural organizer. Her home looks like Martha Stewart’s. Now she helps CEOs who have no free time organize their homes – their closets, kitchens, living space – so they come home to a cozy, clean apartment after a long day’s work or a business trip.
3. What are people already buying?
Competition is good. When I started as a life coach I was overwhelmed with the number of coaches in New York City. But then I understood that it’s because coaching is a thriving and growing market. People always have problems. And no matter how saturated an industry seems, you bring your unique flair to your business. Entering a popular market makes you clever: not a copycat.
4. What business can I start with where I am, and with what I already have?
Making your hustle real is all about doing the best you can with what you have. One client of mine started teaching swimming lessons: She has a swimming pool at her home. Another took advantage of her love of dogs and pet-friendly building to work as a dog sitter. One woman obsessed with natural remedies teaches her friends how to make home-based elixirs using just what is in their pantry.
The bottom line is that besides adding an important revenue stream to your life, doing work that ignites your spirit and passion matters. Your day job does not have to be your life’s work. Your life’s work can be whatever you decide it could be with the time that you have to commit to it. Doing what makes you feel alive sustains you over time and brings meaning and lasting happiness to your life. One of the worst things that you can do is climb the career ladder, get to the top, and realize you were climbing the wrong wall all along.
A side hustle helps you start on a new ladder, wherever you are. You can choose a different ladder for your life and a much more satisfying view from the top.
Susie Moore is the author of the book, “What if it DOES work out?”