How to get your side hustle off the ground without giving up the day job.
Friday, February 16 at 12:33
Having worked for years as a freelance copywriter and sometime journalist, writing for and about small businesses, I’d always harboured a secret envy of my subjects—the people who took an idea and ran with it, to build something exciting. Perhaps no surprise, then, that I wanted to do the same, one day.
That day came last year. The idea for Badd Karma was as simple as combining my love for yoga and puns with a fascination for the rise of the slogan tee. My copywriting work provides my living, but I wanted to challenge myself to see what I could achieve if I dedicated just a few hours a week to nurturing a side hustle. Fast-forward a few months and Badd Karma is now a brand-new online store with four clothing micro-collections planned for 2018. It’s still early days—and far from being a source of income yet. But I’ve finally done what all of those brilliant entrepreneurs I write about have done, while holding down a day job and staying relatively sane. How? Here are my top tips:
1. Don’t skip the elevator pitch or testing your idea
You have a great side hustle idea. Before you go any further, you need to know that you’re onto something and that your idea is comprehensive enough to successfully pursue. Spend time nailing that elevator pitch so that you can test your idea out on... well, anyone you talk to. Listen for feedback and be prepared to act on it.
2. Gather your support network
When you’re holding down a day job and nurturing a side hustle, you can’t do it all alone. Figure out what you don’t know how to do and ask friends, social and professional networks for advice and practical support. People are generally happy to help, so don’t be too shy or too proud to ask. I’ve had near-strangers doing me huge favours, simply because they believe in my idea.
3. Do a realistic audit of your available time for the next six months
It’s easy to overestimate what you can achieve—while underestimating social schedules, family commitments, illness and procrastination. Be realistic. Avoid overwhelm and exhaustion by setting boundaries for yourself. Initially, I ring-fenced 5 hours a week as side-hustle time (hello, focus!), then upped it anytime my flow of client work slowed down.
4. Get organised—and professional
It might be ‘just’ a side hustle, but you still need a plan. I went for two months with no business plan until someone I met at a networking event suggested I took my own idea more seriously. She was right. I wrote a plan, set goals and suddenly, my idea took on a life of its own.
5. Share your goals and plans
Verbally committing to something is a very powerful motivator. Equally, communicating your goals and plans with your employer or clients reassures them that you’re completely organised and remain committed to your everyday work. You may find yourself some new supporters for your venture as a result!
Kate Foster is a freelance copywriter and the founder of Badd Karma, a slogan-led yoga wear brand with a social conscience that celebrates diversity on the yoga mat and aims to empower every yogi in their practice. She lives in Somerset and has worked with small businesses since 2012 as a copywriter and marketing consultant.
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