Since I started this blog, I joined many groups on the internet that discuss side hustles, affiliate marketing, blogging and more. And with that, I found hundreds of people having giant misconceptions about side hustles. Even my friends fell into this trap. I think it’s time to go through 5 things you need to know about side hustles and how they work.
1. Scams are prevalent
This one I was especially shocked by. Maybe I am naive, but I started all my side hustles without actually looking for them. I oftentimes saw a legitimate service and started using it. A lot of people will see side hustles as a quick way to earn money and so they will look for the “Get rich quick” scheme. This allows them to be scammed by having unrealistic expectations.
The problem is, that a lot of people are looking for side hustles from home. They also compare the money they could make from side hustling to their normal job. “I’m making 900 euro a month, so I want a side hustle that makes 2000 euro a month so I can leave mine. Preferably without work and overnight. This YouTube person told me how.” Then they end up buying a course for 200 euros (sometimes even way more) called “I earned 5 figure income in a week and so can you!” and end up surprised that they got pretty much scammed. Then there are pyramid schemes that promise an immense amount of money, people that will want you to send them money so they can invest in cryptocurrencies and more.
When your side hustle needs an investment from the start, think hard about why. Most side hustles should require minimal if any, investment. You are, after all, starting small. Or at least you should.
2. Side hustles won’t give you a fortune overnight
Think of side hustling as this small thing you do on the side that gives you a nice boost to your income. That is what it should be. If it grows beyond that, that is a bonus, but first, it will be small. No matter what you do. As I mentioned above, people will think about side hustling wrong. There are no get rich quick money schemes that work. There might be, but it’s usually called scamming or stealing.
Side hustles require work. Sometimes, they require hard work if you want to speed up the process or make stuff grow. It may pay off it may not. It mostly depends on how long you stick with what you’re doing and how good you are in marketing.
For example, blogging takes about 6 months on average to start earning money. If you are consistent with it. My digital paintings and photos took about a year to gain some traction. Youtube videos took several months to even start earning. Books take several months or even years to get written, depending on the genre and size. MLM businesses and affiliate marketing take months and extreme marketing work as well to grow into something tangible, no matter how good they sound.
All of these work, but all of these take time! Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Don’t quit your job to do a side hustle until you are 100% sure you are already making a living out of it and that you will keep doing so. Even then reconsider it.
3. Side hustles are not for everyone
As I mentioned, side hustles can be a lot of work. And at that, they can feel very non-rewarding at first. It’s not like a normal job, where you go in, do your hours and get paid. Side hustling can be summarized as an investment of time and energy that might not pay off. I know, it sounds scary, but it should.
There are pretty much two types of people that succeed with side hustles. People that enjoy them so much they don’t feel like work or hard workers that are motivated to change their lives around it. If you are neither, it might be hard to do a side hustle when you come back home after working all day. Just to make this absolutely clear, it is okay to rely only on your stable 9-5. Some people grow their entire lives around it because it fulfils them. I am not one of them, but it’s okay if you are.
4. Not all side hustles are about passive income
People have this misconception that side hustles are just a way to gain passive income. They don’t realize that a side hustle can be also just a small business you started on the side.
A good example of this is anyone who creates a physical product. The first person that comes to my mind is my friend (visit her Instagram here), who makes these felt plushies in her spare time.
All of these take a lot of time to make and each one is unique. Thus they can’t be considered a passive income, yet it’s still a good example of a side hustle as each one can be sold. This can give her a small income on the side if she wants.
Other examples of side hustles that are not passive can be some event photographers (unless it’s their full-time job), some people that you meet on sites such as AirBnB experiences and more.
There are hundreds of ways to make make a side hustle. If you’d like to read a book about at least a hundred of them, you can see my book recommendation for August.
5. You will have to learn a lot of stuff – especially marketing
A giant difference between a regular full-time job and side hustling is that you are now working on yourself. This sadly means that you are invisible to the world at the start. When you work for a company, it usually has some sort of marketing team that takes care of this stuff. When you are doing your side hustle, no matter what it is, you need a marketing team of your own. Oftentimes, this marketing team is pretty much just one person, you.
Good marketing knowledge is a crucial difference between successful and unsuccessful business. And yes, your side hustle is a business, no matter how big it is. You can have a bad or non-existing product (I’m looking at you, scammy Kickstarter campaigns), but if you have a way to market it well, it will inevitably sell.
If you have a great product, there is a slight chance it will spread by word of mouth. This is the strongest marketing you can have. But, as I said, it is a small chance. Even the best products are oftentimes forgotten or invisible because their owners didn’t know or didn’t care to market them.
Just to make this absolutely clear. You need to market your product, no matter what it is! This includes using social media, word of mouth, paying for advertisement (if you have money to spare), building an e-mail list, creating a website about it and working on your SEO and many, many more.
Get a website
Speaking of creating a website – and yes, you will need one, we are in 2020 – check out either this step-by-step tutorial on how to do it with the number one recommended hosting service by WordPress or this article about the cheapest, high-quality hosting I found (it’s the one this website runs on). Both can be used to create a high-quality website for your product with no programming knowledge.
See? Even I market my affiliate products. You need to learn how to do this otherwise people will not know you offer anything, let it be your product or your services.
Let’s see some stats about why you need to market your stuff and why having a website is important for it. According to this article from junto.digital, 81% of people perform some type of online research before making a large purchase. That is a huge number! If you’re not online, you are losing that portion of your potential audience.
Bonus: You don’t have to do this alone!
This is another misconception I see a lot and it drives me crazy. A lot of people think side hustles are something that only they do in their free time. And, as much as this is the ideal for many people, it is not necessary.
For example, I have a friend that helps me with marketing and it motivates me to work on my stuff even more, as I can’t imagine their work to be just wasted.
If you have a friend that is there to help you or wants to start a side hustle with you, it can be a great motivator and it can make stuff easier to get through. A side hustle is not necessarily freelancing. It’s just a small business you have on the side and business can have more people!
And that’s pretty much it. I seriously felt like I needed to make this article after going through Quora and Facebook for so long and seeing the same questions and misconception. Side hustles are an amazing way to not only make money but to spice up your life or give it a purpose. For me, it’s a way to make something that’s mine and see it thrive. It’s like having a child in a way, as silly as that sounds.
Hopefully, you now are more realistic about your expectations and you will approach side hustling with an open, but a sceptical mindset. Just know that they work. They work, but they are not easy. After all “easy” and “hustle” are pretty much two opposite words. If possible, find something that you enjoy and make a side hustle out of that. There are always ways to do that.
If you’ve enjoyed the article, feel free to comment below, share it (it helps a lot) or check out any of the linked articles above. Now, continue with your nice day, you beautiful person!
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