10 tips on perfecting your side hustle

Business tips, News

A side hustle is an extra money-earning job taken on in addition to your day job. Thinking of joining the 43% of Brits with a side hustle? Property developer Richard Clapson gives his top 10 tips for success….

  1. Reach out

Build confidence by connecting with communities in the same niche you’re looking to get into. Connecting with others on the same journey as you can be incredibly empowering and may help remove some of those fears. Plus, you may also glean some good advice.

  1. Avoid Perfectionism

We all want to do a good job, but the old 80/20 rule usually bites perfectionists on the backside – they spend 80% of their time perfecting the last 20% of their work. This problem can particularly affect those just starting who want to make their product or service as perfect as possible when they launch. The reality is that it’s far better to aim for good rather than great and get your productivity rate up – or even just get the business launched in the first place.

  1. Avoid Burnout

Do you have any plans to be the wealthiest person in the graveyard? There’s no point in working all hours on your side hustle if you don’t enjoy the fruit of your labours. Be sure to set limits on how much time you spend on it, and carve out time to spend with family, friends and on good old R&R. Also, make sure that your side hustle doesn’t compromise your day job. You might enjoy it more, but don’t forget which one pays the bills, at least initially.

  1. Systemise and Outsource

Brands such as McDonald’s are fundamentally built on systems; if it works for them, it can work for you. Depending on your side hustle, there will be limits to how far you can go here. But always think about whether there’s any part of what you do that can be automated, delegated, or outsourced. Take a detailed look at what you physically do to deliver your product or service and see if you can remove or automate any of the steps.

Outsourcing can seem like a false economy since you’ll presumably have to pay someone else – but the reality is that it can often make good financial sense. Websites such as fiverr.com, upwork.com, and peopleperhour.com allow you to tap into the global gig economy. If there’s a part of what you do that could be done by someone on the other side of the world for a fraction of the cost, it frees up your time and increases your overall productivity. I’ve met several people who have outsourced their entire operation; they simply do the marketing and sell something produced or delivered by people working in the Philippines or India.

  1. Know Your Market

A little research can go a long way. Make sure you understand who your competitors are and what they’re offering. How will your offer be different? Also, make sure that there’s a market for your product or services. Depending on your hustle, consider running some dummy ads before you start to check out demand.

  1. Don’t Sell Yourself Short

It can be tempting to use low prices to make your service appear more attractive. But this can undervalue your work and mean working long hours before you make a meaningful profit. Instead, price yourself in the mid-range and provide better-than-average service. That way, you’ll be offering good value and can always move to charging premium prices as your experience and testimonials grow.

  1. Separate Your Personal and Business Finances

Set up a business bank account and ensure that all the transactions relating to your side hustle go through it – not through your personal bank account. This applies to both your income and expenses. Ultimately, you’ll pay yourself the profits, but make sure the money goes into your business account first. This will make it far easier to manage your business effectively in the long run. Also, make sure you have a rainy-day fund for emergencies, and take advantage of the many online software tools that are available for managing your finances – they will make life a lot easier for you.

  1. Pay Your Taxes

While some may be tempted to ‘forget’ to declare it, the last thing you want is an unexpected tax bill. Automatically set aside some of your profits to pay tax and do your research to understand what tax is payable. Ideally, speak to an accountant – they may be able to save you tax.

  1. Set Realistic Goals

Set annual and quarterly targets for your business and let these guide your weekly activity and goals. Track your progress and be realistic about your expectations – it can take time to build a sustainable business. Also, celebrate your successes as you go, as this will keep you motivated. You’ll invariably have bumps in the road on your journey but don’t let that put you off, they happen to everyone.

  1. Don’t Over-commit

For many, giving up the day job is the ultimate dream, and a side hustle can help make that dream a reality. Just don’t be too quick to hand in your notice. Many people see the money start to roll in and they mistake revenue for profit. They can also be over-optimistic about growth and assume that a few good months will automatically mean every month thereafter will be great too. Instead, ensure that your side hustle is producing 1.5 or 2 times your job income before you leave and that it’s been doing so reliably for a while!


Ritchie Clapson CEng MIStructE is a veteran property developer of 40+ years, an author, industry commentator, and co-founder of the leading property development training company propertyCEO. For more information visit www.propertyceo.co.uk


Chris Price
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