How do you know when a side hustle is right?
Getting started by making some money on the side always appears daunting, but I can tell you from experience that you will fail 100% of the time if you never try. Yet if you start doing something, even at a small level, your chances of success technically multiply exponentially. Statistics don’t lie, you have a better chance of succeeding at something when you actually try it, versus not trying it at all.
So to get to the now $64 million question (accounts for inflation), how do you know what product or service should be your side hustle? The truth is discerning your side hustle is generally found at the intersection of a few crucial points. Here are four things you can do to begin your money-making side hustle.
1) Find your side hustle “why!”
For the math majors still reading this, the equation is You + No Money = Broke. Just add it up and you’ll get the same result every time. If your response is to laugh at this, then you’re not there yet. If you feel the urge to fix that little problem or that joke made you angry, soldier on.
At the end of the day, no business will work if you don’t have a desire to better yourself, your life, or your family. Working hard won’t just accrue money, though. I happen to come from a faith tradition where work is viewed as vital to personhood. It is a gift, and one that can be rewarding when surveying a day’s, week’s, or season’s hard work. One does not have to possess faith to see this. This desire for more will keep you going during the rough patches.
Whatever your “why,” you need to grab on to it and hold on. Post it on the mirror in the morning when you shave or apply makeup. Put it on your nightstand so you see it. Write it out on paper and tape it to your monitor at work. Find what will fire you up to get going and latch on to it!
2) Throw negativity out the window.
There is a tremendous living myth that in order to succeed, you must be a creative genius. I’m talking Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein or Mark Cuban levels. I think this is a distinctly American myth that has grown bionic legs. It’s as if you must be born with an intellectually creative gold spoon that you either have or don’t have. Forget that lie.
And there are other myths. You don’t have enough time. That idea won’t possibly work. You’re a poser and don’t really know what you’re even doing! You know the one specific to you, it’s the one that little voice says in the back of your mind.
Throw these lies out of the window. Why do most bookstores have entire rows devoted to “self-help” and “positive thinking?” The presence of these books tends to suggest the opposite thought process is the default. Don’t be a victim and guarantee nothing but failure. Let go of negativity!
3) Find your strength.
Chances are that you’re not that special of a snowflake, contrary to what mommy says. However, we all have things that interest us or we lose track of time doing. Start with these things. I’m not saying that your strengths will inevitably make money, but I am saying that you will work harder when you draw some measure of enjoyment, passion, or interest in the work you do.
And look, maybe hover cars aren’t that far off right now, but right now you need wheels or wings to get going somewhere with the right engine. Your metaphorical wheels in life are the problems you enjoy solving. The activities you love doing. The little widgets that you love building. Start thinking – what do I like to do?
4) Look for the place where your strengths and other people’s desires meet.
I’ll let you in on a little secret, people only pay for what they either want or need. With that revolutionary knowledge in mind, direction to just “follow your heart/passion/feelings” is terrible on it’s own. If you want to change the game when it comes to finances, you must find an area of strength where you can make money.
I love computers, ever since the old-school days of green screens and Oregon Trail where your best friend in character always caught dysentery near the end. I found out that I also liked to build computers. While you could make money building computers, it took money to purchase parts and maintain the tools necessary to do the job.
Well, at the time (and I am pretty certain this is still true), high school did not pay a wage. So I loved building computers but had no money. Yet I also found that as much as I loved computers and gaming, there was this little thing called hosting. Since I was unafraid to blow things up, I learned first how to host my own websites and then how to host others. On top of that knowledge, and around $20/month, I started my first side hustle.
When you are a kid in high school with no car and no license, bringing in a hundred or two a month is #rollingitin. I could buy all the pizza for lunch I wanted and get my now wife some decent gifts considering I had precisely no car and no license and my parents paid for everything else I needed.
So how do you know your side hustle is right? You start with the right mindset – understand why you want to move towards a new destination. Then you jettison the negative Nancy attitudes. Next, you begin to look at your strengths. Last but not least, you look for places where you strengths and the ability to make a profit intersect.
When you reach the intersection of profit and strength, then you’ve found the right side hustle. It doesn’t have to be a revolutionary new innovation or break-through concept. It just needs to be something profitable that you are skilled at, all backed by the right mindset.