5 Ways to Run a Profitable Side Hustle Now

Recently, I was on The Lisa Show and discussed how anyone who’s interested in starting a business, especially a side hustle, can get the ball rolling. Believe it or not, starting a business doesn’t require you to have a college degree or even tons of knowledge around entrepreneurship. So many people get bogged down with having to get everything just right before even getting started, and that can actually hinder progress.

If you’ve been following the 3-part series I put together around starting a six-figure side hustle, then this blog post will be perfect for you. Today, I will highlight five key ways you can start making a profit with your side hustle now. Let’s be clear here: I’m talking profit, not revenue. In other words, this is money that you will be able to take in and invest back into your business, as well as pay yourself.

In case you missed it, you can access my interview on The Lisa Show and the 3-part series with how to start your own six-figure side hustle here:

Before we dive in, I again want to emphasize why you should even consider running a side hustle:

  • Additional revenue streams. Depending on just your 9-5 salary is scary. We’ve seen the perils of depending on one revenue stream since the pandemic hit. Unemployment was catastrophically high — at one point between February to May, there were 20.5M unemployed Americans.
  • Financial stability. Stop living paycheck to paycheck and give yourself the flexibility to make your money work for you, not the other way around.
  • Be proactive. Change your mindset from a reactionary stance to being more proactive. You are ultimately in control of your life.

In a previous blog post I also highlighted the following stats around building a six-figure side hustle:

  • The average side hustler spends 11 hours per week on their secondary work and earns $12,609 per year — an average of about $25 per hour.
  • 76% percent of side hustlers love their hustle, but only half like their job. 
  • At 50%, most side hustlers are just thinking about getting started.
  • The two most popular side hustles are blogging and freelance work. 

A cautionary note here: if you want to build a six-figure side hustle, these are just the baseline stats. That said, like anything in life, you’ll have to put in a ton more hours and hard work. No overnight successes here, and definitely no ‘get rich quick’ scheme. 

entrepreneur patience quote

Now, let’s dive into the five ways you can run a profitable side hustle now.

You Are Ready and Committed

It can be easy to get stuck in the “idea cycle,” where you constantly think of different passion projects and potential businesses you want to start. However, getting out of this and actually taking the steps needed to get started may feel like an even larger hurdle. 

As the saying goes, “If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll be waiting for the rest of your life.” 

Doing that is no different than just having a list of ideas and things you potentially want to achieve someday. In order to shift your mindset, you have to simply go for it. Being ready doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re now going to start that business you’ve envisioned, but that you are tired of feeling stuck. 

I’m sure this sounds redundant and obvious, but the only way to get ‘unstuck’ is to actually commit to making progress. The great thing about this is that you can determine what that progress looks like. You don’t have to spend every free second you have on this business idea, but when you do make time for it, you have to make sure you’re actually doing something valuable with your time. 

Here are some ways you can get going:

  • It’s about vision, your goals, and having a roadmap.
  • Start out by writing down what your day will look like.
  • Decide how you will commit between 30 minutes and two hours a day to doing something you really enjoy.
  • Look at how you can push the joy you find in doing what you love into the energy you need to start a viable business idea.
  • Start planning your weeks ahead of time and then push to 30 – 60 days of planning. This will allow you to get a big-picture idea of where you’re going so you can develop the right roadmap.

Having trouble getting all of your ideas organized? I like to use Monday to organize my work tasks. Monday is fully customizable to whatever industry you are in, and can help you by organizing tasks by color, category, timeline, and just about any other identifier possible. Additionally, Monday allows you to coordinate with your team so that everyone is on the same page.

For me to get motivated, it was so important I had my “whys” written down because they spoke true to my desire to succeed as an entrepreneur.

I can’t see myself ever working for someone else again for the following reasons:

  • I feel that I’ve attained work/life integration.
  • My earning potential isn’t capped. I can make as much or as little as I want. I know it’s up to me, just as it’s up to you to determine how much you make. You’re in control here.
  • I’m building my own dreams, not someone else’s.

Accountability Will Generate Growth

When it comes to your successes and failures, you have to hold yourself accountable the whole way through. It can be easy to get into a place where you’re depending on others to help make bigger connections and network for you or even help fund your business idea. However, if you start with what you have and map out what it’s going to take to actually grow, you’ll be better off.

goal accountability

I learned early on in my career that connections with other business professionals would only take me so far, and honestly, everyone is busy. The idea of just asking others for help was not a viable plan that would foster my entrepreneurial dreams. So I chose to bet on the most important person in the entire equation: me. 

You should do the same too. This is where you learn and grow the most. Hold yourself accountable for each action that is needed to help you achieve the smaller milestones and build up to the bigger picture — this will most definitely build character as well. 

I’m not saying that you should only have a one-person shop. Instead, it’s about pushing yourself and making sure you take on the responsibilities of your own fate. In other words, setting yourself up for success is about taking ownership of your entrepreneurial journey.

Analyze the Market

No matter what kind of side hustle you want to start, you have to make sure that there are people out there who will pay for what you have to offer. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself when it comes to validating the demand for what you’re selling:

  • What problem are you solving?
  • How does your solution solve that problem?
  • Why would people pay for your solution over others?
  • How much are people willing to pay should they choose you?

The simple answer here: value, right?

It’s a no-brainer: if you’re able to add value, people will gravitate towards you. That value helps build trust, authority, authenticity, and credibility. Here’s an example of a bike shop by BPlans:

  • Problem: It’s hard to buy a good bike in this town without being an “insider” cycling expert.
  • Solution: A snob-free shop where regular people can get top-notch gear and expert advice.
  • Value: High-quality bike gear for your family and commuting at reasonable prices, without the attitude.

You can also use online tools to help you analyze the market you want to enter. SEMRush has a great Complete Market Analysis tool that you can use for free to help you see market trends, check out competitors, and analyze your key demographics.

SEMRush Market Analysis

Invest in Yourself and Be Patient

When starting out, it makes sense to be a bit shy with spending your money on advertising your products/services. However, you have to. It’s a part of the process to understand which messaging works best, where the heaviest demand is, and ultimately, how to make sales.

Now, on the other hand, let’s say you don’t have the funds to even advertise. Your biggest asset in this scenario is to go the organic route and be present where your customers are, like on social media networks. It could be Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. The point is that if you have to go the organic route, it’s definitely going to take more time because you’re not in a position to actually target and place your offering in front of your ideal customer right away.

This is why a major part of your entrepreneurial journey is going to be patience. This, by far, will be one of the most difficult and important aspects of business growth, as well as success. You’re not going to make five figures or even six figures right away. It will take time. 

So in order to keep yourself going, you have to make sure that you are truly passionate about what you’re doing and how you plan to pursue the path of making it a reality for you. In other words, it’s not just about making a lot of money. 

Execution Wins

Again, starting a side hustle from scratch with the intention of growing it into a full-time gig takes a considerable amount of time, effort, dedication, and discipline. To put things into perspective, 89% of small business owners work weekends, and 86% take home less than $100,000. 

Here are good areas to focus on:

  • Get focused and refine your idea into something that’s actionable.
  • Know “who” you’re going to target and “how” you will reach them.
  • Develop a simple financial model to show how you will make money and how much money you’ll need to spend to kick-start your side hustle.
  • Launch a website that highlights your expertise. I would recommend using BlueHost or Kinsta to create a website easily.
  • Launch a blog and write at least five blog posts to give it life within this first month.
  • Make sure you install Google Analytics onto your website, so you can collect data on who’s visiting your website, from where, and the top-performing pages and content.
  • Research different ways to organically promote your side hustle. 
  • Research different ways you can cost-effectively pay to promote your side hustle.
  • Start planning for the next month as well, especially around the content and executions you want to take charge of.

Over to You

When you take the next steps to start your own side hustle or business, you’re creating an opportunity for yourself. In other words, you’re not waiting around hoping that it’ll come to you or that someone else will hand it to you.

Running a business will teach you lessons you won’t ever learn when working for someone else. Reframe how you look at failure by embracing it to help you pivot toward a new direction when you need to.

On a personal note, when I ran my business as a side hustle, it taught me a lot about myself – specifically, what it means to truly believe in myself and to take action toward living the life I want on my own terms. Your entrepreneurial journey could truly end up changing your life — you just have to put in the hard work.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. I only recommend products and services that I use and stand behind, and if you decide to try them, I will earn a commission at no cost to you. Doing so helps me run this blog and provide free content for you, my readers.

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