The Micro Pod Episode 3: So, You’re Thinking About Starting a Side Hustle?

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The Transcript of The Micro Pod Episode 3: So, You’re Thinking About Starting a Side Hustle?

So, you want to start a business. The only problem is you’ve got a job. And you can’t afford to leave that job, because it’s the job that pays the bills.

But you really want to start a business.

Welcome to the wonderful world of the side hustle.

My name is Kathy Ennis. And in this episode of The Micro Pod, I want to look at three things that I think every side hustler, or would-be side hustler, should consider when they are looking at starting this business that runs alongside their employment

Three things that I think will help them to transition from employee to entrepreneur.

The Emergence of the Side Hustle

So, ‘side hustle’. it’s a new-ish phrase. It definitely wasn’t around 21 years ago, when I started my first business.

Well, I say first started my first business, I started a side hustle. I didn’t know it was one of those at the time. And in fact, at the time, when I first started, I didn’t even know it was a business.

I had a particular interest in something – a bit of a hobby, a bit of an obsession. And I discovered that other people were interested in it too.

And that they were willing to pay me some money, for me to do certain things around that hobby that would enable them to be more successful with it themselves.

So I started providing services to people, and they were paying me.

Now, it was all very aboveboard. None of it was done cash in hand, or brown envelope or anything like that. It was all accounted for, and I paid tax – all of those kinds of things.

But even within the first year, I didn’t see myself as running a business. What I was doing was having a really good time talking about something that I absolutely loved, and meeting loads of new people.

It was about a year in when I started to think “Actually, you know what? I want to be doing this full time. I don’t want to be working for my employer”

I started to resent the amount of time that I was spending in work.

I worked in central London, and I lived in suburban London. If anybody knows London, getting from the outside in, it’s an hour and a half – even though I only lived 11 miles away from the centre of London.

So, you know, a full time job and at least three hours a day travelling. I resented that.

I wanted to be spending more time doing what I love doing. And so I started to become more serious in terms of seeing my side hustle as a business.

I had to figure out how to make that alteration from being an employee and actually transitioning out into entrepreneurship, running my own business.

The Three Things I Learned As a Side Hustler

So what I want to do in this episode of The Micro Pod is to share with you three things that I learned as a side hustler.

Three things that allowed me to transition out into full time entrepreneurship.

And, as a Business Mentor (who works with micro businesses and and side hustles) three things that help them to move from that concept of the passion that they’ve got for their products or services into a profitable space.

So getting side hustlers to the point where they can afford to leave their job.

I’ve got three things that I want to share with you that I think could help with that process.

1. Planning and Organisation

To kick off, the first thing that I want to talk about is planning and organisation.

Now, I don’t think that the vast majority of businesses need the traditional business plan (I’ve spoken about this in other episodes of The Micro Pod). The traditional business plan is very much about a business is going out to get finance from a bank or an investor.

However, I do think that every business, including side hustle businesses, need a plan.

In particular as a side hustle you need a plan as a route map of how you’re going to work your way out of employment.

What will be, for example, the one objective that you need to reach in order to be able to say goodbye to the nine to five?

With most people, I would imagine it would be the amount of profitable income coming in that would allow them to replace their salary.

That’s the kind of thing you need to think about and your plan will give you that route map through to transitioning into full time entrepreneurship. Being full time in your own business.

But your plan also needs to include the practical things around who your customers are; who is it you want to approach; who is that you want to buy your products and services; what your products and services are all of all of those kinds of things.

And I will say that, for me, when I talk about planning and organisation – particularly for for side hustlers – you need to think about them in in two columns.

And those two columns, I would put under the headings ‘Practical’ and ‘Fun’.

Under the Practical heading are the things that will really make a difference to how successful your side hustle is; the things that will enable that transition out into running a business full time.

And these are – as I said – practical. For example, am I going to be operating as a sole trader or a limited company. That’s a really practical thing. Depending on what you’re selling.

Depending on what your business is, it may be better for you to be one or the other.

Other practical things include getting a bank account.

Yes, please, get a separate bank account for your business. It may seem a bit of a faff, but actually, it makes your life so much easier if payments go in and out from one specific space rather than muddying your personal bank account.

If you’re a limited company, you have to have a separate bank account anyway.

But it will make your accounting processes so much easier to have that, and it looks much more professional!

How are you going to take payments? What methods are you going to be using? What are you going to be doing to chase people who don’t pay (and some of them don’t!)?

How are you going to engage with your customers?

Who are your customers in the first place?

When are you actually going to deliver your products and services? Remember, a big chunk of your time is going to be taken up being an employee.

So this kind of planning needs to go on.

Unfortunately, I find that a lot of businesses start with fun elements first.

The fun elements are important – your website, your social media presence etc.

Yes, they are important, particularly important for side hustlers. Because if you take things like your website and your social media, that’s probably the easiest way for people to contact you.

It’s not as if you’re going to be able to sit on the end of the phone every day, because you’ll be at work.

So, yes, they are important, but they’ll only really work for you if you’ve got the backroom stuff going already.

That’s why I would advocate that you need to start planning.

Plan for the short term, what happens on a day by day, week by week, month by month basis, in Year One. But plan a little bit further forward as well.

Identify how you will know that your side hustle is successful enough for you to make that transition out of the nine to five into being full time business owner.

2. Time Management

So, Planning and Organisation is the first one. The second is Time.

I speak to very many business owners and, irrespective of what type of business they’re running – whether it’s a side hustle or micro business, a small business, whatever it might be – the thing that most business owners don’t have enough of is not money, it’s time.

Because running a business does take time. And, as someone running a side hustle, you have to be even more aware of time, because you have far less of it than those running a business on a full time basis.

That’s the first thing I would get you to acknowledge. Ask yourself “how much time do I actuallly have?”.

I would suggest one of the first things to do would be to do a little bit of a time and motion study on yourself. I often get my clients to do this where, over a couple of weeks, they just jot down every 15 minutes what they’ve done or what they are doing.

Over that two week period, you can look at the ebb and flow of your day and see where time may be that you could then actually devote to running the business.

And let’s face it, if you’re running a side hustle, it is a business. And you’ve got employment on the other side.

So say for example, you’re a full time employee and you’re running a side hustle. Basically, you’ve got two full time jobs. So you have to be aware of how much time you have got, in order to run the side hustle business alongside your employment.

This means you need to come up with strategies for what you can do in the time that you’ve actually got – and to be realistic about how long it takes you to do certain things.

So, the classic one that comes up all the time is regular engagement, marketing activity (social media marketing activity). Many businesses talk about not having enough time to make that happen.

So I would say to a side hustler, even more so than the full time business person, you have to chunk up your day, and you have to chunk up your week. You need to know what times you’ve actually got to dedicate to these things.

I’ve always said that Sunday afternoon, is a really good time to sit down and sheduled all of your social media for the for the following week, so that you know that something is going to be happening Monday through Friday or Monday through Saturday, if you’ll be posting at the weekend.

You need to think about how you’re going to get your accounts done or how you’re going to interact with your customers. All of those kinds of things need time during during the week.

And, if my experience is anything to go by (plus the experience of people that I work with who are running side hustles, at the moment), you probably will have quite a few late nights.

And you will probably have to dedicate parts of your weekend to doing this too.

So evenings and weekends might disappear off your calendar.

One of the biggest issues that is quite a hard one to deal with is other’s expectations of you.

This quite often comes from friends and family.

You may have to make apologies for not attending things. At the moment that’s no big deal because nobody’s attending anything! But you know, there could be could be parties or events, or those kinds of things.

If you’re running a business it’ss really hungry beast – and the business has to come first. You will need to let people know that the time that you’re spending on your fledgling business is actually really precious time.

Alongside the planning – planning out your activities planning out your week, your month, your year – is the need to identify how much time you’ve got to spend on these things.

Planning and time are intertwined. They co-exist with each other. So you need to get them them really working in tandem so as not to feel overwhelmed.

I think that’s the crucial thing. And as I said to a friend of mine, last week, if you think about the fable of the tortoise and the hare, it’s not always the people that are fastest or do the most, that actually get to the finish line first.

Slow and steady wins the race just as much. So don’t feel that if things aren’t happening mega fast, that you’re failing in some way. If things are moving forward slowly, that’s just as good. Don’t beat yourself up about that.

3. Test and Measure

The third thing is Testing and Measuring.

You have a really brilliant opportunity as a side hustle owner to market research your idea while you have (and I’ll put that into inverted commas) the luxury of a salary coming into your bank account.

With most people who are running a business full time, they’ll put an idea out there, they’ll put product product or service out there and, while the thing is live, they’ll have to be testing and measuring it to know how successful is it with the customer?

How popular is it? Are they selling enough of them? Are they charging the right price for them.?

If you’re running a business full time and you’re doing this testing and measuring, it could be that you’re actually losing money while you’re doing this.

If you’re in the situation of running a side hustle, where you’ve got the regular money coming in – money that’s paying the bills – you can afford to be quite inventive and creative with what your offer is out to your potential customer base, and use the time to do that testing and measuring.

This emans, when it comes to the point where you are ready to actually say goodbye to full time employment, you have road tested everything, you know what works, you know it works with the people that you want it to work with.

You are in a far less risky place than somebody who hasn’t got the cushion of the employment sitting behind them.

I think it’s really brave – starting a business. And I think the opportunity you get in terms of starting a side hustle is absolutely fantastic.

You can start something, you can get the practice and the experiencing, while still having the benefits of a salary coming through to you. It can be ‘the thing’ that allows you to create a business that will see you through once you said goodbye to the employment side of things.

I wish everybody every success and massively happy side hustling experience.

I hope you found that useful and interesting.

If you have any questions about starting a side hustle, or how to make your current side hustle a bit more ‘buoyant’ – a bit more successful – please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

My name is Kathy Ennis and you’ve been listening to The Micro Pod.