When I talk about side hustles, I’m not thinking about a second job or moonlighting at a clothing store to make an extra $10/hour. Second jobs are just more work. I’m here for people who want to know how to grow a legitimate business that ultimately gives them more time and financial freedom. If you’re looking for quick money, read 50+ Side Hustles You Can Start Pretty Quickly and make a few hundred dollars on in a week. After you get that short-term money, let’s talk about how to make it long-term.
If you’re going to create a side hustle, it should be something you love doing, especially if you hate what you do at your main hustle for 40 hours per week. I define a side hustle a business that allows you to use your unique gifts, talents, strengths, and skills to create and capture value in the world through who you are and what you do.
Based on my research, people discover their side hustle is a variety of ways:
+ 20% of people have side hustles that are directly related to what they do at their main hustle
+ 40% of people have side hustles that are somewhat related to what they do at their main hustle
+ 40% of people have side hustles that aren’t related to their main hustle at all
Given this definition of a side hustle, let’s walk through a short 3-step process to find your next side hustle.
Step 1: What are your unique gifts, talents, strengths, and skills?
Get out a piece of paper and Write down all of your unique gifts, talents, strengths, and skills. Start from skills as silly as tying your shoe all the way to something as difficult as speaking 5 languages. Think about the things that other people say you’re great at. Sometimes our G.T.S.S.s come so naturally to use that we don’t even recognize them as valuable until others say “Wow! How did you do that?” We assume others can do what we do, when in fact they can’t. Below are some examples.
More Example Of Skills Include:
tying a shoe, administering programs, planning agendas/meetings, updating files, dancing, advising people, planning organizational needs, setting up demonstrations, analyzing data, predicting futures, brainstorming, sketching charts or diagrams, assembling apparatus, playing an instrument, rehabilitating people, writing reports, auditing financial reports, doing hair, organizing tasks, cooking, writing for publication, budgeting expenses, prioritizing work, expressing feelings, calculating numerical data, creating new ideas, checking for accuracy, finding information, meeting people, classifying records, handling complaints,evaluating programs, coaching individuals, handling detail work, editing work, collecting money, imagining new solutions, tolerating interruptions, compiling statistics, interpreting languages, confronting other people, inventing new ideas, dispensing information, constructing buildings, proposing ideas, adapting new procedures, coping with deadlines, investigating problems, negotiating/arbitrating conflicts promoting events, creative writing, locating missing information, speaking to the public, raising funds, dramatizing ideas, writing letters/papers/proposals questioning others, estimating physical space, reading volumes of material, being thorough, organizing files, remembering information, coordinating schedules/times managing people, interviewing prospective employees running meetings, selling products, listening to others, supervising employees, teaching/instructing/training individuals, relating to the public, enduring long hours, inspecting physical objects, entertaining people, displaying artistic ideas, distributing products, deciding uses of money, managing an organization, delegating responsibility, measuring boundaries serving individuals, mediating between people, counseling/consulting people, motivating others, persuading others, operating equipment, reporting information, summarizing information, supporting others, encouraging others, delegating responsibilities, determining a problem, defining a problem, comparing results, screening telephone calls, maintaining accurate records, drafting reports, collaborating ideas administering medication comprehending ideas, overseeing operations motivating others, generating accounts, teaching/instructing/training individuals, generating accounts, thinking in a logical manner making decisions, becoming actively involved defining performance standards resolving conflicts, analyzing problems recommending courses of action, selling ideas, preparing written communications, expressing ideas orally to individuals or groups conducting interviews, performing numeric analysis, conducting meetings, setting priorities, setting work/committee goals developing plans for projects gathering information. taking personal responsibility thinking of creative ideas providing discipline when necessary, maintaining a high level of activity, enforcing rules and regulations, meeting new people, developing a climate of enthusiasm, teamwork, and cooperation, interacting with people at different levels, picking out important information, creating meaningful and challenging work, taking independent action skillfully applying professional knowledge, maintaining emotional control under stress, knowledge of concepts and principles, providing customers with service, knowledge of community/government affairs
Now once you have an exhaustive list of your unique gifts, talents, strengths, and skills, I want you to place them where you think they go in the Skills-Value Matrix below. Your goal is to find which of your unique G.T.S.S.s have the highest level of difficulty and/or very few people know how to do them. For instance, lots of people know how to navigate Facebook and it’s easy, so it would be hard to get paid for that. Fewer people know how to setup a Facebook Page, but it’s not that hard to learn if you already know how to navigate Facebook, so it may be difficult to get paid for that too because it’s not that difficult to do. But if you know how to grow someone’s Facebook Fan Page by 1,000 fans in a month, there may be some value there because it’s perceived as difficult to do and everyone can’t do it. This is how people get paid as full-time social media marketers. They are on Facebook all day, but they aren’t doing what the average Facebook user does while they are on there.
As you list your G.T.S.S.s according to the Skills-Value Matrix, you may find that you don’t have many in the upper right hand corner which is where the real value is. If that’s the case, you have to think creatively about how you can move your skill from the lower left to the upper right. For instance, lots of people know how to drive, so driving is likely in the lower left hand corner. But if the skill is driving a bus or 18-wheeler, all of a sudden it shifts to the lower right hand corner. And then if the skill is driving a Nascar car at 200 MPH, all of sudden we’re in the upper right hand corner where the real value is. So think about how you can shift your skills to the right and up by being more specific.
Step 2: Who values your unique gifts, talents, strengths, or skills?
Once you’ve locked in on a skill, the next step is to think about who values this skill which will ultimately become your target market. Think about what problems this G.T.S.S.s solves for others. And then from there, ask yourself “Who has one of these problems?”
Let’s say someone has a skill for planning events with 100+ people.
What problems does event planning solve?
missing minor details, cold food, food being delivered late, starting too late, people not RSVP, trouble finding vendors, staying within budget, etc.
And who has some of these problems?
corporate event planner, people planning family reunions, couples getting married, non-profits that have banquets or fundraisers, professional trainers, bands, etc.
Now that we have an idea about the target market, we can get very specific based on your passion and who you want to work with. This is called identify your niche and positioning yourself accordingly. If we choose couples getting married, there are many ways to break that down, for instance:
couples in their 40s, couples who are both getting remarried, couples with destination weddings, gay couples, couples who want to get married on the beach, Catholic couples, Muslim couples, mixed-race couples, non-religious couples, Black couples, etc.
The more specific your niche, the easier it will be for you to dominate it and grow because there will be fewer wedding planners with your expertise and you can become the go-to person for that type of wedding in the same way that Hollywood might go to Alfred Hitchcock for horror and Steven Spielberg for Sci-Fi. That’s branding and positioning. And though it feels limiting at first, your greatness can grow the pie.
You can define a target market in many ways such as age, gender, race, religion, location, political views, eating habits, sexual orientation, level of education, income, type of living, parent/no parent, type of computer used, type of music listened to, type of job, TV shows watched, etc. But keep in mind that establishing your target market is partly you picking them based on who you notice you do your best work with and partly you noticing commonalities among the people who buy from you.
Other examples of target markets include:
men, women, kids, kids between the ages of 6-10, college students, single women, people who use Apple product, Brooklynites, those who work from home, cancer patients, bike riders, candy eaters, music lovers, etc.
Step 3: How have others made money (captured value) from those who value your unique gift, talent, strength, or skill?
Now we need to find your business model. A business model is simply the way that you make money or capture value. Many companies have created lots of value but never quite figured out how to capture. Think MySpace. MySpace had millions of users but it never figured out how to monetize them in sustainable way.
There are 3 levels of a business model—survival, sustainable, and success. Survival means doing business, but always being a dollar short at the end of the month. Survival leads people to taking whatever they can get. Sustainable means that the business is making enough to cover its costs. It’s just getting by, but it’s not growing. And then there is success. Success means that the business is making enough to cover its costs and invest in future growth at the same time.
Examples of business models include:
time-based (life coach), results-based (wedding cake), ticket model (NBA), retainer, freemium (Gmail), eye-balls & ads (Facebook), bricks & mortar (Macy’s), auction (eBay), direct sales (Avon), franchise (subway), low-cost (Wal-Mart), etc.
Most side hustla who are consultants or coaches charge by the hour, by the result, or by monthly retainer. You have to find what works best for you and the client.