We spend a third of our lives at work. But many of us may not find true happiness or fulfillment there. This could be why 50% of millennials in America report having a side hustle—a job in addition to their primary job.1 And while side hustles are a great way to make extra income, they can also bring an unexpected result: greater happiness.2
Side hustles can provide opportunities to develop leadership skills, strengthen your network, and continue learning—all things that can benefit your main job, mindset, and bank account.
If you’re interested in starting your own hustle (or already have), here are a few tips to help light a fire under your idea.
1. Assess your proficiencies
You’re probably amazing at something. Maybe you know it. Maybe your friends have told you about it. Now’s the time to own it.
Have you always had a knack for calculating the tip when you’re out with friends? Are you the first person someone calls when they need an outfit for a big event? Can you keep plants alive better than anyone else? Make a short list of those standout skills and attributes that best define you.
3. Are there development opportunities you may be missing at work?
When you launch your side hustle, you’ll probably be the CEO, the project manager, the marketer, and the finance department. It’s a great opportunity to step into those roles that you’d like to occupy in your day job but haven’t had the chance to.
Jot down a few of those areas in which you’d like to gain more experience, in order to make your side hustle more fulfilling.
For example, maybe you’d like to gain more experience presenting or speaking in front of an audience. When working on your side hustle, keep that in mind. Prioritize those opportunities and develop a new skill that can help in your career.
4. Determine a product or service
Now you have your short lists: proficiencies, passions, and opportunities. Take in all your evaluations and determine a product or service that aligns with them.
5. Find your market: Who wants what you have to offer?
Consider your prospective customers. Are they in your geographic community? Your social feed? Do you have the tools to reach them? Is there a demand for your product? Is there room in the market for you, or is it already too saturated?
Do the necessary research to identify potential competitors. How is your product different or better? Think about the long term. When you look a year or even five years out, is your product still relevant?
6. Dip your toe before you dive in
One of the luxuries of the side hustle is trying new things and taking them at your own pace. For example, you can test different ideas before investing too much in just one of them. Start small with a limited run and tight customer base—get candid feedback and analyze how you can adjust your product or business model. If you feel like you’re onto something, continue testing with more and different customers.
7. Launch it
It’s go time. Name your product or service, define your brand, and create a DIY marketing strategy. Make it official and register your business name with the state. Obtain any licenses or permits where necessary. Work with an artist to create a unique logo and (hey, if it works) make a T-shirt.
Make sure people can find you and your side hustle with an online presence, either by building a website or creating a profile on social media, for instance.