Forget going all in: The side hustle is in vogue now. Bootstrapping is becoming more practical than ever, experimentation is becoming the normal path to success, and, as corporate veterans leave for the startup world, side businesses are a great way to test the water.
I recently led a panel on it at the American Society of Journalists and Authors conference with successful writers/side hustlers Kelly K. James, Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell. Inspired by their food for thought, here are three actionable ways to get started on your next big idea today.
Get your tools: Do you know anyone who is mastering a side hustle? Mentorship is key, whether it be person-to-person or virtual. Some good books on the subject are Jenny Blake's Pivot, Patrick McGinnis' The 10% Entrepreneur and my own The Bite-Sized Entrepreneur series. Understand that any confusion or trepidation you feel is normal and, as shown in any of the books, there is already a blueprint to your potential success.
Get your runway: How long will you be doing this, exactly? It is having a solid measure of success and a hard stop for letting it go. You have to know what is too much in either direction. For my last side hustle, the #1 Apple app Cuddlr, me and my two co-founders hit our own personal hard stop, which is why we were open to discussion with other companies and lead to our eventual acquisition.
Get your why: What's the point of doing this? If you're doing something on the side in addition to your main business, then you can expect to sacrifice some free time and energy. Your motivation could be extra money, an outlet for your passion or just a high-level hobby - but you absolutely need to know it. It's important to know why you are doing it because, if that reward goes away, you'll understand that it is time to stop. For instance, if you have a side hustle for money and it doesn't make a profit in six months, then you know you have to consider pulling the plug.