Beginning a side hustle is tough.

They don’t call it a HUSTLE for any old reason. It takes guts, determination, brains, motivation, and usually a lot of advice… maybe some Googling too.

The first step in the right direction is to solidify your reason for the hustle. Knowing your reason can help in many aspects: determining the hours you are able to put into your side hustle, daily, narrowing your focus by establishing a true purpose of beginning your hustle, and always reminding you of why you started in the first place.

“I want to make an extra $1,000 per month.”

“I want to create or begin something- something that will make me feel accomplished.”

“I want to expand my long-time hobby.”

“I want to start my own business. It’s always been my dream.”

“I want to be my own boss.”

Your reason may be any and all of these. There’s no stopping an entrepreneur with a new idea. Whether you truly are in need of an additional income, want to truly feel proud of yourself, or have dreamed about becoming your own boss; a side hustle may be calling you in for work today.

What are Your Strengths?

Now, what will your side hustle be? What does it include? How often will you dedicate time to this? How will you stay motivated to make it successful? These can all be answered by determining your goals and strengths.

What are your goals? In life, yes. But more detailed, in business. For example, your goals in business may be monetary, emotional, physical, mental, etc. Your goals will range from making a weekly profit of $200, to helping people live a better life. Write down, in detail, any goal that comes to mind—anything you want to work for or toward.

Now, do these goals align with your strengths? Think about it. An anti-social person with a numbers background probably shouldn’t immediately dive into a sales hustle. Just the same as a person afraid of big dogs shouldn’t begin an at-home daycare for pets. But remember, all start-ups come with an array of needs. Sometimes those needs require learning or experiencing things that are not necessarily your favorite, yet are essential for success.

So, be sure that you are choosing wisely, have strengths to support you, are good at and love what you are planning to perform daily, and that all of these correspond perfectly with your goals. Play to your strengths, but do not limit yourself– learn what you need to, to become successful.

What Game are You Playing?

The next step in pursuing your side hustle is to determine what game are you playing?

This is the point in your process that requires a number of sit-down hours for brainstorming. Time is expected and needed. Take the moment to create your central idea (an online tax firm, a unique clothing boutique, a personal training business, etc.). And then, start branching out.

So, beginning with your central idea. What are you good at? What are your strengths? What are you passionate about?

On the off chance that determining your strengths or central idea is difficult, think about the things that you do, or wish you did, daily. Think about your family and friends—are they complimenting you on a talent often? Do they seek your advice in a specific area often? Are you counted on for being knowledgeable about a certain topic?

If you don’t need to answer 1,000 questions to move on, then congratulations, you have your central idea!

Branching out? Yes. Grab a piece of paper and begin with a circle labeled “side hustle,” in the middle. Each line that you draw to a new brainstormed circle, will be a new way to expand, make better, or draw attention to, your business.

Start customer-to-customer.

The FIRST one validates the fact that YOU have just created and successfully begun your own side hustle. Feel accomplished, but not too confident. Feel confident, but not too carefree. Feel proud, but do not lose your drive and motivation in this game.

One person has just made all the difference. You have launched. But where does he or she come from? And how do you get more?

Starting customer-to-customer doesn’t usually mean Joe Blo from down the street. Generally speaking, entrepreneurs will start with whom they know and trust, and whom they know needs the service or product you are able to offer them. A friend or family member. An old business friend or co-worker.

Whoever it may be, start small. You are building a foundation. Receiving more clients is a number-one indicator that you have a foundation and reputation building. Expect and encourage that your first customers will always be a big help in reeling in customers two, three, four, five, and so on.

What makes you different?

You MUST be able to answer this question. What are your unique marks? Why will customers remember you, remain loyal, or spread the word? Why will customers choose YOU over the next guy?

To determine what makes you different, follow these few steps:

  1. Research your competitors. Know how they operate, what makes them tick, how they remain successful, their way of communication toward customers, their social media impact, etc.
  2. Know your customer base like the back of your hand. You should know their every want (in relation to your product or service), what they do daily, how their lives show a need for your business, how they operate, what makes them happy, etc.
  3. By step 3, you should have narrowed down your difference in assets and in business. So now, YOU know, but your target audience doesn’t. Find out the best ways to make your customers aware of your uniqueness—what can you offer, give, recommend, provide, etc. that your competition can’t, doesn’t, or wont. And then, tell the world.

Lastly, always: learn and experience often, set milestones, and never stop believing.

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