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Career Circle: Side Hustle

The Career Circle Blog Series focuses on developing your HR Career Strategy through Career Search, Company Integration, Company Advancement and Independence.

IndependenceStarting a business can be an intimidating endeavor, and it may seem out of reach both in the present and in the future. There are undoubtedly risks, challenges, and an immense amount of hard work involved in building a successful business. However, embarking on this journey allows you to pursue your passions, attain independence, and potentially achieve financial prosperity. Additionally, starting a business offers personal growth, flexibility, and the chance to make a positive impact on both individuals and society as a whole. One effective way to test the waters and determine if entrepreneurship is right for you is by engaging in a side hustle.

My first venture into the world of side hustles was event planning, which I decided to brand as Acclaim Event Planning. The name "Acclaim" was chosen strategically as it would place my business at the forefront of the phone book's section, providing easy visibility and promotion. I worked on a diverse range of events, from fundraisers to family reunions, and it was a fulfilling experience to not only earn additional income but also engage my creative abilities. Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, I couldn't sustain this endeavor for long. Nevertheless, it provided me with a glimpse of the satisfaction and autonomy that comes with being your own boss.

When considering a side hustle, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of success. Here are some general steps to help you get started:

Identify your passion and skills: Think about your interests, hobbies, and skills that you can leverage to start a side business. Consider what you enjoy doing and what you're good at. This will help you choose a side hustle that aligns with your strengths and passions.

Remember, before starting any side hustle, it's important to consider any legal and ethical considerations, such as potential conflicts of interest with your current employer and ensuring you have the necessary expertise and qualifications to provide the services you offer.

Research the market: Once you have an idea, research the market to assess its viability. Look for competitors, target audience, and potential demand for your product or service. Identify any gaps or opportunities that you can tap into.

Define your target audience: Determine who your ideal customers or clients are. Understand their needs, preferences, and pain points. This will help you tailor your product or service to meet their specific requirements and improve your chances of success.

Develop a business plan: Create a roadmap for your side hustle by developing a business plan. Outline your goals, strategies, target market, pricing, marketing plans, and financial projections. A well-structured business plan will guide you throughout the process and serve as a reference point.

Remember, your business plan doesn't have to be perfect, but it will help you understand what you need to do to make your side hustle successful.

Set clear goals: Establish both short-term and long-term goals for your side hustle. These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Setting goals will help you stay focused and motivated as you work towards building your business.

Determine your financial resources: Consider the financial resources you have available to invest in your side hustle. Determine your budget for things like product development, marketing, equipment, and any other expenses. It's essential to have a clear understanding of your financial situation and plan accordingly.

Create a legal structure: Decide on the legal structure for your side hustle. You may choose to operate as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. Consult with a legal professional or accountant to understand the legal and tax implications of each structure and choose the one that suits your needs.

When I started my event planning business, I operated as a sole proprietorship. When I ventured into my current businesses, I decided to establish limited liability companies (LLCs) for all of my businesses. Operating as an LLC provides me with certain legal and financial protections, as well as flexibility in managing and growing my ventures.

Register your business: Depending on your location and legal structure, you may need to register your side hustle with the appropriate government authorities. Obtain any necessary licenses or permits required to operate legally.

Registering a business with the state typically involves a cost of approximately $100. However, it's important to note that registration fees may vary depending on the state and the type of business entity you're establishing. It's recommended to check the specific requirements and fees in your state.

On the other hand, obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the federal government is free of charge. An EIN is a unique identification number used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify businesses for tax purposes. You can apply for an EIN online through the IRS website, and the process is straightforward and free of cost.

Remember to stay informed about any updates or changes in registration fees and procedures, as they may vary over time and in different jurisdictions. It's always best to consult with a legal professional or seek advice from the relevant government authorities to ensure compliance with the registration and tax requirements for your specific business.

Set up your operations: Establish the necessary infrastructure for your side hustle. This may include setting up a website, creating social media profiles, opening a separate bank account, and organizing your workspace or inventory. Consider the tools and systems you'll need to effectively run your business.

Start marketing and selling: Develop a marketing strategy to promote your side hustle. Leverage digital platforms, social media, content marketing, and networking to reach your target audience. Begin selling your product or service and refine your marketing efforts based on customer feedback and market response.

Referrals can be a powerful way to kickstart your side hustle. Don't hesitate to share your venture with your family, friends, and peers, as they can provide valuable support and connections. Your network can be an excellent source of potential clients or customers. Remember, starting a side hustle requires time, effort, and dedication. It's essential to maintain a balance between your regular job and your side business while managing your energy and resources effectively.

If you decide to transition from a side hustle to full-time business owner, there are two primary options to consider: solopreneur and entrepreneur. The upcoming chapters will delve deeper into these options, providing more detailed information and guidance to help you make an informed decision about your entrepreneurial journey.