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Top 5 Secrets of Successful Side-Hustlers

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Hi Girls! Today’s guest post on the Top 5 Secrets of Successful Side-Hustlers is by Kimberly Palmer, author of the new book, “The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life.” Enjoy!

Top 5 Secrets of Successful Side-Hustlers

Going into business for yourself, especially on top of a full-time job (at home or in an office) offers a lot of benefits: The creativity and flexibility to build an entrepreneurial venture, extra cash, and the deep sense of satisfaction that comes from creating something that is useful to other people.

But it’s not easy, especially when it’s time to move from big idea to actually generating sales. To give yourself the best chance of success, and the option of eventually quitting your day job if you want, consider following these five secrets of successful side-giggers. They’re based on my interviews with over 100 different micro-business owners who work in fields as diverse as floral arranging and career coaching.

1. Zero in on your biggest motivating factor.

People often launch businesses after a life-changing experience inspires them to make a change. For television reporter Tory Johnson, it was a pink slip that made her promise herself never to depend on just one paycheck again. For business coach Tara Gentile, it was becoming a mother.
For me, it was the combination of watching friends get laid off and having my first baby. I knew I couldn’t afford to be financially vulnerable anymore.

Whatever your motivating factor is, identify it and focus on it whenever things get rough, because they will. There will be days where it seems like you have to send 10 emails before getting a single response, or that you have to spend hours making one sale. If you focus on your reasons for going into business in the first place, it can help you power through the challenging moments.

2. Pick a side-hustle that overlaps with your day job

(or at least doesn’t conflict with it).

To save your own sanity (and avoid running into a conflict with your boss), think about launching a side-business that takes advantage of the skills and resources you’ve build up from your primary job. One deli worker started designing custom cakes on the side, which helped meet growing demand from his deli’s customer base. A consultant with an office job took up yoga teaching, and offered classes to her coworkers, too. As long as your supervisor can see how your side-business helps out – or at least doesn’t subtract from – your primary job, then it will be easier to allow the two to exist side by side.

3. Keep your costs low.

You don’t need an expensive website, or a marketing budget, before you’ve lodged your first sale. In fact, starting on a shoestring budget – or none at all – can force you to get creative about keeping costs low. Can you use existing e-commerce platforms, such as Fiverr (for services) or Etsy (for handmade products), instead of building your own website? Can you launch social media accounts using free tools (like HootSuite) to get word out about your new business?

4. Find an online support network.

Everyone needs friends, to serve as inspiration, for support, and for free publicity. Connect with fellow entrepreneurs online so you can trade ideas and maybe even snag some free coverage. Make sure you give as much as you get, though, by offering lessons from your own experiences and being generous with your own blog comments and Tweets.

If you are on a popular e-commerce platform, be sure to take advantage of the forums. On Etsy, for example, sellers gather to discuss problems ranging from how to take the best photos to whether or not to offer free giveaways on blogs. Joining up with people facing similar questions to yourself is another way of tapping into existing support networks.

5. Don’t let small hiccups stop you.

Everyone fails at some point. The ones who succeed are the ones who keep going. In addition to always returning to your main motivator, make sure you have a go-to pick-me-up strategy for your bad days. Maybe it’s a latte, or a playdate, or a long phone call – but you need something to get your endorphins flowing again. Then, you can bounce back quickly.

Kimberly Palmer is the author of the new book, “The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life,” and senior money editor for U.S. News & World Report, where she writes the popular Alpha Consumer blog. In addition, she is the creator of Palmer’s Planners, her own line of digital financial guides and money organizers for major life events and goals. You can connect with her at bykimberlypalmer.com.

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