Today I’m sharing with you my side-hustle tips for busy people!
If you’re starting a business on the side of a day job or other responsibilities, or if you have limited time to invest in growing your online business, I think you’re going to find this one super helpful.
Here for the links referenced in the show notes?
Side-Hustle Success free training: tashcorbin.com/growthseries
Let’s dive on in…
There are lots of reasons why people choose to create an online business on the side of something else or in a very tight boundaried time.
It could be:
- The rising cost of living so they need extra income on the side
- Wanting to start a business when they’ve started a family
- Having other obligations
- Wanting to create financial security without diving straight into the deep end of starting a business with no other income
It is a very appealing way to start a business because it means that, in most cases, you still have another income source.
That can be really important, particularly for women and non-binary folk, because of the need to ensure the security of living arrangements for family or being able to keep a roof over your head.
We’ve seen a huge influx of people starting what is affectionately referred to as a “side hustle”.
Even if it’s not on the side of a job, this podcast episode is about creating business growth in a very limited time. Whether it’s on the side of a job, or you simply need to keep your business in a very limited timeframe, then I think you’ll find these side-hustle tips and strategies really helpful.
Let’s dive into my five top side-hustle tips…
1. Get clear on the high-return actions in your business
Especially with deciding on the model of business that you’re going to use for your side hustle. For example, selling a high-ticket offer, selling physical products or selling digital products.
There are lots of different models. Some of them require more of your time than others per dollar that you earn.
Some of the actions that you complete in your business have a high likelihood of return (high-return actions), and others are just keeping you busy…
They’re not actually creating the kind of growth that you may need in order to see a good financial return on the time that you’re putting into your business.
When it comes to creating a side hustle or growing a business in a limited time, more than ever, you’re going to need to be very discerning about what you choose to put your time into.
Whilst it might be great advice to spend hours and hours creating lots of free content for someone who’s starting a business full-time, if you’re starting a side hustle, then the models of business that require hours and hours of content creation may not be the right fit for you.
That’s the first of my side-hustle tips… Be discerning about which activities you’re going to undertake, and learn to interpret, understand and measure the return on the activities that you do so that you can refine what you’re investing time into to ensure that it’s high-return activities.
2. Audience does not equal income
Sure, in the age of influencers and being paid for access to your audience, it can be very easy to believe that the best way to grow income is to grow your audience.
However, that is actually one of the slowest business models to bring to fruition compared to other options.
We always get rolled out the ‘exception’ cases rather than the rule.
For every one influencer who went to 20,000 followers in five months, there are thousands more who are still only under 100-1000 followers on Instagram.
The people that we have the most visibility of are the ones who grew an audience really quickly and have been able to monetise that audience really quickly. But remember: they are the exception, not the rule.
There are other models of business and audience growth that have far higher chance of success and likeliness of creating profit and income quickly. You don’t always have to follow the models of the most visible side-hustlers.
When it comes to building a side-hustle and deciding on your model and the way that you grow your audience, it’s very easy for us to believe that the ones that we see the most are the most successful. But I have personally worked with many people who created very low time-cost businesses and have very tiny audiences, yet are making thousands and thousands of dollars a week. This is because they’ve chosen a high-return model.
They’re not chasing audience… they’re chasing income.
Those two things aren’t as linked as we assume they are.
That’s the second of my side-hustle tips… remember that audience does not necessarily equal income, and that not all audiences are created equal.
3. Pay attention to your mindset
It can be easy to have the mindset that you’ve got it harder because you’ve got less time.
The third of my side-hustle tips is to pay attention to your mindset about being a side-hustler or having limited time. It’s actually a choice of interpretation, and some of the most successful online business owners that I’ve worked with in startup, have been the ones who’ve had limited time. This is because they’ve been very savvy with their use of time, they’ve been very savvy about how they structure their day, and what activities they put their time into.
They’ve been far more successful, far more quickly.
You can actually turn that belief around and realise that having these strict time boundaries can actually be an advantage when you have the right strategy and you use that to your advantage as much as possible.
Yes, if you’re going to be faffing around doing all the things that every guru on the internet has told you to do, then you will find it difficult to achieve the same results as that guru (who may have put 60-hour workweeks in when they first started their business!).
Whereas if you see your boundaried time as an advantage – particularly because it’s going to make you more discerning about what strategies you use and what strategies you don’t – then you may just find that you create a very efficient and lean business. That’s a good thing!
When I created my business, I quit my job, started working in my business full time and relied on my partner’s income only.
But when I look at what I did – especially in the first four to five months of my business – 90% of it was unnecessary. I only did it because I had the time to sit there and do it.
What I realised quite quickly when I first started my business was that I defaulted to 60-hour workweeks, because that was the mindset I had of what was required.
I followed a lot of influencers and content creators who had those inspirational quotes saying, “Work hard now so you don’t have to later”.
I followed a lot of people who glorified being busy, getting up early and working hard.
A few months into my business, I had an awakening when I realised that one of the core reasons why I started my online business was to stop working 60-hour workweeks.
The only person who could decide how long my workweek was… was me!
At about the four-month mark in my business, I was down to 30-hour workweeks. That felt really good to me.
That boundary forced me to be discerning about what tasks I was doing in my business. It also allowed me to give tasks to my assistant far more effectively.
I hired an assistant very early on in my business for a few hours a week because I wanted to practice delegating to someone. But I wasn’t giving them anything of substance to do in my business. I was lumping everything on myself.
When I started to create those boundaries around how much time I would give to the business, it meant that there were things I couldn’t do in that time.
It forced me to give more meaningful tasks to my assistant, which meant I was still paying them the exact same amount, but I was getting far more return on investment. (I was spending under $100 a month on my assistant when I first started, so it was a very small investment.)
The reason that I hired so early was because I knew that I wanted to have a team when I started my business, so I started out as I meant to go on.
That brings me to the fourth of my side-hustle tips…
4. Hire sooner rather than later
This is relevant to many online businesses, but it’s especially relevant to those that are starting a side hustle and have limited time.
Sure, you’re starting a business to make extra money, but when you hire sooner rather than later in your business, you actually increase income.
If you see that hire as creating more leverage in your income, then hopefully that will help overcome some of that resistance.
I 100% recommend hiring someone for your business. It could just be a virtual assistant for five hours a week.
It can be as small in terms of their time as you like.
What this does is it allows you to start thinking like a CEO, operating like a CEO, and it gets you discerning around what is a good use of your time, and what someone else could be doing.
With things like Upwork, Fiverr and all those other platforms where you have direct access to hire really amazing assistants at a very reasonable rate, I think that there’s no excuse for continuing to bootstrap it on your own – especially when your time is limited.
If you’ve got lots of time and there are not enough tasks to fill that time, then sure, go ahead and continue doing everything yourself. But when we have so much accessibility to cost-effectively work with people overseas, I recommend hiring sooner rather than later.
Before anyone comes at me about making use of cheap labour from overseas, I ALWAYS ensure that when I hire people from overseas, I am paying them far more than the average living wage in their country, especially when it comes to hourly rates.
Some of my best and longest-standing team members have been overseas hires. And because of the work that they do for me, they have been able to allow their partner to stop working, they have been able to buy a home that wouldn’t be available to them if they didn’t work for someone overseas, and they have been able to support children.
I have a team member whose adopted children. All of those things were created because of the wage that I paid that person.
I’m not someone who exploits people from overseas, I pay really well.
But that doesn’t mean I’m paying $55-$65 USD an hour for someone to schedule posts on social media.
I totally understand the desire to ensure that you’re not taking advantage of people from lower-income areas of the world, or areas where cheap labour is exploited.
But I once hired an assistant who had previously worked in a sewing factory 12 hours a day, six days a week, and she earned three times as much working for me 10 hours a week in a virtual assistant role than at that factory. She ended up getting three more clients because of my recommendation of her. She was able to buy a house and free herself from what was exploitative labour in her own home country.
I highly recommend that you check out some of those options to hire people through Upwork, Fiverr, or any of those platforms.
I prefer direct access rather than through an agency.
However, there are some cases in which working through an agency is a better model.
The thing I don’t like about the agency model is that there is no openness about how much the actual person is being paid. I wanted to have that visibility of how much they were being paid.
I can attribute a lot of my business growth to the fact that I had team members.
The more money that you make in your business, the more you can share those financial wins.
One of my favourite things to do with my team is to give them a pay rise or pay them a bonus. I get to do that because of the team and the role that they play in my business growth.
That’s the fourth of my juicy side-hustle tips… hire sooner rather than later.
5. Be careful who you learn from
Whilst there are a lot of coaches, mentors, gurus, marketing experts and influencers out there who will promise to teach you how to start your business and how to grow your business as a side hustle, a lot of the time, the strategies that they’re teaching require 30 to 40 hours a week of your time and energy in order to implement them.
We’ve had a lot of conversations in the Heart-Centred Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs group and in my programs about some of the advice and role modelling that happens online from influencers and people who say they have side hustles.
Often these people will share their day’s agenda and you can see that they’re working their full-time job and then doing 10 hours of extra work a day (therefore getting very little sleep and having no life outside of their job and side hustle).
Or they say that they’re running their business in limited hours, but when you look at the reality of the load of content that they’ve created, the amount of time that they’re physically online and present with their audience, and the schedules that they talk about for their day, you can see that they are still putting 40-50 hour workweeks in, even though they’re claiming that it’s part-time.
Be discerning about who you’re taking advice from.
A lot of the time, ‘gurus’ in a side-hustle or content marketing model, built their audience back when it was easier to get an audience’s attention.
I once went to a conference where the speakers were talking about having very profitable blogs and creating amazing audiences, but they all shared very openly about when they first started. Often it was five to ten years of blogging consistently several times a week before they ever got to the point where they were making a living wage from that content.
Similarly, we see nowadays that there’s far more competition in the content space.
A lot of those models of business require 10,000+ audiences (sometimes even 100,000+ audiences!), in order for you to have some monetisation and profitability.
The people who got there five or six years ago didn’t have as much competition as there is now. This means their strategies just aren’t as effective anymore.
I still have under 10,000 followers on my Facebook, and under 5000 followers on my Instagram. Yet I am a multi-six-figure business owner! I’m not relying on giant audience numbers in order to be able to monetise.
There are a lot of different models that are available to you, especially when it comes to side-hustle and time-limited businesses.
Some will be more profitable than others, and some require far bigger audiences than others.
Be mindful of who you’re taking advice from.
If their model of monetisation requires tens of thousands of followers and they don’t have really clear and effective strategies that work now to grow significant audiences, then how on earth are they going to teach you how to do that for your own business?
Please don’t come at me and tell me that Instagram reels are a way of doing that very quickly and that it’s totally easy because it’s not as easy as they make it out to be.
I understand that reels and TikTok are high-reach strategies for business. But I still see that the person who uses that strategy to create an audience and make lots of sales for their business, is still the exception, not the rule.
There are some other models that have a higher chance of success, and they don’t rely on the perfect Bermuda Triangle of opportunity, luck and going viral due to some random person sharing it. Instead, you have far more chance of success using strategies that you actually have control of, and not waiting for someone to pick you, or waiting for a random audience to take it off and go viral.
Even with clients of mine who have had content go viral, that viral content has not contributed as much to the bottom line of their business as other much smaller audience, high-conversion strategies have.
That is the last of my side-hustle tips! Be careful who you learn from.
I hope you’ve found this episode super helpful. They are my top five side-hustle tips for anyone who’s working in a very limited time to grow their business.
If you are someone who’s wanting to grow a business on the side of something, I have a really cool freebie for you today…
It’s my upcoming workshop: Side-Hustle Success
You can register for this live workshop here: tashcorbin.com/growthseries
Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast as I shared my top side-hustle tips.
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.