Have you been daydreaming of turning your pixie genius, your hobby, passion, or whatever your pixie soul wants to call your magic, into a full-time business?
Or you've just started your on-the-side gig and have a little bit of trouble figuring out what to do to make it work?
Women all over the world are putting their gifts, their true magic, to work and making a difference in the process, so it’s only natural for you to be inspired to join this global girl party.
Usually, I’m “jump all in” kind of girl, when it comes to business decisions. However, we live in a world where not everyone can afford to stop having an income for an year so she can start a brand new business. And this is why I’m a huge fan of side hustles in all shapes and sizes.
Why you should start your side hustle now
You probably don’t need me to tell you why you should start your micro business — if you’re reading this, you’re probably with one hand on the “register my Etsy shop” button. But in case you need extra convincing, here are three reasons you need to start a side hustle business:
1. You can finance your hobby
Every woman needs a creative output of some sort. We are build to create and make things and bring things to life.
“But why not a hobby?” you might ask.
Well, a hobby is usually just for you. Sitting at home, listening to Mumford and Sons (and the rain outside) and embroidering tiny violet flowers on a grey linen tablecloth. That’s the pure utter joy of the act of creation.
But what do you do with the finished work? There that much room in your tiny apartment and constantly giving them as gifts to your mom and your best friend is getting a bit old. This is the point where you can morph your hobby into a micro business. You might be able to finance it and dream up more magical projects to do on those rainy Sunday afternoons.
2. You can find and create a community around your magic.
You can create a community around your hobby and it will be a good one I'm certain of it.
But imagine the joy of the people who get to wear and use the work you've created with so much love. Beading malas while your baby sleeps next to you might be a great way to relax but imagine sending that energy to a gal who’d cherish it and take it to new adventures. This type of connection is something that just showing pretty pictures of your creations on Instagram will never be able to achieve.
3. Start your full time business super small.
And I’m talking micro small.
When I started my business I was a boho-gypset girl - I just spent almost 10 years of my life living and traveling alone. I didn’t have a home of my own, I moved back with my parents and lived off my savings for a year until my business took off. I couldn’t afford to start small. But if I’m to start again right now, I’d go the side hustle way route.
Start learning and building your tiny online empire one little step at a time while having the security of your job. And then one day, long before you're ready but when you feel it’s time, you'll turn it into a full time business that reflects your values perfectly and makes the world a better place.
And all this can start with you and these tiny few steps this weekend.
How to start your side hustle business
How you start your side hustle business will depend greatly on what industry you are starting in and on your personal skills and experience so far. You might be able to do it with as little as your laptop and imagination if you want to start a writing or copywriting business. Or you might need to organize materials, purchase tools, and even sign up for some courses if you want to do sewing projects or organic home made soaps for example.
So, not everything I'm talking about in this article will apply to your idea, but generally you'll need to go through seven basic steps:
1. REGISTER IN YOUR COUNTRY
This process is vastly different for each country, so before you open that Etsy shop and make your first sell, you should do a little research. You can ask Google and then your local authorities (in the UK that would be HMRC) and even an accountant if you cannot figure things out on your own.
Then, just to have the human perspective, you could ask friends and family who are running their businesses and people from your online community you know live and work in your country.
It’s not the most pleasant task, I know, but it’s the most important one. To be super safe and for everything to be legal, make sure you’ve done your research and you're not breaking any laws in your country.
And remember: simply asking your friends isn’t enough. Laws change and besides your friends aren’t responsible to know how it works. Your business is your responsibility. You need to ask the institutions in charge of business registrations in your country. Usually it’s not that hard to register a business, it’s just a bit of a hustle.
Once you know how to register, do what's required of you — make an appointment, register online, apply, or whatever else needs to be done — and move on. The hardest part is over, now let's get creative!
2. DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO SELL AND WHERE
You make beautiful malas AND embroider stunning tablecloths with equal zest and joy. Should you sell both types of products or just the one. Well, it’s going to be tough, but you’ll have to decide, which one to choose. It's not a good idea to sell very different products types in one shop. And opening two shops right away is even a worse idea. It’s much better to start with one thing and here’s how:
Here are a couple of questions to help you choose:
How does the market look like? Look around Etsy or the platform you’ve chosen for your shop. Is everybody selling the same thing? Nobody? The best possible place to be on the market is where you see that people are asking for something, but there are not enough people providing it in the exceptional quality you're offering.
How long does it take to make it? If you can make one embroidered tablecloth a month (which is probably very optimistic, I know), they should be priced pretty high to cover your cost and keep your shop stocked. So it might be a good idea to have smaller and faster to make items in the shop, too (like, say, wedding handkerchief for the bride and groom, embroidered pin cushions, etc.). In the beginning, it might be difficult to sell only large items that take months to create, so pick something that you can make within a reasonable time frame.
Will I enjoy making it for somebody other than myself? I love making my own jewelry. Especially earrings. And I’m pretty good at it, people often ask me why I don’t sell them. And my answer is always the same “I love having unique earrings nobody else could possibly have.” And when that’s absolutely true, the more important reason is that I wouldn’t enjoy creating jewelry for somebody else other than myself (and maybe a friend or a family member who enjoys my quirky style). You see, I weave magic into those threads, I whisper words of blessings only I know and put tiny bits of my soul into those beads that are meant to stay with me. However, if your soul yearns to be shared, to bring joy to others and spread your magic, you’ve found what you want to offer to the world.
As to where to sell, Etsy would be my first choice for everything craft related. It’s overcrowded and full of non-handmade stuff, but it remains the place where everybody goes to find that special pair of mittens or the perfect bullet journal stickers.
If you’re selling digital products, such as fonts and watercolor clip art, Creative Market will be also a very good choice.
If you want to teach your skills there is no place like Skillshare to do it.
In general, do your research and figure out where you can find the types of products or services that you want to sell. The people looking for those are probably already there so it's a good idea to open your first shop there.
3. TELL YOUR STORY
This part is important so you can breathe personality into your tiny business and set yourself apart from everybody else. Tell the story of why you love doing your craft. Here are a couple of questions to help you along the way:
How did you start? (doing yoga / beading malas / embroidering / etc.)
Why does it make you happy?
Why are you sharing it with the world?
How can it make the world a better place?
What is the one positive change you want to make in the life of your customers? (feel more confident / relieve stress / have a more hugge home / etc.?
You don’t need much to start your business. A logo, a few colors and a couple of pictures of your products or of yourself, if you’re offering services, will do. Here’s a closer look of what you’ll need:
Your logo could be as simple as your name or the name of your shop in a beautiful font. It’s not about getting it perfect the first time, it’s about starting and growing along the way. I’ve created branding kits you can use to start small and grow as you go:
Your colors should be around six and arranged in a color palette. Use Pinterest for inspiration.
Your photos can be shot by you or you can use stock photos. There are amazing free images on Unsplash to suit almost any industry and aesthetic.
5. WEB DESIGN
This step is kind of optional at first. You can start with your shop and an Instagram account or a Facebook page. But it's a good idea to start building your online home as soon as you can. At the very least, the moment you’ve chosen your business name, you should buy the domain and make sure you reserve it everywhere (social media included).
You don't need a huge website in the beginning — one beautiful page telling your visitors who you are, what you can do for them and linking them to your shop will be enough.
6. WAYs TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
You need to find a way to communicate with your people when you have a new offering. A newsletter is a great way to do that so you can create your Mail Chimp account and start gathering emails and names right away.
However, if you are new to all this and you need time to figure out how this whole email marketing thing works, you can use any social media platform where your people hang out. Email might be best but Instagram (or Facebook) is better if you already know how to use it.
7. MAP OUT YOUR FUTURE GOALS
Time to dream big! So you’ve might have started this side hustle business teeeny tiny small, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Put on you crystal tiara and write down where you want your baby business to be in one year from now. Then write what needs to be done to make this happen. And then schedule everything in your calendar. That process is a topic for a whole other article, so let's leave it at that for now.
It's time to go rule the world - you’re a business owner now. Congratulations!
Do you have a side hustle business?
If yes, I’d love to know what is it (gimme links and all in the comments below) and I’d love to know how it all started. And if not, but you want to, what’s stopping you from starting it? Lemme know!