Supplementing Income with a Side Hustle

Reffering back to my post about budgeting, I mentioned that income from a job is pretty much fixed. As long as you show up to work and don’t get fired, you will be making money off the time you traded for a paycheck.

Expenses can be cut but only so far. Some expenses are of things that you need and can’t avoid. What can one do? Get a second job? Kind of.

Side hustle, or side gig is what some people would consider a second job and in many ways it is. I started a side hustle a few months ago and it definitely feels like another job… BUT

This other job is a job that has a lot of freedom with it.

In the past, I haven’t always seen eye to eye with my superiors at my jobs. I never liked working for someone else and even in my current job, I still don’t like it. But thats where the beauty of the side hustle comes in. Instead of finding a job that you qualify for and pass the interview and then get a schedule that doesn’t work with you, you make your own job!

I’ve always enjoyed working on cars. I got good and it and one day, I was changing the oil in my car and my girlfriend came out to see how I was doing and was surprised and how fast I did it. She told me I should do oil changes for other people. So I started doing that.

I started a side hustle doing something I already know how to do and now I can get paid for it. Sure it’s not covering the mortgage, but the fact that I can make money outside of my job is a great feeling to me since I was raised to believe I should go to school, get good grades, get a good job and work that job until I die. Being my own boss is invigorating. I get to call all the shots and no one else can get in my way. Sure, the customer is a boss in a way but most people are very gratified with the work that I did and don’t treat me like some of my previous bosses have.

What I wanted to touch on was how easy it was to start.

I chose my hustle based on my strengths and what I had at the time. This will not work for everyone else.

I had knowledge of cars, years of accumulated tools and a desire to be my own boss. The first 2 things not everyone has. I posted an ad on craigslist services section and got my first customer. I don’t know anything about marketing, pricing or SEO optimization. With some work in those areas, I have no doubt I could increase my business but the point is I got work just by posting a $5 ad on craigslist offering up something I already knew how to do for money. A business was started right there and then. No storefront, no inventory, no marketing team, no business plan nothing. Just me, my knowledge and hard work to make my customer happy.

My tips to someone thinking of starting a side hustle,

Focus on your strengths

What are you good at? Writing? Picking up heavy things? Talking to people?

For me it was mechanical work but for you it might be baking for instance. Find your strength and use that brain of yours to figure out a way to use it to make money. Maybe you have an idea for a service that will change the way things are done in your town. That’s the beauty of side hustles – there is no limits to what you can do.

You’re going to make mistakes. Identify them and learn from them

An example I have of a mistake I learned was scheduling. My original idea was to let the customer tell me when would be a good time for me to do the work in their car. Instead, I found much more success coming up with a schedule of times I could work. So I told the customer what days I would be able to work.

May not seem like much and some may even think it’s stupid but the reality is, that’s what mistakes look like. Identifying mistakes and learning from them is important. Sometimes, identifying the mistake is the hard part. It was for me and still is. I know my way around a car, but I have no clue how to operate a business and I’m learning as I go.

Work on customer acquisition

This is a big one. Let’s say you got a few customers for your hustle and they are repeat customers. All is good and dandy but those are your only customers. Focusing on customer service over customer acquisition is a big no-no.

Putting efforts on acquiring customers rather then efforts on customer service is a key to success in any business. Customers are the reason the business is alive to begin with. So work on ways to to get more customers. Don’t get me wrong, customer service is very important but what good is treating one customer like royalty when they are your only customer? Quantity over quality.

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