Call it moonlighting, gigging, or picking up a side hustle…taking on work outside of your traditional 9-to-5 is more popular than ever. According to a recent survey, 51 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 37 occasionally moonlight, and 38 percent make money from side hustles at least once a month.
Moonlighting’s mission is to help kickstart your freelancing journey and empower you to succeed in the gig economy. So whether you’re looking for ways to boost your bank account, reach a financial goal, eventually become your own boss, or simply explore a passion outside your day job, we know there’s never been a better time to start your own business!
And while no one’s path to figuring out his or her side hustle is the same, these tips can help set you up for side hustle success. Here’s how…
1. Brainstorm ideas
What do you love? If your day job isn’t focused on your passions, look at what you love to do outside of work. Your passion for dogs, the outdoors, cooking, or even socializing could translate into extra income.
What are you great at? In today’s hyper competitive market, it’s unlikely that you’ll stumble into success by just being “good”. You are far more likely to succeed in your side hustle by embracing the core skills and expertise you’ve spent a lifetime developing than by trying to learn as you go.
What are other people already doing to make money? There’s no point in starting a side business if it’s not going to be profitable – it has to make money. So make sure there is a market for it. People often mistakenly think that because a niche is already competitive that it’s too saturated, but that just means there’s opportunity for money to be made in that space.
2. Decide which idea to pursue
How flexible and scalable is your idea? Certain side work will demand steady commitment and regular hours while others allow you to scale your hours up and down. Both options can be useful for managing your debt or boosting your savings, the latter can potentially afford a better work-life balance. Keep in mind that if you take on a gig that’s too rigid and doesn’t allow you to take breaks, you might get burned out.
What is your earning potential? Some gigs pay just $10 an hour, while others can pay more than $100 an hour. Pay rates will vary based on expertise, dedication, and demand. Decide what your time is worth and how much stress you’re willing to take on. Then, limit your search to jobs that pay accordingly.
Does it fit your schedule? Some side hustles will allow you to work early mornings, late nights, and weekends. Others require more of a commitment. Think about when you will have free time on a regular basis. If you can only work weekends, focus on gigs that offer more flexibility.
3. Plan, focus, commit
Plan out weekly and monthly goals for the first six months of your side hustle. Start at the end and work your way backwards. If your end goal is to be making an extra $500/month from your side hustle in six months, then set a one-month goal, two-month goal (and so on) to meet specific income and growth targets. This plan for measuring success will help determine the direction to go in and keep you on track as you go.
Once you have decided on your side hustle, you’ll need to commit. This means being disciplined to allocating your time and other resources to working on your side hustle every day. Even if it’s just 30 minutes to 1 hour, do it every day. Stick to your plan and review it daily, going over your goals and plans so you don’t get distracted.
4. Launch and promote
It’s time to let the world know you’re open for business, so you’ll need a place where you can be discovered and point potential clients towards learning more about you. Create a website, get on social media, and capitalize on freelance marketplaces like Moonlighting, where people are already searching for help with projects and gigs.
Reach out to your personal and social networks and don’t be afraid to ask them to help share your new business with their networks and ask for referrals. Now that you are the boss you get to play all of the roles in your business, including marketing and business development. It’s now up to you to find and land those gigs.
5. Invest in growing
Once you start your side hustle, you’ll have to invest some money to grow it. You’re already investing your time, but investing money into marketing, education, and outsourcing is also part of growing your business.
In your early days, pursue free or inexpensive marketing opportunities. But as you find success you’ll likely need to change tactics when you’re ready to scale. What gets you earning $100/month won’t necessarily get you to $1,000/month. Continue to be flexible and innovative with your marketing and promotions, and know when it’s time to hire professionals to support your growth.
Moonlighting can not only pad your income, but create career-changing opportunities that you wouldn’t have normally stumbled upon at your full-time job. Are you ready to start your own freelance business or try out a few side gigs to get the feel of freelancing?
No matter what path you choose, kickstart your side hustle by joining the amazing community of freelancers, entrepreneurs, and gig workers on Moonlighting. Sign up or download the app today – Free!
This article was originally featured by USA Today.