Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Side Hustle
The roller coaster of entrepreneurism is a fast-moving yet thrilling one. I’ve never felt such proud highs as I’ve completed beautiful design projects or deep lows as I’ve let a client down or ended a partnership. That being said, I fully believe that life is meant to be lived, and the countless blessings and joy I’ve felt from pursuing this creative side business leaves me confident that I made the right choice to start this side hustle, without a doubt.
When you decide to pursue a side hustle, there are several things you need to be sure of before you get started. Of course, you primarily need to make sure that you have an actual passion for the products or services that you’ll be offering. If you’re a mother, like me, or if you have some other full-time gig, you know just as well as I do the detrimental effects of wasting time and money in less valuable places in this season of life when those resources are so important.
Today, I’ve put together three key questions I want you to answer for yourself before you dive headlong into your desired side hustle. Hopefully by being truthful with yourself about the answers, you’ll get a better idea of whether something like this is worth you time or efforts, before you waste any precious time or money.
#1 | Does this decision fit with my priorities for my family and our schedule?
Before you start throwing time and money at a side hustle, consider what time you even have to give. About a year ago, my husband and I sat down to have one of the most important conversations of our marriage, where we outlined the ways we’d prefer to spend our time, in descending order, if we had complete control of our lives and how we spend them. Both of us listed Family Time as of the utmost importance, but we also learned how each of us ranks other areas of time, like pursuing a career and taking care of the kids. We were surprised to learn that I ranked working higher than childcare, and he did just the opposite.
This discovery led to our decision to invest in a nanny twice a week, and eventually a daycare/preschool so that our boys would get the care and attention they needed while I pursued this creative side hustle. Josh even takes the boys out for dinner to McDonald’s once a week so that he can spend that quality time with them and I can get even more work done.
Learning what your priorities are for your time will help you and your husband better understand what resources (both time and money) to throw at this side hustle and when.
#2 | Does this side hustle align with my vision for my future and personal growth goals?
It took me about a year of pursuing this creative side hustle for me to stop feeling guilty about wanting this and about not feeling satisfied as a stay-at-home mom with two wonderful, beautiful boys whom I love. I ultimately reached a point where I realized that my life was MINE, and I had every right to pursue something I was so passionate about, as long as it aligned with my family’s plans for our future and our priorities for how we spend our time. And it has! And I’ve grown so much as a result from doing it!
Ultimately, I realized that I’m not the starring role in my children’s lives: they are. I’m just a supporting character. One day, they will leave my house and move away and start their own lives as individuals, and I don’t want that to be a point in my life where I’m left wondering what happened to my life, or what to even do with all my time to focus on myself. I want my future to be FULL, both of family and of things I’m passionate about, and that’s enough to motivate me now to pursue this creative outlet.
#3 | Does this side hustle support an opportunity for passive income, or for sustainable growth without further investment from my family’s budget?
This was a crucial question to ask myself at the beginning. We didn’t have any money set aside with which I could start a business, so I basically bootstrapped the entire thing from $0 on up. I traded services and worked for super cheap to earn enough for a website, and then I used SEO, social media, and Pinterest to gain even more traction and online traffic. Then I used money from projects to fund workshops and other investments like further education and creative resources that I could use to improve the value of my services, and then I raised my prices. Then I brought in assistants to do work for me so that I was spending more time doing the parts I loved and with less time. I’ve only just started to take a consistent paycheck that is actually worth something, like $600/month versus $30, and as I continue to grow, that amount will, too.
But at a certain point, I’m going to max out my time available to work, and I won’t be able to bring in any more revenue unless I were to keep increasing my prices. My work won’t necessarily be changing, so there is no reason to increase my prices; but does that mean I’m going to be stuck at that income threshold for the remainder of my entrepreneurial career? No way. This is where passive income and sustainable business growth comes in.
When you start your creative side hustle, you should be looking for ways you can (one day) create repeat income off of the same work, without you having to spend extra time. Examples of this include selling your products in a unmanned booth or display at a local gift or home goods store, or selling digital downloads of your artwork online like on Etsy or Creative Market, or by outsourcing some of the labor or marketing efforts to others and earning a small commission or something from each project, even if you’re not actually working on it. This goal should always be in the back of your mind as you’re growing your business, reaching for the sustainability that will allow you financial freedom and the ability to spend your time freely.
I’ll never regret starting a side business, and I’m sure you won’t, either. I hope these key questions help shed a little light on the direction you should go when you start and how you should prioritize your time and efforts working to make the most for your minimal time set aside for this. Happy hustling!
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