side hustle

By Chris Haroun

It’s no secret that a long day or week can be exhausting, and often requires a period of recovery. But instead of binge-watching Netflix, lounging around the house, or getting together with friends to break away from reality, imagine turning to a second job.

The thought of this might seem tiring, ambitious, or even unreasonable at first, but the concept of a side hustle is a growing one. In fact, the latest data from Udemy suggests that nearly half of Americans (46%) have one or are thinking about getting one.

Certainly, the main driver of this is that many Americans are worried about making ends meet — 89% of side hustlers are in it for the money, the data shows. And side hustles have become an answer to these concerns. But there are other advantages to side hustles outside of the obvious financial implications. Depending on the job, it can allow for the following of your passion, something you may not be able to do in your standard 9 to 5 job.

I eventually left my day job in venture capital to fully invest in my side hustle and my passion, which is teaching online on Udemy. But my success doesn’t mean a side hustle is necessarily an easy endeavor or effortless money. To make your side hustle effective, fun, financially beneficial, or even relatively simple in nature, it’s important to follow a basic set of business principles.

Don’t Hustle With too Much Inventory

A common mistake that people make when pursuing a side hustle is investing in too much inventory; buying too many products to resell before testing the market in order to see if there is ample demand can be a dangerous game.

Making inventory purchases is a major investment. It’s easy to overorder and the last thing you’d want to do is get stuck with a backlog. Selling a tangible product as a side hustle and holding inventory can be problematic as you are immediately starting off in debt and have some catching up to do. This is especially troubling if your main focus is quickly making extra income. In order to mitigate the aforementioned issues, I recommend focusing on service-based side hustles in order to reduce risk and maximize returns.

Find Your Passion and Stick With It

So what does a service-based side hustle look like? Well, this is where that idea of passion comes into play. By thinking in terms of services, you should also be opening up the opportunity for yourself to identify your strong suits. What are you good at and what are you passionate about that you can share with others? Not only does this thinking allow for a stronger foundation of success, but it will also allow you to truly pursue what you love doing and also make more of a lasting impact on your customers.

For me, teaching was the natural progression from my life in venture capital and continuing my passion for the business world. I’m able to guide those eager to learn more about business and help them make their own impact in the industry. Whether it is providing people with the basics for building out a successful business plan, tips on how to motivate employees, or even giving advice on how to manage by delegating, I am helping others prepare to be the business leaders of the future.

Selling widgets might not make a difference, but teaching a course about a topic you are an expert in is more impactful and longer-lasting on a person’s life. For me, teaching these insights makes for an extremely rewarding and infinitely scalable experience.

Keep the Right Records

If there’s one thing you are never going to avoid, it’s paperwork and taxes. Every new revenue stream has tax implications and to manage this, it’s best to think of your side hustle as your own business. This means that it’s necessary to do the small things that make all the difference come tax time, including saving a portion of the money you make from your side hustle for when you pay your taxes. I recommend hiring an accountant to help you file your taxes for your side hustle as the process of filing your own personal taxes and business taxes for your side hustle can be incredibly complex and time-consuming.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks and Bet On Yourself

Ultimately, having a side hustle comes down to betting on yourself and the idea that you can pull it off. Having a second job can seem daunting, but by taking the right steps, you can make it an incredibly rewarding experience.

Most successful entrepreneurs have failed many times before they became incredibly wealthy. Don’t give up after one or two side hustle attempts. Be persistent and you might be able to make it your permanent gig! #NOLIMITS

By Chris Haroun, award-winning MBA professor, venture capitalist, author and Udemy instructor (@chris_haroun)

Side hustle stock photo by Artur Szczybylo/Shutterstock