Okay, you’ve decided to create a side hustle. Great! Like many freelancers and side hustlers before you, you’re now probably asking yourself what’s next and how do I get started?
You might be thinking, “How should I go about marketing my product or service to the world? How will anyone see my product or service? Wait, I also have to manage my invoices too? This is going to be a real problem as I have no clue what I’m doing – and I thought I’d just spend a couple hours a week on this. I’ve never done anything like this before and I don’t know if I’m capable. I still have a full-time job I have to worry about along with all my other responsibilities.”
Breathe. Don’t spin out. Everything will be okay and you’ll be a side hustle superstar soon enough. With the use of all the latest online platforms, your world will become easier before you know it. All those questions will quickly become answered, and those worries will quickly float away with just a little setup work. You’ll be able to allow automation and online platforms to work for you in ways that can easily turn your side hustle into full-time demand, if you want.
We’ll talk about registering your business starting tomorrow. In the meantime, let’s start with setting up a space where you can start selling your product or service side hustle. By the way, just to make sure we’re all on the same page – when we talk about a product, we’re talking about a tangible thing you’re selling whether it’s homemade jams, potted plants or abstract paintings. Everything else that you spend time doing and is likely billed given the hours spent is a service, like providing photography, catering or hair styling services. Cool? Ok, let’s dive into how to get set-up on an online platform.
Selling Using Online Platforms
You should start your side hustle with a presence where people can actually buy from you. If you’re selling a service, the online platforms at your disposal will likely allow you to provide a menu of service options and help you with scheduling, invoicing and payment tracking as well. These used to be things you had to manage all on your own but now they’re all automated! Same goes for products, though instead of a menu of services, you’ll likely enter images and descriptions of the specific items you’re selling and the platform will manage gathering your buyer’s information and any specific requests. They might even have mailing support. Given these differences, you’ll likely come across and use a platform built to accommodate your specific side hustle needs. There are a number of websites to choose from, so here are just two suggestions to get you started. If they don’t fit what you’re going to be doing, just Google your side hustle type (i.e. dog walking) and “platform”.
For Products: Etsy.com
If you haven’t used it as a seller, you may already have used Etsy to buy pillow cases, stationery, prints or potted plants. People use this platform to see just about anything. As a seller, it’s just as easy to register with and use. Just go to Etsy, where you’ll be able to register an account to begin the process of getting your products posted and sold. The process looks like this:
- Create your shop’s preference (i.e., language, country, currency)
- Name your shop
- Stock your shop – This is where you’ll be able to add all of your different products, price them, create delivery times for each, and more.
- Select your payments preference – Decide which payment option works best for you (i.e. Paypal, personal bank account).
- Determine your billing methodology – This determines how you want to bill your customers.
And that’s it! After that it’s a matter of your creating and shipping your products on time. Etsy really is a great all-in-one place to help get your products-focused side hustle started.
For Services: Fiverr.com
If you’re looking to sell a service, like writing content, creating websites or bookkeeping, you might want to check out platforms like Fiverr and UpWork. Other sites out there are also more specific to in-person services, like Rover for dog walking or BeGlammed for beauty services. Signing up in any of these platforms is fairly similar to the Etsy process – there are just questions more specific to the services you’ll be providing and rather than products you can offer different types or durations of your services. With Fiverr as an example, you just go to their site and click on the option to become a seller. Next, simply follow these four steps:
- Enter your personal info (i.e., name, profile picture, location)
- Enter your professional info – Describe the services you’re able to offer your clients.
- Link any relevant bank accounts – Sync the payment options that work best for you (i.e. Paypal, personal bank account).
- Create account security passwords – Make sure your bank account and Fiverr account remain secure.
That’s it! If you budget out a few hours over the weekend or after work one day, you should be able to take all these steps and provide really great descriptions of all the products or services you’re offering. The few hours of time spent are well worth the effort – especially if you do just a little research into what the top sellers are doing around you on the platforms. With just a bit of effort, everything else will be automated for you and you’ll be selling whatever you can dream up in no time!
Marketing Your Side Hustle Using Social Media
Marketing, marketing, marketing! Once you’ve set up your virtual storefront, it’s time to look at how you get yourself out there beyond a couple emails or posts amongst friends and family. Using social media platforms to market yourself and your products or services can go a long way in gaining clients and publicly showing how what you’re doing is unique. Using social media effectively does require a little bit of a learning curve, but it provides such an opportunity for you to learn what your clients want and to educate your target market about why they should choose what you’re selling.
There are numerous websites and social media platforms you can use to be the most market friendly to your customers. In choosing which websites and social media platforms to use, it’s most important to think about your product or service, and where your clients are likely to be spending their time.
Is what you’re selling visually appealing? If so, then creating an Instagram account could be the perfect fit. If you feel the best way to depict your product or service is by using words, then Twitter or LinkedIn could be more appropriate. If your potential clients are scattered, create one social media account first where you’re most comfortable, and then expand across more.
As part of setting up your social media handles, make it easy for your customers to buy from you. With Twitter and Instagram, all you have to do is your website or platform profile page in your bio. Make sure to talk about where people can find you and your wares in your posts too (i.e., “Link in bio” should be at the end of most of your posts.
Remember, it really comes down to two simple steps:
- Choose a social media platform you think your clients are already on – and that shows off your products or services well.
- Make your product easily accessible from your social media handle and reference it often in the comments or posts.
Now, You’re Ready to Sell!
By choosing the right combination of sales platforms and social media sites, you’ll be able to start and make the most of your side hustle quickly. What may have seemed complicated at first, I hope is much clearer now. While you do have to put a little work into the setup – not just what you’re selling, it’ll all be worth the automation you’ll be taking advantage of very soon. Next, we’ll post about how to start a side hustle when you already have a strong network in place.
Here to keep you moving – Team Lance