Five tips to get your side hustle off the ground

By Nick Thornhill, Direct and Partnerships Director, Hiscox

Google searches for “starting a business” have increased by 63% in the last month, as aspiring entrepreneurs seek advice for building a company. A lot of businesses start as a side hustle, such as Innocent Drinks and Airbnb. Often, business-minded individuals will find a way to monetise their passions and interests ‘on the side’ to begin driving interest and income.

Here are five expert tips for budding business owners hoping to take their side hustle to the next level. “Searches for “side hustle” have increased by 20% in the last year. Having another work project alongside your regular job can be an effective way to develop additional skillsets and a keen understanding of your target market. While not everyone with a side hustle wants it to become a full-time job, those that are interested in doing so have a lot to consider – and a lot to learn.”

Top tips for business owners in the making 

1. Consider your business plan

Entrepreneurs hoping to turn their side hustle into a business often have an idea as to what type of business they are looking to run. However, there are many additional factors to consider such as branding, market research, and developing a business plan. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources online that can help you get started and work on establishing your business goals. Taking the time to put in this effort early on will only help to future-proof the business.

2. Manage your expectations

You need to set reasonable goals and benchmarks to avoid burnout. Turning a side hustle into a career, which earns the same annual income as a full-time job, is a time-consuming process. It is also not a linear journey, with many entrepreneurs facing setbacks and failures during this time.

Managing your expectations from the outset will help you to navigate difficult periods. Hiring a business consultant could help you to create impactful goals and set realistic timelines. If this is outside of your current budget, you could seek similar guidance from Facebook groups and Slack channels of like-minded individuals who are in a later stage of their founder journey.

3. Set up business insurance

Business insurance, or commercial insurance, is a policy that can safeguard against the losses and risks that can occur when operating a business. Any business owner should consider their insurance needs carefully. Not all forms of insurance will be relevant to all businesses. Understanding the risks you face can help you select the cover you need, which could include data loss, compensation claims, equipment damage and more.

4. Investigate business funding methods

There is no doubt that setting up a business can quickly become expensive, with outgoings needed for equipment, employee wages, websites, trademark licensing, advertising and more. It is sensible to open a business account as soon as possible to track your expenses, costs and income. This will make it easier when it comes to keeping records for tax assessments.

Depending on the circumstances and your business proposition, it may be possible to apply for funding to help your business grow. For example, there are small business grants, business loans, seed funding and crowdfunding which can all help side hustles get going.

5. Follow advice from other experts

Stepping into entrepreneurship for the first time can feel like a daunting proposition, however, there are many footsteps to follow, and it can be useful to listen to the advice from experienced business owners who are further along in their journey.

Other entrepreneurs can provide some useful insight and knowledge on getting started and the key factors to be aware of. Here, three UK small business owners provide their key advice:

Robb Hill, founder of Fizz Box, said: “Get a good team of people around you. You really need to delegate to grow your business as you can’t do everything yourself, you have to put your trust in them to do what they’re skilled at.”

Sanjay, founder of Spice Kitchen, commented: “For those aspiring to start their own business, my advice would be to meticulously research and understand your chosen industry. Realise you can’t and won’t know everything. Be open to learn. Listen. Develop a deep understanding of your target audience and their preferences, and create a genuine connection with these people. Additionally, surround yourself with a supportive network and seek mentorship to navigate challenges more effectively. I did this in the early days and it’s been an incredible help to me.”

Dhilon Solanki, founder and CEO of Story Locker said: “Life is too short for regrets so if you have the desire and a good idea, don’t let anything hold you back. For entrepreneurs who are looking to start a side hustle, remember that while your fledgling venture needs your focus, the day job must also be a priority. I’d also make sure that you talk your plans through with your family, as this will affect them too, and their backing and advice can really help you get through some of the tough days and weeks.”

For more information on how to start a new business, click here.