1. Accept That You Won’t Make Any Forbes Lists (Yet)
Sometimes, it seems like everyone’s cool new startup is blowing up. Suddenly, they’re getting a lot of press and are a trending topic on Twitter. You, on the other hand, have been slaving away on your project forever since that announcement tweet. Guess what? The person behind hashtag “Cool New Thing” probably went through the same process. This is just something that comes with the entrepreneurial territory. “Building a business doesn’t make for an overnight success,” says Lori Cheek, founder of dating app Cheekd, “It will take twice as long as you'd hoped, cost exceedingly more than you'd ever budgeted and will be more challenging than anything you'll ever try.” Basically, the side hustle isn’t for the easily weary or impatient, but Cheek adds that it’s “so worth it” when you’re chasing that dream. Hanging in there for the long haul is the first step.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Make the First Move
Reaching out to clients is how to get on their radar because they have no idea who you are in the beginning. “Half of the clients I've gotten were direct results of my sending ideas completely out of the blue,” says Naresh Vissa of consultancy firm Krish Media & Marketing, who turned his side gig into a full-time one. The short-sighted might argue that sharing your “baby” with strangers is a recipe for you getting copied, but Vissa shares a different experience, “None of the companies I reached out to stole my ideas. Zero.” Also, even if a client doesn’t bite, they might know someone who would love the idea or wants to work with you and happily passes your name along.
3. Be Prepared to Join Team ‘No Sleep’
A lot of people work on their side hustles from 5 to 9, but that may not actually be enough. If you really want to be successful, "side" really means any moment of free time you have. Laura Dunn, Director of LED Media, a content creation, social media and media relations company she started, knows a thing or two about the level of commitment a side hustle requires, “If you don’t put in the time to work on your side gig at lunchtimes, evenings and weekends, you’ll never get it off the ground.” Sorry, but Netflix will have to wait.
4. Fail. No Seriously.
No one wants to hear that their side hustle might crash and burn, but there’s a high probability that it will. Here’s the Kleenex. Sorry, but that is the cold, hard reality and you should embrace failure, anyway, recommends Vissa. “Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you they've failed too many times to keep track. As an independent, you will get fired. Contracts won't be renewed.” So, the harder you brace yourself for failure, the easier it will be to handle and rebound from. Instead of wallowing, learn from those mistakes so your side gig will be better the second or third time around.