Everyone seems to have a side hustle these days, right? From investing in startups to becoming Instagram influencers, some side hustles fizzle after a few months and others become hugely profitable. Mine? Well it sits somewhere in the middle. I’m still going after five years, so that’s good. But, I’m not earning enough to retire and sail around the Whitsundays just yet.
Miss Links is my side hustle. Most of the time I run an accounting practice with my husband Leigh. More on that story here.
I don’t step back and reflect very often, I’m always buzzing about a new idea, collaboration or dealing with a tricky client issue. But writing this made me realise: hey, I’m still going after five years – woohoo!
Find the time
It sounds obvious, but you need to dedicate time each week to your side hustle. For me it’s a few hours per week that are dedicated “Miss Links” time. I find it easier to spread time out over a week than allocate a whole day. Also, it’s harder to keep momentum when there’s too much of a gap between official side hustle days. You must stick to this religiously! Be strong, don’t allow primary hustle to muscle in on side hustle’s turf.
Find a niche
My niche is VERY niche – cufflinks for women. If you’re starting a line of baby products, well there’s plenty of competition out there. So look for a niche within that range. That way, you can really stand out from the competition. My niche is small but I serve it well. Miss Links ranks well in Google for the phrase ‘women’s cufflinks’ so my customers know how to find me. If you’re looking for a side hustle I would definitely recommend servicing a narrow niche.
Outsource what you don’t know
I’m an accountant. So sales and marketing is foreign to me. When I started Miss Links I decided I could waste time learning it all myself, or I could invest in consultants who’d do a much better job with no mistakes right away. Employing PR agencies, web designers and other expert consultants has been a great investment. No business owner can be an expert in everything. Finances is my strength, so I don’t need to outsource that cost. Know your strength and outsource the rest.
Invest in Quality
From the onset I knew that Miss Links would represent quality. I invested in brand identity, product design, packaging and photography (the photography bills would make my eyes water…) Some investments were a mistake but most have been worthwhile. My target audience is corporate women and they expect quality. That’s why my Miss Links boxes are gorgeous, why the photos (though expensive) look fantastic. I know it’s hard to invest money when you’re a startup but to not invest anything is even more wasteful.
It helps to have a side hustle that you really enjoy. Of course many startups are all about capitalising on a financial opportunity, and that’s great too. But for a side hustle to be successful you’ve got to enjoy it. I love the creative side of Miss Links, that’s often missing from my numbers and logic-driven day job. That’s what keeps me going after these five years. The day I stop enjoying Miss Links will be the day it’s over for me.
I hope that day never comes!