Article | 3:01 min read

4 Steps to Starting a Side Gig

Grow Your Business

Even if a full-time job pays well enough to allow you to plan for retirement, a side business is always a great idea to consider and is becoming the new norm.

For many, that involves taking a specific skillset or hobby and expanding that into a way to earn some extra income. Having a backup plan is never a bad idea, as a side gig is a terrific way to provide some financial security or is simply another avenue to help you save.

A side gig can be anything from a dog-walking service to a financial consulting firm that helps clients with their taxes. Many are even using their talents to create a product and sell online. Once you have decided on what type of business you'd like to start and have the time and resources to get the idea off the ground, follow these steps for creating an ideal side business:

1) Put a plan in place
The first step is to create your written business plan and determine your “why”. Why are you starting your business? How will you measure what makes your side gig a success? Within the plan, map out your goals for growth, ideas for investments, strategy for how the business will operate, and how you will market your new adventure. Not only will a plan remind you of where you want the business to go and help hold yourself accountable, but it will serve as a good overview of what you already have, in terms of personnel, equipment, resources, etc.

2) Proper certification
To be taken seriously by customers, and in order to be recognized by the government, a business must obtain some sort of official certification. Go to the U.S. Small Business Association, or a city or state office, to obtain a business license or permit. Being officially licensed allows you to identify your business and gives you legal and safety protection from the law. Not being compliant with all the proper laws can leave any business, no matter how large or small it is, out on its own if something bad were to happen.

3) Create a budget
Before you can work on turning a profit, it is important to figure out where the money will come from to start the business, and where the money will go when it is up and running. In many cases, speaking with a banker or investment expert can be useful. They can advise on topics such as business loans and financial planning. Especially if finances aren't your expertise, talking with a specialist in the field will be important to ensure your success.

4) Give it your all
Once you have determined your “why”, this is ultimately the fuel for your engine. If you are going to put the time and effort into a side gig, it's important to make sure it is something you are really passionate about. In most cases your evenings and weekends will be dedicated to your new adventure.

That's why working on an interest is a wise plan, said Kimberly Palmer, the author of the book "The Economy of You." In an interview with Forbes, Palmer said that many successful side businesses prosper as a result of people focusing on the work before the money, not the other way around [1].

"Some of the most successful side-giggers I interviewed built businesses that cost very little to start, could be scaled up easily as they grew, fit well with their full-time jobs, took advantage of their own passions and creativity, and most importantly, were incredibly enjoyable," Palmer said. "You have to love your side business because you'll be working on it at night, on the weekends, and in almost every spare hour you can find."


[1] Psst... Want to Start a Side-Gig? Here's What You Need to Know Now, Forbes


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