Perks and Pitfalls of Running a Side Business

First off, I’d like to inform you why I’ve been gone so long. It’s because I’ve clearly been slacking! I’m not so great at juggling my time, so I usually go in stints. But I continue to seek out inspiration to grow and I continue to get better…which is where you guys come in. I need you for motivation. I need you for inspiration. I need you for accountability. I also need to motivate, inspire, and to help others grow. So thank you for reading. Thanks for being interested in my journey and I’m so proud of you all for participating in your own personal growth!

Without further ado, let’s jump right in:

Whether you are thinking about starting up a side hustle or you’re already there, you can consider  these pros and cons. If you haven’t started up yet, I’d love to give you an accurate view of what it’ll be like, but the truth is each person’s journey is so unique that I can’t say anything that will tell you for sure whether a side business is right for you. You’ll, of course, have to agonize over that yourself, but my hope is that this post will leave you a little more informed and balanced in your decision-making process. If you’re already doing it, CONGRATS! You’ll probably identify with some of these areas and are already benefiting from the Perks and commiserating with me over the Pitfalls. May this help you sharpen the strengths and minimize the  innate weaknesses of a part-time endeavor.

Perks:

You can jump in at any time. You don’t have to wait to save up $25,000 for the initial start up. Most side businesses are grown out of a hobby or something you already do for people.

You still have your steady income so you know you can pay your bills.

You can fulfill different areas of yourself. Example: creative/analytical sides

You can use your first job to fund the expenses of your side hustle.

You can do the stuff that’s necessary, but not immediately income-producing: like building recognition, meeting clientele, etc. without being flat broke.

You’ll have more time to develop your SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures)

You’ll have time to find your niche…what precisely you want to do in that field.

Your passion keeps you going (Like I said-side jobs are usually hobbies first.)

You can build a wide foundation for your business- because you don’t have to worry about making a  whole income right away.

You can see if it’s a viable option for taking it full time… which leads me to my next point.

You can find out what your bread and butter is. This is important, because it may not be the thing you would focus on if you dove into it all at once. Say you quit your job to be a landscape artist and try to market yourself primarily as building zen gardens because it’s your passion. You could bankrupt yourself if that’s not what the market is asking for. If you’d gotten your feet wet first, you might have found that lawn mowing is the service most people are willing to pay for. You could then choose to either do mostly that and then work on your passion of zen gardens whenever you find the right clientele, or you may choose to get out because you’d rather stay at your current job full time than do the bread and butter work. Of course, there would also be the option to only do zen gardens here and there and keep your full time job. If you had already gone broke trying to do that because you quit your job first, your likelihood of going back to it on the side goes down dramatically.

Pitfalls: 

It takes time to build up a business. A lot of time. You have to market yourself, hone your skills, build up a client base, possibly learn how to keep your books or new computer applications. It’s a lot. And you’ll be doing that after your other work hours all while you may not be at your best.

It’s easy to gravitate toward one or the other of your jobs and get out of balance. You may lean toward your “real” job because it brings home the bacon and more time there means more success and potentially more money. You could also spend all your effort on your business because you love it. It’s your baby and you’re trying to grow it so it gets all of your energy and your performance at work may suffer for it.

There are so many starts and stops. Seriously. SO MANY! You’re constantly getting into a different mindset for a different type of work. There may be seasons where you need to concentrate on one job over the other and bouncing back from that can be hard.

It’s hard to get into the flow when you’re bouncing from one thing to another. Just when you hit your stride, it’s time to go to your other job.

Bookkeeping. I could stop there and that would stand as it’s own “con” I’m sure. Most people hate doing it. But it’s necessary. But it’s terrible. But you’ll lose your shirt if you don’t. But, uggghhh!!!(Sorry, that’s my own internal dialogue)  The trouble with bookkeeping for a side business is that almost nobody actually does it. Who has time, right? You work and then you work some more then you have to deal with all the other functions of growing a business and you never get around to seeing if you’re profitable or just how much you’re really investing. This is super duper tricky for a hobby-born business because people love it so much, they just keep going because it’s their dream and have no idea how much money they are pouring into the thing. Be careful about this one. Keep simple records if nothing else and add up your expenses and earnings once a month!

What’s the moral of this story? Well, a side-business may or may not be right for you. I think a lot of it depends on your motivations. Not that some are wrong, but they are different. If you only want to earn extra money, bookkeeping will be your metric. If all you want is to live your dream, then money matters less. You just have to determine a balance between your two worlds and make sure your finances and time are organized enough that you aren’t simply spinning your wheels getting nowhere. You want to get somewhere. Be specific about where that is. And remember, I want you to get there, too!

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