Projected to grow for years to come, the Gig Economy is alive and well. So much so that soon the traditional workplace may be a relic of the past for many.
Changing attitudes about work, evolving technologies, and industries struggling to survive provides ample opportunity for anyone wanting to get involved in this new economy.
But putting trends aside, why would you want to start a side business? Isn’t it enough to run a practice, or work part-time in someone else’s? Don’t you have enough to do already?
While you may be busy, considering a side hustle may prove to be a good idea.
And here’s why…
- Bring in extra cash
Extra money you could use for any number of things. Isn’t it nice to have some extra cash for… whatever?
- Pay off debts
School loans, business loans, mortgages, credit card debt, lines of credit… use the extra cash from your side hustle to pay off your debts much faster.
- Build up an emergency fund
While unfortunate, emergencies don’t announce themselves; they just show up! And it’s best to be prepared. Not having an emergency fund could mean wiping out your entire savings.
- Save for retirement
Retirement or at least retirement age sneaks up fast. It’s never too early to add to your retirement nest egg.
- Add more eggs to the basket
Diversify, diversify! Today, it can be somewhat risky to rely on one source of income, one job, or one primary payer. Just think, if that one source of income disappears, what would happen? Most would struggle, and some would be wiped out. Adding multiple streams of income to your current revenue is always advisable.
- Have a backup plan
Running into problems in your practice or your job? It does not have to be the “end of the world” if you have an up-and-running, functional plan B.
- Evaluate a business idea on a small scale first
Do you have an idea for a business but you’re not sure if it would fly? Try it out as a side hustle first, then tweak and fine-tune it, and if it works, run with it.
- Build another business as your “next act strategy”
In a few years, you want to retire from practice or sell your practice to a partner but keep doing something else. Starting a side hustle now will let you transition to this “something else when you’re ready for it.
While there are countless ways to join the gig economy, most put their toes in the water with a side hustle first. They start with a hobby, a skill set, or an extension of the work they already know.
What To Choose?
Now the big question is, what should you start, what should you pick? And how can you know which side hustle is right for you?
Start strategically and systematically!
First, ask yourself what you want to accomplish. What’s your end goal?
If all you want to do is bring in a few extra dollars, you may just want to go to one of the freelance websites. Create your listing and bids on jobs that fit your skills and profile.
However, if you want to build a freelance business for yourself (no matter the scale), you should plan on investing more time so you can properly plan out your side hustle.
Create a list of the following:
- Your interests and hobbies
- Things you’re passionate about
- Specific skill sets you’d like to utilize
- Your work experience
Tapping into your hobbies may be a good idea because it means you’ll be doing work without getting bored. Jotting down your other interests will help you further narrow down things you may want to do.
Going with your skills may be a good choice too because it’s something you know you can do easily, and probably get started fast.
Lastly, when you explore all of your work experience, it may generate an additional idea of which side hustle you could start.
Ideally, what you want to do is choose a side hustle in an area you’re passionate about, is relatively easy for you to do, and is something that will keep your interest.
And as a healthcare provider, it would only make sense, that your side hustle would be health-related. You might look into health coaching, writing for health publications, or teaching part-time. Your healthcare background provides you with an endless array of options yo choose from.
If you’re a solo practitioner adding a side hustle to an already full plate, make sure your hustle is something that will keep you engaged and motivated… for a long time to come.
Second, map out your goals and plan.
Ideally, you will create a business plan for your new venture. Just because it’s a side hustle, one that starts small, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan. And planning is twice as important if you want to grow your side hustle into a more significant business over time.
Many have turned their side hustles into full-time careers and businesses, even though it may have taken them years. And you can do the same.
But brace yourself for another dose of hard work. And count on some trial and error before your side hustle is up and running.
Be prepared, don’t allow yourself to get discouraged by minor setbacks. Focus on what you want to accomplish and don’t waste time sweating the small stuff!
If you want to turn your side hustle into a successful business venture someday, then focus on that goal. There’s no better validation that you chose the perfect side hustle than by actually succeeding at it!
So as the famous Nike slogan goes…
Just Do It!
Thinking about a side hustle? Join the conversation by leaving a comment or question below!
By Johanna Hofmann, MBA, LAc; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.“