5 Steps to Start a Side Hustle

Side hustling is the art of making extra money on the side, outside of your full-time job or main bread and butter. A side hustle can help you pay off debt, strengthen your emergency fund, and more. Essentially, side hustling can offer you more financial flexibility and thus more opportunities. In addition, side hustling can help you learn new skills, meet more people, and provide some fun outside the sometimes boring 9-5.

The great thing about side hustling is that it is what you want it to be. It’s your time and you can do as much or as little as you want.

But how do you get started? Here are 5 steps to start a side hustle:

Determine What You Want To Do for Your Side Hustle

The first step is to determine what you want to do. Start by examining your skills and interests and deciding what you want out of your side hustle. You can ask yourself some key questions:

  • What do I want out of a side hustle?
  • How much time am I willing to spend on this?
  • How much money do I want to make?
  • Do I need any special equipment or technology to execute my side hustle?

It’s important that what you decide to do is also something people are willing to pay for. I wish someone would pay me to eat gourmet desserts, but I haven’t found a client yet. Your side hustle is where your skills and others’ needs meet.

Create Outreach Materials for Your Side Hustle

After you decide what you want to do, it’s time to create outreach materials to give out. To get started, you will need business cards, a website, flyers, and any other materials that can help spread the word about your new product or service. You can get inexpensive business card designs from sites like Fiverr and start a website using WordPress. A website is something that can be done further down the line, however many people search for services online first. In addition, people are consistently vetting potential clients online, so having a website gives you an edge to represent yourself the way you want to be represented. Think of your website as a digital business card.

Start Applying/Pitching!

Once you have decided on your side hustle and have materials advertising your services, it’s time to start pitching. You can start by letting your friends and family know about your new venture, as word of mouth and relationships are key to getting work with more clients. Consider what type of person would benefit from your service? You can advertise in coffee shops, community centers, libraries, Craigslist, Fiverr, various Facebook groups in your niche, and more.

Sometimes pitching can be a numbers game — you may have to contact several people before you get your first gig, but it will feel nice once you do!

Ask for Side Hustle Referrals & Testimonials

Making your first dollar on the side feels awesome. It’s an empowering experience to make money outside of a traditional job. Once you land your first gig, start asking for referrals. You can do this casually by letting your client know that you are always looking for more gigs and to please keep you in mind. If you felt really great about the experience, ask for testimonials that highlight the positive aspects of working with you.

Many sites used to side hustle, like TaskRabbit and Rover.com, already have a review system in place, so it’s important to get positive reviews to increase your likelihood of getting hired.


This last point is a vital step, yet often an overlooked one. Just because a gig is over, doesn’t mean that is the end of your relationship with that person. It’s key to follow-up with your clients and say thank you, remind them that you are always looking for more work, and that you appreciate them for choosing to work with you. Doing this simple gesture can go a long way and help create trust and build relationships.

After you build relationships, it’s easier to go back to past clients for a referral or a gig, than to seek out new ones. By following up, you are building a relationship and not just being a service provider. Relationship building will be your biggest asset when starting a side hustle.

Do you side hustle? Do you have any questions about side hustling?

6 thoughts on “5 Steps to Start a Side Hustle”

  1. These are all great tips! I don’t side hustle any more (it’s now just all a part of my business), but I used to side hustle like crazy. I have been thinking about adding some new hustles to my life though.

  2. Most times you don’t ever need business cards or business plans or anything like that either. A lot of people get stuck building and designing all this stuff before they even have a client. I’d concentrate on getting those “yeses” from people first before spending money/time on collateral.

    1. I think they can come in handy, but definitely should not deter anyone from starting. Getting the first client is key and as you grow, you can get more “professional” outreach materials.

    1. That is a pretty amazing story! I wish I had been that crafty in high school! I just have to settle for online writing and web design projects for most of my side income, but I can always keep dreaming of the million dollar idea.

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