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3 Rules to starting a successful side hustle

Written by
Gabriela Dittrichova
Published on
June 25, 2021

Do you have an idea to fill a gap in the market? Are you thinking of new ways to make money? Do you dream of a side gig but struggle to turn it into reality? If you long for your big idea to gain momentum, you need to be (well-) connected, committed and concentrated. Try implementing these three rules and get ready to take your side hustle to the next level. 

1. Commitment

Starting something new is always a challenge. Our days are already filled to the very top, we have no guarantee that the time put in into a new project will equal the financial or physical reward received, and have to seek ways to adapt our regular habits. Changing routines takes time, but if you start incorporating small changes into your day-to-day life, soon you will be able to find enough space to dedicate a regular time slot to developing your idea. 

Regularity is super important when working on a new business, product or service, especially when you have other commitments to manage. Your aim is to allocate time in your (every!) day when you focus purely on your side hustle. If you can fit in an extra hour in the morning, set up your alarm clock a little earlier. Maybe you prefer to have some time in the afternoon when you can switch off from your day job. Perhaps you are exhausted at the end of the day, so try scheduling your ‘hustle hours’ for your lunch break or just before your work. Experiment with different timings and see what works best for you. Then commit to it! 

“At the end of every day, sum up the progress you have made with your side project and create a to-do list for tomorrow.”

At the end of every day, sum up the progress you have made with your side project and create a to-do list for tomorrow. In this way, you will learn how to manage your time effectively. If you struggle to find space in your schedule, write down all the activities you do in a day and add an approximate amount of time it consumes. Then, review this list and decide which activities you could eliminate or replace with something else. Do you watch a movie every night, maybe consider cutting it down to two movies a week (one at the weekend) or find which apps you spent the most time on (check screen time in settings) and set limits on some app usage. 

2. Connections

Once you start working on your idea regularly, make sure you won’t stay isolated from the world. Not only are human connections important for your creativity, they can also support your smooth and effective progress. Talk to everyone you know about your idea, get feedback from a variety of people, remove all prejudice and assumptions. Other people’s opinions will help you constantly improve your idea and make it as suitable for the market as possible.

If you struggle to find the right people, those who are not influenced by knowing you or your future business plan, start networking! First, review your existing list of connections and see who could possibly give you access to a new pool of potential clients. Check LinkedIn and find email addresses of people you admire, respect and who would be a valuable addition to your network. Present your idea to them and ask for comments. Ensure that you schedule regular contact with various people at least every other day. Get social! 

“Review your existing list of connections and see who could possibly give you access to a new pool of potential clients.”

The best way to meet new people and get feedback on your prototype is at networking events. Here you can meet a large number of inspiring individuals who can share their experience and point out potential threats which you might have not considered before. Make sure you attend at least two networking events a month. Again, remember to schedule it in. 

To give you some inspiration, if you are based in Prague, there are plenty of options where to meet like-minded professionals and quickly expand your network. The StartUp Grind Prague, for example, hosts monthly events and meet-ups. If the start-up scene is where your heart lies, check out also the Czech Startup Community where they have a list of interesting events taking place predominantly in the Czech capital. If you want to learn more about marketing - which is an unmissable part of every new venture - check out Holky z Marketingu. This community is connecting female professionals from a range of industries and creating a supportive environment in which anyone can thrive and learn from one another. 

If you don’t feel comfortable coming up to strangers and starting a seemingly natural conversation, get yourself a mentor instead. The Femme Palette Mentoring program matches you with a mentor who is the most suitable fit for your needs and interests. In this way, you save time reaching out to people who might not be interested in your idea and ensure that the feedback you receive is relevant and helpful for your next steps at the development stage.

3. Concentration

Okay, so you identified the right people and allocated time in your every day, now you must take one last step before starting to work on your side-hustle. Before you sit down and open your laptop, remember to do this: eliminate all distractions! Set your phone in the flight/night mode, turn off your email/Slack and other instant messaging notifications, try to keep a tidy workspace. Only then, with a clear and concentrated mind, can you work efficiently. 

If chaos is what works for you, then ignore this advice. Otherwise, try to tuck everything away from your desk. Categorise all your papers, organise your stationary, keep snacks in the kitchen and have as little in sight as possible. Also clean your desktop, to help you eliminate the pressure of daunting tasks creeping in in the middle of your work. Trust me, it does wonders! If music improves your concentration, plug it in, but be wary of your surroundings. Once again, find what works best for you and stick to it. 

In case you are struggling with the space, since the office is dedicated to your full-time job and home is full of other distractions, consider joining a co-working place. Here you can meet like-minded individuals who can not only give you valuable feedback but also collaborate with you and bring a new set of skills to your project. It’s a win-win. 

“Categorise all your papers, organise your stationary, keep snacks in the kitchen and have as little in sight as possible.”

If you have successfully managed to implement these three steps and your project starts gaining momentum, you might want to seek professional advice to help you take your idea to the next level. Developing an organizational structure, understanding what resources you need, pressure-testing and motivation are some of the things a business mentor can help you with. In addition, you gain access to three online Q&A sessions with entrepreneurs to help you improve your new-born business and develop your network.

And so, if you can feel the entrepreneur inside you and are ready to finally turn your dreams into a reality, cut the excuses and get started with your side-hustle. It might be easier than you think, it all starts with you. However, if you try these three steps and still struggle after a while, get a mentor to guide you. If you cannot find the right environment, change the scenery and join a co-working space. If you want to get feedback, connect with fellow professionals, either at events or online. To successfully meet your goals, make sure you have a strong motivation and someone to hold you accountable for your actions, otherwise you are wasting your time.

Start today and take little steps every day towards a brighter future. How successful you are depends on how much you are willing to give. See where you get to in a month and if there is very little progress, seek help. Otherwise, commit to this journey and watch yourself thrive! Because with the right support you can change not only yours, but other people’s lives too.

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