What’s Holding You Back from Starting Your Side Hustle?

4 minutes

You decided you want to start your side hustle, but you still have some hesitation. Among the common reasons people give for not getting started, you’ll hear:

I’m not good at anything

I don’t know where to start

I don’t know how to find clients

I don’t have time

While these concerns are valid, we too often tend to paralyze ourselves with them, which results in inaction and ends up costing time and mental energy. As Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to Be Rich says, “More is lost from indecision than bad decisions.”

Starting your side hustle

Let’s address each one of these concerns:

I’m not good at anything

Not even your job? Your employer wouldn’t keep you if you weren’t good at it, would they? So if nothing else, people are already paying you for what you do at your job, right? Even if you don’t like it, it’s something you can do well and that you can leverage to craft a side hustle. But because I don’t think anyone is only good at their job, let’s look beyond that.

As side hustle pro Chris Guillebeau told Forbes, finding ideas for a side hustle comes from “the power of observation.” In his Side Hustle School workshops, he encourages people to do so by asking themselves some questions and making lists. As he says, “Learning to spot potential opportunities is one of the most valuable skills you can acquire.”

Think about your hobbies or what you like to do on your free time. Anything you’ve gotten to master after watching 25 YouTube videos? If you pay attention, you’ll find that there’s something you know more than the average person. Could be anything, even something you’re embarrassed to talk about. You’d be surprised to come across people interested in what you can do once you put it out there.

Related read: How to Find What Connects All Your Passions

I don’t know where to start

Once you find what you’re good at, you might feel overwhelmed by the amount of work it takes to set up a successful side hustle. So much so that you might just end up doing nothing because of the many steps involved. Keep things as simple as possible at the beginning and let them build up to the bigger projects. The first thing to do is to articulate and flesh out the details of your WHAT, WHY and HOW. In other words, define your personal brand.

WHAT exactly you’re good at and can help people with?

WHY you want to help people this way?

HOW will you help people?

The third question is the hardest one because the answer is always evolving. Suppose you’re good at dancing and you’d like to help people exercise through dance. The next step is to figure out the HOW. Do you want to rent an event space and host dance parties? Or do you want to become a teacher at an established company and have your own classes? Consider your possibilities and start with the most feasible option. You can always refine your medium as you go.

Related reads: 3 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand

4 Brilliant Ways to Brand Yourself Online

I don’t know how to find clients

The answer lies in the way you decide to put yourself out there and find your people. Will you use social media advertising as part of your strategy or do it through word of mouth?

You can land your first clients in a multitude of ways, but the critical thing is to let people know what you’re doing and document your work (especially your wins). Start with your network and create an online presence to expand your reach. Keep your platforms active and work on constantly improving your craft. With dedication and consistency, people will be knocking on your door in no time.

I don’t have time

Time management becomes an even greater challenge when you add a side hustle to your workload. All of a sudden you have to wake up even earlier or go home to more work. What’s more, your weekends are now split between resting, hanging out with loved ones and (yep) working. But what’s life without a little sweat?

What has worked for me is making a daily list of tasks for my side hustle. When I had a regular 9 to 5, I would make my to-do list while commuting then tackle it during my lunch break or after work. Of course I felt exhausted when I got home from the office, but I made it a priority to work on my goals every day so that I’d have the freedom to not work a regular 9 to 5.

No matter what you do, you’ll have to make sacrifices on your way to success – even if that means saying no to hanging out because you have to send a couple emails and secure new clients.

Related reads: How to Make Time For All Your Gigs

5 Ways You Waste Time That You Might Not Realize

When starting a new endeavor, it’s important to remember that you won’t have all the answers. Mistakes are a natural part of any growth process and you have to be fine with making them and learn from them. It’s better to stumble along the way than not doing anything at all. There’s a reason you can’t stop thinking about your side hustle. Give it a try and you’ll have either gained more experience, made some money and expanded your network along the way. Win win either way right?

More reading: How to Leverage Your Side Hustles and Advance in Your Career

How to Include Your Side Hustles on Your Resume

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8 Comments

  1. I’m missing one, which basically is my issue. I like to call it the ‘what if syndrome’. I’m basically scared to start anything, as I don’t know what will come of it. Before I start I’ve already taken into account so many negative factors or doomsday scenarios that I have already given up before I started.

    • I hear that Freddy. To that I would say, think about the worst case scenario and face that outcome in your mind. You’ll find that there’s really nothing you won’t be able to overcome. Tim Ferriss says that we tend to overestimate the worst scenario because of our fear and there might be some truth to it. Not knowing is part of the excitement. No matter what comes of it, you’ll be learning and growing along the way, so it benefits you either way.

  2. Great tips.

    The biggest thing that always holds me back is getting over that initial fear of not being good enough. It’s so hard sometimes to just take the plunge.

    Your mention of setting up daily tasks resonates with me. I have my OneNote setup as a bullet journal and it really motivates me to get everything checked off my list for the day. There’s something about filling in little boxes with check marks that provides me with such good feelings. hehe

    • I totally get that Ashley. I’ve been there too. But you really have to ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen? Even if it doesn’t work out, you’ll have either learned something new, made some money or met new people. And it won’t be because you’re not good enough. You’ll have had a better sense of what you like better. The fear goes away once you bring yourself to just do it. Good luck!!

  3. You hit the nail on the head. These are the reasons I hear the most from my clients (and have heard from myself). Thanks for the pep talk…

  4. Fantastic post. Not having the time was an excuse I used for ages to not hustle but now I write my to do list, do all the things I dont want to do first so i can enjoy the rest of the day.

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