7 Question Blueprint to Ask When Your Side Hustle Isn’t Working

Is your side business having a tough time getting off the ground?

Or maybe you just don’t know what direction you should go in.  This has happened to me a lot over the years with my side businesses.

The question is how do you get back on track?

The simplest way is to start by asking the right questions.  Asking the right questions is the starting point to helping you dial in where the problem is.

To help you do this I’ve created a simple 7-question blueprint to help you figure out where your side business might be struggling at.

To do this read through each of the questions and see which one most describes your problem.  Then once you’ve pinpointed the issue it will give you a place to start changing things.

Q1: What Does Your Business Do?

Ask yourself this simple question right now, What does your business do?

If the answer didn’t immediately pop into your head this could mean you have a serious foundational issue with your business.

After all, if you can’t identify what your side hustle does then how would you expect the people who come to your website to know?

To help you out I’ve put a few examples together…

  • Side Hustle Academy – To help you start a side business that gives you freedom, fulfillment, and purpose.
  • The Podcast Answer Man ( AKA Cliff Ravenscraft) –  Cliff’s business is devoted to helping you take your business, your podcast, and your life to the next level.
  • Internet Business Mastery – This is a community of Internet Entrepreneurs dedicated to helping you escape the 9-to-5.

As you look at these examples it’s not really as much about what your business does but rather what the purpose is behind your business.

As in my example above my goal it’s not only to help people start their own side business but to also do it in a way that gives them freedom, fulfillment, and purpose in their lives.

What I mean by this is it can’t just be just to make money or to create and sell a product or service, it has to be bigger than that.

If you having a tough time getting your side business off the ground this is the first place I would start.

How to Fix this Issue:  To fix this issue brainstorm and write down what your business does.  Then slowly start to piece things together.  This may take some time to write out but once you have a clear understanding it’ll help you in all the other areas of your business.

Q2: What Problem Does Your Side Hustle Solve?

If you know what your business does ask yourself this question now:

What is the problem your side business solves?

You might be wondering what’s the difference between this and the last question.  The first question asked what your business does, but the problem is a lot more specific than that.

For example, if your business is about weight loss you might help people eat more nutritious foods and exercise better but the problem of this goes much deeper.  The problem could be that you just want to look good when you’re standing in front of the mirror.

See the difference.

More specifically the problem your business solves is typically the language they use to describe it.  The more you can understand the language they use when they talk about the problem the better you’ll be able to help them solve it.

How to Fix This Issue:  Take some time to learn more about your audience. One way to do this conduct surveys or better yet hop on Skype and just chat with them.  You can check out this article on how to conduct a survey.

Q3: Are People Actively Looking For a Solution?

If you have a clear understanding of what your business does and the problem it solves then the next question you need to ask is, are their people actively looking for a solution?

You might be wondering why this is so important but the thing is if no one is looking for what you want to sell them it’s likely that you won’t make any money at it either.

A few niches that are really good at this are weight loss and marketing.  It seems like there’s a new weight loss program or marketing course coming out every day but the truth is these markets are full of hungry prospects looking to buy.

Whereas someone looking to create a digital course on Australian sheep herding may not do so well.  I’m not saying you have to get into the weight loss or marketing business but getting into a business that is already in demand it will save you a ton of time since there are already people looking to buy.

How to Fix this Issue:  Whatever you’re side business is look for other people who are actively selling a product or service similar to yours.  If you can’t find anyone selling what you have then it’s probably a clear sign that nobody wants it.

Q4: What Are You Doing to Find New Buyers?

One thing I often hear from people is that they need to look into new ways of finding people to buy their products or services.

This is where people often get caught up in the idea that all they have to do is run a few Facebook ads and that will solve all their problems.


Finding the right buyers starts with you.  Think about this, When someone comes to your website what are you doing to attract them down the path of buying from you?

For example, does your website look like this:


Or does your site look like this:


When you look at the first site it’s a complete mess and most of all it’s hard to tell what you should actually be doing.  When you look at the second site it’s obvious what you should do. They have a banner at the top of their site with a free guide and a big red button that says DOWNLOAD IT NOW.

The point is the second site has a clear call to action front and center that they want you to join their mailing list.

How to Fix this Issue: Look at where people are coming to your site.  Create lead magnets that drive people to join your mailing list and bring them down the road of one day becoming a buyer.

Also, make sure you only have one clear call to action per page you want people to take page when they come to your website.

If you have a bunch of links or videos distracting them then people will get confused about what they should be doing.

Q5: Are People Willing to Pay For That Solution?

Here’s the thing:

The best way to know if people will buy your product or services is to get people to vote with their wallets.

Yes, that’s right you want people to pay you.  I recently did this myself when did a pre-sale on a product I wanted to create.

I had a great idea for a product but I didn’t want to get wrapped up in creating a huge course only to find out that nobody wanted it.

In the end, I only got one person to buy the product and I made the realization that even though people were telling me they wanted the product nobody was willing to pay me for the product.

How to Fix this Issue:  If you have a product idea the best way to know if people will buy it is to get them to vote with their wallet.

You don’t even need to make your product or an audience to do this.  Just simply run some Facebook ads to a landing page for a free download similar to your product and then simply ask them if they would be interested in becoming an early adopter of your product.

If people don’t buy you won’t have to waste your time creating the product and you can move on to the next thing.

Q6: Do People Trust You?

You might be thinking what does trust have to do with all of this and my answer is a lot.

Think about it:

If people don’t trust you how would you ever expect them to buy your product or service?

As an example if you were walking down the street one day and someone randomly came up to you and asked you if you would like to buy a coffee how likely would you be willing to buy it?

Now let’s say you were walking down the street and you saw a Starbucks on the corner how likely would you be to buy a coffee there?

The thing is you may not know any buddy that works at Starbucks but just because you trust the brand means you’ll trust them over some stranger off the street.

So how do you create trust in your business?

How to Fix this Issue: I wish I had a solid answer here but the truth is trust has to be earned over time.  It’s not something you just get from people even if they’re on your mailing list or visit your site.

It comes from engagement and connecting with them on an ongoing basis.  It also means delivering value and not just asking for them to buy something, and it could also mean having a solid reputation.

One way I know of to gain trust faster is to be associated with other people who are trusted.  For example, if you have a podcast and you interview someone that is trustworthy it’s likely people will trust you because you know and associate with them.

Q7: Are You Offering the Right Product or Service That Will Give Them the Solution They Are Looking For?

Finally, are you even offering the right product or service? This comes down to the solution people are looking for.

If you’re selling a product to help people lose 10 pounds to bodybuilders you might have a message mismatch with your audience.  Meaning the message you are sending out to your audience is not the right fit for them.

This can happen for a lot of reasons but the biggest is that you just didn’t do enough research with your potential customers to know if it’s really the right product for them.

How to Fix this Issue:    If you’ve already created the product and no one is buying or worse only a few people bought, get in touch with those people and see if you can arrange a call on Skype.

The results you get from this will likely be eye-opening and more than likely you’ll realize pretty quickly what your target audience really does want.

Where Is Your Side Business Struggling

So where is your side business struggling?  I know for me one of the biggest is just getting a clear understanding of what problem your business solves and understanding what people truly want.

So take a moment now and choose the question that you feel best describes the problem your side hustle is struggling with and put a plan in place to get things back on track.

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