If your new to the whole side hustle thing or you’ve been around a while you know that mistakes are all part of the game.
However if you are a beginner you’ll find this article the most valuable because you’ll hopefully be able to side step some of these land mines.
Now this doesn’t go to say that making mistakes is a bad thing. When we make mistakes it gives a chance to learn from what we did wrong and allows us to improve ourselves.
I’ve personally made my fair share of mistakes over the years and hopefully you can learn from me so you can avoid a few of them. So here are seven mistakes to consider as your are building your side hustle.
#1 Don’t Create To Many Products Or Take On To Many Clients
One of the things we think we need to do as a side hustler early on is take on every possible client or create tons of products, this is just an all around bad idea. So in this section I’m going to explain why both of these are flawed concepts.
Taking On To Many Clients
For starters you don’t want to take on every client, you want to take on the right clients. Taking on the right clients will make your business thrive while taking the wrong clients can hurt your business.
Rather you want to think about taking on few clients but maximizing your value and earning more. If you are running a service based side hustle you are trading dollars for hours.
This means you can only take on so many clients before you hit your max capacity and this is a dangerous area to play in because the last thing you want to do is put yourself under a huge amount of stress and upset a bunch of people because you couldn’t deliver.
Creating To Many Products
On the other side of things if you are more of a product person you may think that you don’t trade dollars for hours which is true but your are still spreading yourself thin.
Unless you have a big team to help you manage all of your products you would be better off focusing on just a few. For example, if were to create 10 product to market, sell, and make money from it gives you a wide range of ways to sell products and get in front of more people.
The problem comes in once you have 10 products you now have to manage them, market them, update them, handle all the customer care issues, and much more. This means you can only devote 10% of your time and effort to each product.
Rather by focusing on just one or two products you’ll be able to focus 100% of your effort towards it, allowing you to make it the best product possible and not a mediocre one.
#2 Wasting Time
The second mistake is one I’m fully guilty of making and that’s wasting time. When I started my first side hustle I worked on my side hustle day and night, whenever I had a chance.
Once the honeymoon phase of my side hustle wore off I fell into burn out mode and after a while I thought I needed to kick things into high gear and then I would hit another burn out mode.
This pattern repeated over and over and eventually I painfully learned that I needed to set a schedule and become more consistent.
Now to be completely honest here this is still an area that I struggle with. I’ve managed to make this work in certain areas of my business and in other areas not so much.
For example, when it comes to creating content for my blog I’m very consistent but when it comes to things like finding new clients it’s hard for me to make this consistent.
I feel this personally comes down to the way I spend my time and the activities I spend my time on the most. In my last article I talked about the 80/20 principle and how this applies to the activities you do.
You can read more on how to apply this to your side hustle there but the gist of it is that not all task are equal. Some task such as creating new product or setting up an email funnel can be far more valuable than say checking your email or doing a status update on Facebook.
What this all basically boils down to is that you need to be consistent, and focus on the right activities in your side hustle that produce the biggest results or you could be wasting time.
#3 Don’t Focus On Things That Don’t Work
Another mistake I made over the years was focusing all the things that didn’t work. Early on in my first side hustle I thought the more lines I had in the water the better off I would be.
Just as one example if you would look at all the articles I’ve ever written on my site, which is between 500 and 600 articles, you would see that only a few of them have brought me almost all of my income.
In fact, my top 10 articles earned me over 90% of my income. That’s insane but that’s the way business is. My mistake was I continued to write more and more articles all the while I should have been focusing on what worked and improving it.
The thing is when you find something that works you go with it and get rid of the stuff that doesn’t work. However I thought that to be more successful I needed to start more websites and write more content and this is just completely wrong.
In business we call this finding the 80/20. This basically means you find the 20% of your business that makes 80% of your results and you do more of that. That’s the real way to grow your business.
So how do you apply this to your side hustle? If you’re new just focus on getting your first clients, but over time you will begin to see patterns of things that work and don’t work.
Once you start to see the things that work simply start focusing more of your efforts towards those things and less towards everything else.
#4 You Can’t Do It All Yourself
In the beginning we want to do everything ourselves, after all it’s our side hustle. But I want to challenge you to think outside the box. I thought I could do it all myself and boy was I wrong.
Thankfully I had a brother who had some great technical knowledge or I would have probably given up before I even got started. Now I’m not saying you need to hire someone full time but rather someone to help you here and there.
In fact over the years I’ve hired a lot of people to to do things for me from write content to create logos and design my websites all because I’m not good at those things.
So how do you find someone to help you?
For me I just use Elance.com because it allows me to post a job and get bids quickly. With Elance it allows me to find the right person to handle the job and get it done quickly.
#5 Not Charging What Your Worth
Number five on the list is one I have also made as well, and that’s not charging what you are worth as a side hustler. When it comes to getting started as a side hustler we often think that if we want to pick up a new client we need to keep our prices low.
The truth is pricing is usually only one part of the whole deal.
A good example of this was when I was doing advertising for my other blog. When I first got started a good friend of mine told me to start at $150 and that worked great. However over time I wanted to bring on more advertisers so I lowered my price.
This did bring in more advertisers but it also brought in more headaches as well. It seemed the lower I went with my ads the more issues and complaints I had to deal with.
So how much should you charge?
A lot of people say $100 an hour or more, which is a great starting point, however my suggestion to pricing is to have a strategy in place. For me I like to start at the highest possible price I know I’m worth.
For example, if you normally charge $100 an hour start out at $250 an hour. This way if you have to negotiate your price it’s OK to drop it down a little bit. The only suggestion I will make here is that you only take the job at your bottom dollar and no more.
For example if you charge $250 an hour and your bottom dollar per hour is $100, don’t do anything less than that. Then as you get more and more jobs you’ll want to raise those numbers more and more.
#6 Not Niching Down Enough
The sixth mistake is not niching your business down enough. I made this mistake with my first side hustle big time. People told me time and time again but I didn’t listen to them.
I thought it was better to be more broad so I could work with a bigger audience, how wrong I was.
When I started my first blog I labeled it as a personal finance blog, over time I eventually narrowed it down to helping people avoid financial mistakes.
The reason this worked so much better was that it allowed me to communicate directly with people who had those very problems.
Another way to look at it is this website, Side Hustle Academy. From the title of the website it’s pretty obvious that this site is all about learning to start your first side hustle and beyond.
So how do you niche down your side hustle?
To do this start with the basic skill you plan to provide. For example let’s say you want to do freelance writing. Well you don’t want to just offer your services to everyone rather you want to offer them to the people who meet you skill set.
For example, I know a lot about personal finance and small business because I’ve done both for years, so it would only make sense that I write about those topics.
#7 Don’t Be Afraid To Reinvest In Your Side Hustle
Finally, the last mistake you want to avoid as a beginner is not reinvesting in yourself and your side hustle. Now when I talk about reinvesting their are two basic ways you can do this.
- You Can Reinvest In Management – This is where you hire people to do things like create a logo or write content for your blog. They basically manage things you have but don’t grow your business
- You Can Reinvest In Growth – These are things that grow your business and bring in more sales such setting up a Facebook ad campaign, creating a new email marking funnel, or even running a webinar.
Over the years I’ve been reinvesting my money towards management type activities while I would focus on the growth part myself but now I’m moving more towards reinvesting towards the growth of my business.
The reason for this is that things have changed over the years. When I first got started it was all about the free traffic and using social media to bring leads.
Today things are much different, Google has clamped down on their search algorithm and most social platforms now require you to pay to play.
When Google and the other social platforms began to move in this new direction I felt it pretty good. In fact, I literally lost two thirds of my traffic from my personal finance blog overnight.
However this presents a big opportunity now. Paying for ads on Facebook, and Twitter means I can bring in a stream of possible buyers and new clients without having to do all the hard work like I did in the old days.
This will require an investment from me but I’ll gladly pay $5 to earn $20 all day long. So if you are considering this idea of reinvesting in your business growth is where it’s at.
So have you made any of these mistakes, or have you made other mistakes in you side hustle that have cost you big?
Feel free to share your thoughts, comments, and ideas below.