My first business was a side hustle and it was a DISASTER, totally cringe-worthy.
I started with all the starry-eyed optimism of someone who had no idea what she was getting into. And it flopped because I made some critical errors:
1. I chose a business I wasn’t passionate about: While I really liked some of the products made by the company I signed on with, skin care and make up don’t get me excited at all. For most of my life, my skin care regime was cleanser + moisturizer topped with a swipe of mascara and lip gloss. The product lines I was selling had toners and serums and primers and foundations and a kaleidoscope of blushes and eye shadows—things I had no clue about and zero interest in.
2. This business required an investment of $800+ in product—not to sell but to have as testers and for me to try myself. This isn’t a huge up front investment for a new business, but given my financial situation at the time, it wasn’t exactly a prudent thing to do when I had no idea whether I was actually going to be able to make money from this business.
Confession: I still have some of those products under my bathroom sink.
3. I didn’t take the time to understand what it really took to make this kind of business successful. I didn’t do the research. I trusted the experience of the person who introduced me to the business (a friend who had the absolute best of intentions) and didn’t consider what it would take for ME to sell enough product to make money.
How can you avoid these are the kinds of landmines? Whether you’re eyeing up an MLM or planning to start something completely independent, here are some things to consider:
• Think beyond the money. While you are, of course, creating a side hustle to make money, deciding what to do based solely on how much money you think you can make could land you in something that’s totally misaligned for you. Don’t be dazzled by the potential income MLMs promote. It’s definitely possible but only if you really believe in what you’re selling and are willing to put yourself out there in a big way.
• Once you decide on a business, start networking. There are plenty of free groups that meet at all times of day, including in the evening, both online and in person. Yes, your friends and family could be clients, and you’ll burn through them pretty quick. You need to expand your network and networking events are a great way to do that.
• Find experienced support. If you’re joining an MLM, find someone in your upline to teach you the ropes. If you’re starting an independent business, figure out what you need to learn and take a course that teaches you. Any time you start something new, it’s helpful to have someone who’s navigated those waters before.
• Let go of who you think you are. Not gonna lie. This journey is probably going to be uncomfortable. If you want to build a business (even a side hustle), you need to step into an entrepreneur’s shoes and that may mean showing up a little differently than your tribe is used to. They might not like it at first but that’s ok. They’ll get used to it or they won’t and you can decide whether you want those people in your life.
I’m wiser and older now and I did eventually manage to create a successful side hustle for myself, which I turned into a full time graphic design business that I ran for 4 years before deciding to switch gears and become a life coach.
So if you’ve been toying with the idea of a side hustle, and want some support getting started, book a free strategy call with me. We’ll look at your overall picture, see how a business can fit into it and determine your next steps.