I get it. You're struggling. You really want to start your side hustle, but you're lacking the time to devote to developing it. You're already working full-time, trying to write a book, painting landscapes and looking after yourself with exercise, meditation plus taking care of your family. You don't have enough time!

I call BS on that right there. It's not that you don't have enough time, it's that you don't know how to prioritise your time, or you don't know what your priorities are.

[Tweet “It's not that you don't have enough time, it's that you don't know how to prioritise your time”]

We all have 24 hours in one day, how you spend those hours is entirely up to you. So, if you choose to watch TV for an hour each night, then that's great, but if you want to build a side hustle… wouldn't that time be better spent working on your side hustle and then when it gets to the weekend, you can binge watch your shows (at least that's what I do!).

This is something I hear a lot — “I don't have time to learn a new skill, or the time to figure out how to find clients or start my side hustle.”

Well guess what? No-ones gonna start it for you! It's up to you to decide whether you really want to start a side hustle, and that if you do, then you're gonna need to carve some time out in your schedule to do this.

And this is what this blog post is all about. How to start a side hustle in 30 days by following the steps below.

Starting a Side Hustle: Step by Step

Below is your 4 week plan on getting your side hustle up and running. It won't take you that long, but if you have this plan in place, it will make it much easier to achieve, right?

:: Week 1 ::

#1: Figure out your side hustle skill [2-3 hours]

Before you can even start to consider starting your side hustle, you need to figure out what it is you're going to do. Don't spend more than a couple of hours thinking about this. The plan is to get up and running quickly.

Pro Tip: Make sure to choose a skill that you don't need any training in, choose something that you're already good at. You can add to your skill set at a later date, for the purposes of this exercise, keep it simple and choose something that you're already good at.


#2: Figure out where your customers are hanging out [24 hours]

Are they vocal on Twitter? What about Facebook? Or do they prefer to share ideas on Instagram or Pinterest? What about Craigslist? Are they looking for help there?

Maybe they're hanging out at your local coffee shop, library or community centre. Think about where they are hanging out and start connecting with them there.

If you're connecting online, make sure that your profiles reflect what you want people to see. If you're not sure, check out this blog post about setting up online profiles the right way: https://hustleandgroove.com/tips-for-crafting-a-better-freelance-bio.

#3: Setup a simple website [2 days]

Think of this as your calling card, your online business card. Most people want to know that you're a legit person, one of the best ways to do this is to have an online presence. It doesn't have to be anything amazing, just nice and simple.

One of the best sites I've seen in setting something like this up is www.about.me — it allows you to set up a unique, one page site where you can direct people who want to connect with you or find out more about what it is you do.

You can add as much information as you want to your about.me profile and if you opt for the paid version, you got a few more bells and whistles.

Your other option, if you're thinking long-term or big picture, is to go for a free WordPress website. You can find out more about setting this up at www.wordpress.com — the beauty of WordPress is that there are a ton of free themes that allow you to customise your look and if you do decide you wanna go full time in your side hustle, you can convert this to a hosted site with a dedicated domain name.

:: Week 2 ::

#4: Advertise your services [ongoing]

Depending on your skill, this could mean advertising your service on a site like Craigslist or it could mean applying for jobs on sites like Upwork.

If you have more of an offline skill, then Craigslist is your best bet, or your local newspaper. This would include things like cleaning homes or offices, dog walking, pet sitting etc.

If you have more online skills, then applying for jobs on Upwork would be a great place to start. You could take it one step further and offer your services (both online and offline) on a site like Fiverr. Fiverr is a great place to start a side hustle, particularly if you've only got a few hours to spare each week to dedicate to your side biz.

A friend of mine has written a great resource on how to make it with Fiverr. You can check out the ebook on Amazon here.

#5: Land clients [ongoing]

Within 48 hours of advertising your services or applying for jobs, you should have landed a client. If you have not, then you need to look at a few things.

What have you included on your website? Depending on the service you're providing, your website should be professional while also demonstrating your personality. To get some ideas, you can check out my about.me site at about.me/LiseCartwright.

If you're applying for gigs on sites like Upwork, are you providing the client with the information they need? The focus should be on what you can provide them, not about your work history (a common mistake that freelancers make).

Grab a copy of the proposal template I use when applying for gigs. Download now!

:: Week 3 ::

#6: Organise your schedule [2-3 hours per week]

Now that you're starting to get some regular jobs coming in, you need to manage your side hustle.

I write extensively about how to do this in my book, Side Hustle Blueprint: How to Make an Extra $1000 per Month Without Quitting Your Day Job. But here's the premise of what I talk about there:

Utilise Google Calendar + Evernote

  1. Set up a new notebook in Evernote for each client or project.
  2. Create an ongoing checklist (with due dates) for each job.
  3. Sign up for a Zapier account (you'll need this to connect the two together.).

The only problem with using Evernote in this way is that there is no real way to view all your upcoming deadlines in a calendar format – yes you can sort by note title (provided you’ve set it up the right way), but it’s not an overall solution. That's why you need Zapier to make it all work.

Tips for a Quick Setup:

  1. Setup a new calendar in Google Calendar before connecting to Zapier. This will ensure that you don’t have any issues when trying to sync if you try to use an existing calendar. Make sure you assign a colour to this calendar so that you can quickly identify it from your other calendar entries – by doing this, you can also just view your client calendar entries only.
  2. Make sure that your Evernote notebook is set up the right way as well. Ideally, you want the deadline date in the note title, otherwise this won’t work as well.
  3. Create tags in Evernote and make sure that your notes are tagged appropriately. I use content type tags to identify which type of content it is going to, ie, blog post, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube etc – these are the tags I assign per job I'm doing.

Basically you add all your projects to Evernote with a deadline in each note title. From there, using Zapier, you connect a new Google Calendar to Evernote and Zapier populates your Google Calendar with the deadlines. If you've set up your Google Calendar correctly, you'll see specifically coloured items in your calendar.

One of the first things you'll need to work out, though, is how much time you can dedicate to your side hustle each week. Once you've got that information, then you would schedule all your projects into those times. So using your Google Calendar (the new one you set up) you would schedule ‘side hustle hours' throughout the week. You'll still see your deadlines, but now you'll also have chunks of time blocked out to achieve those deadlines.

Try it for yourself and ultimately, do what works for you.

:: Week 4 ::

#7: Rinse and repeat

Repeat steps 4-6 as often as you want to pick up new gigs or clients. It's up to you how often you want to be working your side hustle.

And that's it. 30 days and your side hustle is up and running.

All that's left to do is to ask yourself this question: “Am I really serious about starting a side hustle? Yes? Then how much time am I prepared to dedicate to this each week?”

Answer that for yourself and then get started!

Let me know if you follow these steps and the outcome in the comments below!

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Lise Cartwright
Lise Cartwright

Founder of Hustle & Groove and your creative business strategist. If you want to get notified of new posts just like the ones you see here, then make sure you join the awesome H & G community — Join Now!

    3 replies to "How to Start a Side Hustle in 30 Days or Less"

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