Any side hustle you undertake should make you extra cash or be a hobby or pastime that you’re building up to replace your current 9–5. This will go from the early stages, possibly just using your spare bedroom or garage as your base of operations, and then build up to a stage where you realize you could have something big on your hands. At this point, nobody would blame you for being overwhelmed and not knowing if you really want to take things further—or how you would even go about it.
While this has been pretty much an entirely solo endeavor so far, if you’re wanting to increase the size of your current setup, it’s likely that you’ll need to get others involved to help you. You need to pick carefully, as making the wrong decision could see all your profits wasted on a non-starter, or you could find that you’ve changed your side hustle to the point that you no longer recognize it. Again, the weight of this type of decision can force you into inactivity, which is clearly not ideal. To help with this temporary paralysis, there are some areas that you can start on that will be applicable to any type of side hustle you have.
#1 A financial adviser
Any expansion is likely to involve considerable expense, and unless your side hustle has been especially lucrative so far, you’ll need to seek additional funding. This can be something of a minefield, as getting the wrong deal could mean that you’re paying considerably more than you should. For this reason, finding the right financial advice to source your funding is essential, as is engaging someone who can assist with financial forecasting. Ideally, this expert will also be able to advise you with bookkeeping, tax planning, and making sure that you’re compliant with the relevant laws and regulations.
You might think that you only need a business-related lawyer to deal with matters affecting your side hustle. While you definitely should engage one of these, you should also consider legal experts in other areas. At the heart of it, your side hustle and anything it may grow into is based almost entirely on you, so you need to ensure that you’re taken care of. So, alongside any specialist business lawyers, you’ll also need to engage expert attorneys who can pursue a medical negligence lawsuit or anything else that keeps you out of your business for an extended period due to no fault of your own.
#3 A website developer
If you’re looking to expand your side hustle, then this will involve finding more customers. To cope with this, you’re likely to find that your website could do with an upgrade, as your existing one may no longer be fit for purpose. While you may have constructed your current website yourself using a WordPress template and some instructional videos from YouTube, it probably won’t be at an appropriate standard for a wider audience. Getting a professional website designer involved here is the best way forward as they can provide you with something that looks the part. You should also consider a website maintenance provider to make sure things stay that way.
#4 Invest in SEO
Once you’ve your improved website, you need to do what you can to put it in front of as many people as possible. Pay-per-click advertising will work in the short term but can be expensive, so you might consider a better strategy to invest in ways to help your website get found organically. When you engage SEO experts, they can advise you on what changes you need to make to your content so you stand a better chance of appearing higher in search results. They can also apply other techniques, such as backlinking, to help with your rankings for relevant search terms to your niche.
#5 Social media experts
If you’ve been running your side hustle as a solo venture, you will almost certainly have some form of presence on social media. However, as a lone operator, you might find yourself hard pressed to keep up with the needs of posting regular engaging content. To help with this, you could adopt one or more of the following strategies:
- Outsource the whole thing to an agency that will post on your behalf. As specialists, they may get better results in less time than you could achieve yourself.
- Change your strategy to intersperse sales-related content with more informational posts so potential customers find out more about you and existing ones don’t just scroll past.
- Engage the services of a social media influencer to showcase your products or services to their followers. This might sound expensive, but you could employ them on a commission-only deal.
#6 A real estate expert
Like many of the other experts involved, you’ll probably only need to engage a real estate expert for a short amount of time. You’ll need one if you’re thinking of relocating your expanding side hustle to new premises, as chances are, negotiating leases isn’t likely to be your forte. An experienced real estate expert will already have the knowledge and contacts needed to ensure that you get the right deal for your business now and in the next couple of years. You’ll have to decide how big your new premises will need to be, and then you can leave the rest to the expert.
As you’re taking on what could be your first commercial lease, you’ll also need to make sure that you have all the correct insurances in place. This should cover not only the premises that you’re leasing but also any people that you need to hire as part of your expansion plans.
#7 Human resources consultants and recruitment agencies
Along with negotiating leases, you’re likely to find that you’re out of your depth when it comes to the process of hiring and supporting staff. So, you’ll need to speak to recruitment agencies to help you hire the right people and also engage an HR consultant to recommend the right employment package so that they don’t leave. You’ll quickly find that employing people comes with its own list of challenges that you’ll need guidance with. This way, you’re able to support them and make sure that you’re not contravening any employment laws, albeit unwittingly.
#8 Customer service consultant
You may be very good at creating your product or providing your service, but you’re unlikely to be aware of the vital role that customer service plays in the growth of any side hustle. This is a specialist area where expert consultation is required yet is often overlooked. In short, if a customer has a bad experience with your product or service, for instance, during delivery, they’re unlikely to order again. On the other hand, if they have a positive experience, they’re not only likely to order again but also recommend your business to others.
You should consider the entire customer experience and ask a customer service expert how it can be improved. This could involve installing chatbots of different types to deal with initial inquiries and basic problems, as well as setting up an FAQ section. It might also mean that you set up a communication process where the customer is updated at every stage of their purchase and you ask for feedback afterward—which you must ensure that you act on.
#9 Logistics and distribution consultant
The scaling up of any operation is going to involve using more resources, whether these are the consumables you use or the products that you create and sell. To meet any additional demand, you need to examine your supply network, or if one doesn’t currently exist, you’ll need to put one in place that’s robust enough to work with your plans. This means that you’ll likely have to meet with suppliers and couriers. In such instances, having somebody on board with the relevant experience can mean that you end up with a better deal.
Getting what you want right at the start like this can mean that you pay considerably less for your materials in the years to come. It can also mean that you find a distribution partner that can offer competitive pricing, which could cut your postage costs and boost your bottom line.
So, to wrap it all up
Expanding your side hustle into something much larger is the dream of so many millennials. However, when faced with the realities and scale of the task involved, it can seem almost impossible. The way forward in such situations is to look for expert help in key areas where you have some serious but understandable gaps in your knowledge. It’s unlikely that you have any experience at all in negotiating leases or the hiring of staff, so it’s only common sense to get others involved here.
The same is likely to be true of your website and online presence as a whole, even if you do happen to have some knowledge in these areas. By getting experts involved, you can make sure that you avoid any potential legal and financial pitfalls and look forward to a more successful future as your side hustle grows further.