A Side Hustle to Purrrrr About!
The definition of a side hustle “is a way to make some extra cash that allows you flexibility to pursue what you’re most interested in. It can also be your true passion – a chance to delve into fashion, travel or whatever it is you care about the most without quitting your day job” (Entrepreneur.com). My day job pays the bills, my side hustle pays my dreams. Choosing the right side hustle is just as important if not more important than choosing to start a side hustle.
Choosing to pursue a side hustle
The decision to take on a side hustle should not be one made lightly. A side hustle takes dedication and commitment for the rest of the 149 hours in a week not spent at your day job. Now consider 56 hours of that time asleep, 14 hours eating, and the rest free for you to do as you wish. By my math, that leaves 79 hours a week to dedicate to your side hustle. Remember, that is just the time you have after your 40 hour work week and sleeping and eating and other requirements that make us human (i.e. bubble baths!). It means working during the little time in your week where you would normally relax, hang out with family, or enjoy the pool. Which brings me to my next point.
Choosing the right side hustle
After choosing to pursue a side hustle the next decision to make is, What are you going to do? The questions you should be asking yourself in this process is: What am I passionate about? What do I care most about? What is my goal for this side hustle? Once you have reflected deep into yourself to figure out what you love to do, you start looking at how it can make money. You have to remember that something that was once just a hobby is now going to be a business and there are many pros and cons to turning your hobby into a business.
What is a Side Hustle To Purr About?
After careful consideration, I decided to turn my love of animals into my pet sitting and dog walking side hustle. I sort of stumbled upon the idea. Ryan and I take walks around our neighborhood almost every night and it occurred to me, why don’t I take the activity i’m already doing (walking) and incorporate something I love (dogs) and make a little extra money? Light bulb! I grew up with animals; I’m a friendly and approachable person. Starting this side hustle should be easy, right? Well not exactly.
I have been working at growing my dog walking and pet sitting side hustle for a little over 1 month now. Every night after work, I take walks around my neighborhood equipped with enough business cards to supply an entire job fair. My hopes that tonight is the night I will get a new client quickly fade as I drag my feet home. I set these ridiculous expectations of myself and then feel completely deflated when they don’t come true… Shocking.
A side hustle in need
I started noticing Ryan not wanting to go for walks with me after work. I didn’t have to ask him why, I already knew. I had turned our nightly routine into an all-out recruiting session. The purpose of my dog walking and pet sitting side hustle didn’t start out all about the money. I started out just wanting to get some quality dog time and maybe a few extra bucks. I quickly let the prospect of more and more money overtake me and I turned into the pushy salesman I never wanted to be. It was never about getting the most business or charging the most money, it was about helping out my community by providing a service that I also enjoyed.
Back to reality at last
Once I calmed down and made my approach more about the animals needs than my own, I actually started bringing in some business. People could tell I was really passionate about animals and I wasn’t just in it for the money. Within the first month of my pet sitting side hustle I have made a total of $350 and with summer and holiday season coming up I only expect that to grow. Pursuing and committing to a side hustle is a big undertaking. It can definitely turn that hobby you loved into something you dread. The key to a successful side hustle is balance. Here are my 10 tips for turning your hobby into a successful, thriving business
10 Tips I’ve learned about starting a Side Hustle
1. Be passionate
If you don’t love your side hustle, then you are not as likely to be successful. A side hustle is something you do outside of your 40 hour a week regular job. You’re much more likely to enjoy working after your 9-5 day if it’s something you love. Customers will also pick up on your passion and be more likely to use your services.
2. Invest in yourself
The best decision I made at the beginning was making personal business cards and flyers. The first thing people ask you when you say “I’m a local dog walker and pet sitter” is “Do you have a business card?”. Now I go everywhere with my personal dog walking and pet sitting business cards which make my memorable and accessible for future clients.
3. Find a Balance
Though side hustles do take a lot of time and dedication, there also needs to be a balance in order to remain sane. It’s okay to say no to an opportunity if you have too much on your plate! Take a break. A side hustle won’t work if you are hospitalized with exhaustion. Keep it light and fun.
4. Create a solid support system
There will be hard times ahead. There will be highs and lows like with any business. Surround yourself with supportive people and keep your head up. None of my success would have been possible without my support system.
5. Set a purpose and stick to it
Don’t let the excitement of the hustle override the purpose of why you started in the first place. It is very easy to get in over your head and try to take on too much. Set your purpose and stick to it. You will need to circle back to remember from time to time but that’s okay too. Refocus and you’ll be fine.
6.Do some market research
Get on Google and find out what is needed in your area. There are awesome websites and apps like Nextdoor and Meetup that help to identify what service is needed or missing from an area. If your market is saturated with dog walkers, you might want to think about other avenues if you are really looking to make a lot of money. But remember your purpose and if dog time is one of them, then go for it!
7. Start small
Going out guns blazing only gets you burned out. Start small and local. If dog walking’s your thing, try to get your first clients in your neighborhood or apartment complex. This sets you up for more success and less stress.
Breathe. It will be stressful at times. It will also be exciting and overwhelming and empowering! Harness all of those feelings and use them for good. Just remember to breathe. This is not your day job and everything will be fine.
9. Market yourself
So you are in the swing of things and have reminded yourself of your purpose once or twice, now it’s time to get yourself out there more and market your services. Put up flyers in your small and local circle, take your product to local farmers markets and see how to promote your items there, and stay active in your community. Go to local town hall meetings and meet your neighbors so you are a friendly face and not just a strange salesperson.
10. Check out online resources to help grow
There are tools and services online that take a lot of the legwork out of the hustle. I joined Rover– an online databases providing local dog walkers and pet sitters from all over to book at your convenience, pay and see referrals, testimonials and training. It is super easy and really nice for getting more clients. Anyone can sign up and it only costs $10 for a regular background check. They make it super easy to use and if you use my referral link below you get $20 off a pet sit and I get $20 for referring you to the site. Win, Win!
Rover Pet Sitting Services – Promo Code ALYSSAJOHN20