1. Get your financial ducks in a row
It’s important to take care of the financial and legal tasks, before you set up your side hustle. The first step is to incorporate your business so you have a business number and you can open up a bank account (this also helps during tax season, since revenue from your business won’t affect your personal taxes). Next, you’ll want to open a bank account and potentially apply for a credit card or line of credit, since you need to have a way to get paid, and to pay for expenses. If you’re starting the business with partners, you’ll also need to set up shareholders agreements. These might seem like boring tasks that slow you down from the important part (making money), but they’re imperative to think about in the early stages, and they’ll save you from headaches down the road.
2. Figure out how your business impacts your insurance policies
You’ll need to set up general commercial insurance when you start your business, but you also need to look into how starting a side hustle impacts your existing home and auto insurance. If you already have personal auto insurance and you
In terms of home insurance, it’s important to note that your home insurance does not cover your business - that’s why you need to get general commercial insurance. If you don’t have commercial insurance and just have home insurance, any equipment you use for your business is not covered by your policy in the event of a claim (for example, your laptop, camera, or sound equipment). Also, be aware that depending on what your side hustle is, you could have
3. Figure out your branding
Not every side hustle requires a brand, especially if you’re using a third-party platform to find work. If you are launching a business like a consulting practice, an online store, or another consumer-facing business, you’ll need a name and brand that are unique, memorable, and that match your brand personality. Since you’re in the early stages of your side hustle, you likely have a limited budget, so working with an agency (like the one I run - Eighty-Eight) probably won’t be a fit. You’ll need a great freelance graphic designer who can make you a modern and professional brand. You can find options by browsing portfolio websites like Behance, or by searching on freelancer platform UpWork.
4. Map out your marketing plan
Finally, you need to figure out how you’re going to get the word out about your company. Start by building your buyer personas – a description of the person (or people) who are most likely to buy your product – and understand where they hang out online and offline. Then figure out how you can integrate your company into their daily routine. For example, if you’re targeting parents of young kids, maybe you’d run some Google AdWords search ads related to your product, launch Facebook ads since you can target very specifically to parents of young kids, and work with some mom bloggers to post a review of your product.
The hardest part of a side hustle is figuring out what your hustle is - once you’ve done that, you can chip away at the admin tasks and get to the fun part: making your first sale.
Erin Bury is a paid spokesperson for Sonnet.