1 Choose your hustle wisely
Over the past couple of years, lots of us have thrown ourselves into new hobbies – painting, baking and pottering our way through the pandemic – and many of these passion projects have been transformed into money-making businesses by budding entrepreneurs.
“Lots of successful businesses are launched off the back of an existing job or hobby, so this is an area where you can seek inspiration,” says Ben Law, vice president and head of GoDaddy UK and Ireland. “For example, will your skills allow you to launch a consultancy business? Or are you good enough at yoga to offer classes? Or are people willing to pay for the jewellery you make?”
If you have more than one talent, think about which one is most likely to sustain you through the ups and downs of running a business. You might be an enthusiastic knitter, but an absolute ace at bicycle repairs. Or perhaps you can upcycle a chest of drawers in the same time it takes you to bake and decorate a cake, but for double the profit.
“Some people who want to start a business think they have to come up with an absolutely original idea, but that isn’t the case,” says Law. “Just look at Facebook – it wasn’t the first social network, but that didn’t stop it achieving global success.”
2 Do your research
Without customers, your hobby will remain just that, so you need to make sure there’s an audience for your business.
“Which businesses or products do you use on a regular basis? Is there something missing from what they offer?” asks Law. Perhaps you’ve found yourself giving out free guitar lessons to friends, so you’re confident there’s a gap in the market – otherwise, you’ll need to embark on some market research.
“You need to identify your expected target audience, then find out if they’ll be interested in your business,” says Law. “A good place to start is by finding people who match your target demographic, and asking them to answer questions related to your business.”
Once you’ve worked out whether you can actually make money, you’ll be in a good position to embark on step three …
3 Produce a business plan
Few words can strike fear into the heart of a side-hustler as effectively as “business plan”. Breaking it down into manageable steps will make things easier, and there are some brilliant online guides and templates available to help you navigate your way through them. So although this part of the process is essential, it doesn’t have to be intimidating.
“The old saying ‘fail to plan and plan to fail’ is accurate,” says business adviser Polly Arrowsmith. “Among the main reasons for new business failure are lack of planning. A business plan is for you, and is a living, evolving document.
“Luckily, multiple platforms provide a business planning template, and you can then play about with your numbers without being a spreadsheet wizard. The key thing is to make sure that you know where the profit is being made.”
4 Get your branding right
It’s tempting to see branding and marketing as side issues that can be tackled once you’ve started making money, but your brand goals and values will inform every aspect of your business.
“A brand is more than just a logo, or your appearance; it’s the gut reaction of your target audience when they encounter your product or service,” says Arrowsmith. “Ask yourself: ‘How do I get people to feel a certain way about my offering?’”
Start by thinking about what kind of brand you want to be. Is your side hustle high-end and exclusive, or down-to-earth and accessible? Does it have an underlying set of values, such as sustainability, inclusivity, spirituality?
Producing a brand story that explains who you are, and why you’re doing what you’re doing, can help express your business’s personality. “As humans, we love stories,” says Arrowsmith. “So brainstorm, ‘What’s interesting about me, and why will this appeal to my target audience?’”
5 Make time for marketing
You need to market yourself and your business cannily if you want to cut through the noise. Setting up a secure, easy-to-navigate website that offers built-in tools for SEO, social media and email marketing is an easy way to cover all the marketing bases.
GoDaddy offers starter business websites with localised and personalised domains and a range of simple templates to suit every type of business. A 24/7 helpline means you can access advice and support on tap, and you can sell to anyone, anywhere, at the click of a few buttons.
“Having a business website of some kind is a crucial part of getting started,” says Law. “Whether you’re planning to sell your product or service via your site, or just want it to act as a brochure where people can go to find out more about you, it pays to get your site up and running early on.”
And if you’re not sure where to start, GoDaddy has plenty of online advice to help you get started.
To kick off your passion project, start here