COVID-19 resources

How to Make Money on Your Own Terms

Alise Bailey, Editor
Square

Even before COVID-19’s impact on the economy, evidence was showing a rise in side hustles and the gig economy. Now there’s an influx of people trying something new. During an uncertain economic time, gig work and side hustles are growing in popularity, as they provide some financial stability and the ability to supplement cash flow.

If you’re interested in getting started with your own side hustle, there are a few things to consider.

How to start a side hustle

Start small

If you’re thinking about starting a side hustle, use this initial period of time to explore what you’re interested in. If you’re not sure what strikes your fancy, consider taking online courses or workshops to see what you really enjoy.

Meanwhile, do your research to understand local and online offerings, similar product mixes, and potential competitors. You’ll want to be prepared.

Find your niche

Ask yourself what you’d like your focus to be. Do you plan to branch out from your professional field, or try something new altogether? Is there something in particular that sets you or your product apart from your competition?

Whatever your unique (and maybe expanding) skill set, what ideas can you bring to the table? Maybe you’re solving a gap in your local market, or creating a product that you have looked for yourself and not been able to find. Whatever it might be, a great side hustle job is one that merges your interests with what you enjoy doing, or a product you’re passionate about.

Establish an online presence

Once you know what you want to do, and what you have to offer, you need to establish your personal brand and create an online presence. This is important. eCommerce trends are accelerating, and consumers are looking for businesses online. An eCommerce website is an important space to showcase your business, sell your products, and curate an online presence that’s all your own.

When you’re ready to launch, you’ll have a built-in set of customers. Here’s how to get started:

Remember: Even if your offerings aren’t finalized, social media offers a great opportunity to network with and learn from other entrepreneurs, and test out your ideas.

Build your skills

As you research your next move, don’t forget to start sharpening your business acumen. Learn more about how to run a business and the industry you’d like to join, and round out your specialized knowledge of your product or service offerings. If you’re a Square seller, you can take advantage of a three-month free trial membership to Skillshare, an online learning platform.

Stay flexible

You don’t need to have anything figured out right away. Your initial idea might change, and that’s okay. Be sure to start small, so you have the space to change things around. Ask for lots of feedback from friends, family, and followers — after all, they’re potential customers. Be open to changing things up, creating new iterations, and welcoming new ideas.

Get into the nitty-gritty

As soon as you’re ready to take the next step with your side hustle, you’ll need to register your business. You should also consider how you can get paid for your hard work, whether that’s selling products through your website and taking online payments, sending clients invoices, or sending customers a simple checkout link.

Think ahead

You might not be ready for a business plan quite yet, but you should start considering what it would look like. Where do you see yourself, and your side hustle, in a year? In a few years? Consider what growth means to you. Do you want this to be a way to earn extra money, provide financial stability in the event of job loss, or eventually become a full-time job? What you define as success and growth is all your own, so do what works best for you.

Whatever your plan for your side hustle, be proud of your hard work, and know that this is a way that you can make money — on your own terms.

Alise is an editor at Square, where she writes about how to start, run, and grow a business, highlighting our sellers around the world.