Do you have a side-hustle? Maybe your business IS your side hustle. And you know what? That is totally OK!

I recently read a statistic that made me really sad. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 60 percent of small businesses cease operating within the first three years of starting.

Why?

There’s a few reasons, but one common reason is that people run out of money. (source)

I have many, many aspiring business owners coming to me for branding help, with a small amount of starting capital and plans to quit their jobs and rent office space because they believe that is the only way that they’re business will be a success.

I strongly advise against doing this unless it really is integral to your business’s success AND you have the capital to sustain the business for 3-5 years.

My husband and I are both self-employed, myself for the past 5 years, and my husband just celebrated his one year anniversary of self-employment (with no plans to return to a salaried job any time soon!)

I believe the key to our success comes down to two factors: 

  • We have side-hustles, which means that we have multiple sources of income, we’re not relying solely on a our main business
  • We keep our costs as low as possible (both in our personal life and in our businesses).

My husband and I own two businesses between us, plus we have a couple of small online stores. In my own business, I do both project work and recurring work, so I have two different income avenues. As well as doing logo and branding and publication projects I also do graphic design on retainer, which means that I have clients that I do work for consistently each month. This means that I have regular income, so if a project has to be postponed or cancelled at the last minute, or I have a quiet month, I don’t have to panic. Before I had my daughter I used to do temping and contract work.

When I started my graphic design business 5 years ago, I had a part time job. It was tricky trying to juggle both, and it meant a lot of late nights (it was pretty common for me to be at my day job from 9-5pm and then come home and do freelance work until midnight).

I understand that it can be really hard to juggle a job and a business. And you might say that you NEED to work in your business full time, you NEED retail space and you DON’T have time for a side-hustle, and that’s totally OK. But please go back and read that statistic again:

“more than 60 percent of small businesses cease operating within the first three years of starting”

That’s a really scary statistic right? And maybe no amount of side-hustling would’ve saved those businesses. Maybe they had a bad idea. Maybe they just had no idea what they were doing. But I’ll bet that some of those businesses were amazing, and they could’ve made it if they’d had a bit of extra cash coming in to keep them going just that little bit longer.

If I’ve convinced you that you need a side-hustle, but you don’t have one, here’s a few ideas:

  • Sign up with a temping agency
  • Uber/Taxi drive on weekends
  • Work part-time or even full time and outsource lower paying work in your business
  • Create an online store with dropshipping
  • Teach others what you know – workshops/class/tutoring (this also shows that you’re an expert in your field)
  • Expand your offerings (eg. if you have a cafe you could also offer catering)
  • Create an Etsy store with “instant-download” products, so once it’s set up you’re earning passive income
  • Rent out unused space (eg. if you have a cafe you could also rent out your kitchen out after hours, rent out your excess office space, garage or spare bedroom – but please check council regulations and check tax implications with your accountant before you do this!)

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