It’s no secret that the best companies to work for want to see an unreasonable level of initiative and drive from candidates. In today’s competitive environment it’s not acceptable to just have good grades, employers want to see ideas, creativity and, most of all, action in areas outside of a structured education system. One of the best ways to demonstrate this is through starting a ‘side hustle’. A side hustle is different from a side project in that it has a specific purpose and it should take you to the outer limits of your comfort zone. It’s specific purpose could be wide reaching; it could be to make money, to prove or disprove a hypothesis or to validate a business idea but it’s usually something that you’ve done over and beyond what’s expected of you. It demonstrates passion, drive and hunger, and for any candidate looking to stand out in today’s competitive employment market starting a side hustle will blow away your competition.
We all need a side hustle
It’s not just job-seekers that need to start a side hustle either. Even if we’ve been working for decades, side projects are probably the best way to try and test out a new business idea. Even if you’re happy in your career it can be a contingency plan in case you face the threat of redundancy at work or it could be the perfect way to help you transition into a career you’re more passionate about.
What are some great types of side hustles?
- Setting up a blog
- Building or managing a community
- Web design
- Creative design
- Yoga/Personal training
- Running a supper club
- Copywriting/Content creation
- Starting a food stall
- Online shops on Ebay or Etsy
What should my hustle be?
The obvious answer to that is to ask yourself what you’d like to be doing?
Here are 5 key questions to ask:
- Could you do it on and off for the rest of your life?
- Are you good at it?
- Is there an audience for it?
- Does the reward reflect the effort put in?
- Does it offer you the flexibility you require?
That last question is important. A side hustle doesn’t need to necessarily replace your full-time job or study so you need to ensure you can adapt it into your daily life without too much disruption. The possibilities are endless, but whatever you choose to do needs to be based on what you like to do and what you know you’ll be good at.
Aligning your side hustle to your expertise
I have a background in recruitment so I always get friends asking me if they can look at their CV. It’s a problem that needs solving by someone that they trust. Assuming I liked the task of helping people with their CVs, one obvious side hustle could be to set up a CV reviewing service. As with any hustle the way to get started is to solve your friends’ problems first, hone your hustle then ask for referrals and start asking for money. Not only could it be a great source of income, but by charging people you’ll get real feedback and objections to test whether it could be a viable income stream or business in the future.
Some of the smartest people I know are those that are in jobs or full-time education but have ‘something else on the side’. They understand that in a rapidly shifting world they never know when their job may change dramatically or disappear. They also know that side hustling is a great way to stair-step to bigger things such as starting their own business. I know that when we are hiring at TalentRocket we always favour candidates who have started something outside of work or education. If you’re looking to get a job you really love then starting a side hustle could be your unfair advantage.
You can read more about side hustles and other ways to market yourself in Pamela Slim’s great book Body of Work