ll archives: How to Market Your Side Hustle

We all have a hobby that we wish could turn into a money-making machine rather than a money-sucking machine. Maybe it’s fixing up classic cars, repairing motorcycles, crafting or even cooking. But turning a hobby into a business can seem more like a dream than a reality — that’s why many people decide just to leave it as is and never do anything with it. If you haven’t already, we’re challenging you to turn that hobby into a real deal money-maker. It starts with imagining you could work that hobby full-time and make a good income. Does it excite you? Good. You can get started now with marketing your side hustle.

It all starts with marketing. That is how you take a hobby from spending to making money. People want what you do or create. Once you realize that, you can start to share it with the right people.

Sharing Your Product or Service with the Right People

The right people, a.k.a. the “target audience,” consist of a group of people who need or want your products or services. This part of marketing has a lot to do with thinking and researching. Imagine the characteristics of the people who want your products and services. This might be easy for you. If not, look online for your competitors. There may not be anyone who sells your exact products and services, but there usually are people with something similar.

Once you find that competitor, you can start to look for their consumers online. Look at social media accounts to see what people are saying, and look at testimonials for those businesses. You can learn a lot by what people say about a business.

Once you know who the right people are, it’s time to start presenting what you have for them.

Skip to the Free Marketing

Don’t spend your hard-earned money on traditional marketing. It’s expensive and often doesn’t produce the results that many people expect. Free marketing can bring you your first customers with the added benefit of being free.

Start online. You will need a website and social media accounts. Stick with Facebook, Twitter and, if your business has a lot to do with images, open a Pinterest account as well. This is particularly useful for people working in highly visualized fields, whether it be some sort of art or cars. If you’re tech savvy, you can probably put up a website yourself using WordPress. It’s user friendly and there are free themes available. All you have to do is plug your business’ information into WordPress and you’ll be set to go.

With social media, you just need to set up an account and start posting. Since social media is social, be sure to reach out to your consumers. Ask questions, say hello and get to know people. While many won’t be very responsive, there are others that will and those are the ones that could give your business that jumpstart it needs.

You can also use websites that are specifically designed to help you find work. For example, Elance, Upwork (formerly oDesk) and many others help freelances connect with clients. Sites like eBay and Etsy have also helped a lot of people market their side hustle. Look to see if there is one — or more — for your business.

Once you land a client or two, do amazing work and hope they send you referrals. You could also ask for testimonials, which you can then use to show people the quality of your work. This can make a big difference when growing your business.

Moving Offline

After you set up your business online, you can start to head offline to see if you get some customers.

Join your local Chamber of Commerce, as they have events and special workshops to help local businesses. You can also look into reaching out to local businesses to see if they would be willing to let you market to their customers by leaving a business card or some other way. Local newspapers aren’t pricey, so consider running an ad once you’ve made a small profit from the clients you’ve managed to get online.

Trade shows are another option. There are often events in local areas for people who want to show off what they sell. Look for some in your area by asking your Chamber Commerce, reviewing trade magazines or just asking around. It’s amazing how much you can learn about marketing your business in your area when you start to speak to other small business owners.

Give It Time and Let It Flourish Before Quitting Your Day Job

According to the Small Business Administration, it takes many small business five years before they are considered successful. Keep this in mind as you start marketing. There will be days that it won’t seem easy and you’ll want to quit, but remember your dream: the dream of actually doing something you love as your full time job. Let it help you move forward.

Don’t get ahead of yourself. You need your regular job to get you through the growing phase of your business. Hold on to it for as long as you need to.

It takes time to grow a business. And in that time, you will learn a lot. You will see yourself grow as your business grows.

When you reach the point at which you are making enough money on your side hustle to quit your day job, you’ll feel as though your dreams have come true. All of the challenges will seem worth it then.