It seems like everyone has a side hustle these days. Your brother is an Uber driver, your best friend runs an Etsy shop, and, heck, even your kid is getting in on the action with a lemonade stand. You find yourself saying to yourself, why not me?
And really, why not you? Perhaps you've looked at your finances and decided some extra income would help reach those goals. Maybe your side hustle is something you enjoy doing anyway, so why not make money at the same time? Either way, if you’ve decided to jump on the side hustle bandwagon, there are some items you need to consider before you begin.
1) You need to decide on a business structure
Once you know what product or service you will offer, you need to figure out the best way to manage it. Will you be operating solo, or have a friend join in? Where will you do business - online, in person, or a mix of both? Be sure to consider your current situation, and if you want your side hustle to grow into a full time gig, when deciding how to best structure your business.
2) Make sure you stay on Uncle Sam’s good side
Even with a side hustle, you still need to meet government requirements. Once you’ve selected the appropriate structure, you must follow the appropriate guidelines. For example, do you need a tax ID number? Are you required to collect sales tax? Do you need to register with any local government agencies? Some neighborhoods and HOAs restrict or prohibit home based businesses, so be sure to research your area.
3) You probably need another bank account
Side hustle finances should be kept separately from your personal and household costs. That way you can easily track the costs, taxes, and (most importantly) the side hustle income. Many banks offer low to no cost accounts for small businesses, and can also guide you in accepting credit cards as payment.
4) Take advantage of the great resources out there for you.
There are numerous resources available to help you navigate all these steps. SCORE www.score.org offers free workshops and individual coaching. The Small Business Administration www.sba.gov also offers guides and checklists. Searching social media can also connect you with industry specific groups, where you can ask for advice, refer business, or warn of scams.
Launching your side hustle can be a thrilling adventure. It can allow you to expand your creativity, boost your confidence, and give you some financial stability. So make your plan, get out there, and start hustling!
Jessica Neikirk is one half of The Cookie Pirate, www.thecookiepirate.com, a home-based business baking custom decorated shortbread cookies.