How to Get Started on That Side Hustle You've Been Dreaming About
Do you secretly dream about opening your own arepas food truck, your own vintage-clothing company, your own beauty line, or any "your own" business? You're not alone — as it happens, people of Hispanic heritage opened more businesses than anyone else in the US last year.
If you're considering taking on your own side hustle (or even a full-time business), take some tips and inspiration from career coach and financial expert Catalina Peña. We asked her to share how to go from dreaming about that side gig to making it a reality. From learning how to establish routines and prioritize to easy ways to save money, this is all you need to get started.
Stay Positive and Enjoy the Journey
A positive mindset, managing time smartly, having patience, tapping into your network, and being open to learning new skills are things a future entrepreneur should practice while on the path to growing a business. Peña explained commitment and consistency are the most important qualities you'll need to make your project successful. "I see a lot of people starting side hustles and not committing to making it a priority, so the idea doesn't get the chance to flourish in a tangible way," she said.
Be honest and specific with your goals, and set a realistic plan with how much time and space you are willing and able to commit to this project starting right now. Peña said she's seen too many entrepreneurs-to-be get disappointed after their business doesn't grow as fast as they expected within the first year. This is what she calls a mismatch of expectations and resources.
"These two things will help someone set intentional goals for the business that will make the journey there an enjoyable experience instead of a frustrating one," she said. When those two are aligned, you can create more achievable goals that can lead you to success, even if it's at a slower pace.
Make a Plan and Stick to It
Planning ahead, especially when you still have another full-time or part-time job, is key. With your current schedule, how many hours can you dedicate to your side hustle every week? Take a look at your screen time on your phone to see how much you're dedicating to the apps that help make your business a reality (since we all know everything revolves around our phones).
Once you have that answer, to help you prioritize and not get burnt out, Peña recommends making a list of everything you need to do for your business on a weekly basis.
"Write it out one by one, and then put a number beside each task with the level of priority," she said. "Depending on how much time you have during the week, you can aim to get all the 1s done, 2s done, and 3s done."
How to Make Your Money Go Further
Creating a side-hustle fund is a great way to take action and stay committed to achieving your goal. Every month, set a manageable and specific amount of money aside in a new account to support your business.
Peña encourages future business owners to start by doing one-off projects related to your dream-side-hustle — meaning, do small projects that don't use up a ton of funds first and leave the major hurdles for when you have more capital. This way, you can actually try out what it would be like to dedicate more time to that hustle before using up all your extra money. Online resources and tools like Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, IFundWomen, and SavvySector are available to help entrepreneurs get started. An app like Acorns can help you save extra every month by making small investments easily from your phone without much effort.
Once you've set up this account, think about the daily ways you can start to save money. A little goes a long way! Maybe you can start making coffee at home rather than buying a latte at the coffee shop, or perhaps you can save by switching to a smarter phone plan and pausing some monthly and yearly subscriptions. Having this mindset allows you to use your dollars wisely and reinvest back into yourself.
Now is the time to dare to go after your dream goals, even if you're the first in your family to do so. "Being the first can be very stressful and isolating," Peña said. "Keep reminding yourself that you are doing this for you and your family's future, just like they and their ancestors did for you." So don't be afraid to fail every now and again, try out some ingenuity, and, above all, enjoy the ride.