Rise of the pandemic side hustle: tips for going it alone

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There’s no denying that the impact of the pandemic has been tumultuous for the Australian economy. However, one positive outcome has been the emergence of innovative small businesses. Research from ASIC revealed a 33 per cent increase in new business registrations during the pandemic. And this isn’t a trend limited to Australia, it’s global.

The emergence of the pandemic and associated restrictions resulted in soaring unemployment figures, causing many workers to find new ways to support themselves during uncertain times. New analysis reveals that Australian freelancers are among the top-earning in the world, earning an average of $766 per job when it comes to completing work on the freelance marketplace, Fiverr.

Although knowing how to kickstart a small business during a period of great uncertainty can be a daunting task, the growing trend of side hustles is predicted to continue booming. Here, we explore the rise of the side hustle and dig into the top tips for making it alone.

Spend money on efficiency

When launching a small business, it can be tempting to do everything yourself. It can be easy to value money over time, however, a side hustle in particular means limited time. Investing in technology and digital tools can make a world of difference and can allow you to remain focused on the activities that are both fulfilling and generate revenue.

From driving efficiencies with fewer resources, to targeting new digital audiences and getting your product or service in the right hands, technology can be leveraged to simplify processes and drive business growth. Take stock of all your processes and consider what can be automated, such as lead generation and nurturing, email marketing, social media brand awareness, content marketing and invoicing.

Thanks to the democratisation of software, artificial intelligence (AI) tools have a key role in levelling the playing field, helping small businesses reduce manual work, automate processes and improve efficiencies.

Dream big but focus small

As a new small business during COVID-19, it may not be possible to serve a million people face to face. However, for side hustlers looking to carve a niche for themselves amid other competing voices, going online is critical and can provide a vehicle for reaching a much larger audience.

On average, Australians spend 5.5 hours per day on their phones. More than half of this time is spent on social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok and Instagram. As such, promoting your services and products online opens up a whole new realm of potential customers you may not have the opportunity to interact with in a physical context.

Create firm boundaries

If you’re juggling a day job with a side hustle, it can be easy to get caught in the spiral of working all hours of the day and night. This can lead to increased stress, burnout and reduced productivity. So it should come as no surprise that creating strong boundaries may accelerate your progress, while also helping to support a healthy work-life-side-hustle balance.

Learning how to manage your side hustle schedule will empower you to avoid stretching yourself too thin by working 24/7. It’s important to be intentional and clear about the hours you’ll work and be firm with boundaries around overtime. Leaning into technology to automate processes and improve efficiencies will allow you to be more productive in the time you do have, support creativity and help to make strategic decisions that will grow your small business.

For many people, their passions extend well beyond their day jobs and there’s never been a better time to transform these passions into active side hustles. Transforming a side hustle into a business success story requires perseverance and planning, which is where innovative technology comes in to help drive efficiencies, generate business growth and support a healthy balance between work, life and side hustle.