For many Australians, our passions go well beyond our day jobs – and turning them into viable business ventures has never been easier. Last year, my company’s research found that 1 in 4 small business owners started their venture as a side project while being employed elsewhere. And research commissioned by the NBN revealed that 80% of Australians are embracing the side-hustle – taking on extra money-making projects outside their day job –to gain greater fulfilment than they can find in the office.
It doesn’t take much time or effort to get started with your own side-hustle. Turning it into a business success story, however, takes a fair dose of perseverance and planning. Here are three tips to help your business thrive:
1. Invest in your digital real estate
Most side-hustles are born and live online, giving their founders the flexibility to operate in and around their regular office hours. Despite this, many aspiring business founders overlook the importance of a website and social media channels. In fact, 61% of small businesses in Australia still don’t have a website – putting their visibility to customers at a significant disadvantage to those which do.
When starting up your side-hustle, take the time to establish a website that’s simple to navigate and a domain name that’s easy to find. Platforms like WordPress make doing so easier and cheaper than ever before, requiring little to no technical knowledge to get a professional-looking site up and running. While you may not need an account on every social media platform, you should have a presence on the channels where your customers tend to go. Fashion and culinary businesses, for example, should consider Instagram a must-have to show off the quality of their products.
2. Automate your digital marketing
Side-hustles promise to turn lifelong passions into fulfilling sources of income, but for most Australians they won’t totally replace the standard day job. To avoid the side-hustle drawing too much time away from your main career, founders should consider automating as much of the business as possible. This isn’t as hard as it may sound – numerous tools and tricks exist to take the hassle out of pursuing your passion.
Digital marketing offers some low-hanging fruit for automation. Apps like Buffer, Tweetdeck, and even Facebook Pages can schedule your social media posts well in advance, minimising the time needed to maintain your social media channels every day or week. If your side-hustle involves taking online orders for digital products, like e-books or software, you can tweak email auto-responders to send your customers their product every time an order comes in, or use platforms like Mailchimp to manage more complex orders. Simple automated processes like these ensure that side-hustles provide the flexibility that most Australians start them for.
3. Maintain good (selling) habits
No side-hustle lasts long if it doesn’t turn a profit, and doing so requires founders to exercise discipline in their marketing and selling. For service providers using online marketplaces like Freelancer and Airtasker, set a regular time to look for new jobs that you might bid for, or give yourself a target number of bids to submit every week. Those selling products, either physical or digital, should make a point of running a certain number of online or social campaigns every month, or contributing a certain amount of content to forums or channels which prospects frequent.
Having a strong website and social media presence makes a big difference to getting potential customers engaged. So too does establishing good selling habits and sticking to them. With the right digital assets and a little bit of discipline, any Australian can make their side-hustle into a sustainable source of income and enjoyment. It may not replace your 9-to-5 career, but the side-hustle can provide something many jobs can’t – a sense of true ownership and purpose.
About the author
Tara Commerford is the Vice President and Managing Director (ANZ) of GoDaddy. In her roles, she is responsible for establishing the company’s operations in Australia & New Zealand, accelerating business growth and promoting GoDaddy’s products and services, including domain name registrations, websites and SME productivity tools.