Whether you’re looking to bring in more revenue or you’re simply interested in pursuing another passion, a side hustle can be a great way to diversify your portfolio and boost your personal brand. With that said, the decision to start up something on the side should not be one that is taken lightly. It’s important to look at where you stand in your main career to ensure that taking on a side hustle will not add too much to your plate.
For us, Where Will They Stay? was a work in progress for some time as we were (and are!) fully committed to our main venture, which is a full-service event planning firm. After reading the market and identifying its needs, we were inspired to start a service that specializes in securing room blocks for weddings and other special events. We started out by doing some one-on-one interviews with event planners to get their feedback on the desirability of a company that would work in partnership with them on this aspect. Once we got back a resounding ‘yes!’ from the planners, we ran our numbers for profitability reasons and, when they looked sound, we made the plunge and launched Where Will They Stay?.
Of course, every entrepreneur will have a different journey for their career path, but we tell our story with the hope to instill one important takeaway: starting a side hustle takes time, research and lots of advanced planning, so don’t assume that a great idea is all you need.
Challenges to Expect
Of course, no startup is without its hurdles, so expect to face some obstacles when you first start out. For some it may be carving extra time out of their already-busy schedules, while others may have to crunch numbers to ensure they can afford the expenses that come with launching a new business. One best practice that we recommend to others considering a side hustle is to make sure you have a solid team on board before jumping ahead. This means having employees and/or contractors to help you with the bulk of the workload, as well as consultants who can guide you in making the best decisions for your companies.
Our biggest challenge was focusing a niche and making sure it was wide enough to ensure the success of the company, while still narrow enough to eliminate some of the dangers of being all things to all people. We overcame this by setting parameters that would attract the ideal clientele, which, for us, was the community of event planners and venue representatives.
So, are you ready?
We hope you didn’t expect this article to tell you ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ because the only person who can answer that question is yourself. Are you ready to take on the dual time commitment of running two business? Have you run through financial exercises to ensure that you’ll be profitable within one or two years? Do you have a solid support group of friends and family members? Will you be prepared to handle the responsibilities of two full-fledged businesses once all is said and done?
If your answer to these questions is yes, then you can feel confident taking the first steps into your side project. If you answered ‘not yet,’ then look at what’s holding you back and address the issues before making the plunge. Regardless, we believe that everyone is capable of the side hustle – it’s just a matter of doing so when you’re fully ready.
Amy Green and Melanie Marconi are the founders of BDI Events, a full-service event planning company based in Los Angeles and Portland. They also own Where Will They Stay?, a free service which offers custom room block procurement for event planners and event venues. Key to their business model is offering referral commissions to those in the event industry.