Let me introduce you to a fellow side hustler…
Caitlin lives in Washington and works 40-hours per week as a Teller for a local financial institution. While she enjoys her job and the people she works with every day, she dreams of gaining some extra income to be able to travel and buy her first home.
As a skilled, self-taught artist and crafter she decides to start her own side business selling her creations on Etsy, alongside the development of an affiliate-marketing blog and video tutorials. While her side hustle has been widely successful in its first year, Caitlin is finding it difficult to keep track of tasks, have a manageable schedule, and reduce the time it takes to complete each customer’s order.
If you are like Caitlin and the other 45% of Americans with side hustles, you are looking for some guidance for improving your operational efficiency. You look to have better time management, improve your attention to detail for repetitive tasks, and continue to see uphill success.
To help you achieve your entrepreneurial dreams, this article will detail several approaches that help increase productivity and profitability for side hustles.
Invest in an office space
Whether you are a freelancing crafty entrepreneur, or running your real estate business on the side, having a dedicated workspace is essential to staying motivated and productive throughout each workday. Despite this, not everyone has the space in their home to maintain a complete side business. Side hustlers that are looking for a new office environment have a few options to choose from.
Full-service coworking spaces are a great option for many at-home, remote and freelance workers. Investing in a coworking space provides a calm and productive office environment with a comfortable, functional desk and workspace at a reasonable price.
Renting office spaces might be a great option as well. Take the International Workplace Group, also known as IWG plc, a flexible-office operator that joined forces with Instant Group to invest in the world’s largest online marketplace for renting flexible office spaces.
No matter what form of office space you can secure for your side business, the key is to create a welcoming and productive environment that will heighten your efficiency every time you walk in the door.
Have a digitally organized workspace
If you feel you are always behind on business responsibilities or are spending too much time on repetitive tasks, it is time to get organized with some time-saving digital tools. Written lists are great for setting daily goals and marking off daily tasks, but when it comes to keeping track of what needs to be done tomorrow or next week you want to have a dedicated digital tool that will make your life easier.
There are so many options these days for workers looking for tools and applications to fit their operational and organizational needs. For instance, to reduce the number of tasks left undone on your to-do list each day, consider a more organized method and learn how to effectively schedule your to-do list on your calendar. Using your calendar strategically and proactively allows you to utilize unproductive hours and repurpose otherwise lost time.
There also comes the need to quickly access a myriad of files, notes, budgets, contacts, and other business information. Much like organizing paper documentation, using folders and subfolders is a simple way to organize digital information. Likewise, using cloud storage, automation services and organizational applications, like Evernote, are great ways to have a solid workflow structure in place that will streamline daily processes.
In the end, having a digitally organized workspace allows you to be focused on the most important elements of your side hustle. Ultimately allowing you to be more flexible to unique customer demands and business situations.
Identify Workflow Inefficiencies
Whether you are just beginning your new side business or have an established business venture, one of the most important ways to improve your business’ operational efficiency is to identify areas in your routine and workflow. This could be the use of too many resources, too much time spent on individual tasks or projects or ineffective processes that are slowing down productivity.
In fact, having a side hustle that is well planned has been shown to also help you in your day job by improving overall performance. It is difficult to stay focused and productive in your full-time job if your side hustle operations are inefficient in more ways than one.
To determine what is and isn’t working for your business, start by outlining your workflow and management tasks, then write down each step of the process used to complete them. By having a visual representation of your workflow and processes, you are able to see where current gaps exist and where you can make improvements.
From there, you can create formal Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that will provide a go-to guide for quickly and effectively completing tasks. This includes how long the tasks should take and how you can complete them. While it may seem like more work to write procedures for yourself, in reality, it will save you time, money, and resources in the future. This will especially be the case if you decide to hire employees or are considering expanding your business in other ways down the road.
Learn from side hustle experts
You have probably heard of Chris Guillebeau, the New York Times bestselling author known for his successful blog and book, The Art of Non-Conformity, and founder and host of Side Hustle School. Recently he released his latest book, Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days, and it is an essential read for anyone looking to make lucrative income outside of their regular 9 to 5 job.
When you are building your side hustle, you want to create an additional stream of income quickly and easily alongside your full-time career. This may sound easier said than done, which is why Chris provides you with a detailed and effective roadmap for selecting, launching, refining, and profiting from your side hustle in just 27 days.
Take, for example, those hustling on the side in the world of real estate. This industry may seem intimidating for some, but many might not realize that through specialty resources and courses online curated by seasoned experts, they can often begin within 30 days. Many methods, like wholesale real estate and flipping properties using fix and flip loans, offer high-profit margins for side hustlers.
Seeing a quick return may seem impossible. But experts like Chris show us that having a well-thought-out game plan for your side hustle guarantees greater efficiency in your operations. Not being prepared will only make the daily productivity challenges of your side hustle even more challenging, but being ready for what is ahead of you will almost guarantee your ability to maintain the ebb and flow of your business. So, take a lesson from Chris and other side-hustle entrepreneurs that have learned how to plan and streamline side-hustle operations for you.
Network and expand your workforce
If you are lucky enough to have a successful side hustle, then you have probably noticed that you have more to do than the available hours. Delegating home tasks to your partner at home is a great way to provide yourself with additional time. Still, you should also consider hiring an assistant or bringing on a partner that can support daily work functions. Having the right help on your side can be a game-changer when it comes to running a successful side hustle in the long term and will prevent instances of burnout.
From the first day, you start your side hustle operations and begin networking with potential employees, customers, partners, and investors to support your vision of growing your business. At some point, you will need the help of others, so it is best to begin the process early for when you are ready to expand your workforce.
This particularly means learning how to build solid connections in your industry and working on building relationships with others in your community. Easily do this by scheduling events outside of your normal work schedule, joining groups on Facebook or LinkedIn, or attending conferences. Regularly interacting and engaging with others will deliver mutual benefits, such as gaining new advice and perspectives from like-minded individuals.
At the end of the day, the work you dedicate to your business is just as important as the efficient tools and processes you utilize. By focusing on essential elements of your side hustle, you will have the capability to keep your side gig running in whatever economic climate. This means looking at every aspect of your side business, including your dedicated office space, digital applications used to streamline and automate tasks, identifying workflow gaps and inconsistencies, and getting the right help when you are experiencing new growth.
To set yourself up for success, start by planning out your plan of action, then use your calendar to design a schedule that works best around your full-time gig and eliminate anything that will take away valuable time or resources from your side hustle operations.
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Featured Image Credit: Photo by Andrew Neel; Pexels; Thank you!