How To Use Your Skills To Create A Successful Side-Hustle

“In 2017 I will accomplish all my financial goals”, “In 2017 I will start my own business”, “In 2017, I will… (insert other seemingly far-fetched goal)”. If you’re anything like me, you probably have one of these as your New Year resolutions, and that’s admirable. However, it is what you do after making those statements that matters, not your intentions for a better life. Last year, I learnt that starting a side-hustle was the only feasible way for me to accomplish my financial goals. After all, there’s only so much budgeting one can do and a finite amount of Starbucks lattes that I can deprive myself of.

Your goals will likely involve increasing your current net worth or cash flow. So the question is, how can you earn more money in 2017 or create more streams of income or side-hustles for yourself by using the skills you have?  After all, you’re trying to be financially dependent and as Warren Buffett says,

“The average millionaire has 7 streams of income

  1. Figure out what you’re good at

The first step to starting a successful side hustle is figuring out what you’re good at. The biggest mistake you could make when trying to start a side-hustle is to do what everyone else is doing even if you have no skill in that area. Not only will you be miserable, you will make no money!

Making money does not have to be a pipe dream and you can make this process easy for you by finding out what you are naturally good at. Think about things that people usually ask you for help with. For example, do your friends usually come to you to help with their hair, paint their nails, or help them with their make-up for a special occasion? Do they usually call you for advice regarding career choices or choice of schools? Do your friends usually ask for your help styling outfits for important events? In case you didn’t know, people usually get paid to do all this and chances are you’ve been doing a lot of work for free for a long time. The first step to starting a side-hustle is thinking about and  writing down 3-5 things that you’re naturally good at.

Related: Goal Setting Is Not Enough

  1. Do your research

You now have 3-5 skills that you can potentially make money from. The next step is to vet these ideas and narrow these down to the best skill for your side-hustle. To do this you could rate your 3-5 skills (from step 1) by finding out:

  • How much you can potentially make from offering such services
  • If there is a market for such a service in your area
  • The kind of credentials one would need to be successful
  • Whether you can fit the time demands of the side-hustle in your schedule
  • The costs involved for the side-hustle
  • If you will be able to access customers easily

The point is to do enough research to find out if starting a side-hustle will allow you to achieve your financial goals.

My recommendation is to rate all the above criteria on a scale depending on their importance to you and give all the potential side-hustles a score based on the criteria above. This exercise will hopefully narrow down your list to 1 potential side-hustle (it is important that you choose ONE side-hustle). If all else fails, let your gut guide you in selecting your new side-hustle.

  1. Start small

Now that you have chosen what your side-hustle is, what do you do next? How do you start?

Let’s assume that you’ve chosen to become a makeup artist. The first step would be to tell people about it, in other words, market your services. This can be done by starting a blog, a YouTube channel, and/or social media pages showcasing your talent. By making yourself visible you’ve won half the battle! Contrary to what you may believe, marketing does not have to be expensive, in fact most businesses can get started with an investment of less than $100. You just have to be very creative! Most people fall into the trap of thinking they need to make huge investments to be successful, and they start by spending thousands of dollars on website design, photo shoots, marketing etc. However, most of the time this is just excessive and unnecessary spending. By all means, dream and have grand ideas for your side-hustle. But it is important to act small and stay within your budget, if not your side-hustle could quickly put you in debt.

“When starting a side-hustle, your mantra should be think big, but act small”

The most important thing is for you is to deliver! If 10 of your customers tell 10 of their friends about you, 100 people will know about you really quickly and so on. However, this will only work in your favor if people say good things about you.

In the first few months of your side-hustle, you should focus on making yourself visible and providing the best service you can possibly offer with the resources you have.

  1. Use resources available to you

By being creative, and making use of resources available to you, you will not only save yourself a lot of money, you might also be able to do things a lot faster than if you had to save money to take the next step for your side-hustle. For example, instead of increasing your marketing budget, try asking your friends to promote you. Instead of saving for months to afford $700 for your website design, try learning how to create one yourself or get a friend who has designed a website to show you how. The good thing about side-hustles is that you’re able to experiment and figure out what works for you at a very low cost. But don’t be afraid to leverage the resources you have.

  1. Be consistent

If you’re not going to be consistent, please forget about steps 1 – 4 and forget about starting a successful side-hustle. Starting a side-hustle is no small feat and you will have to make a lot of sacrifices to reap any real rewards. However, if you’re serious about taking charge of your finances and earning more, it is worth trying. I suggest that you spend at least 6 months fully committed to starting and growing your side-hustle. If nothing works, then feel free to drop the idea and go with the next best (from Step 2). You won’t be starting all over, remember you have 6 months of experience running a side-hustle! 😉

So tell me, what are your biggest challenges with creating a side-hustle?


P.S: This post was first published on

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Written By

Chinazom Chidolue is a personal finance blogger and an accountant. Growing up in a household with entrepreneurial parents, she developed a keen interest in business and finances. Chinazom combined her background in accounting and her passion for financial literacy and founded Investment Conversations: a personal finance blog which was created to help millennials take control of their personal finances by breaking down complex money topics into easily understandable and fun concepts.


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