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In January this year, the Henley Business School reported that as many as 27% of working South Africans were rocking a side hustle. Newbie to all this? A hustle is an extra or side job people take on in their spare time, to raise extra cash, pursue their passions, or both. Sound good? Here’s how to get on board…

From humble hustle to fully-fledged bounty bringer

Aspiring entrepreneurs with a strong drive can look to a side hustle as a stepping stone towards financial freedom. Your side hustle can also allow you to focus on what you’re most passionate about if you don’t get that satisfaction from your full-time work. It can score you the flexibility (and extra savings) to travel the world, care for the environment, or pursue a heartfelt cause in a more meaningful way.

“All around us, we’re seeing how the humble hustle is taking on a life of its own,” says says OLX marketing manager Nicole Depene-Sander. “Technologies have changed, and as you scroll, you’ll start to see more side hustles that have become fully-fledged green-back bounty bringers. The gig economy has kicked into overdrive, and when a hustle hits hard, the sky is truly the limit.” But, in a world where everyone’s been there and done that, how do you take your hustle to new heights?

Nicole shares seven handy hacks inspired by successful side hustling entrepreneurs…

1/ Get your financial ducks in a row

What may start off as a little money spinner can very quickly hit a profit plateau. If you really want your hustle to bring in the hard cash, you’re going to have to do some financial planning.

It doesn’t matter what kind of entrepreneur you are, nobody ever made it big by ignoring the financial grind that comes with being your own boss.

The move to minding your own business needs to be slow, steady, and financially savvy. Avoid loans, use the means you have at your disposal, save those hard-earned bucks to build your hustle empire more each day. As your hustle takes flight, so will your disposable income.

“The key things to remember are patience and consistency,” said Nic Haralambous, one of SA’s most successful entrepreneurs, global keynote speaker and acclaimed author. “Take your time and be consistent. Anything worth building is worth building patiently and consistently. Don’t spend more capital than you can afford and don’t overreach. Take your time and build something of value.”  

READ MORE: 6 Easy Ways To Stand Out In A Crowded Influencer Market

2/ If it ain’t your passion, it ain’t going to be sustainable

There are literally hundreds of ways to make money. But, if you look at some of the side hustlers who’ve made it big, it’s clear that many of them didn’t kick it off with an instant money-maker – it was a labour of love.

Working extra hours over and above your day job is hard, not hanging with your friends on the weekend is hard, saying no thanks to chilling with the family over a braai is hard. But you know what’s also hard? Living with the regret of not taking your passion to the next level. You have to hustle with your heart, and if you do, it won’t be long until it’s your heart that leads your hustle. 

3/ Start with what you know and take it from there

Don’t lose sight of the fact that the very core of your side hustle is to build a business, plain and simple. Your side hustle, and its success story, is built on your skills – meticulously honed over time.

Now is your moment to channel those skills, your experience, your unique abilities and the passionate interests that will propel you into the fast lane.

Because you’re working on limited time, your side hustle has to start off incredibly simply. Don’t push too hard, don’t get lost in trying to learn an entirely new set of skills that you think people need – trust yourself and hustle with the skills that ignite you, and the spark will catch from there. 

4/ Sacrifice is key

Here’s the hard truth: side hustles take work. There’s no way around it, you’re going to have to make sacrifices. We’ve established that you’re going to have to take a pass on time spent with family and friends, but another big sacrifice that you need to be willing to make is money, and how you spend it.

Now this may seem strange, because side hustles are all about the extra bucks but, in the beginning, you’re going to have to keep your wallet safe and sound in your pocket because you’re going to need every cent to inject back into your side hustle if you want it to be more than a small-time gig. 

Sleep is also going to be a sacrifice that comes with building your side hustle. You’re going to be putting in the extra hours, and since there are only 24 in a day, you’ll have to sacrifice a few along the way. Get up early, go to sleep a little later, and use every extra minute available to you. Soon you’ll see those minutes turn to money and it will get easier.

In all, you may have to sacrifice more than just a little of your heart and soul, but if you persevere, remain relentlessly you and get over the breaks without stumbling and falling, the pay-off will be worth it.

READ MORE: One Of These 7 Money Tips Could Be Key To The Success Of Your New Biz Or Passion Project

5/ Reignite your financial future

These are interesting times, and all around us, we can see the effects of an unstable economy. Booming numbers in unemployment, the collapse of major companies, and salary cuts have become more of a reality. This is the time to take the bull by the horns and lay down financial roots because, within all of the uncertainty, there is endless room to grow. Advances in technology are making it easier to side hustle with little, or no overheads. Obviously, you can’t expect your side hustle to be an instant success, but it’s the most sustainable step towards reigniting your financial future.

6/ Take the time to go through the steps

So, you’re hustling like a boss, and you’re starting to see results… Think about taking your side hustle to the next level. Register your business, because even though you may not be building a full-on company, there are still great benefits for you. Your customers will see you as a top-notch professional instead of a one-man band, which builds trust and can broaden your customer and supplier base.

It’s important to understand the lingo that goes with registering your business, the tax implications, and the risks and responsibilities of being the big boss, but it can become confusing. You can find lots of useful info to get you going on the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) website.

Another consideration is opening up a separate business bank account. But when will you know if the time is right? Weigh up your spend and when your business expenses become more than your personal ones, take the leap. A business account will make management much easier, and you can write off expenses, as well as protect your personal finances. Speak to your bank about the benefits that come with a business account, and they can help you get the ball rolling. 

7/ You’ve already won just by starting

Don’t underestimate the power of taking those first few steps. They’re what will keep you moving forward to becoming a high-end hustle success story. Expand your interests, develop your skillset, take control of your dreams. Whatever you do, be intentional with the time you have, using the resources you have.

The chance to build a better life is on a platter right before you, so grab it hard and don’t let go because the ride to riches will probably be the most important one you ever take. 

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