How to Start a Successful Side Hustle in 2020

Author: Renée Kapuku, Creative Digital Programmes Manager, Supa Network | 4 mins read

This article was originally written on Medium

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

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Contrary to popular belief, starting your business, side hustle or money-making venture doesn’t need to cost you any cash upfront.

That’s right – it’s unnecessary to dredge up hundreds or even thousands of dollars as a mandatory prerequisite. There’s no need for an initial investment. Nowadays, all the resources you need are either free or a stone’s throw away. In fact, the true test of a long-lasting business idea or enterprise is how long it can run and how much profit it can make with low overhead costs.

I’ve been there before. You know – broke. In fact, I was well into my overdraft last summer as an unemployed postgraduate. I couldn’t start my side hustles or my business ideas with upfront money if I wanted to. I had some pressing bills I couldn’t even pay in the moment.

If I was able to turn it around, and make consistent profit from my ideas, I’m certain you can too.

Here’s why.

1) You can learn for free

There are so many platforms to learn from.

And the great thing is – you don’t have to spend a dime.

Gone are the days of needing an MBA or professional business qualification – you can pretty much learn almost all you want to know online. From YouTube to Google, there are endless free resources to help you start a business or your side hustle.

I literally spent all my free time researching how to optimize my writing for SEO, how to create a consulting business, and how to create course guides. I learned how to create a website, how to write invoices and even how to structure my enterprise from the glorious worldwide internet. I learned everything I know about my interests online.

Take free online YouTube courses, or set aside sometime during your day to do some research in an area of business you may have a weakness in. You’d be surprised at how much you can pick up from making use of these resources.

2) Creating a brand aesthetic is free

If you know what you’re doing, branding is free.

Most social media platforms are free. You can also use resources like Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver to create materials for social media. You can also use Canva, an online website that has thousands of pre-made social media and logo templates.

It’s almost too easy to create a relatively professional-looking brand with little-to-no monetary investment. All it takes is some time, dedication and shopping around a little. Check out some competitor brands, or brands you draw inspiration from. Figure out if you can use free tools to create your own.

3) It will teach you resourcefulness

Lack of money means you need to work smart.

It’s one thing to work with a small budget. It takes skill to work with absolutely none. If you can provide a value offering that sells and make some form of profit with no initial investment, that’s some serious business acumen you’ve got there.

It also means you can focus on creating a value offering that isn’t dependant on monetary investment — at least not in the initial phases. Whether it be building a solid community around a pain point, creating a prototype of a piece of tech to solve an issue, or teaching a skill you have mastered — if you can sell it with zero, you can sell it whatever the circumstance.

4) You minimize risk of low return

$0 investment means you have nothing to lose if you go bust.

Some of us are afraid of starting a business venture because we are afraid of losing money. Well, if you don’t have any, that eradicates the problem right? All you now have to fear is either making no money or making money. Lower risk in the initial phases.

Not so bad when you look at it from this perspective right?

5) It’s quicker to iterate

No monetary investment means you can change or pivot your business without pain.

If you’re setting up a business, the moment you introduce investors is the moment you introduce external accountability. That means, in all that you do and in all decisions you make, you have more things to consider. It’s quicker and easier to make cut-throat decisions when you don’t immediately go all-in with getting others on board. That’s one of the main advantages of starting small.

I hate to break it to you, but you have no excuse now.

You know that idea you’ve been holding off on? You know, the one you think you need $100,000 worth of investment before you get it all going?

Start. Right now.

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