Side hustles are crazy popular these days, and are a great way to test the entrepreneurial waters. If you have one, you’re one of more than 7.9 million people with multiple jobs. Now is the perfect time to plan what you’d like to accomplish in the year ahead with your side hustle and what actionable steps will get you there.
Channeling extra funds into your side hustle can help you take it to the next level. But if you don’t have the money you need now, taking out a personal loan for your side business may help. Personal loans may be well-suited for side hustles because they are often smaller than typical business loans and don’t require a high level of collateral or profitability. All you need is a proven source of income — and that can come from your current day job.
With dedicated time, a solid plan and some sweat equity, you can make this the year you earn more while you get your business started on the side. Here are four ways you can use a personal loan to grow your side hustle.
Automate time-consuming tasks to prioritize revenue
Focus on increasing sales and output. Write down a tangible amount you’d like to earn each month. Be explicit and specific. For example, if you’re currently earning $500 a month, increase that to $1,000, and make a plan to get there.
To give you a better idea of what this means, I’ll share an example of my friend Steve, who writes for online publications as his side hustle. Steve knew that he needed more clients to increase his revenue.
Steve always prioritized 5 to 10 hours a month researching and compiling a target list of potential clients. He would then reach out to them, usually via email. Responses were hit or miss.
After a few years of using the same approach, Steve thought about how he could free up his time contacting clients and decrease the amount of time he spent on outreach. His goal was to spend more time writing and increase the volume of articles he was writing. He decided to take his well-researched client list and hire a virtual assistant to make calls for him. He didn’t want to email potential clients since the results weren’t yielding desirable results.
He gave the virtual assistant a sales script and found that after just one month, he was able to onboard three new clients — almost doubling his monthly side income revenue! Paying for a virtual assistant meant he was able to grow his side hustle’s revenue overall.
Make a list of what you can automate, outsource or stop working on entirely. For example, maybe you’re spending too much time invoicing clients each month. Paying for automated programs can save you time and money in the long run. Invoicing software such as Freshbooks (around $10 a month) or Quickbooks (up to $30/month) can help you quickly create invoices, send them out to clients, and track payments.
Build your brand
Growing your side hustle means you should think more deeply about the “why” of your business. Think about:
- Why is your product or service important?
- How are you sharing this vision with your customers or clients?
- Do you enjoy your side hustle? Why or why not?
After you’ve fleshed this out, add the “why” statements to your website and/or Facebook page.
And if you don’t have a website yet, you could use your loan funds to build one that truly represents your brand. Sites like WordPress or Squarespace are reasonably priced options to create your website. Both options are fairly inexpensive—you can create a website on WordPress for around $100. But if your side hustle is web-based, or you’re really serious about growing your brand, using your loan funds to pay a web designer to create a truly unique site can make your business seem much more polished and professional.
Grow your audience
When it comes to growing your audience, take the time to implement a marketing plan and start spreading the word about your hustle. If you’re completely new to marketing, consider enrolling in a paid course to learn the basics. You might use your loan funds to start a basic advertising plan, or contract someone to help with email marketing or social media.
Attend networking events
There is something powerful about simply being around others in your field. You’ll understand what challenges they’re going through, along with their successes and failures. It’ll also give you opportunities to make valuable connections. You may encounter new friendships, partnerships and mentors.
While many multi-day business conferences can be expensive, a personal loan makes those high ticket prices more accessible — and the connections you make could be invaluable to your business. Make time to regularly attend seminars, conferences and events that pertain to your industry. If you’re stretched on time, try to attend one a month or even one every quarter.
Ready for the next level?
You’ve already done the hard part of getting your side hustle started, so consider yourself off to the races. The next steps involve creating a solid plan to increase your income, boost your brand and maybe even turn your side gig into your main gig. A personal loan used wisely can help you really elevate your business but be careful and avoid taking on debt that you can’t afford.