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It’s been a tough year for everyone, and due to circumstances beyond your control, you may find yourself reassessing your lifestyle. Perhaps you’ve gotten used to working in your pajamas, and the thought of the daily commute fills you with dread. Or maybe you’re now working from home and find yourself with some time to spare.
Either way, with the working world in turmoil and companies scrambling to create order in the “new normal,” there is no better time to start that side hustle you’ve always dreamed of and turn it into a job that allows you to work from anywhere!
Here are five steps to getting your location-independent side hustle off the ground:
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Choose your niche
Do you dream of being your own boss but aren’t sure what you want to do? It’s time to narrow down your options.
Make a list of all your interests and passions
Perhaps you’re a board game fanatic, love animals, enjoy gaming, are addicted to yoga, or are a coffee connoisseur. The beauty of the online world is that almost every interest we have can be turned into a side hustle.
Think about the audience you want to attract
No matter what side hustle you choose, you’re going to have to build an audience, so start thinking about the kind of people you want to work with. If your answer is “everyone,” you’re thinking too broadly. Instead, try thinking more specifically, like “men over 40 who want to get fit,” or ‘”couples aged 50 and up who love adventure” or “new moms who want to lose baby weight through yoga.”
Check out this Customer Avatar Worksheet to help clarify your ideal target market.
What are you already good at, or what do you have a desire to learn more about?
What strengths and skills do you already have that you could leverage, or what are you prepared to immerse yourself in to learn more about? For example, you could create a brand around your journey to become a yoga teacher, building up an audience for your teachings as you become more experienced.
This is how I’ve built all of my online businesses: I immersed myself in what I wanted to learn and taught others as I gained experience, creating a large audience of new business owners who followed my journey. Don’t be put off by what you don’t know yet. As long as you’re willing to do the work, there’s no reason you can’t teach others as you learn.
Choosing your business model
All online side hustles can generally be grouped into three main business models:
- Information marketing: Selling digital products online such as video courses, e-books, training guides and books.
- Serviced-based business: Selling services such as freelance writing, web development, graphic design, social media management, coaching, etc.
- E-commerce: Selling physical products via your own website or on Amazon, Etsy, eBay.
The information marketing model lends itself to someone more front-facing who wants to become a public figure or influencer. You’ll most likely showcase your expertise via blog posts, videos or podcasts. If becoming the “go-to” person for your specific niche appeals to you, this could be the model for you.
The service-based business model is probably one of the fastest ways to generate a job-replacing income, provided you come armed with skills. For example, if you’re a great writer, excellent on social media, or build websites for fun, you can quickly advertise your services on the many freelance websites online, such as Upwork or Guru and start to pick up paid work from day one.
The e-commerce model lends itself to a more data-driven person. Your primary focus is on driving traffic to your e-commerce store, most commonly achieved using paid advertising strategies.
When you’re just starting out, it’s essential to start with one of the above models, especially if you’re building this hustle alongside your day job. You only have a finite number of hours in the day, and focus is critical, so think about the niche you want to pursue and the business model that would most suit your personality.
Which brings us to…
Plan for profit
While it’s great to start a side hustle based on something you’re passionate about, you must also focus on how you intend to monetize your side hustle from day one.
The best place to start is to calculate your “ideal lifestyle budget.”
Ask yourself how much you need to replace the income from your day job in order to live your ideal lifestyle. Get specific here. Add up all your current costs and any extras that would make up your optimal life (i.e. a new car, experiential events, etc). Then, calculate your ideal monthly income number. You’ll be surprised to find it may not be as much as you think you need!
Then, look at examples of other brands and businesses in your niche to see how they’re making money.
Here are some examples of ways to make money in each of the above business models:
- Information marketing: Consider sharing your photography expertise, monetizing your business via photography or photo editing courses online.
- Service-Based Business: Create a website for your freelance writing services where you’ll help others become successful, professional writers through the services you offer like copywriting and coaching.
- E-commerce: Will you sell products on your own website, or will you use a platform like Shopify or even Etsy? Or will you consider making passive income through dropshipping?
Build your audience
As with your business model, it’s best to start with one platform for building your audience. You may think you need to be everywhere, but you’ll get much further if you focus on and master one platform at a time. Put all of your attention and effort into your platform of choice before trying to diversify by growing onto other channels.
Grow your income
Once you know your niche, your audience, your model and your audience building platform, it’s time to put your plan into motion.
All too often, we get distracted by lots of little things we think are essential, but they take us away from focusing on that all-important 20 percent, which genuinely moves the needle in our business.
- If you choose the information marketing route, your focus will be on building your audience and creating digital products by way of courses, e-books and training on subjects your audience has told you they need and want.
- If you choose the service-based business route, you’ll focus on finding clients who require your services and then completing their work to the highest quality.
- If you develop an e-commerce business once you have your products ready for sale, the bulk of your focus will be on driving traffic to your site and increasing your conversion rates and average order value.
The key is to laser focus on the tasks which generate results and outsource or filter out the distractions.
Work from anywhere
Ten years ago, my family and I started traveling the world and have visited and lived in over 30 countries while building six-and seven-figure online businesses from wherever we lay our laptops. Starting a job-replacing side hustle will give you the freedom to work from anywhere in the world, whether that be your kitchen table or a beach in Fiji.
Never has there been so much opportunity to become a master of our own destinies, so start your entrepreneurial journey today and make it happen!