Side hustles are almost synonymous with being South African. From magwinya by the side of the road to buying and selling second-hand clothes or furniture, we make plans. Let’s look at how to hustle with a plan.
- Sibongile Maake has an engineering degree, but these days she runs a co-op that raises and sells thousands of chickens. Stuck at home, during lockdown Sibongile decided to look into chicken farming. She did an online course, watched loads of YouTube videos, joined social media groups, and took the plunge.
Sibongile shared her journey on social media and soon people started asking her for advice, so she put an online course together. This generated a handy income while her chicks grew.
Soon she realised that there were many other people who, like her, wanted to grow their businesses but didn’t have the land and equipment to do so. Sibongile responded by bringing farmers together in co-ops. Her dream is to eventually have a network of co-ops that raise and sell chickens to customers across the country.
- Google Babes Wama Veges and you’ll meet Ntombi Mahlangu, a trained IT technician and an entrepreneur who started growing vegetables and selling them on social media and on the streets during lockdown and has built a thriving business.
- Thokozani Dlamini is an installer for an electrical company, his side hustle is supplying customised flowers for funerals, while Noma Sikhosana started selling cosmetics at work when her husband lost his job.
How to start a side hustle
These examples show the many different forms a side hustle can take. Here are 10 steps to follow when you want to start your own:
1. Find the gap in the market
Most side hustles involve buying and selling something, and very often that something is food. The secret to success is to offer something new and different, otherwise you have to be the cheapest to get customers, and that’s no way to make extra money.
2. Understand what your customers want
Although many people love magwinya, there are many others who want to eat healthier or who may have a food allergy. If you can meet these people’s needs with a different magwinya recipe or a different snack, you could be onto a successful little business.
3. Know what you are good at
It’s no use starting a cake business when you hate baking. Maybe your strength is managing money, so your side hustle could be to help other small entrepreneurs with their bookkeeping. Knowing your strengths will help you find opportunities.
4. Have a marketing plan
We’re not talking about 20 pages with graphs and pie charts, but you must know how you are going to reach your customers. Will you advertise on Facebook and Twitter, or hand out flyers at the office (with permission, of course!)? You must know before you start.
Again, it’s not about complicated spreadsheets, but you have to run the numbers to know how much money you need to make for the business to be worth your while. Remember that guy who’s good with numbers we mentioned in point 3? Here is where you want to talk to him.
6. Budget again, work in your return on investment.
Yep, call that numbers guy!
7. Don’t go into massive debt.
This is very important. If you want to start a cooking business, use the stove you have – don’t buy new equipment until you can pay for it from your profits. Side hustles are all about making money with what you’ve got.
8. Expect a bump or two.
Maybe you’re lucky and everything goes well from the start; maybe not. Whatever happens, roll with the punches and don’t give up at the first hurdle.
9. Learn from your mistakes.
It’s not good enough to simply try again; you must work out what the problem was and solve it before you press the reset button.
10. You don’t have to do it alone.
If you want to start a side hustle but you don’t have the time, how about going into partnership with a friend who has the time but needs help to get going. Just make sure you put a written agreement in place.
A side hustle can be a great way to boost your cash flow, and give you the chance to pursue a dream or develop new skills. Go about it the right way and you could even end up building a business that employs other people.