Tricks to grow your small business fast and make more money!
If your side hustle isn’t making as much money as you expected, I’ve got 10 business hacks to break you out of that funk, grow your side hustle and make more money.
I’ve used each of these ten ideas to grow my monthly income from nothing to over $10,000 a month in just a few years. It wasn't always easy but these ten growth hacks are proven to build momentum in your business.
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Side Hustle Hurdles
If you’ve been watching our side hustle series, you discovered in that first video how to find the perfect work from home idea for you. We talked about narrowing that list of 101 side hustle ideas and which one fits your goals.
Then in the second video, I showed you how to find more time in a busy schedule. I revealed those five productivity hacks to get more from that time.
But we’ve still got one more challenge to your work from home success. In that survey of the community a few weeks ago, you told me another hurdle was managing and growing your side hustle.
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That’s what we’re going to do in this video, show you how to grow a side hustle to replace your 9-to-5 job. Whether you’re just starting out or have hit a plateau in your profits, I’ve got 10 hacks that will drive your income higher.
First though, I want to go back to your feedback here. What has been your biggest obstacle to starting or growing a side hustle idea? What are those one or two reasons that have stood in your way? This helps to give me ideas for what videos are going to help you the most so scroll down and share those in the comments below.
Why You Need a Side Hustle
For many people, the idea of working two jobs to make ends meet is long gone. When you're living in a post-recession society like this one, it seems like everyone has found their niche and settled into it. People are happy with their 9-5's, content with how life is going.
Unfortunately, that means that your average person doesn't see the harm in doing things like overspending on credit cards or not saving for retirement . When your lifestyle matches up pretty nicely with what you're bringing home every month , it's easy to get complacent.
A lot of people say that a secondary source of income isn't necessary—that you should be satisfied with what you've got and not try to get more from life than you're currently receiving. But these people miss out on a lot of opportunities to improve their lives, and it's because they aren't willing to step outside their comfort zone .
Side hustles can be a great way to improve your quality of life from the inside out. With the right side hustle, you can bring in as much as ten times as much money as you do now—and that might sound like pure fantasy, but believe it or not , it's actually pretty easy once you put your mind to it.
But before we get into the reasons why a side hustle is so important, let's talk about what a side hustle actually is . A side hustle is any kind of small business that brings in supplemental income on the side of your regular job. It could be anything from freelancing to pet sitting to starting your own business.
The great thing about a side hustle is that it's completely customizable to fit your needs . If you want to make more money, then you can find a hustle that pays more. If you want more freedom in your life, then you can find a hustle that gives you more flexibility with your time.
Grow Your Side Hustle from a Freelancing Job
The first hack and this one is going to help you build up that income to the point you can quit your job is using the freelancer to entrepreneur model.
In any side hustle, whether it be selling online or tech development or blogging, there are skills you can freelance. We’re talking doing projects and regular work for others for $30 and $40 an hour. This is how I started, doing freelance investment analysis and writing in 2012 while I built up my own blogs and online assets.
The power of this hack is that you start making money immediately with freelancing while your own business grows to make that long-term money. You can find side jobs on sites like Upwork or other apps for freelancers. That freelancing money will mean you make that transition to full-time work from home much faster and can really start to build your business.
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Grow Your Side Hustle from One to Many
Next here is to shift from a one-to-one business model to one-to-many.
This one is about growing your income, taking it to that next level after you’ve started. I know a lot of you are going to start out doing coaching or consulting or even that freelance model where you help one customer at a time. That’s fine to start and it means you can provide some great customer service.
The problem is you’re always going to be trading your time for money. You’re limited to the money you make by your available time. You need to increase the number of customers you serve in that time.
There’s two ways you can shift to a one-to-many business model.
First, if you’re doing consulting or something like that, you can start doing group consulting or masterminds. Instead of a call with just one person, you meet with four or five at a time.
Now maybe you drop your rates a little since it’s not that one-on-one service but you’re still making much more money. For example, if you charge $50 an hour for one-on-one coaching, you can drop that to $35 an hour for groups of four and boost your income by almost three-fold!
The other way to move to that one-to-many model is to template as much as possible in your consulting or products. So I’m thinking here, if you have a report you provide to clients, then you make as much of it as possible a standard report. From there, you can just fill in the spaces customized for each client.
This is what we did when I worked as an economist for the State of Iowa. We had reports to produce for dozens of regions and sometimes 99 counties. The only way we could get it done was to create a standard report and then fill in the customized pieces for each.
Grow Your Business by Reinvesting in It
The third hack, and this is one I see most new business owners miss, is reinvesting in your business.
I know the idea is to pay your bills with the side hustle, to quit your job and live off your work from home business. Don’t fall into the trap made by so many entrepreneurs, spending all your profits.
You need to aggressively reinvest, especially in those first few years. I’m talking buying software, products you can sell, assets and bringing on people to help grow the business.
There’s a huge shift in the new service economy and today’s side hustle opportunities versus the old school models.
Something that shocked me reading Phil Knight’s memoir of growing Nike and Richard Branson’s autobiography is how close to bankruptcy these companies were for years, even decades. They reinvested every penny back into the business, Nike doubled its sales every year for nearly a decade. That meant they almost never had free cash flow and it put their business at risk but I there’s a lesson here for today’s entrepreneurs.
In a lot of those side hustle ideas we talked about in the first video, you’ve got almost no business costs. In a lot of online businesses, you can take almost all your revenue and use it for your own personal living expenses. Take it out of the company and spend it.
That is NOT going to grow your business! You don’t have to reinvest every penny but you need to be finding new projects and assets that will help grow your sales in the future. Now I’d say a minimum to reinvest would be 25% of your profits but I’ve seen a lot of entrepreneurs that aim for putting 50% of their profits back into the business.
How to Use a Mastermind Group to Grow Your Business
Fourth business hack and this is a fun one, go to a conference or connect with a mastermind group.
I started going to an annual conference of financial bloggers in 2015 and I can honestly say it’s meant the difference between success and failure for my business. Besides learning constantly from this group, it’s a source of motivation and support that you just don’t get much with an online business.
Traveling to a conference can be a pretty big expense. Remember you can deduct that off your business income for taxes but it might be a year or two before you can afford it. Highly recommend it though, find a conference in your niche and get to know the people.
Less expensive but also worth it is joining a mastermind group. This is a small group, usually four or five business owners, that meet weekly or bi-weekly to help brainstorm and work through problems.
Now we talked earlier about setting up your own groups for clients but you can find these mastermind groups that don’t charge as well. Sometimes if the group is set up by a superstar or if they do a lot of work managing the group, maybe they’ll charge a monthly fee but a lot of times these are just a group of friends doing a group call.
Just like the conference idea, this is so much more than just the advice and extra money you’ll make. And you will grow your business. These groups are like getting three or four business consultants for free. But the groups are also a great source of motivation and support.
Learn When to Turn Down Business
The next business hack is going to be learning to say NO!
Always be thinking about that 80/20 rule of business. That’s the Pareto Principle that says 20% of your work produces 80% of the results but it also means that other 80% of your effort is only producing 20% of the results.
We talked a little about this in the last video on getting the most from your limited time and there’s two ways it can help grow your business.
First is to understanding that part of your business, the work that produces the most profit. For me, it’s getting down and creating these videos and writing blog posts. I can do all the social media posting, answering emails and tracking analytics I want but if I’m not doing that core part of creating videos, I’m not going to grow my business.
Once you understand the 20% of your business that produces the most growth, you can shift more time to doing that. Reevaluate some of the other tasks and maybe even cut them out completely.
You might even start saying no to clients. I started out in that freelancer model but started shifting to focus on my own business within a couple of years. It was at that point that I had to start cutting freelance clients to free up the time for higher-profit projects.
This is a tough one for a lot of entrepreneurs. It feels weird to cut a client but understand those time limits and that spending time on higher-profit projects means more money. It’s not a matter of working more hours, it’s a matter of allocating your time for the fastest growth.
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Using Strategy to Grow a Side Hustle
Start spending two hours a week planning and creating a strategy.
As a new freelancer or entrepreneur, a lot of times it’s all you can do to keep up with the work you have. You’ve got a list of weekly work that consumes all your time. Running four blogs and a YouTube channel, sometimes it feels like a race just to get my three videos and blog posts done each week.
But getting trapped into this weekly routine means you’re not growing like you could. If you’re just doing enough to keep your head above water, you’re not swimming to the shore and it’s always going to feel like you’re drowning.
Put strategy on your schedule. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, maybe a couple of hours each week. Best practice would be to do it just before a mastermind group so you can bounce your ideas off the group.
During this strategy session each week, think about your process for each task and how to improve it. How can you make each task faster and better? Think about the different income sources you’re using, how to prioritize the best and grow them. Create those short-term weekly and monthly goals that will motivate you and feed into your long-term business goals.
Turn Your Side Hustle into Passive Income
Our seventh business hack is to start creating marketing funnels.
We talked about these funnels in our video on affiliate marketing but it really applies to any business and any product. A marketing funnel is the process you use to guide visitors from that first connection with your business to a regular customer.
I see so many business owners spend thousands on ads, so many bloggers just drop their affiliate link or a link to their course in an article. None of them make any sales and they wonder why.
We see thousands of commercials every day and people have become blind to it. You might get one out of 30 people on your website to click on a link and maybe one out of every 30 of those to actually become a customer. That’s about one-tenth of a percent, one in 900 potential customers actually helping to grow your bottom line.
Or better stated, that’s 899 missed opportunities for every sale.
With a marketing funnel though, you grab people early with a low- or a no-commitment action. Maybe you offer a free download or group consultation. This gets them onto your list, gives them something of value and starts that relationship.
You build that relationship, that trust, over a few emails. Get to know that person’s needs through link tracking in the emails. You help guide them through the decision-making process by offering comparisons and talking pros and cons.
By the time you’re done, those cold leads have become contacts. I guarantee, develop a marketing funnel around your products or affiliates and you’ll convert ten-times the number of customers.
Every online business needs an email marketing funnel. Period. I’ve tried just about every platform from MailChimp to Aweber and never found the tools or ease-of-use I needed until I tried ConvertKit. A little more expensive but pays for itself many times over with the saved time and easy automation.
Building a Team for Your Side Hustle Business
Eventually every business owner needs to start thinking about building a team and outsourcing.
Over half the business owners in a survey by VisualCapitalist reported being able to grow their business 20% by outsourcing just 10% of the work. So this isn’t about spending money, it’s about investing in something that will help you grow.
Again I’m going to refer to our second video in the series were we talked about the difference between Deep Work and Shallow Work. Deep work is that 20% of the work that drives 80% of your progress. On the other hand, shallow work, is the less important tasks. We’re talking the 80% of the work that maybe only accounts for 20% of the results.
So this fits in here when deciding what to outsource or what to hire out as well. A lot of those shallow work tasks are routine, fairly easy and can be outsource cheaply. For example, you can go on Upwork and find thousands of freelancers to answer email, create graphics and manage little tasks.
So you start building a team to do these little tasks. You might also outsource some of the tasks that are important but you don’t enjoy or maybe don’t have that professional skill set to do it well.
One of the most important tenets I got from Phil Knight’s book Shoe Dog, something he repeats quite a few times, he says “Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with the results.”
It’s a powerful idea in hiring and outsourcing. Instead of hiring for skills, look for people with a drive and a passion to help you grow your business. Then give them a task. Don’t micro-manage, telling them exactly how to do it. Then let them surprise you with the results.
It’s a brilliant way of finding those few people out there that will take your business to the next level. The ones that don’t share your drive, that need to be told how to do everything and can’t surprise you with the results, cut them fast. You’ll eventually find that long-term hire that will be worth ten-times their pay.
Create Products for Your Side Business
Our ninth business hack is to start creating your own products.
I see so many YouTube creators, so many bloggers and other entrepreneurs relying almost exclusively on advertising and other people’s products. Don’t get me wrong, ads are a nice chunk of change for the channel and I make a few thousand a month on affiliate sales.
But you will never grow your business, you will never make as much as you can while relying on someone else to pay you.
Another lesson from the story of Nike, and I promise this is the last one, but the company spent a decade as a distributor for a Japanese shoe company. For ten years, Nike which was then called Blue Ribbon, was pretty much just a salesman for someone else’s shoes.
It wasn’t until the company started producing its own shoes, its own products, that it grew into the $132 billion behemoth it is today.
Get off that hamster wheel of affiliates, sponsors and ads. Create your own products whether they be books and courses or physical products.
How to Make More Money with a Side Hustle
Our next business hack is the simplest, raise your rates.
It’s a common story in business, especially work from home models, you start charging lower rates to get your side hustle off the ground. You fully intend to raise your rates eventually but just doesn’t seem to happen.
Pretty soon, you’re swamped with work, still not making enough to quit your day job and get frustrated that this work from home thing ain’t workin’.
And we’re not just talking about raising your rates for new customers. I understand you don’t want to make existing customers mad but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t pay a fair price for your service. A solution might be to raise rates on existing customers a certain percentage, say 10%, but raise your rates for new customers a higher amount like 20% or more.
You’ll have some customers get mad and some will leave. You might not get as many new ones as you were but you’ll make more money. You’ll have more time to give your remaining customers better service and you’ll make more money.
It doesn't take much to grow a side hustle business but it does take a commitment to learning what works. Make sure you get the most out of your time and make a plan for growing your business.
Read the Entire Grow Your Side Hustle Series
- 7 Best Side Hustle Ideas to Make Money in 2021
- Side Hustle Success: How to Make $500 Dollars a Day
- Side Hustle Success: How to Make $200 Dollars a Day
- 10 Best Side Hustle Ideas [How I Made $600 in One Day]
- Side Hustle Success in 5 Hours a Week While Working Full-Time