Starting a side hustle? Here’s how to do the job right

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According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 63,000 Australians decided to take on another job last financial year, an annual change of 7 per cent. Given the rising cost of living, these could be interpreted as alarming statistics. However, there is something to be said about starting a side hustle.

Side hustles – successful or not – are undoubtedly a learning experience. In some success stories, they become fruitful enough to live off entirely, where others can just be a nice way to supplement your income.

If you are contemplating starting a side hustle, here are some key things to consider.

“Unlike 20 years ago, when there were so many hurdles to start a side business, it is easier to give yourself an opportunity generate extra revenue or even start a new career path,” Oliver Woolrych, senior community manager at freelancing platform Fiverr says.

“That talent you have that you’ve always wanted to express, it’s a great opportunity to put yourself out there,” he says.

If you are contemplating starting a side hustle, here are some key things to consider. These tips are based on my own experience as a freelance editor and writer, and what Woolrych has observed during his time at Fiverr.

Look at your existing skills

The simplest side hustle to start is one that leverages your existing skills – those that you might use in your everyday employment, which might be particularly sought after. The advantage here is being able to start your side hustle immediately.

“A great example is a Melbourne-based English teacher by day who is a proofreader and copy editor at night,” says Woolrych. “She’s got that great skill set from her day job and uses those same skills for her side hustle.”

If you do want to pursue something entirely new, my advice would be to ensure it’s something you’re genuinely interested in or passionate about. That way, you’re more likely to continue dedicating extra time to it outside your regular job.

It’s encouraging knowing the niche side hustles can do surprisingly well too. “We’ve got someone in Cronulla, Sydney who does professional puppet shows – and he’s really popular,” says Woolrych.

Curious about what services are seeing significant growth in Australia? According to Fiverr, searches for AI art services have gone up 3731 per cent since November. That’s followed by accounting and finance, which saw 1788 per cent growth in the same period.

Be realistic with how much time you can dedicate

If you are working part-time or full-time, you’ll need to think about how much time you have in a week to put towards your side hustle. Being overly ambitious here is a trap, given the time that also goes into learning and managing inevitable speed bumps along the way.

Depending on the service, it can be better to dedicate a shorter amount of time at the start, then increase if you can handle more.

If you’re using global marketplace platforms to advertise your side hustle, “a lot of your customers could be overseas and as such in different time zones,” says Woolrych. “Your ability to be available to communicate with those individuals in the morning or evening is important.”

Think carefully about your pricing

It’s worth researching how other freelancers in the same or similar fields price. You could charge an hourly rate for your services, a day rate, or per-project rate.

Your personal pricing depends on a few factors. Of course, there’s the value of the work and the time it takes to complete it. You’ll also need to consider your experience level, time spent liaising with clients, tax and super contributions, as well as any overheads.

It can be understandable for people to underquote as they’re starting out. But know it can be difficult to explain a large jump in pricing to existing clients in a short period of time. Set pricing that you are satisfied with, and importantly, won’t make you feel like you’re being taken advantage of.

Don’t forget about the housekeeping

To start your side hustle, you’ll need to register an Australian business number or Australian company number. You might have to organise merchant facilities, such as an EFTPOS machine, set up an e-commerce website, and potentially, accounting software.

And finally, you’ll need to keep on top of what tax obligations come with your side hustle. The most reliable information can be found on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website. If in doubt, you can read ATO community forums, contact the ATO, or seek tailored advice from an accountant.

  • Advice given in this article is general in nature and is not intended to influence readers’ decisions about investing or financial products. They should always seek their own professional advice that takes into account their own personal circumstances before making any financial decisions.

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