Do you have a hobby outside of your regular 9-to-5 that you’re passionate about? Or do you just need some extra cash and have a skillset you can utilize? Well, the good news is that you can turn it into a side hustle.
Before you dive headfirst into the world of gig work, it’s a good idea to lay out a blueprint and ensure your efforts are worth the time, energy and initial investment.
Step one: research, research and then research some more
Start by researching the market for what you’re offering and see if there’s sufficient demand for your product or service. You’ll want to do this so you avoid common mistakes that entrepreneurs make.
There are many ways to approach this:
- Look at the competition – what are their strengths and weaknesses? Understanding who your competition is will give you a ballpark of how difficult or easy this may be.
- Use social media platforms, like Twitter or Pinterest, to get a feel for what’s already in the market.
- Google away – Google offers several free (yes, free!) tools that can be a great help when laying the groundwork for a successful product launch.
Google Keyword Planner gives you an in-depth look at keyword historical statistics and ideas – you can use this data to determine how many searches per month are being made, and how much competition there is.
Google Trends gives you a sneak peek at how a specific keyword is trending across various regions of the world, and in what languages. This will be a key way to gauge interest in your product.
Step two: Build your plan of attack
It’s also a helpful idea to write a business plan complete with income and expenses. Not sure where to start? Canada Business Network has a number of free templates and sample business plans up for grabs.
Step three: Balancing two jobs
This is the hardest part, however, you should consider keeping your day job for the first year at least, so you’re not dependent solely on the side hustle income. One of the main reasons businesses fail is that they run out of money. Continuing to work for a paycheque to some extent could help you put away some savings.
Step four: Keep the taxman in mind
If you expect to make any profit, then Revenue Canada considers your hobby as a business and that means different tax requirements. You will need to fill out more paperwork and maybe even have to collect and remit. Not sure if you’ll need to register your business for a GST/HST account? Click here to find out. The structure of your new side hustle can also impact taxes depending on if you’re a sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation. It’s important for you to understand the difference and which is best for your business.
Step five: Seek out a business mentor
Having a go-to mentor (or several) for all of your questions can be super helpful when navigating the murky waters of starting your own small business. Whether it’s looking for a vendor, supplier, or investor, your network of business mentors have the experience and contacts you’ll need to build up your business.
Pro Tip: Our Business Banking Team is here to partner with you and help ensure you’re on the right track to financial well-being. Take advantage of the expert advice you can trust. Talk to them today