Everybody’s Hustling – 7 Tips To Starting Your Own Side Hustle

5 January, 2022

The ‘skint student’ is a stereotype for a reason. Studying at school, college and university (as well as maintaining a social life) means there isn’t often a huge amount of time left for you to earn a decent wage on the side- and what you do earn seems to drain away surprisingly quickly. So when you hear stories of people who’ve set up a side hustle which seems to leave them flush while you’re trying to work out how long you can live off dried noodles before you officially become malnourished, it’s natural to wonder if you could do the same. So here’s a list of things you need to know about setting up a side hustle as a student…

1. It can be done

Let’s start off with the positive: it certainly can be done, and it can leave you with a decent additional income (even an amazing income) to help get you through your student years. You never know, it could even become your future career and full-time job! The key is to make sure you’re passionate about what you’re trying to achieve, with clear goals in mind. This is going to be a challenging process, so you need to be able to stay motivated to see it through to the end. But if you can do that? Then there’s no limit to what you can achieve. Innocent, the smoothie company, started as a side hustle by 3 university students. The Cambridge Satchel Company started at a kitchen table. Gymshark was set up by two school friends at 19 and is now valued at $1billion. Anything is possible…

2. Put in the time to see rewards

There’s no two ways about it: setting up your own business, even on a small scale, is going to be hard. There will be obstacles, strains on budgets, strains on time- you’re probably going to lose sleep over it. Your social life might suffer, your studies might even suffer. So you really do have to be aware of what you’re getting into with your side hustle. Whether it’s tutoring school children, or setting up your own online store- it’s going to take up a lot of time; probably more than you’ve factored in. For instance – how often are you able to get to a post office to mail orders? How long will the journey take to and from your tutees home? That’s all time which needs to be factored in, alongside your other commitments.

3. Every day’s an education

Unlike work in a pub or a shop where you have fixed hours for a fixed role, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time wearing lots of different hats to get your business off the ground and to keep it going. You’re going to have to be the accountant, the marketer, the office manager and everything in between while you get set up. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Learning on the job is an incredible experience, and if this side hustle just sees you through your studies and you go into the world of work afterwards? Well then you’ve just reinforced your CV with a tonne of new skills. Every challenge you face will be a learning opportunity. Need a new logo and can’t afford a designer? Well, why not get a Canva account and have a go yourself. Need to set up some ads to reach your audience? There are tonnes of blogs and resources to help you get set up. You won’t get everything right the first time- but you can always learn, build and improve.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

While you probably don’t have the budget to get help from external providers trying to make a living, you probably do have friends around you who can help you get going. Perhaps one of your friends is studying graphic design, or perhaps someone you know has a connection who could help get the word out there about what you’re doing. Being open about what you’re trying to do can allow those around you to offer their help and support. Plus- verbalising your goals often helps you truly believe what’s possible. A little bit of social pressure to keep you accountable to your own ambitions can be a good thing!

5. Believe you can, and you will!

Number one thing that kills small businesses? Self-doubt. You only truly fail when you stop trying. Everything else is just a learning experience. Like we’ve touched on already, there are going to be a lot of hurdles getting in the way of your business becoming successful- so don’t let self-doubt become another one. It’s natural to have moments where you question yourself, or are hesitant about making a decision, but keep putting one foot in front of the other and never give up. All successful entrepreneurs had opportunities to give up- but they didn’t. 

6. Look at the numbers

If you’re not someone with a natural head for numbers and all things finance, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to run a successful business. But it does mean you’re going to have to upskill in this area. That doesn’t necessarily mean going on an accounting course- but it does mean dedicating some time to work out accurate budgets, targets, and paying attention to the pennies. There are so many costs attached to running a business that you probably won’t have considered when you’re starting out, such as any licenses needed, software to run the business, admin costs to name but a few. When the person writing this blog was a student, they adopted an ostrich-like approach when it came to all things finances. When I got worried about money, I’d just try and forget about it and hope it would magically sort itself out (spoiler alert: it didn’t). When you’re running a business, you simply can’t afford to live in optimistic ignorance. You need to know what’s coming in and what’s going out, and if you can’t make ends meet, then something has to change.

7. Listen to feedback

I’m going to assume you’ve already don’t some market research and that you know there’s a demand for your product or service in the first place (if not then…you might want to get on that). But something that so many business owners don’t do – even the really experienced ones – is listen to feedback and take constructive criticisms on board. When you’re putting so much time and energy into something as personal as your own business, it’s easy to be overly sensitive to anything that sounds like a criticism of you or your business. But when people around you, especially those you trust, may have areas of expertise that you don’t, and their ideas might actually help make your business more successful, if you can learn to take their feedback on board.

The key takeaway is this: anything is possible. The key is a good ideal, self-belief, and a commitment to hard work. Because it will be hard. But keep an open mind and remember that every day, both the good and bad experiences will be giving you more opportunities to learn from. Even if you end up with no more money than you started off with- you’ll be richer for the experience. And who knows, in a few years time, you could be being interviewed by Forbes…

Do you have a side hustle you’re passionate about? Or an idea for the next big thing? 

We’re giving young people between the ages of 14-18 years the opportunity to get started or grow their business through The Side Hustle Initiative 2022. 

During 2021 we had a nationwide search for young entrepreneurs providing them with an opportunity to pitch their businesses and ideas in a Dragons Den style pitch in front of our panel of judges in London. The top 25 gained access to one to one professional mentoring for 6-months to support them in evolving their ideas. The top 5 finalists also won a share of a £10,000 investment fund to go straight into growing their business.

If you’re interested in signing up for The Side Hustle Initiative 2022 click here or visit https://yourgameplan.co.uk/side-hustle/ to pre-register to ensure you don’t miss out when entries open. 

Share this article:

Entries close on 27th May

Are you killing it on Depop? On the path to making positive social change? Are you the next up and coming artist? Or have an idea for the next big things?

Join our nationwide competition that gives young people the platform to turn their big ideas into a reality. The top 30 finalists are invited to a ‘Dragons Den’ style pitch in London and gain access to one to one professional mentoring with industry specialists. The winners and runners-up also receive a share of the £10,000 investment fund to go straight into growing their business.