Admit it: You dream of starting your own side hustle. You want to earn hundreds or thousands of extra dollars each month. You can see yourself paying off debts, investing, buying nicer things, and taking more vacations.
Maybe you also dream of quitting your day job and freeing yourself from the nine-to-five grind. You want to be able to work from home or from exotic locations around the world. It’s an exciting idea. So what’s stopping you?
Here are a few likely excuses you might be making–and what it’ll take to stop making them.
Excuse No. 1: “I Don’t Know Where To Start”
Not knowing how to begin, you find yourself paralyzed by the endless blogs and podcasts telling you how to launch and run your own business. Though I’ve had a few business ideas up my sleeve for as long as I can remember, it took me a decade to get started. Everyone feels lost at the beginning.
What to do about it. The only way to get past this stage is to educate yourself and get going. Start in the most obvious place: A simple Google search will dig up a wide range of information you can use to familiarize yourself with the idea. From there, you can find more specialized resources on Udemy, Skillshare, Lynda, and even YouTube.
But don’t just watch a bunch of videos or take a few webinars and leave it at that. The very best education you can receive is simply doing the work yourself. Resist the temptation to study for hours and hours. Once you think you’ve gotten your head around the major concepts, try something out and see what happens. Just start small. You’ll quickly figure out what’s working and what’s not.
Finally, get yourself a mentor early on–someone who’s already running a business or an expert you follow online. “If you have a dream project in mind but haven’t figured out the first step, find people who have built similar businesses and offer to buy coffee.” says Ludovic Huraux, CEO of the networking app Shapr. “Ask tactical questions, such as what legal steps they took, as well as reflections from their first few months in businesses.
“Keep in mind that this is the start of a relationship with someone who could become an ongoing resource,” Huraux adds, “so be gracious and try to help your new connection in return by offering a possible lead or piece of advice for their business.”
Excuse No. 2: “It’s Too Soon” (Or “Too Late”)
Maybe you think you’re too young and inexperienced to start a side hustle, or perhaps you worry it’s too late. But in reality, your age doesn’t matter. In business, if you provide value, people will pay for it. The key is to understand your market and create a product or service that solves a customer’s problems better than anyone else’s.
What to do about it. If you don’t think you have enough experience, you can build it up pretty easily. Start with the people you already know and trust. Offer your services to friends and colleagues for free (or at a reduced price) in exchange for a review or shout-out. These reviews prove your experience and ability to deliver on your promises. They also boost your confidence. Plus, you can show them to future clients to earn their business.
If you don’t think you have the relevant experience but you’ve had a career in another field, get creative. If you really think about it, you can probably identify skills from your current career that will be useful in your side hustle.
Excuse No. 3: “No One Will Take Me Seriously”
You’re afraid of what others will think. What will your parents say when they hear about your side hustle? What will your partner or friends say to themselves about the project? If this sends a chill down your spine, this is your limiting fear.
But first–have you actually told them about your idea yet? If not, give them a chance to hear you out before doubting them. You never know what they’re going to say until you try.
If you do that and still face their doubts and skepticism, you should weigh their reservations according to how much you trust them: Are they in a position to judge your odds of success? Do they have your best interests at heart? If not, consider whether they’re the kinds of people you want to be around.
What to do about it. Surround yourself with credible champions. If you’re sure about your goals, you don’t want to spend your time with people who don’t support them. You need backers who know what your side hustle is going to entail and can cheer you along.
That said, friends and family will often be the only people to tell you straight up when something’s not right. So even as you assemble a network of cheerleaders, don’t dismiss your doubters completely. The people who know you best may have valuable feedback. Their criticism may hurt, but it can help you to see your blind spots and avoid problems down the road. In short, constructive feedback from people close to you is a good thing.
Excuse No. 4: “I’m Too Broke”
Whoever said you needed thousands of dollars to start a business? I started mine with a $500 credit card loan (and a pile of student loans still on the books).
What to do about it. If you have an idea and can provide value to a certain market, the rest is sheer resourcefulness. Leverage all the free and inexpensive services you can find for tasks like emailing, scheduling, project management, web hosting, outsourcing, and invoicing. Once you start earning profits, you can always upgrade your tools and supplies–you aren’t stuck with them forever. Your existing knowledge, expertise, and connections are free for you but can create real value for your customer, putting money in your pocket.
Launching a side hustle is daunting to contemplate and challenging to pull off. So is turning it into a full-fledged business. You might fail, rack up the bills, and deal with real insecurity along the way to success. But before any of that can happen, you need to give it an honest try–and stop making excuses.