Dream job? How to launch an idea into a side hustle

“You know what you should do,” my dad said as he sat at the head of the table, “You girls should go into making pies from scratch.”

He stuck his fork into the homemade crust my mom made from a family recipe passed down from her grandmother.

Keep in mind, this was when I was in college. So most likely, I was neck deep in feminist theory class, media law and – who knows – probably movie history or something that didn’t justify the tuition I was paying.

Little did I know, my dad was onto something. Who knew that years later, businesses would thrive by only selling cupcakes or raw cookie dough shoved into a cup. People would pay for hand-crafted goods made from the heart.

And these entrepreneurs probably all started as a “side hustle”.

This isn’t just a buzz word. According to CNN Money, 44 million people are currently running a side hustle (or a second job, just in case you are not exposed to millennial-ese).  86% say they are able to make extra money and 36% say they are making more than $500 extra bucks a month.

So, here you are, with your big idea. But is it a good idea? Will it actually make money? And how much do you invest in terms of both time and money? 

This is probably the moment you think I answer those questions. But it’s not.

This is the moment I tell you everyone has those questions when they start. And, in fact, it is that very set of questions that prevent people from taking a leap and starting a passion project or side hustle.

A friend of mine, Jacquie Chakirelis, just started with an organization called Aviatra Accelerators. They help female entrepreneurs launch businesses, whether it’s handmade goods, consulting, design – you name it.

She was the one who convinced me, no idea is a bad idea and more often than not, women stand in their own way.

“You can prepare yourself and get prepared as possible, so that when bumps in the road happen, and they will happen, you can already anticipate what you’re going to do about them,” says Jacquie.

See my full interview with Jacquie below

So here’s a checklist of things you should think of while formulating your side hustle:

  • What problem can your passion or talent solve? Maybe you are great at closet organization and know that most people can’t stand that chore. Or maybe as a busy mom, you designed a product to make the routine easier. No idea is a bad idea! You just have to figure out how it can help and who it can help.
  • Who is your target client? Once you figure out who you can help, tap into that network! Use your network as focus groups to see how they like your service or product.
  • Get your paperwork in order Set up an LLC (Limited Liability Company). Start with your state’s Secretary of State office to find out what they need. You should also open a separate bank account solely for your business.
  • Be prepared to pivot You are not going to follow a straight and narrow path. Jacquie told me that in all of her “side hustles” she adjusted as she went along. It’s a journey!
  • Find a mentor Whether this is one person or you find an organization like Aviatra Accelerators, Jumpstart or Indie Foundry, it’s important to find your tribe. These are the people who can give you advice on how they solved problems or – better yet – inspire you to think outside the box and get creative.
  • Be patient That’s what everyone tells me. If you talk to someone who someone who has launched, they’ll never say success was immediate. I’ve been advised it could take at least a year or two.

Right now, Aviatra Accelerators is taking applications for their fall 9 week programs. They also hold shorter workshops and meet ups to educate budding entrepreneurs. 

If you’ve started a business, please comment below! We all want to hear how you found success, what you learned from failures (or we’ll call them snags) and how you found your support team.

5 thoughts on “Dream job? How to launch an idea into a side hustle

  1. Excellent article Moe! Hope it inspires readers and watchers to take the next step. Please let me know or our Aviatra Accelerators Northeast Ohio team if we can help!

  2. I launched my side hustle 5 months ago and am proud of how it’s progressed so far. For me the motivation to do it was twofold: 1) I wanted to find a way to learn something new and be creative in a way that my day job doesn’t allow for and 2) I wanted to do something that directly helps other people. I’m still very green as far as entrepreneurship goes, but so far I’m able to judge my succes by the positive feedback I’m getting from complete strangers. Just when I start to doubt myself someone will say “I love what you’re doing” or “Thank you for the inspiration” and that’s what keeps me moving forward. That’s what is (and what I hope will always be) my most important measure of success.

  3. I started my little handmade shop almost four years ago. It’s been a huge learning experience for me. I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I can do. I’ve slowly grown to the point where I personally can’t handle the work and am not sure how to grow more.

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