$400 Side Hustle: Turn Your Stimulus Check into a Business
Here is a simple and concise 6-step plan to turn $400 of your stimulus check into a viable, legitimate side hustle.
The times that we are living in are unprecedented–a global shift in the world economy has had a profound impact on people’s well being.
We’ve seen first hand in the last few weeks–people losing their jobs with a single signature on a government mandated ‘shut down of all non-essential businesses‘. Friends I know from previous companies have been furloughed, rather than being let go, but the fear of uncertainty still remains.
What I’ve also seen first hand is that working professionals who have multiple streams of income have been better situated to weather the storm of these incredibly uncertain and frightening times.
If you’ve been sitting on an idea for a service-based side-hustle that you can work from home, or if you just want to leverage that potential opportunity but have no idea where to start, let me help you get there.
It’s my core belief that a side-hustle, one that you can work from home, can give provide flexibility, freedom, and yes–stability in challenging times.
So, why start a side hustle now when things seem so uncertain?
With all of the ways that we’re adapting to the threat of COVID19 – from social distancing and moving to more tools for virtual work – we are reshaping the landscape of the workforce, the economy, and how we socialize for years to come.
This isn’t just a temporary shift–this is a new ball game.
In the coming months, governments across the world will do what they can to help their citizens through this financially. Many governments are offering stimulus checks to cover bills and other essentials.
While this is a step in the right direction for lessening the impact of this pandemic, a vital question remains–what happens when the stimulus funding runs out? Where do you go when the future seems so uncertain?
I suggest taking some of your stimulus check and investing it in something that will last longer than the government subsidies by building your own side-hustle.
First, we will talk about establishing your side hustle strategy THEN we will talk about your side hustle costs to get up a going!
Establish your strategy
Before you spend a $1 on anything to do with setting up your LLC or getting a website and logo designed, you need to start with the basics.
Step #1: Identify Your Niche
Before you do anything else, you need to choose a niche where you are an expert and can grow your business.
Start by choosing an industry that you have some experience in or maybe are interested in. The more innate expertise you have in the topic, the more likely you are to find a market segment that you can thrive in.
Then, select a service within that industry and a specific result you want to guarantee for your customers. The service and results should take into account your experience and any skills you already possess.
Selecting a specific niche helps you in a few ways.
First, it helps weed out the competition. Sure, there may be thousands of people who offer your service, but only a few who offer it the way you do and to your specific audience.
Second, it helps you establish yourself as an authority. If you only need to master a small segment of the market, you can master it more efficiently.
Finally, it helps with target marketing. You can get very specific in your marketing message.
As an example, let’s say you choose to build a side hustle in the shipping and logistics industry and your services would revolve around helping your customers optimize their fleets and save on overhead.
Or maybe you want to build a side-hustle in the real estate industry and your services would include overseeing contracts and creating websites to showcase your clients’ properties.
There are an endless number of combinations to choose from.
Step #2: Focus on 3 Key Services
Once you have your niche, choose 3 services that you can absolutely knock out of the park and that you can easily cross-sell or upsell.
Your 3 services should be:
- Specific to your niche: “I offer XYZ to people in ABC industry.”
- High value/high return: Your customers will see a tangible benefit from your services.
- Billed hourly: Please, do not offer “value billing.” Charge for your time to get the most out of your side-hustle.
- Repeatable: These services should be things your clients will need over and over again.
I recommend choosing three services that you can be automated to some extent.
In other words, you shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you start working with a new client.
Step #3: Develop a UVP (Unique Value Proposition)
A UVP (Unique Value Proposition) tells your clients who you are, what you do, and what makes you stand out from the crowd.
Think of it as your elevator pitch–a quick way to capture your audience’s attention and show them why they should work with you instead of a competitor.
I’ve developed UVPs for all of the side hustles that I’ve started. Even though you might not transition into a full-blown business, establishing your UVP helps give you clarity and vision around your side hustle.
Here’s a simple template you can use to develop your UVP:
I am a PROFESSIONAL TITLE who serves NICHE INDUSTRY by offering XYZ SERVICES to help my customers realize BENEFIT #1, BENEFIT #2, and BENEFIT #3.
For instance, here’s my UVP.
I am a side-hustle guru who serves talented, working professionals by offering free, expert advice to help my audience realize new streams of income, establish a better quality of life, and become financially empowered.
Once you’ve established your strategy, it’s time to move onto the logistics and costs of building your remote side-hustle.
Your $400 Side Hustle strategy
It’s time to talk money and examine some of the essential costs of starting your side hustle. This approach is a shoestring budget to get you legit and set you up for success!
Step #4: Set up an LLC ($50 – $100)
An LLC is a Limited Liability Corporation. While not officially required, there are a lot of benefits to registering as an LLC as opposed to working as a freelancer.
When you create an LLC, your personal assets will be separated from your side-hustle assets. This protects you and your family if you ever face a lawsuit or any other situation that puts your finances on the line.
When it comes time to file your taxes, LLCs enjoy the best of both worlds, getting to write-off specific business expenses, take on new tax benefits while not having stacks of paperwork to go through.
Finally, having an LLC gives your business flexibility for growth down the line–in the event that you need to bring in a contractor to take on a client’s project, you can do it easily while maintaining the other benefits we discussed.
*(Of course, there’s a massive amount of nuance, and you should do your own research or talk to an expert before filing as an LLC. I’m not a lawyer folks!)
Forming an LLC is easy and generally inexpensive (usually under $200). Websites like Legal Zoom are good places to start, but you can probably find instructions on how to get your LLC registered in your state by searching for something like “How to start an LLC in ‘State’
Step #5: Create a Website ($10/mo – $30/mo)
A website is a non-negotiable when it comes to forming a service-based side-hustle.
It’s the first place potential clients will go to learn more about your services and see if they trust you to operate on behalf of their business.
A successful website can act like your own personal salesperson, showcasing your message and giving information 24/7. It’s a great tool to book appointments, offer resource downloads and capture potentially interested leads–a great website is the backbone to any thriving business.
Things I always recommend when developing a new website include:
- A clear outline of your services and outcomes
- Testimonials from happy former clients (you can always add these after taking on a few projects)
- Samples of your work (if applicable) Links to you social media platforms
- A way to capture email addresses (for future marketing efforts)
- Easy to locate contact information
The good news is creating a website doesn’t have to be complicated (or expensive). Most website builders are intuitive and low-cost. Sites like Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress have affordable options.
You can always hire a website designer down the road, but at the beginning, your money is better spent elsewhere.
Step #6: Design a Logo ($100 – $300)
A logo is a simple, but powerful way to lend your side-hustle credibility. It’s also a good way to boost your branding efforts online.
Once you have a logo you love, you’ll be able to use it across all of your marketing channels – from your social media pages and website to your professional quotes and invoices.
A great logo helps your customers understand who you are, what you do, and what they can expect if they choose to work with you. It can make your brand more memorable and help you stand out from the competition.
Just think of the Nike swish or the McDonald’s golden arches. Love them or hate them, these images conjure up ideas of the brand and help you emotionally connect with the companies.
Unless you have a background in graphic design and branding, I don’t recommend creating your own logo.
Luckily, there are all kinds of freelance designers that can get to know your brand and create a memorable logo.
Even in a recession, start your side hustle
The last thing I want anyone to take away from this article is to spend ALL of your stimulus money on building your side hustle.
Genuinely, do NOT put yourself or your family in a compromising situation to get this going–I know a ton of people have been deeply affected and need to make every dollar they can get stretch as far as possible.
Instead, I want to encourage all of those working professionals out there to start a side hustle and make that doable sacrifice now while the opportunity is present.
For the cost of a new PS4 or Xbox One, you could have a viable, legitimate, new potential stream of income built–wow!
This article couldn’t possibly lay out every single detail that would make your side hustle a success, but the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step and this might be the perfect opportunity to start.
Of course, it will take an investment to get started–around $400–but the first few clients will help you recoup that costs, and you’ll be better prepared to succeed with these logistical pieces in place.
If your curious to see what a simple side hustle could grow into over a few years, check out my detailed, personal article “How My Side Hustle Made $94k in 2019 Working 10 Hours a Week“
I look forward to celebrating your success!
Changing the World One Side-Hustle at a Time