Five Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting A Hustle

Tips on supplementing your income without sacrificing your day job

Deciding to take on a new hustle is a big decision. Most of us would choose to work our regular work week and enjoy our days off and paid vacation. Unfortunately, when the day job does not meet our financial needs, we have to either do something or do without something. Living within your means and staying on budget are important personal finance concepts to master. But, if you have a shortfall or just a desire to make a splurge purchase in the future, the challenge of increasing your income without sacrificing your day job can be less stressful if you start with these five important questions.

 1. Why a hustle? Do you have a definitive reason for taking on an extra hustle? Know your why. Is your hustle going to be temporary, for a single purpose like the purchase of a new car, down payment for a house or a vacation or is it to supplement retirement savings, fortify cash reserves or to increase your personal net worth? Decide why you're going to hustle(and also why your time is worth it), keep tabs on that goal and constantly remind yourself why. Starting everyday reading or writing down your goals and ending every day with a progress report on how you fared over the course of the day will keep you motivated.

2. What do I have to offer? Deciding to start an extra hustle will mostly be determined by what you have to offer. Start by writing down all of your interests and hobbies. What skills or expertise do you have that could potentially be earning you additional income? Maybe it's a casual interest you've had in something for a while and you've developed a level of expertise, like an animal lover hustling as a pet sitter or dog walker in your spare time.
What you do on your day job could also be a great place to start. Just be mindful of what your day job's policies are with respect to this, especially if the value you provide on your job is also what you're considering to hustle. You wouldn't want to jeopardize your career by choosing to work for one of your company's competitors or even in a competing field. With a little creative thinking, I'm sure you can come up with less conflicting hustle options.

3. How much time do you have to hustle? Evaluate your free time by auditing your schedule for a week. Write down everything, commuting time, time for meals, time spent with your family, your social life. Is your free time pretty consistent day to day? Do you work a flexible schedule at work? If so, how will that affect your availability to work your hustle from week to week? After you have a better grasp of just how much free time you actually have, be honest and ask yourself, "how much time am I willing to commit to working my hustle to meet my financial goal?

4. What's my market? Who could benefit from what I have to offer? Ask around and inquire about the field you're considering to hustle in. Is it a service you could offer locally, like baby sitting, gutter cleaning or computer repair? Maybe it's one of many online ventures like blogging about your hobby or selling on Ebay? Whatever you choose to hustle, be sure there is either a demand or you are confident that you can create demand. What most people discover is that their interests are shared by others and even if you don't know everything about your hustle, there's always someone who knows less than you do. Joining online message groups, forums, and even perusing local community boards can enable you to build a market simply by offering your level of expertise to others that share those interests.

5. What is my hustle worth? Know ahead of time what your hustle should pay. Using a simple calculation, if your goal is to make an extra $100 a week and you have 10 hours of availability a week to achieve it, you shouldn't be hustling for less than $10 an hour. DON'T UNDER SELL YOURSELF. There's widespread perception that if you're charging too little for what you have to offer, it's thought to not be worth much. If you choose to create demand of your hustle by volunteering or offering "introductory" discounts, be sure you mention in your literature and consultations exactly what you know your service or expertise is worth. Establish your value, even if you're initially giving it away. I happen to believe that every hustle should have a component of giving associated with it so volunteering or offering your service or expertise at a discount or as a donation to charity will go a long way in building your brand.