How to Start A Side Business Doing What You Love
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Ministry families don’t typically make “a lot” of money. During the time that my husband and I took a break from vocational ministry we were… broke. We had to learn to create income in other ways than the standard 9 to 5. My family started 5+ businesses in the past 4 years. 4 of them were businesses that we started that were actually profitable and helped us pay our bills!
My Side Business Resumé
- In 2014 I joined a multi-level marketing company that sold healthy products. That didn’t last because even though I had strategies I needed to grow the business, it didn’t grow and I spent more money to remain apart of it than I was making. At this time, I had a full-time job as a Student Ministries Pastor.
- In 2015 I took a break from vocational ministry and became a nanny part-time and I made a consistent income that helped us get through a tough financial season. I was also pregnant.
- In 2016 we couldn’t afford to pay for childcare so I became a full-time stay-at-home mom. I started a business editing books and managing a blog that I helped the author get started. It was a lot more work than I expected, but the ministry I worked with was incredible and its still going strong! This was an extremely difficult year in every way, but God brought us through. He is faithful!
- In 2017 I became a self-employed web designer for Christian ministries and business owners. This was the first business where I charged what I believed I was worth and actually got paid what I asked. It was also a great learning experience for consulting future clients. I continued to work from home.
- Also in 2017 my husband and I started a summer soccer camp for kids in our community. The first year we undercharged and we still made a good profit.
- This year we did soccer camp again. We charged what we’re worth and not only did we make a profit and enough to pay our bills — our clientele quadrupled!
- I also started this blog and I’m back to editing and consulting for Christian authors/ministries/businesses. I am still home full-time with my daughter while building our family businesses.
We plan to start even more businesses because we have tons of ideas that will serve people and be fun for us while helping us make some extra income to pay our bills, pay off debt, enjoy our family, and give, give, give. Two books that helped me to realize that business is a worthy endeavor in the Kingdom of God are *Thou Shall Prosper and *Business Secrets from The Bible by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. If you feel guilty about making money and/or starting your own business, you have got to read these books!
How to Start A Side Business
Starting a business takes guts, especially if you’re starting from scratch. You deal with a lot of “imposter syndrome” — questioning whether you’re the “real deal” when compared to your competitors. You may doubt that you have what it takes. But when you get over those fears and do what you have to do, it’s so rewarding to see your hard work pay off. And let’s face it — you need money. You don’t want to be living paycheck to paycheck. You don’t want to be in debt. You can cut back on expenses but sometimes you need to actively increase your income.
So, here is how to start a side hustle:
1) Figure out what you’re going to do.
Ideally you’ll think of something that answers all of these questions:
- What am I good at?
- What do I love to do?
- What do people want or need?
- What would people pay for?
2) Now you have to create a plan for how you would run your business.
To start think through what product(s) or service(s) you would offer, what you would need to run your business, and how you would actually run it. Dream big and then break it down into what you can realistically do now. Write it down.
3) Determine what you’ll charge.
- What are my competitors’ prices? I don’t recommend charging less than your competitors. Sometimes that makes you look… cheap — not in a good way.
- What are people willing to pay? Think about your ideal client and what their budget would be. Sometimes we undercharge when working with our family members and close friends. If you’re starting a service-based side hustle and you don’t have experience, this is okay for the first couple of projects as long as you’re making a profit and as long as they know that no one will ever be charged that amount again. Just make sure you don’t promote your business with your “friends and family discount” prices or it could be hard to raise the price later.
- How much do I need to make? If you don’t make a profit, it’s not a business. Consider how many hours you will be working to serve one client or make one product and how much it would cost to run your business. (Again, you want to make more than you spend!)
4) Promote your business.
Use word of mouth and social media to start out and then build from there. With my nannying job, I made a profile with Care.com and applied to tons of jobs over a couple of weeks before finding my perfect client. With my editing, blogging and web design businesses I got clients through word of mouth only. With our soccer camp we gathered testimonials, made business cards and flyers, built an inexpensive website ($21 total with my design background and GoDaddy hosting), and encouraged our local friends to spread the word.
What I would NOT recommend if you need to make money “fast”:
1) Surveys & Apps
I’m going to be honest. Most people recommending SwagBucks are doing it for the referral income. Otherwise you have to put a heck of a lot of time into doing surveys and watching ads in order to see any spendable amount of money. Generally sites that offer payouts for surveys and referrals are not going to make a noticeable difference in your income. It’s fine if you don’t give up after two days, like me, but just know that it’s not a get rich quick scheme. I perosnally don’t feel good about get paid to recommend something that hasn’t really helped me and when my time feels wasted taking a survey that only paid me 50 cents, that is not helping. I say don’t bother — use your time to build your own business instead.
2) MLMs or Direct Sales
Remember, I said I worked for a multi-level marketing company and ended up investing more than I made? It’s a difficult industry if you’re not the right person selling the right products. Though there are a number of reputable companies, (my friends Janelle sells Young Living essential oils and it’s a great company, especially for moms) it’s hard to make a profit in one of these businesses unless you believe in the product you’re selling without a doubt and are very comfortable with selling. To make MLMs really worthwhile, you usually have to rely on repeat/automatic sales or having people sign up to sell on your team. Direct marketing takes hard work and dedication. I didn’t last in the one I was in because I wasn’t passionate enough to work for the results. If you don’t love and believe in the work, I don’t recommend it.
3) Investing in a website designer if you don’t already have a business
Again, the goal is to make a profit. You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a website for a business that you haven’t tested and proven. As a web designer, I have regretted having clients pay me four figures for a website only to see that it’s no longer up and running because they didn’t have the business established in the first place. It’s part of the reason I no longer design and instead I focus on consulting. I also don’t recommend making a website from scratch if you’re not naturally tech-savvy and you needed to start the business yesterday. Again, use word of mouth (business cards, flyers, church friends, family, etc.) and social media to start.
4) Anything illegal.
It’s just not worth it.
The Biggest Key To Side Business Success = PRAYER
DO pray every step of the way. You can do all the right things to start the perfect side business and have the right timing and circumstances in your favor but at the end of the day, God still has to bless your work so that it’s fruitful. You may have every reason to start a side hustle and the best ideas for it but it might not be the right move for the season of life you’re in.
DO ask God for wisdom to prioritize the most important things in life. As your take the small steps to starting a side business, let him lead you. When you don’t have peace about something slow down and reassess. When you’re fearful, ask Him to help you be brave. And again, ask for wisdom!!
My family and I just did the best we could with what we had (our talents, gifts, abilities, interests) to serve the people around us. Find what you’re good at, find who is will to pay for what you’re good at (because they need or want what you have to offer), and charge more than it costs you to run the business.
Your turn: What side business are you thinking about doing? ⭐️
Hey sis! I’m Imani, the Jesus-loving pastor’s wife & toddler mom who is writing here to help you “be a blessing” in your day-to-day life. Also, I’m probably dancing to Michael Jackson right now.