According to a report, nearly 4 in 10 Americans have a side hustle to secure a second stream of income. As the American population is sometimes renowned for making poor financial decisions, the fact that many households are trying to manage their finances through the launch of a side hustle business is not only refreshing but also reassuring. It’s an indication that many seem a market opportunity and seize their chance to make a little money on the side, as a way to maintain their lifestyle, secure emergency funds or recover financial stability.

However, even though the figures are optimistic, it’s fair to say that only a tiny portion of side hustles manage to be profitable. The majority of hustlers struggle to get their business off the ground. In fact, many of them even experience increased debts as a result of a failing side hustle plan. This leaves an important question that needs to be addressed: Why would your side hustle fail?

#1. You can’t secure funding

There’s one essential rule when it comes to launching a business, regardless of its size: You need an initial investment. Indeed, creating a side hustle comes at a cost. While it’s not comparable to launching a full-time commercial entity, you have to accept that you might need to prepare a launch budget. Ultimately, you might need a variety of things, from a web presence to dedicated equipment, which is why you need to secure capital for your side hustle. It’s not uncommon for households to consider applying for a small personal loan – your side hustle may not qualify for a commercial loan – for the purpose. However, a loan can be tricky to obtain if you’re struggling with debts – and as debts are the number one reason for starting a side hustle, you can notice an insurmountable obstacle! It’s often a safer bet to delay the launch of your side hustle long enough to recover your debts – you can find support from a debt consolidation expert at for instance. Alternatively, you might be able to find help for your launch online on crowdfunding platforms.

#2. You don’t copyright your work

Creative side hustles can get feel forced to take shortcuts as a way of saving money. However, if you post your creations online, you might encounter the risk that someone else uses them for their own profit. Countless artists and designers have come across this issue. If you don’t want your work to benefit others, you need to make sure you protect your intellectual property. Your blog post, brands, and products need to be protected from other companies stealing and repurposing parts of it without your knowledge and approval. The process requires legal assistance from a specialist business attorney, but you can’t afford to take any chance on your work.

#3. You have no market research

At the heart of any business activity, there’s a strategy that acts as a compass, guiding you through the troubled waters of the market. You may only be a small player on the market, but by no means should this limits your ability to grow. In fact, more often than not, it’s not the competition that prevents side hustles from flourishing. It’s the lack of knowledge about your competition. Indeed, if you have done your research before approaching the market, you may not know your main competitors, their products or even their communication strategy. As a result, you find yourself in a tricky situation; it’s impossible to make room for your business when you don’t have a thorough understanding of the market, its players and more importantly, the audience you’re trying to attract. Additionally, your research work can also help you to identify potential threats and opportunities, enabling you to shape your activities accordingly.

#4. You don’t build any buzz

It’s never easy to stand out in a busy crowd. But it’s even more difficult to get noticed when you’re the newcomer. Whether you’re launching a new service or you’re launching your side hustle, you need to create a buzz to attract attention. The first worry of side hustlers is that they don’t have the budget to start an effective marketing campaign. While it’s true, it would be foolish to assume that all you need to pierce in a market is money. In reality, the most effective launch campaigns rely essentially on human psychology. Take inspiration from Steve Jobs who was called back in 1997 to save Apple. His main focus had been to change the communication of the brand and make it all about the people instead of discussing the products, as seen on By switching your attention to how your side hustle can affect people, you can get them to listen to you. Similarly, you can also build a network of relevant thought leaders to gather coverage ahead of the launch.

#5. You don’t consider a launch offer

Getting the market to see you is hard work. But encouraging your audience to buy when you’re a new player is even more difficult. There is no way around it; you need to provide an appealing incentive. As a result, pre-launch strategies tend to include advanced discounts for the first buyers. Implementing discounts can feel counterproductive, but it’s a great way of driving sales and brand recognition. You don’t have to discount all your products or services; you can create a separate list with a limited number of items. For e-commerce shops, discount offers and pages are easy to set up. For other sites, you might need to create a separate landing page that stays online only for a short period of time, offering anything from discounted copywriting services to creative work at a reduced price.

#6. You don’t manage it as a business

It’s a side hustle, who needs to create a separate online presence while you can simply mention it on your personal Facebook page? Unfortunately, if you don’t establish a professional presence for your side business, chances are, nobody is going to take it seriously. Additionally, it’s a bad idea to drive your clients through your personal social media platforms. You might accidentally post something that can upset them, and in no time, you can find yourself without any customer left. Besides, it’s fair to say that your party pictures and morning selfies may not create a positive image of your business. If you don’t want people to judge your professional skills from your personal activities, you should focus your attention on designing a professional presence that includes a website, business social media profiles and even an online booking tool.

#7. You don’t make your friends pay

You can’t help it. When a friend asks for a hand, you accept to help and end up providing your services for free. But this attitude can put you in an awkward position; ultimately if you want your side hustle to be profitable, you need to get paid for your work, regardless of who the client is. If you are worried about how to address the issue – it’s difficult to send an invoice to a friend – you might want to find other ways to let them know about your business priorities. Explaining that you’re concerned about letting business interfere with your friendship is the equivalent of the get-out-of-jail card. You can reject the project without hurting their feelings. You can also offer to schedule a meeting during your business hours, as a way of reminding them that your expertise is typically something people would purchase.

#8. Your skills are not up-to-date

You can’t get your side hustle to thrive if you can’t rely on your skills and knowledge. Keeping up-to-date with the latest trends and innovations is crucial to your business survival. Therefore it’s always a good idea to sign up to online courses and visit workshops if you’re not entirely confident about your skills.

#9. You take too long to answer

Your side hustle is only after work. That’s why you don’t always reply to a potential client the same day. But in reality, you need to establish a strict email management strategy to keep up with incoming queries. Waiting several days before getting back to a person can cost you the project. You need to make a habit of checking emails regularly and even setting notification for urgent queries. As a rule of the thumb, if your contact knows you’re busy, they are happy to wait a day or more. However, a lead shouldn’t have to wait more than a few hours during working days.

#10. You don’t have an identity

Your business identity lets people recognize you; it differentiates your side hustle from other players on the market. In other words, you can’t launch your business without deciding on a logo, a business name, and a brand vision first. You may never replace multinational brands such as Apple, Nike, or even McDonalds, but you can become just as recognizable in your niche. Ultimately, if your audience can’t tell the difference between you and your competitors, how can you expect them to come back?

A side hustle is a business you can run on top of your day-to-day activities. It may never become your primary source of income, but it requires your undivided attention when you’re working on it if you want to avoid costly mistakes.

Greg Kononenko
Greg Kononenko

My name is Greg Kononenko and I am a full-time online blogger and owner of Dad's Hustle. I'm a dad, and my passion is to help other mums and dads to start their own "hustle" and improve the financial future of their families.

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