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5 important questions to ask before starting a side hustle

Have you been thinking about starting a side hustle, but you're not sure how or where to begin? Ask yourself these 5 questions.

What do global brands like Apple and Instagram have in common? They started out as side hustles.

Steve Jobs was working the night shift at Atari and Steve Wozniak was an engineer at HP in 1976. In their spare time they were building a computer, which would later become known as Apple 1, in a garage.

Kevin Systrom worked as a product manager at Nextstop.com. During the evenings and weekends he taught himself to code. He eventually quit his day job, raised $500 000, hired Mike Krieger and they went on to launch Instagram in 2010. In 2012, Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion.

Inspiring stuff, right? If you think you’re sitting on an equally great idea, first stop and ask yourself the following 5 questions.

What’s holding me back?

Many of us fear failure and what family and friends will think of our ‘other’ job. So you need to define what success and failure look like to you. “If the idea is for your side hustle to become your main job, that’s great, but you have to recognise that you still have a full-time job that is paying you. A side hustle is not about immediacy; it’s about building a slow side income, and that’s why you have to define success.” Nic Haralambous, founder of organic sock and underwear company Nic Harry, said in an interview on Cape Talk.

How do I identify a side hustle that’s right for me?

“[A side hustle] should be something you enjoy doing,” says Haralambous. Don’t let your side hustle become your side hassle.

Identify what’s important to you. Take Wally Fry, founder of vegetarian food company Fry’s, for example. He had no intention of becoming an entrepreneur. He missed meat after becoming a vegetarian and knew that in order to remain one, he had to create an enjoyable meat alternative.

Fry’s now ships more than 6 000 tonnes of 27 vegan products to 20 countries every year.

Consider the following before you settle on an idea:

  • What do you enjoy the most about your current full-time job?
  • What are your passions/hobbies that you enjoy but don’t get paid for?
  • What skills do you find easy?
  • What problems do people often ask you for help with?

Can I afford it?

All startups or side hustles have costs. “You can build a side hustle that you work on for a couple of hours every week and put very little capital into. Or you can take your life savings and plough them into your next venture,” says

Before starting your side hustle, you have to know how much money you’ll need and how much you can afford to invest.

An access facility is the perfect solution for funding your side hustle. It offers you up to R250 000 in revolving credit. With an access facility, you:

  • apply only once at a Capitec branch
  • decide when you want to access the money and how to use it
  • choose a monthly repayment amount or period you’re comfortable with. If your financial situation changes unexpectedly, you can adjust your repayment amount or period
  • can access your available balance at any time, and deal with any unexpected costs when they pop up

Do I have a purpose besides earning money?

Earning a bit of extra money is always good, but a side hustle can and should have more than just the single goal of earning money. “It should also help you determine if it’s the right business for you to eventually grow or do full time,” says Kamyar Shah of World Consulting Group.

For Ryan Bacher, Lawrence Brick and Jonathan Hackner, starting NetFlorist in 1999 happened by accident. They had no intention of launching an online floral and gifting company. Instead, they wanted to prove that they could design and run an e-commerce site. And they only planned to run the site for a day.

“We had no stock and knew nothing about flowers. We just sent the orders to a flower shop in Sandton,” says Bacher. “We knew our best bet was to get the website out, hack it, and keep changing it. We would learn more from the site being out there in the market than we could ever learn in-house, trying to develop a perfect product.”

Do I have the time for a side hustle?

A side hustle can be time consuming and chances are you’re already balancing a full-time job and family. You need to decide whether it’s worth it. Ask yourself:

  • Do you enjoy the work you do?
  • Is there a market for it?
  • Can you identify the right people to sell it to?

    If you’ve answered yes to each question, then do it! But remember, it’s not likely to take off overnight. Many successful entrepreneurs have spent years starting and growing a business into something sustainable.

Start your side hustle

Applying for an access facility can help you get your side hustle going. Visit a Capitec branch with your valid SA ID document or smart ID (new clients only) and your latest 3 consecutive salary slips. If you’re not a Capitec client or your salary isn't paid into your Capitec account, you should also bring a bank statement that shows your last 3 consecutive salary deposits.

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