How To Get Your Side Hustle Off The Ground With Limited Funds

start a side business

The economy is not in great shape. The past few years has led to a severe downturn in economic activity, and despite great efforts to help the economy recover, progress is slower than we expect.

People are also beginning to feel the effects of stagnant wages and rising living cost. All of these factors contribute to a greater need for additional income. This is why many have started, or have considered starting a side gig to complement their regular income.

This may sound great on paper, but it certainly takes more than just passion and a will to succeed to get your ideas off the ground. 

Some side gigs may only require you to sacrifice some of your time to get done, while others may require you to make use of your car, kitchen or specialised equipment. However, those who are planning to expand their side gig into a full-blown business will likely have to find a way to gather some funds in order to get started.

There is some good news to be had however. If you look in the right places, there are a few simple tips and tricks you can use to get you started on a minimal budget.

Treat it as a business

Having a side gig might seem like something simple, but turning it into a real moneymaker takes effort. You will need a lot of careful planning in order to see this through. However, successfully turning your side hustle into a business can be very beneficial to you financially. Here are a few things to help you get started.

Generate a business plan

Having a business plan will help you figure out where you are, and what you want to achieve. It could be as simple as having a certain amount of extra income each month, or earning enough to afford the down payment for a new car (or house).

The idea here is to list out your goals, how much you need to earn to reach them, what your expenses are, and how much profit you aim to make for each item sold or project completed.

You may also want to decide how much your time is worth; and include that in your calculations. It’s important to remember that your time won’t just be spent on the work itself, there’s a lot of other things that need to be done in order to market your business and get new customers.

Research and understand your market and customers

You will need a keen understanding of your market and customer base. You can learn about your market by doing market research and by looking closely at what your competitors are doing right and how they are differentiating themselves. Other than that, find ways to connect to your current and potential customers through affiliate marketing, social media, and community-building.

Start small

It might be tempting to go hard and fast when transitioning your side hustle into a full-blown business. However, it is extremely rare for such businesses to achieve overnight success. For the most part, developing your idea into a successful business can take some time. There is no shame in starting small, especially if you are still learning the necessary skills you need for success.

Read More: How Malaysians Can Make Side Income Online

For example, you don’t have to chase complicated and high paying jobs straight away. Go for jobs that can be done easily and in a timely manner in order to build up your business’ portfolio and reputation. After getting consistent results, you can try looking for higher-paying clients.

Play to your strengths

There is only so much you can do in a day. As such, concentrate on spending time on the most critical tasks of running a business. Recognise what you are good at and utilise those skills to work things towards your advantage.

Remember, there is not enough time to get everything done at the same time. You will get the most bang for your buck by focusing on what you do best.

Form a network

Networking is an important part of any business, and it is especially important for business owners who wish to launch their own projects. Look through social media and networking websites in order to search for peers and mentors who used to be where you are now or are at the same spot on the entrepreneur journey. There is no harm in asking for advice, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are plenty of networking events and press conferences available to attend. These can be excellent places to meet new people and discover new ideas that can help develop your business.

Lean into government programs or initiatives

Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) are a major focus of this year’s national budget. In fact, support for small businesses has been a consistent sticking point for the Malaysian government for years now. Government agencies and institutions have a number of programs and initiatives that provide small businesses with capital loans and other financing options.

Each lender from different initiatives will have different requirements, but they all allow the funding to be used for working capital, inventory or supplies, and machinery or equipment. If you need more information on these initiatives, you can try looking up what financing options are on offer from Bank Negara Malaysia, BSN, and TEKUN.

Do be aware that sometimes, acquiring a loan is not always the best choice for you or your business. This is especially important when you are turning your side gig into a full-time job. Whatever you do, avoid borrowing more than you can pay back in a timely manner.

If you need some help organising and managing your business’ day-to-day tasks, you can try using iMoney’s free checklist planner. Here is how it could potentially look like:

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