You love your job but have a passion you can’t stop thinking about; a burning desire to make a difference and do something for yourself, on your own terms.
You are not alone. This is the era of the ‘side hustle’ and with the economy’s future uncertain, having a side gig makes financial sense. Google searches for ‘side hustle’ have soared 56% in the last year with 26,000 searches a month in the UK alone and 10 million Brits considering a second or even third job to support themselves.
I am Sophie Blythe, co-founder of Koala & Joe, a new online platform that helps parents to find and instantly book appointments with trusted and verified experts. It has been quite a journey with my fellow co-founders, Antonia Burridge and Isobel Burlington, three working mums on a mission to make parents’ lives that little bit easier. So what have we learned along the way? Here are our six top tips for side hustle success:
- You’ll never be ready to do it so just take the plunge. Don’t look too far ahead – just work out what the first three baby steps are towards turning your vision from an idea into a reality. Then once you’ve ticked those off, define the next three and repeat. This is key to avoiding overwhelm – it’s a marathon not a sprint.
- Having co-founders can be really helpful if you can find the right people. Life is tough as a working parent and there are times when you have to rely on your team to pick up the slack. Having co-founders that bring different skills and experience is crucial and of course you need to get on well, respect and learn from each other.
- If you are setting up a tech business, you will need a CTO. Everyone said this to us when we started out – but it’s not so easy when you don’t have any funds and you are operating on a shoestring. Get networking and make this a top priority. Of course they have to buy into your vision or they wouldn’t want to come on board in the first place but if, like us, you are lucky to find the perfect fit, you will never look back.
- This is a side hustle. Remember your main priority is your job and your employer. Before you embark on a side hustle, consider whether it is something you will be able to balance given your main job. We all have fantastic employers and work part time. We also bring insights and value back into our day jobs through this experience. It is something you need to be comfortable with from the start.
- Unlike your main job where you will often have a team to help, a start-up requires you to get stuck in and get your hands dirty – intellectual property, share structures, legal terms, insurance, brand development, coding, social media…the list goes on. You need to be open to learning and open to new challenges. This is where having a team with different skills can get you far. Where you have a knowledge gap, you’ll be surprised by how willing people in your network will be to share their experience and skills with you – so never be afraid to ask.
- Things never go quite as expected and take longer than planned but don’t beat yourself up and celebrate when something goes well. We have had endless unexpected challenges including a direct competitor being set up with the same name albeit in a different market (we had to change ours and prefer our new name – every cloud). We have built something that we are really proud of and it is exciting to see it starting to gain traction in the market. We are all committed to constantly learn, iterate and move forward.
It has been a rollercoaster ride but an enjoyable one – and one which we would recommend to anyone considering taking the plunge. If nothing else, you will learn a huge amount and entrepreneurship is a form of creativity, which can bring great satisfaction. And if you’re a parent, please visit Koala & Joe next time you or your child finds yourself in need of expert support. Hopefully we can make your life just that little bit easier.
About the author
Koala & Joe is a new nationwide marketplace dedicated to connecting parents and carers with trusted, verified experts. From doulas to dietitians, massage to mental health, the platform enables parents to find local and online experts, read reviews from other parents and book an appointment directly at a convenient time. The company’s mission is to help families live healthy, happy, stress-free lives. To extend its positive impact, the company is committed to giving back 1% of revenues to support the most vulnerable UK families.