Earning

3 tips for building a successful side hustle for less, from experts who now make 6 figures

From figuring out what you're good at to getting a website, here are three free or cheap tips for starting a successful side hustle.

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Unemployment in the U.S. fell for the third month in a row, from 11.1% in June to 10.2% in July, as Americans slowly find work again during the coronavirus pandemic.

Still, despite the more than 1 million job gains last month, tens of millions of Americans are out of work and considering their next career moves. For those using this time to start their own side businesses and doing so on a budget, here are three tips from entrepreneurs who started now-six-figure businesses with just a few hundred bucks.

Start a business where you are the service

Jen Glantz launched Bridesmaid for Hire as a side hustle with only $250. Now she brings in six figures a year. Glantz suggests beginning your side hustle by "mining your skills," she says, and asking yourself two questions: What do you enjoy doing, and why do people usually come to you for help.

If you start a business by leaning into a skill set you already have and are good at, you'll save yourself the time and money it might take to learn something new. Plus, you'll have the confidence of knowing you're offering something that has already benefited people.

"If you can start a business where you are the one providing the service," Glantz told Grow, "your start-up costs can be relatively low."

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How this teenager built a successful business while still in high school

Video by David Fang

Make your service personal

Depending on what your side hustle is, there are likely ways to personalize it for your customers, says Vix Reitano, whose digital marketing side-hustle-turned-full-time-job now brings in six figures per year.

Say you're a dog walker: You might ask your clients the most convenient times for you to walk their dogs, if there are special treats a dog might like to have on their walk, and so on. Asking these questions won't cost you anything, and they'll make clients feel like you care about them, specifically.

Personalization "helps you with your new business acquisition goals," she says, "and also retains clients because people care about people who care about other people."

VIDEO4:0804:08
This guy makes six figures a year with his dog walking business

Video by David Fang

Build an affordable website

When starting a side hustle or business, many entrepreneurs stress the importance of having your own website, a place clients can find you and learn about your services. It doesn't have to cost much, if anything.

"If you wanted to build a site to launch a coaching or consulting business as a side hustle, for example," says author and leading business strategist Scott Steinberg, "you could install WordPress (free), grab a pre-made web template from ThemeForest ($5 and up) or TemplateMonster, and get access to a variety of free, and royalty-free, graphics from StockSnap.io."

"A host of free and value-priced WordPress website plug-ins can help you add functionality from newsletters to membership or subscription services to online courses you teach," he adds.

Once you know what service you'll offer as your side hustle, you've figured out how to personalize it for clients, and you've built yourself a website, don't forget to use free tools like Twitter and Instagram to help promote your work and build client relationships.

Especially now, as people continue to social distance, they remain "glued to their phones because they are craving some sort of social interaction," says Elma Beganovich, co-founder of influencer marketing agency Amra & Elma. Embrace this opportunity to use those platforms and capture some of that audience.

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