Monday, February 1, 2021

When Your Side Hustle Has Hit the Skids


Whether your side hustle is a way to stretch a regular paycheck, float your true freelancing aspirations, or one in a series of hustles (think of J-Lo's character in 'Monster-in-Law"), it's still an important investment of time and resources.  Although slow days are the norm, we know when ish is truly drowning.  And it doesn't have to necessarily do with getting paid, as communication breakdowns, quality client retention (because bad clients are too easy to find), and vendor drama are just some of the examples that make it tempting to ghost the whole thing.

Is it wise to let something go and let it fly away like a tumbleweed?  Not without serious consideration and self-analysis...and neither should take a long time!  Like any relationship, letting go can either be a gamble if the pros equal the cons or very necessary.

However, when you're realistic about your hustle and what you can bring to the table, it makes the final decision much easier.  For instance, if you insist on having a high-end gourmet catering business during a pandemic and with no previous experience, shelving it until the economy turns around may be a good idea.  On the other hand, if you know that an influx of pre-pandemic businesses are coming to your 'hood soon, then that food truck might be your best idea to date.

Here are a few questions you might want to ask, then answer honestly before throwing in the towel - 

  • What exactly is wrong?  Is it a lack of new clients or failure to land prospects?  Have you tried various approaches or are you an introvert?  Sometimes the problem can be found in the small details and corrected with little notice.  If a large debt has incurred, then shutting down ASAP may be necessary until you can recoup your losses.  
  • What can you bring to your hustle?  A ready-made client base is nice but do you know what separates you from the competition.  Do you know your competition?  Remember, we're living in different times where people will do almost anything to survive.  What may have once been a unique idea five years ago may not only be the norm...not to mention priced lower than your offerings.
  • Has the pandemic changed things?  Believe it or not, some people are starting new businesses during the pandemic and are doing quite well.  Depending on your area, it may be hard to determine when things will go back to normal or if current modifications aren't enough.  The best recommendation is to have an ongoing dialogue with your local and state governing agencies.  E-commerce only may be worth a shot but only with solid planning.
  • Do you just need a break?  You believe in your idea and have the spirit to keep it going but it's not coming together as planned.  It happens.  Sometimes stepping away for a minute can inspire better productivity, more creative ideas, and tighter planning.  While there's no defined time, most people know when it's right to get back to business.  Even if your break becomes permanent, it's better to get out by choice rather than by some of the worst mistakes freelancers make.

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