Working a full-time, 9-to-5 office job can come with perks like vacation time, a retirement plan, and lots of Monday morning water cooler conversations. But what many glowing job descriptions fail to highlight is that they also come with a lot of restrictions.
Being confined to a desk and having to do things you don’t like can be the most common of these complaints. And many traditional jobs also come with a salary cap that may not be enough to cover your expenses, let alone pursue your dreams.
Whether for financial reasons or lack of fulfillment, many South Africans adopt a hybrid model that extracts the best of both worlds, called side hustles. If done correctly, a side job retains the safety and comfort of a day job, but allows the exploration of a passion or money-making business outside of its confines. And for some, it’s a less daunting way to move from the confines of the corporate world into the untapped possibilities of an entrepreneurial world.
Here are some tips from South African entrepreneurs who have done just that.
Know how to market your product or service before you launch it
Advertising guru Mike Sharman conceptualizes and executes some of South Africa’s biggest viral ads through his ad agency retroviral.co.za. With several other businesses under his belt and currently underway, he is the definition of a secondary scammer. Sharman says her first side hustle was a play, which taught her some valuable lessons.
“If I thought writing and building a package was daunting, the analogy is that that part is purely the ‘create the product’ aspect. Now you have to market it,” Sharman says. “Most product entrepreneurs don’t realize that the marketing mix precedes owning a product or service – price, place, product, people and promotion are critical to the success of your idea.”
Few side hustles are overnight successes, so White on Rice’s Ross Symons recommends patience, focus and commitment above anything else.
Before starting his fledgling origami business, Symons was a disillusioned web developer at a prominent local agency. His origami side-hustle hobby transitioned from a desk job to freelancer before taking the leap to turn his side-hustling hobby into a full-time operation.
“It takes a lot longer than you think to gain momentum, and worrying or trying to control the pace of things is pointless. Keep your head down and focus on developing your product, your brand , your art or your creativity,” he says.
Ask for advice
When Joshua Maraney, now CEO of Top Click Media, announced to his inner circle that he would quit his job as a life insurance salesman to pursue his digital marketing business, the response was lukewarm.
“When I started doing digital marketing, everyone told me I was crazy,” Maraney says.
Yet he grew his client portfolio alongside his day job, and when he reached a tipping point, he sought advice from a confidant.
“My friend told me that I had to make a choice. If I wanted to follow my passion, I would have to recognize it as a risk, fight and borrow money for at least three months. Fortunately, it was only for a month,” Maraney said.
Symons also sought advice on his products and ideas in his origami debut.
“Use your immediate circle to spread your ideas or your product. If it works here, chances are it will work outside of that circle,” Symons says. “Then let that circle grow as organically as possible. This is done by creating cohesive work and spreading it out as much as possible.”
Side businesses require investment, but with a full-time job on the go, you may be able to leverage some of that income to get started.
“There will be times when work or sales dry up for long periods of time, and you’ll have to keep yourself afloat, so having some money saved up will help,” Symons says. “But don’t be too proud to go back to what you were doing, even if it’s just for a while to make money. If you believe in the project or the product, you’ll be ready to do what it takes. it takes to keep him alive.”
Sharman followed a similar approach when launching his side hustles.
“My best advice is to save for three months and try hard. Your idea will succeed if you go all-in,” says Sharman.
Leverage the right tools to your advantage
While high-level guidance might be the motivation you need to launch your side business, it will come with the harsh reality of having to manage an extra set of finances.
Sage Business Cloud accounting software can easily track income and expenses from anywhere and on any device. And at the same time, Sage provides information that can help you take your side business from an after-hours dream to a full-time operation.
For more information, visit Sage Business Cloud Accounting.
This post was sponsored by Sage and produced by Adspace Studio.