If I were starting a side hustle today

Apr 27, 2024

Find Your Superpower newsletter 054

Read time: 5 minutes

Topics covered: Solopreneurship, side hustle, small business


I don’t claim to understand international relations and macroeconomics, and I try to stay in my own lane. That said, I do know that things are getting a little hairy around me with high interest rates, persistent inflation and geopolitical conflict.

The trickle down effect—that part I understand—is that companies are experiencing stresses from both ends: from clients having significantly reduced cash flow due to financing costs, to employees asking for raises to fight inflation and higher costs of living.

Less income, more expenses. P decreases, L increases.

In this situation, everyone is frustrated.

In my case, I don’t want to worry about things I can’t control. I try to worry about things within my control. One solution to this problem above is to start a side hustle:

  • It provides a hedge in the unfortunate event of job loss

  • It provides a financial cushion to add to our monthly cash flow

  • It allows us to flex our skills and explore our interests beyond our current job scope


I began writing about science many years ago purely out of passion. I posted 2,000 news stories before I earned a single dollar from it. By 2018, I realized I could take it full time and launched a communications agency.

In 2023, I developed a new side hustle (LinkedIn coaching) outside my core business. I understand how ironic it sounds, but it is useful to also note that a side hustle isn’t necessarily about leaving your current job and rather about exploring new projects and passions.


Here’s how I would start a side hustle today, if I had to do it all over again: 


1.      Create demand and awareness before you launch

In my DMs I regularly get approached by people who have launched a small business or side hustle. Many of them are solopreneurs, but many are also happily employed in MNCs and big firms and have no plans to leave.

They tend to reach out to me when things start going south: they hear crickets, and they find that they do not have enough demand for their products and services.

The problem here is that this realization often happens too late. We need to create demand and awareness for our services long before we launch our side hustle.

TLDR: In the six-month run up to launching your side hustle, start posting on LinkedIn and elsewhere to create awareness and interest. Build in the open so that people can support you by buying your products or booking your services.


2.      Start with the smallest possible portfolio of services: one

I know this sounds highly counter-intuitive because it logically follows that the more services we offer, the more likely we will be able to find clients for at least one of them.

Strangely, no.

It’s like when we’re at a supermarket and need to buy some sauces. And in front of us, there’s 30 different types of sauces. Our brain is momentarily fried and we can’t decide which sauce to pick.

Also, if we provide a suite of services, there is a high probability that we’re not the best possible option out there to deliver that service. Plus we will never be able to compete with MNCs and huge agencies that have their workflows and teams to deliver that same service.

The reality is that companies and individuals are always looking for a “dude.” In a David vs Goliath situation, we want to say: “I am the dude for X.”

So let’s say the lights malfunction in my apartment. I want an “electrician dude,” not Schneider Electric or Philips Lighting to come over to fix it.

TLDR: Be that dude (or dudette) for X.


3.      Slowly climb up the value chain

Now there are many ways we can expand from the service that we’re now known for (aka the “dude for X”).

The most typical option is to scale our offering by hiring contractors or full-time employees, meaning we start growing our business the textbook way. I did that for my first side hustle, and I have a team now. That’s another story for another day. 

To scale with a team, we can either go deeper in the niche to gain market share, or find tangential niches and explore synergies that way.

The second option is to stay a solopreneur and remain lean. This means that we’re still the main hustler doing most of the tasks ourselves, aside from a bunch of virtual assistants or project-based collaborators.

To scale as a solopreneur, we need to climb up the value chain. Meaning, we try to add value and keep improving the way we deliver our service. PS: These days, the competition can come from generative AI, not just from another person or company.

TLDR: Climb up the value chain (blue-ocean strategy) instead of focusing on the competition (red-ocean strategy).



In closing, if you have solopreneur or side hustle dreams, it’s actually a great time to consider exploring these ideas.

There has never been a better time to do so than now, because it has become much more acceptable to engage fractional C-suites, project-based consultants and gig workers.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, companies and individuals are more receptive to working with people residing in a different country (and continent!) that they have never met before in real life.

Services can now be rendered digitally and remotely, when in the past we had to fly to a different country just for a single face-to-face meeting.

If we attempted some of our ideas 5-10 years ago, it would have been a lot more challenging.

The time is now, and now is the time.

Happy weekend!



Thanks for reading issue 054 of my weekly Find Your Superpower newsletter.

For those of you who are new to my newsletter, Find Your Superpower is subscribed to by 36,000+ people, and discusses the following three goals: (1) Making a career transition, (2) Professional branding on LinkedIn, and (3) Reinventing ourselves for the future of work.

Let's stay in touch.

Subscribe to my Find Your Superpower weekly newsletter & WhatsApp community: