How to Start a Successful Side Hustle in 2020

Author: Renée Kapuku, Creative Digital Programmes Manager, Supa Network | 4 mins read

This article was originally written on Medium

Photo by Fernando Hernandez on Unsplash


You’ve come across this hundred of times.

You’re fed up. Nothing seems to be working for you. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to set up another source of income. Either that or you just can’t make good money from it.

To top it all off, it’s time-consuming and taking away from your day job. Or maybe you haven’t even pursued your side hustle at all. You just can’t find enough motivation to compel you to work.

If you fall into any of these descriptions, this is for you. No frills, no bows, nothing sophisticated. Just simple, straight to the point techniques from my experience of the side hustle game. I’ve been there for a while too and tried everything. I’ve hustled with and without a full-time job. I’m by no means the definitive authority but I’ve made a few important observations on making your side hustle successful.

Here they are.

Do what you’re good at

It seems like a no brainer but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t do this.

They’re tempted to do things that are seen as successful, but don’t consider how good they are at it first. Do what you’re actually skilled at, and if you aren’t skilled, then upskill — as long as the return on investment is worth it. For me, writing as a side hustle made sense because I’ve been doing it for years, I know how to make improvements quickly, and I can think of creative ways to monetize. Medium, copywriting, editing, proofreading — this list goes on.

You might have a skill you think can’t be monetized. You’d be surprised yet again. Are you an amateur photographer? Take photos of your friends, family, and landscapes. Create a portfolio and start sending out emails and calls to prospective clients.

Are you a great orator? Start offering your services to schools and organizations. From keynote speaking to delivering workshops, it’s possible to make good money from public speaking.

Are you an epic event planner? Offer to plan birthday parties, corporate events and more. Advertise on social media.

Do what you’re good at first and monetize it in some way.

It lowers initial investment costs as you’re doing something you already have some skill in.

Start off small and niche

Contrary to popular belief, start off small and niche.

Identify a few clients or customers based on a very targeted and specific marker. That makes it easier and more manageable — plus you have plenty of data points to help you scale. Secure a few projects and clients before you go big.

For example, if your side hustle is in the e-commerce space, don’t sell everything you have at once. Pick an industry or even a specific item. Test it and see if you can make a sale. Then see if you can make a couple. And then you can add to your inventory if this is successful — or, pick another product.


You lower the cost of initial investment and can use the small to go bigger. The same principle applies to startups. It works for business in general. The bottom line is, find your one-hit-wonder before you bring out an entire album.

Be consistent and iterate

There’s no getting away from consistency.

You hate to hear it, but it’s true. Perhaps the reason your side hustle isn’t taking off is that you’re inconsistent. Don’t confuse this with the number of hours you spend on a specific day working on your craft. You can spend hours working on it haphazardly every few weeks.

That’s inconsistency.

Where possible, try to work on it with the little and often protocol. For example, on Medium, I transitioned from lengthy 2,000+ articles a month, to average between 700–1300 words per article a few times a week. I’ve fostered way more engagement with my work as a result. I also iterated. Based on the stats and feedback from Medium, I made significant changes that made a world of a difference.

The two go hand in hand. Consistency gives you more opportunities to see what works and improve.

There you have it. Seems like anyone can do it right? That’s because you can. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking there are super sophisticated and inaccessible tricks of the trade. If I did it, I’m pretty sure you can too. Now, what are you waiting for? Get going.

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