10 Side Hustle Mistakes to Avoid

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side hustle mistakes

Raise your hand if you like a good side hustle. I’m sure many of you raised your hands. If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you know that I love a good side hustle. Side hustling has changed my life. I’ve been able to pay off some debt, save an emergency fund, and do other things because of the side hustles.

Over the years, I’ve done several side hustles, such as selling mix CDs and t-shirts, freelance writing, and flipping items on eBay. Those side hustles have done well for me. That’s only sometimes the case. I’ve made some side hustle mistakes over the years. If you are a side hustler, I’m sure you have as well. In today’s post, I want to share several side hustle mistakes you should avoid.

10 Side Hustle Mistakes

1. Doing too many things at once

Sometimes people can want to change their financial situation so badly that they try to do multiple side hustles at one time, but in most cases, that will not work. Attempting to do too many side hustles is not the best idea. You can spread yourself way too thin. For example, how could you expect to make a lot of side hustle money if you are driving for Uber, freelance writing, doing odd jobs, and taking surveys on Swagbucks? You will make less money trying to do all four of them than you would if you focused on two. I’d focus on the two that you like best.

In the past, I made a huge mistake trying to do too many side hustles. I failed miserably. My side hustle income started growing for the better when I focused on 2-3 side hustles. Narrowing down your list can be difficult for some, but you must focus on 2-3 of them. Once you start making money from a couple of them and have a sound system, you can try some more. Just ensure that the income from the successful side hustles doesn’t suffer. You should also try a new side hustle if your previous ones didn’t make any money.

2. Not understanding a side hustle

Sometimes people attempt a side hustle without truly understanding it all the way. They do it because they see everyone else doing it. Doing that will waste your time and potentially cost you money. I’ve seen a lot of people start blogging as a side hustle. They saw others doing it and immediately jumped into it. Three months later, they stopped blogging and wasted money on a domain and hosting. They needed to understand the work that comes with maintaining a successful blog. Before choosing a side hustle, make sure you know everything about it. You will save yourself time and money by doing that.

3. Pyramid Schemes

I’m not too fond of pyramid schemes. I fell for two of them before. I’ll discuss one of them here. The summer after my first year in college, I joined a company that promoted Noni Juice. Back then, Noni juice was the wave. The juice was made in Tahiti. It supposedly helped people with many ailments, such as high blood pressure and weight loss. It also was supposed to give people more energy. They had a great payout plan that showed how much money you could make with the company. All you had to do was pay a one-time startup and monthly fee and sell about four bottles of the juice per month (The juice costs $40 per bottle). You could also make money by getting people to sign up under you. You would get a percentage of their sales each month.

As a 19-year-old, I thought that I had hit the lottery. I couldn’t wait to make a lot of money selling Noni juice. A few months went by, and I quit. It was harder than I thought it would be. I sold about 5-6 bottles during my time. For selling those bottles, I received a check for a whopping $18. At that moment, I was angry that I had wasted my time. Now I’m glad that I went through that experience. It was a hell of a learning lesson. I help my friends now and steer them clear of pyramid schemes.

If you’re on FB, you’ve seen several pyramid schemes over the years. Wake up now, 5 Linx and Iso Tea are just a few out there. The people that used to bug you and jump in your inbox asking you if you had time to come to a presentation were making little money. If they were, all their posts would be about something other than getting 5 – 10 more people to sign up.

4. Doing a side hustle because your friends are

We all have friends that do different side hustles. Some of them may want you to join a program or participate in a side hustle that they are doing. If you are not comfortable with it, then don’t do it. You don’t owe your friends anything. If they keep asking or bugging you, ignore them. It may be challenging, but you can’t afford to waste your time doing a side hustle that you are not interested in.

5. Rates too low

This is another mistake that I made. When I first started freelancing, my rates were too low. I was just happy to have clients. That was one of the biggest mistakes that I made. I should have raised my rates earlier. I was writing a lot and needed to make more. After discussing things with my mastermind group, I doubled my rates. It made a big difference.

Suppose you provide a service to someone; make sure you review your rates. Time is money. There is no reason for you to shortchange yourself. Most of your clients should be fine if you raise your rates. If they do, you’ll find other clients that value you.

6. Not Researching Enough

Research plays a critical role in everything we do, which is why it needs to be one of the things you do before engaging in a side hustle. There are so many companies out there that you can make money from, but there are also those out there looking to make money from you. Conducting your research can save you from falling prey to such companies. 

As discussed earlier, some examples of such companies are multi-level marketing companies (MLMs). Not all of them are bad, but a few of them can be unclear about their costs and exactly how much you stand to make. You may be required to spend a lot of money to start up, and then you need to make more money. Sometimes you may make even less than you invested in the business. So before investing your time and money in such hustles, research is always best. 

You can check the ranking on TrustPilot or ClassAction.org to see if they have been previously sued for misconduct. Always note that most side hustles that pay well require little or no startup costs. All you need is an internet connection.

7. Not Setting a Schedule

In the quest to make some extra money, you are usually faced with a lot of stress which may eventually lead to burnout. This is thanks to not setting the proper schedule. Setting up a side hustle can be very stressful and time-consuming, especially if you’ve already got a full-time job. You should put in some extra hours and do some extra work. If you do not manage your time correctly, it might lead to exhaustion. 

Before embarking on a side hustle, you have to make sure that you set up a reasonable schedule that works for you and won’t overwork you. Trying to work on your side hustle every night doesn’t sound realistic, as it may tire you out and reduce your productivity. 

You also don’t have to sacrifice your friends and family because you want some extra money. pick the right time and set a schedule that works for you. One thing about a great schedule is its flexibility. You should be able to readjust it over time. 

8. Not Setting Goals  

Goals are essential when it comes to side hustles because they’re why you choose to make some extra income in the first place. Some side hustlers earn as much as $1000 monthly while working 11 hours a week or more. This is great news, but if you have a financial goal in mind, all that time and hard work could be well-spent. You don’t want to spend the money you earn from your side hustles on things you don’t need, like designer clothing, shoes, bags, or fancy gadgets. 

You have to set goals for yourself. Be sure that all the money you earn from your side hustles comes back to you with profits. Set up some investment goals. 

9. Taking Forever to Start

Sometimes when we intend to start a side hustle to earn a little income, we get confused because there is just so much to choose from. There are a lot of factors that we need to figure out where to start. This feeling of confusion or being overwhelmed can delay you from starting, and it takes longer to achieve your goals. If you continue to be indecisive and wait, you may waste time. There is no solid blueprint for starting a side hustle. It’s okay to start small and see how it goes. Do not wait till everything is perfect to start; just do it. 

10. Giving up too Early

Starting a side hustle can be challenging. Many people believe it’s a pleasure cruise to build a business on the side and make an extra income, but it’s not. It can be very stressful and tiring. It can also be very frustrating, and you may feel like giving up. But that would be a mistake. While starting a side hustle might not be easy, you may never know how well you’ll do if you give up too early. Take some time and keep going. There may be some opportunities ahead waiting for you.

Many people, including myself, have made side hustle mistakes. They happen from time to time. Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve made one. Learn from it and move on.

What side hustle mistakes have you made?


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Jason Butler is the owner of My Money Chronicles, a website where he discusses personal finance, side hustles, travel, and more. Jason is from Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Savannah State University with his BA in Marketing. Jason has been featured in Forbes, Discover, and Investopedia.