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Original photo by Tracy Le

I Started My Own Side Hustle, This is What I Learned

Full disclosure: I am not a professional. These are the things I learned from my first rodeo. I hope that if you’ve been considering starting your own side hustle, that this enables you to feel more confident in moving forward. I truly believe that if you have an idea or passion calling you, run full force into it. It may become the best decision you’ve ever made.

Account for mistakes.

Mistakes are inevitable. Starting your own business or side hustle rarely goes without any hiccups along the way. Adaptability is crucial. Don’t be hard on yourself if things don’t go exactly as you’d like them too, but certainly be ready to be confronted with unforeseeable challenges.

 Don’t expect large profit margins.

If you’re an optimist like me, it’s nice to think that your first launch will be a huge success. Large profit margins are possible but not likely for your first launch. Set big goals but be patient in approaching them. It takes a while to build a strong consumer base and bring a brand to full fruition.

Two words: customer service.

For me, this was the most intimidating thing about starting my side hustle. I knew that it was important that I formed a genuine relationship with the consumers who were buying my products because that would ultimately ensure the future of the brand. I think it is important to treat each customer with this in mind. As much as you have your own stamp on your brand, your consumers do as well.

Spreadsheets are your best friend.

This may be a given, but Excel really eased a lot of my stress. I created a jewelry collection and it helped me to streamline, organize, discern, and predict things like unit prices, pricing of products, profit margins, timelines, inventory, etc.

Have a vision.

Constantly ask yourself where you see your business in four months, in a year, in five years, etc. This goes hand in hand with setting goals for yourself and your brand. Having a clear idea right at the start will help guide you in creating and modeling every facet of your business. Asking yourself: “What do I want for my brand?”, will help you plan how you will get to your goals. Vision gives you direction which is of utmost importance to the success and growth of your business.

Tracy is a first year at the University of Virginia. While her intended major is biology, she also has a passion for photography and writing. In addition to HC, she writes on her own blog, Beyond the Lens, and runs a budding photography business! Check out her Instagram (@letracyy) and as always, happy reading!
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