5 Must-Dos for Making Your Side Project Profitable

May 29, 2015

Connect Member

Adda designs and teaches classes on digital job skills


So, you're all about the hustle — a project you do outside of your regular job, NOT the groovy dance circa 1978.

Whether you spend your evenings designing websites or your weekends whipping up wedding cupcakes, you work hard to bring in extra cash. But maybe you could even earn more or at least earn yourself some more benefits (that could eventually turn into more money too).

Check out these five practical tips to make your side project profitable. You can put each one into action right away no matter what your hustle is. Can you dig it?

1. Plan your time.
Since your side projects aren’t your 9-to-5 job, it's easy to just go about your daily routine hoping you have enough time leftover to do your side gig at some point. You know how that story ends...

If you want your projects to pay off, you have to commit the time needed instead of leaving it to chance.

Open up your calendar app and reserve the time you need each day or weekend or week to do your best work. In return for the time you invest, you're sure to end up with more satisfied customers, more projects, and more money.

2. Find your fans.
Speaking of happy clients, you can also take advantage of pleased patrons to improve your business.

Hopefully they'll be rushing to tell their friends about your products or services. But you should also use their praise to promote your projects on your website and in social media.

Make it easy for customers to give you that positive feedback at the end of each project. Set up a short online survey that they can fill out with just a few clicks. Send them a quick email asking what they loved (the power of suggestion!) about the project you just finished for them. Or take them for a thank-you coffee and suggest a quick blurb for your website about how great it was to work with you.

3. Up your ante.
Increasing your rates sounds simple enough. But, as you can imagine, this tip can cause even the most experienced entrepreneurs to shiver in self-doubt.

When you feel that chill setting in, remember: Just because your project isn't your main occupation doesn't mean it's not worth paying — and paying well! — for it.

Put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and list out all the costs that come from your side projects. Then re-calculate your prices to make sure you cover both those costs AND some well-deserved profit.

4. Cover your bases.
Once you’ve negotiated those killer rates, you’ll of course want to make sure you actually get paid for your work.

As loyal as your customers might be, you shouldn’t leave things to chance when it comes to financial matters. It’s absolutely worth getting a simple but solid contract to cover yourself in the unlikely event that something unpleasant happens. And getting your taxes in order right away can save you both misery and money later.

5. Strengthen your skills.
To keep bringing in the bucks, you have to keep bringing your A-game. You can always add or improve something to bring in new customers or offer your current ones even more — and make more money!

Read up on the latest trends in the area. Ask clients what else they’d like to see from you. Take a class to learn the latest tech and tools. There are plenty of ways to increase your offerings and more to offer your customers means more profit from your side projects.

Almost makes you feel like dancing, doesn’t it?! Side hustle, anyone?

Adda Birnir is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.