The Covid-19 pandemic has put millions out of work and many small retailers and restaurants out of business. The situation has forced many to look for a side hustle to make some extra cash and improve finances. While the pandemic has been brutal in so many ways, it has turned out to be the perfect time to start a side business. The majority of the workers are commuting less and have got ample time to focus on a side business they have been dreaming of for months and even years.

In addition to providing a consistent little flow of cash, a side hustle can also become the stepping stone for a future career that can replace your 9 to 5 job one day. So how do you start a side hustle during a pandemic? Here are the 5 steps that can help you out.

1- Identify your niche

It is important to plan out your success before launching your side hustle and a big part of it is understanding what you are good at.

You can always start on freelancing platforms like Upwork and Fiverr and make a few extra bucks by selling your skills. Alternatively, you can make use of e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Etsy, or eBay if you are interested in a products-based business.

Social Media can also play a role in bringing your craft in front of the world. Many users across the platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are using this simple trick and making a small profit. You might be good at sketching, designing, baking, or even cooking and you’ll be surprised to find out how many people are interested in your craft.

It might also be a good idea to start with multiple little projects and then stick to the one that works out best.

2- Plan your budget

A side hustle is meant to be a hobby that doesn’t stress you out. So be careful when planning to start something on the side. You are launching this business to help you deal with the financial stress, not increase it.

Make a list of everything you need to get started. Jot down every single detail and get an estimate of how much you’ll be spending to get your project off the ground. Don’t stop there, make a projection for the next few months and if the idea doesn’t seem sustainable, it’s time to find a new one.

Your expenses can vary greatly depending on the nature of the work you are taking up. An online job, for example, is easier to ramp up when compared to launching an e-commerce brand which requires an inventory and some investment in advertising.

One way to get accurate projections is to talk to industry experts in the niche you are targeting. They can help you uncover hidden costs and even help you out with their own experiences. If you can’t connect with any experts in your favorite field, YouTube tutorials and the internet can be your best pals. In any case, industry-related market research should be prioritized to come up with an accurate budget.

3- Plan your work hours

Running a side business requires you to put some hours into the business in addition to your day job. Given the COVID-19 restrictions, sparing a couple of hours from your daily routine might not be too difficult.

A good place to start is to make a timetable and keep a list of tasks you need to get done to launch your business. Make sure you mark your calendar with things you need to do every day to reach your goal quickly.

The time you need to set aside for these tasks can be as low as a couple of hours every week. However, you have to ensure that you remove tasks off your checklist in those few hours.

4- Keep the finances for your side business separate

A small side hustle is only viable if it is producing the desired output. A separate register or a checking gives you an accurate measure of the money going in and out of your small business,

A separate bookkeeping system can also help you with taxes and provides you with an authentic money trail of all your income and expenses if you ever need one.

This will also give you the benefit of analyzing trends and understanding what works best for your small gig. So, if you ever feel the need to scale your business, you can always refer to your previous records to come up with an effective strategy for the future.

5- Don’t be reluctant to hire staff to increase efficiency

Running a business big or small comes with many responsibilities. From accounts to product management, you can end up with a lot on your plate.

Although it can be difficult to share your ideas with others, there’s nothing better than finding a team to handle workflows, collaborate on ideas, and suggest improvements. This comes in handy especially when you are trying to expand your business into a regular one.

As an entrepreneur of any magnitude, the sooner you find the area of your expertise, the better it is for the business. You can easily increase sales and turn your side business into your main business with the right staff to help you out.