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6 tips to start up your side hustle

3-minute read

If you’re someone with a great career but also a sound business idea – or a hobby you feel could be turned into an income stream – this might be the right time to start up a side hustle.

Key take-outs
  • There are many different types of side hustle
  • The best side hustle is one you have a passion for
  • You can manage much of the set up while still working full time
  • Early planning and preparation will help you hit the ground running
  • Certain business applications and registrations will be necessary

What is a side hustle?

A side hustle can be any type of job you do in addition to your regular job – your full-time role. Not the same as a part-time job, a side hustle is generally something that’s done in the evenings and/or at weekends to boost earnings. But a side hustle can also be a way of ‘testing’ an idea that if successful, could provide you with full-time employment down the line.

What are the best side hustles?

We are all different, so there’s no such thing as a ‘best side hustle’. For some it will be the side hustles that have the highest income potential. For others it will be those that provide the pleasure of making some cash out of a favourite hobby, or the satisfaction of getting together with friends to run a small business outside your respective careers.

Some of the most popular side hustles are:

  • Babysitter
  • Blogger
  • Dog walker
  • Freelance writer
  • Holiday home host
  • Market retailer
  • Online retailer
  • Photographer
  • Ride-hailing driver
  • Social media influencer
  • Virtual assistant


If you’ve got a great idea and you’re ready to make some money on the side, here are six tips for how you can start and manage a side hustle alongside your full-time job:

1. Make the most of your spare time

Can you get your business idea off the ground without giving up your day job? While your full-time job might not be what you’re 100% passionate about it, it does provide stable income while you work out how your true passion could grow into a business.

Your spare time could include your work breaks too. Lunch breaks could be spent on the phone or on the internet researching your idea.

2. See if your employer offers flexible working

Some business ideas will need you to be available to your customers and suppliers during normal working hours. If you can, chat to your manager or people leader about flexitime, and how you can adapt your existing working hours to suit your new goals without compromising your full-time job.

3. Do the ground work for your side hustle early

Make sure that establishing your website and social media presence is one of the first things you do. When people hear about what you offer, you want them to be able to find you immediately. Think about how you’re going to help your product or service stand out from the crowd too.

You may also wish to think of a name for your business and register a trade mark with IP Australia sooner rather than later, as approval may take some months.

4. Have enough cash for 18 months’ worth of costs

While you are building your side hustle and drawing in clients, you will want to have enough cash in reserve to cover the set up costs of your business plus ongoing expenses to the point when you project your cash flow will be positive. Consider what types of costs you may have such as rent, inventory and equipment.

5. Make early use of your initial clients

Once you’re in business, prospective customers will want to know about your existing clients to gauge your credibility and ability to deliver. If you can land your first few clients while you’re still in your regular job, you might be able to receive reviews, recommendations and testimonials to add to your website and discuss with potential new clients.

6. Set your side hustle up as a proper business

For your side hustle to be a legitimate enterprise you’ll need to carry out the key steps of setting up a business, which include choosing a business structure, registering your business name and applying for an ABN.

Other things to consider are registering for GST and opening business bank accounts1. Even if you’re a sole trader, it’s a good idea to separate your business banking from your personal banking, particularly at tax time when separate accounts will make it much simpler to pinpoint and account for business expenses.

We also suggest you use electronic payments wherever possible, as this will make them easier to track, including through small business accounting software such as MYOB and Xero.



If your side hustle really takes off, you could consider making it your full-time job and becoming your own boss. Look out for inspiration and tips in the Growing a business section of our Help for your business pages.

Read more

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Having a business mentor gives you a great opportunity to learn from someone who has been through similar challenges to yours.

4 benefits of being in business

Being your own boss can bring with it stresses and risks, but there are plenty of good reasons to start your own business. 

Things you should know

1. Westpac’s products are subject to terms, conditions, fees and charges; and certain criteria may apply. Before making a decision, read the disclosure documents for your selected product or service, including the Product Disclosure Statement and T&Cs for Westpac business bank accounts, by clicking the above link; and consider if the product is right for you.

This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.