How to make a business plan for your side hustle
A shift in the way many of us work, plus an ongoing need for more income, have led to a surge in the launch of side hustles. The move from office to remote working for example, frees up travel time that can be put to use – and there are dozens of ways to earn money. But it all starts with a plan. Here are some steps you can take to write a side hustle business plan for your own part-time venture.
A side hustle, also known as a side job or a side gig, is generally an extra job taken on by people to supplement their main source of income. It could be an extension to a hobby – such as selling things you love making – or a way to test a new product or service you’re thinking about launching as a full-blown business idea.
It can be anything from pet-sitting to food delivery services, gardening to operating a market stall. You may already have a side hustle idea, or check out some of ours.
If you're considering starting a side hustle, you need a strategy in place, starting with a business plan to help transform your idea into a flourishing enterprise on the side.
For many part-time entrepreneurs who are seeking a source of extra money, writing a business plan sounds like a lot of work. But it’s well worth the effort as it helps pull all your ideas and plans together into a single dynamic document that encapsulates your new venture. A side hustle business plan helps you prioritise your efforts, gives you more control over outcomes, and provides a document to share if you’re seeking finance for growth.
A business plan should explain the nature of your side hustle and your broad vision, detailing the products or services you're planning to offer and describing what you want to achieve. Think of this as your mission statement, where you clearly explain the specific customer needs or wants you're addressing and what will make your part-time business uniquely positioned to address those needs and wants.
A good way to start can be by summarising what you want to achieve in a single sentence and build from there. Try to include realistic goals for the short and longer term, including your ideal scenario in the future.
Examples of goals might be for your side hustle to provide a regular, supplemental income to your day job within a month. Or it might be to exceed your full-time income within a year. Your goals can evolve over time, but it can be useful to set them beforehand to help you develop a strategy to get there.
Before starting any new business, it's essential to know something about the industry you plan to enter – particularly if it's a relatively new industry. In your business plans you should include information such as whether the sector is well-established with well-known competitors, or emerging with other start-ups like you. So, it can be a good idea to read up on the industry to spot key trends you might be able to tap into, or the latest ideas from overseas that you might be able to 'borrow'.
Make a list of other people in the market and analyse what they're doing well and what could be improved. This can help identify any gaps that your side hustle could fill. This market research is not only useful as you start and grow your business, but it also shows potential investors or lenders that you've done your homework.
Creating a budget might not be the most exciting part of your business plan, but it's crucial for any sustainable venture, including side hustles. Your business plan should include a realistic estimate of how much money you’ll need to get you up and running and where it might come from. For example, it might be self-funded from personal savings, or perhaps you are looking for a business loan or investors.
You should detail what upfront costs you expect, such as a website, equipment or the goods you’ll need to stock, and what your main incomings and outgoings are likely to be as the business develops. Also, think about ongoing costs and explain your predicted timeframe for making a profit and how you plan to get there.
Other things to detail are your plans for business banking, if you need to open a business bank account and how you intend to take payments. For example, if you plan to take in person card payments, you can now apply for the EFTPOS Air mobile app, which allows you to take contactless payments on any compatible phone or device. Or you might be more interested in an eCommerce solution.
You might have the best side hustle idea in the world, but the chances are it won't be successful if no-one knows about it. A good business plan needs a strategy explaining who your target audience is and how you can reach it. So, first, you should define your target market in as much detail as possible.
If your business sells pasta, who are your potential buyers? A lot of people eat pasta, but perhaps yours is gluten-free, imported from Italy and twice the price of pasta from the supermarket. This instantly narrows down your target audience to, for example, people who are intolerant to gluten and willing to pay a premium for quality pasta.
If your business is walking dogs, where are your customers most likely to come from? Those with big gardens where dogs self-exercise? Or those keeping pets in apartments all day while they're out at work?
If your business is reselling vintage wear sourced in op shops, what age is your target market and what’s currently in trend with those potential customers?
Next, you should work out how your target audience is going to find your product or service and the best way to communicate your unique selling proposition (USP). This could be through paid advertising, word of mouth, PR, or building a social media presence on popular platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok.
In addition to this, depending on your business type, you should have a sales strategy in place that will help you determine how you plan to drive conversions and, ultimately, revenue. For example, through direct sales, via eCommerce, or by distributing your goods through wholesale to a third-party seller.
For many people, a side hustle is their first experience of setting up their own business and writing a business plan. If that's you, don't be afraid to ask for support. A business advisor, accountant or fellow industry professionals might be able to offer valuable advice. The Australian Government also offers various resources to help give your business plan legs.
A quick search online will reveal numerous downloadable business plan templates, many of which will be simple to adapt to side hustle use. Accounting software services such as MYOB and Xero publish templates online too.
To save you looking further, the Australian Government’s Business website has a business plan template you can download in Word format. Or you could simply create your own template using the steps listed in this article.
To sum up:
The prospect of boosting your income with a side hustle is exciting and you’ll be keen to get started as soon as possible. But before you get too deep, it pays to invest time in detailing the mechanics of your idea. A solid business plan will set you off on a sound path to a successful part-time business, and Westpac will be with you every step of the way. Check our other Help for your business articles.
This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this article, including when considering tax and finance options for your business. Westpac does not endorse any of the external providers referred to in this article.