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How to start a side business with no money

Monday, March 25, 2019


Are you thinking of starting a side hustle to increase your income in 2019? While the intention may be there, it can be tricky without the knowledge and funds to get a side business up and running. Lack of a clear plan or vision can both slow down the process, as well as derail it, and that’s the last thing you need while trying to increase your income. South Africa is in need of entrepreneurs, so if you have an idea or have a skillset that you feel you could capitalize on, here are a few tips to getting you on the road to supplementing your income.


Prepare for two jobs

Being realistic about your future business is as important as thinking about the potential that it has. While you’re getting it up and running, a large sum of money isn’t going to just start coming your way. You’re going to need a steady income coming in to keep you going, and to help you get your side business off the ground.

Even if you plan on turning your side business into your first and only business in the future, at the moment you will have to prepare yourself to work on both your current job and on your side business at the same time. Businesses don’t bloom overnight and you will need reliable money keeping you afloat.


Set out your end goal

Once you’re mentally prepared to take on the extra work, it’s time to set the end goal. This doesn’t have to be the ultimate end goal, let’s be honest, not many of us know exactly where a business will end up, but we can set a one to two year goal. Do you want your side business to have its own premises in a year’s time? Have generated a certain amount of income within a certain period of time or have a certain amount of customers? Thinking about this goal will help you get started on the next step.


Think about your financial requirements

Once you have a goal in front of you, you can consider how much money you might need to get there. Any business requires a capital injection, so spend some time going over how much you might need to get started. There is no harm in speaking to a financial or business advisor at this stage, to help you crunch the numbers. You’ll need to think about the resources required to operate, whether you already have these resources or need to buy and/or hire them, an estimate of how long it could take you to stay afloat until you see a profit, and how you can get there.

While one can consider a personal loan, crowdfunding could also come in handy. Crowdfunding platforms such as Thundafund can help you fund your business in general, or help you purchase a new piece of equipment or tool to get your business off the ground and help you run it more efficiently.


Start small

Starting small doesn’t mean your business won’t grow into something bigger and better, rather that there is potential to scale up the more profit you make and the more time and resources you have. Starting in a big office with expensive equipment can often lead to short lived success, whereas starting a bit more simply can leave room for growth as things progress.

If you’re keen to get into the culinary industry, for example, and want to start your own restaurant, perhaps starting with an at-home catering service or a food truck is the best place to enter the market so that you and your brand build recognition. Once your name is known and you have the capital and enough of a following behind you, you can consider growing your business into a restaurant or even chain of restaurants. In an economy such as South Africa’s, it never hurts to start off smaller even if the capital is there, and grow as the need arises.

While our economic climate might be tough, the country needs entrepreneurs far and wide. If you’ve got a skill you want to use to make more of an income for yourself then there’s no time like the present to get it going. While it is not an easy task building up a business, the payoff can be well worth the long hours.