There are many reasons to start a side hustle. For some, it evolves organically because there’s something you enjoy doing already, while for others, it’s all about maximizing income.

No matter what your reasons for starting a side hustle, it’s important to start it thoughtfully. Otherwise, you could end up wasting a lot of time and have very little to show for it besides stress and frustration.

Here are some tips that, when followed, will boost your chances of experiencing success when starting your side hustle.

Open Yourself up to Inspiration

If you don’t know what kind of side hustle you want to start, you have to open yourself up to inspiration. Even if you do know what you want to do, you should still look for inspiration that can feed exactly how you want to move forward with your initial idea.

You can find inspiration almost anywhere at any time. It may mean choosing a college outside your comfort zone. For example, Sierra Nevada University is situated near the shores of Lake Tahoe with a national forest and the Sierras looming over the campus. All that time in nature is a great way to expose yourself to inspiration.

Other ways to  encourage a little inspiration include:

  • Go on a vacation
  • Meditate
  • Spend more time outside
  • Write down your dreams in the morning

Pick Something You Love

A side hustle can be hard work. You combine that with the fact that you already have a full-time job or you’re already a full-time student and it’s easy to burn out and become depressed. Make sure you choose something you love so it doesn’t feel like work.

That might mean following your heart to start the side hustle of your dreams, but if you don’t know what you want from your side hustle, you should do a little research.

Someone out there has tried just about every kind of side hustle you can imagine. Get on the internet and see what side hustles people have had success with.

A few side hustle ideas include:

  • Use an app, like Uber or DoorDash
  • Start a pet sitting or walking business
  • Make something and sell it, like jewelry
  • Do yard work and shovel snow for neighbors

Never Borrow Money to Start Your Side Hustle

It’s the norm to start a business by borrowing money. For many businesses, it’s the only way they can get off the ground. Although you may be able to borrow money to begin your side hustle, you probably shouldn’t.

Side hustles have the ability to pay off a lot of your debt, but starting your side hustle with new debt is a recipe for disaster. Not only does it put more pressure on you to be successful, if you aren’t, you could end up worse off than when you started. If your side hustle requires startup capital, you should choose something else.

Don’t Let It Interfere With Your Daily Responsibilities

You already spend long hours at work or at school. If you also spend hours every evening on your side hustle, your performance during the day may suffer. That’s just asking for trouble.

Your side hustle is something that is supposed to be on the side. It shouldn’t become your focus. Not only is it bad for your employer or your studies, but it can be bad for your mental health too.

The trick is to find ways to free up time in your schedule so you aren’t working 24/7. For example, you can squeeze in small tasks during wait times, like while riding the bus or waiting for class to start. Spread your errands out over the week so you only spend minutes a day on your side hustle instead of hours in a single day.

Dream Big, but Focus on Today

You aren’t alone if you start your side hustle with dreams to turn it into your full-time gig. It’s important to dream big, but don’t forget to focus on today.

Focus on making your customers happy every day. Strive to learn something new. Build your customer base, one person, at a time. You’ll know when and if your business has the potential to support your full-time attention, and you can cross that bridge when you get there.

A side hustle can be a great way to make a little extra money and spend your spare time doing something you love. Just make sure it doesn’t turn into an unnecessary stressor by following these tips!