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Why you may need a side hustle mentor (and how to find the right one)

Why you may need a side hustle mentor (and how to find the right one)

There are definitely people out there who don’t need support building a thriving side hustle. If you feel confident and focused in your idea, have a clear outline of the steps you need to take to get there, and are self-motivated enough to actually make those things happen, feel free to stop reading this article now and devote this time back to your side hustle.

For the rest of us, a nudge in the right direction can be valuable in making our side hustle dreams a reality. And for that, side hustle mentors can be a great place to turn.

Side hustle mentors, or side hustle coaches, specialize in helping people launch or grow side hustles. (Some even do this coaching as a side hustle of their own!) While working with one is an investment in time and money, it can pay off in dividends for the right people.

Who should work with a side hustle mentor?

Polywork chatted with Susie Moore, creator of the Side Hustle Made Simple coaching program, to understand more about what side hustle mentors offer, who they can be especially valuable for, and how to find the right one for you.

1. You want a side hustle, but aren’t sure what it should be

If picking a side hustle to pursue is the biggest thing holding you back from getting started, a side hustle coach can help hone in on the “best, most profitable idea for you,” Susie said.

For some people, that may mean you have a vague notion that you’d like to make some extra cash on the side, but can’t begin to imagine what it might look like. More often than not, though, Susie says people come to her because they have too many side hustle ideas and can’t commit to one. “People will ask: Should I teach yoga? Should I do photography? Should I become a life coach? When you work with a coach, they help you get clarity around where the joy is for you and what you are naturally good at” Susie explained.

Susie works through these challenges by helping clients identify a side hustle that taps into a skill they are good at, that other people would be willing to pay for, and that they’re actually excited to spend their free time working on (similar to the Japanese concept of ikigai). Sure, you could think through those things on your own. But if you constantly find yourself stuck, the outside perspective of a coach may shed light on possibilities that you’re too close to the situation to notice.

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What should you consider before starting a side project? 1. Why you want to start. 2. Resources you’ll need. 3. Keeping yourself accountable.

2. You have an idea for a side hustle, but can never seem to get started

Here’s a hard truth: Talking about starting a side hustle is not the same as actually starting one (neither is keeping that running note of side hustle ideas on your phone). Yet, so many of us fall into the rut of dreaming about an idea for years and never taking steps towards it.

“I find that a lot of side hustlers don’t take immediate action,” Susie said. “If you’re sick of your own, ‘I need to do this,’ then you probably need a little bit of help.”

Side hustle coaches can help people move past this in a number of ways. One is working with you to create an actual plan: Breaking your nebulous side hustle goal into small, manageable steps and laying out a timeline to getting there. “Instead of having this idea in your head—one day I'm finally going to launch—a coach will encourage you to take consistent action over time,” Susie said.

“I find that a lot of side hustlers don’t take immediate action. If you’re sick of your own, ‘I need to do this,’ then you probably need a little bit of help.”

Another way a mentor for side hustles can help is simple accountability. “We have so many accountability opportunities in our life: apps and journals keeping us on task. When that’s a physical human being who’s checking in with you regularly, you can’t really hide from it,” she said.

Finally, side hustle mentors can help give you confidence or overcome mental roadblocks that are preventing you from progressing. “Sometimes we need someone there to check in with us if we haven't done the work to ask why,” explained Susie. “Very often, the resistance is speaking to some type of insecurity or fear.” A good coach, she says, should be able to help you examine and challenge those fears so they don’t hold you back any longer.

3. You can’t figure out the best way to move your side hustle forward

Maybe you do feel motivated to work on your side hustle, but are paralyzed by choice when it comes to choosing a strategy. “There's a lot of information out there, and it's overwhelming,” said Susie. “Someone will say, ‘Go straight to creating digital products,’ ‘It's all about the branding,’ ‘You definitely need a podcast,’ ‘Gotta start with a YouTube channel.’”

A good mentor for side hustles can help you hone in on the right approach in one of two ways. If they’ve grown a similar side hustle before — for themselves or one of their clients — they can share information on what worked for them. “You essentially pay for the shortcuts,” explained Susie. “And you can either pay by searching, ChatGPT-ing, scratching your head at night, or someone can help you.”

“The right coach will help you work with your natural groove instead of saying, ‘This is what you need to do.’”

Alternatively, a good side hustle coach should be able to help you narrow down growth strategies based on your strengths. “The right coach will help you work with your natural groove instead of saying, ‘This is what you need to do,’” she added.

All that said, if you know the approach you want to take and just don’t have the expertise — for instance, in managing a YouTube channel or starting a podcast — Susie says your money may be better spent hiring a consultant in that area.

How to find the right side hustle mentor for you

The last thing you want to do when bootstrapping a side hustle is waste money on the wrong coach.

“My only advice is to work with someone whose results you’d like to replicate,” Susie said. One way to achieve this is to find someone who has launched a side hustle or company you admire, and see if they offer any kind of coaching.

If you’re browsing coaches online, pay attention to their testimonials, and don’t hesitate to ask for case studies or to be put in touch with past clients as references. Susie added that you don’t have to go with someone who specifically bills themselves as a side hustle coach: A business, life, or career coach may do the trick as long as they have enough experience with side hustles to understand the limitations of building something alongside another job.

Finally, when you hop on a consultation call with a potential side hustle mentor, be clear about what you’re looking for. “Every coach is different: Some are very decisive and give you action plans, some are more spiritual and will always ask you about your feelings and your intuition,” Susie shared.

“I think it’s really great to outline what your expectations are: This is what I want to do in the next six months. I want to make X amount of money.” Seeing how they react to that conversation will give you a peek into what working with them might be like — and help you understand if they are the person who can push you and your side hustle forward.