Step 1 in figuring out YOUR sidehustle

So – you now know what a sidehustle is and you’re having trouble figuring out YOUR sidehustle? Follow these steps to kickstart your thinking.

Grab a pen and paper (seriously, pen and paper is better for this exercise) and start by making a list in 3 columns – or if you really prefer a template then use this PDF template here which also has my own example on it – BUT DON’T cheat by skipping forward – read both this post and the next one to work through the complete example!!

make a list
What are you interested in?

In the FIRST column write down what you are really passionate about – one topic on each line.

When I say “interests” I really mean anything – pets, cooking, games, comics, gardening, fitness, flags of the world, stamp collecting (does anyone do that anymore?), scuba diving, motorcycle riding, photography, travel (I had to put those in as I’m interested in all of them), yoga, celebrities, music, travel – you get the point – ANYTHING that you are really interested in.

list your passions
What do you spend your time on?

Do your friends think your knowledge of rare dog breeds is amazing? Or perhaps your continual droning on about Belgian Beers bores them to tears? Are they astonished at your culinary skills? Do they turn to you for advice on their golf swing? Do you have encyclopedic knowledge of the best Twitch channels and latest TikTok memes? What could you spend hours of your own time researching and watching YouTube videos about?

What would you prefer to spend your days doing if you didn’t have to work another day in your life?

Now comes the important bit in figuring out your sidehustle ……….

In the SECOND column, write down

look for problems and products
People pay for problems and products

What problems have you encountered in your areas of interest? Do people pay to get them solved? Could you solve their problems for them by providing coaching services, “how to” guides, or just straight up doing it for them? What products do they buy? Could you make or source them on their behalf? Don’t leave it off the list because you think you can’t – you might be surprised at what you can do and learn online these days – write it all down.

Don’t try to align the products and services with your interests (we will come to that later) – just write it all down – this is a brainstorming exercise.


no market need is the biggest reason for failure
Don’t become a statistic

I keep on emphasising “what people pay for” – this of course only applies if your intention is to make money from your sidehustle (otherwise it’s either charity or a hobby). I highlight the statistic above because you should always treat your sidehustle like a startup.

In my primary job (pre-COVID), I dealt with a LOT of startups and you will be astonished at how many of them fail purely because the founder(s) are so passionate about solving a problem that they rush off to build a solution and get it out to market BEFORE they have given any real thought as to how they are going to monetise their offering. The same CB Insights article I got that statistic from lists the second biggest reason for startup failure as “running out of cash” – probably because they couldn’t find enough paying customers!!!

So please focus on what people pay for – and really think of anything you have seen or perhaps bought yourself – I’m not going to make any suggestions here as that would limit your thinking – you’re the one that needs to do the work – it’s YOUR sidehustle to figure out.

quote from Estee Lauder
Are you wishing or hoping?

Next post in figuring out your sidehustle will be to find your sweetspot for your ideal sidehustle for the future (and we will fill in that THIRD column) – stay tuned.

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