3 Common Side Hustle Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

March 20, 2024

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Looking back on my first few years as a part-time business owner, as much as I’d love to say that I that was able to avoid many common side hustle mistakes…that’s just not the case! In fact, looking back on my journey as a solopreneur, it’s fair to say that I fell for a lot of the common pitfalls.

Since launching my first part-time branding studio in 2020, I’ve had more than my fair share of ups and downs. Not only have I overhauled my services more times than I can count, but I’ve also revamped my website four times and rebranded twice. I’ve had profitable years and others where I was sitting cozy in the red. I’ve gotten to work with some absolutely incredible clients, and I’ve also learned hard, but valuable, lessons thanks to clients who, let’s say…weren’t always aligned with my vision and values!

Thankfully, today I’m at a place where I’m clear in my strategy and confident in what I have to offer here at Mighty Bean Co. Best of all, I can look back on my journey and pinpoint the common side hustle mistakes that I made and what I could, and should, have done differently. But seeing that I can’t go back in time, I figured I would share some of those mistakes so that, hopefully, you can avoid them in your own side hustle journey.

So, let’s get into it!

Common Side Hustle Mistakes: Not having a plan

I’m pretty transparent with my audience about my first year of business; I hadn’t exactly planned on starting a branding studio, so in many ways, I kind of fell into this whole thing!

When I started my first part-time studio, not only did I not have a short-term plan, but I also didn’t have any long-term plans. I was quite literally flying by the seat of my pants, with zero thought given to my business strategy or goals. (I know, I know…It’s ironic that I now spend my 5-9 screaming from the rooftops about the importance of brand strategy.)

In the long run, this “just vibes” approach to my business cost me both time and money. I spent (ahem, wasted) a lot of running in circles, undoing and redoing everything from my service listing to my messaging to even my branding. In hindsight, had I taken the time to create a business plan, I could have saved myself a lot of unnecessary frustration.

This is a common side hustle mistake that I see a lot of people make. They have a great business idea and jump into it headfirst without giving any thought to a business plan or strategy.

Before you hit the ground running in your side hustle, it’s important to take a beat and think about your goals and the strategy you’ll need to accomplish them. Now, when I talk about a business plan, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy (at least not in the early stages of your side hustle). There are plenty of free templates online to get you started, and then, as your side hustle grows, you can start thinking about your brand and marketing strategies.

Common Side Hustle Mistakes: Starting too big

Another one of the common side hustle mistakes that I fell for was offering way too much, way too soon.

When I first started my business, my service listing was…chaotic, to say the least. Not only was I offering graphic design services, but I was also offering branding and strategy, web design, copywriting, resume writing. LinkedIn bio writing…the list went on!

I thought that by presenting my side hustle as a one-stop-shop, I would be more attractive to potential clients. But what I didn’t realize was that by presenting myself as a jill of all trades, I was actually sending the exact opposite message to my audience. I wasn’t creating the perception that I was an expert in any single area, and therefore clients weren’t convinced that I could deliver the value that they needed. As a result, two years later, all I had to show for my hard work was a disjointed portfolio and no clear offering for my clients.

As much as this is a common side hustle mistake, it’s one that you should avoid at all costs. As tempting as it may be to offer the entire kitchen sink, the best thing is to launch with just one or two services or products, and then introduce more as your side hustle grows. Take it from me – it’s a lot easier to scale your side hustle than it is to undo and start again!

A sign on a shelf that reads, "Side biz hustle."

Common Side Hustle Mistakes: Undercharging

Of all the common side hustle mistakes, undercharging is probably the one that most, if not all of us, have been guilty of at some point in our journey – and that includes me!

I remember, especially in my first two years of business, that I would consistently and intentionally low-ball my costs in the hopes that it would help me attract more clients. And while devaluing my prices did lead to more inquiries, it didn’t necessarily bring in quality leads. In fact, I would often find myself working on projects that either didn’t align with my vision and interests or perpetually had scope creep, which was a whole other problem entirely!

When it comes to setting your prices, it’s important to do your research and understand current market rates so that you can offer competitive pricing. If you’re not sure where to begin, I suggest you check out this amazing rate transparency guide from Women Who Freelance Canada to help get you started.

A large desk in an office

So, here’s the thing about common side hustle mistakes…

They’re common for a reason, and chances are, you’re going to make at least one of them along the way – and that’s perfectly OK. In fact, it’s all a part of the process. Mistakes are inevitable, but hopefully, by sharing a snapshot of my own experience, I can spare you the pain of some the common side hustle mistakes that I fell for.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that side hustling and small business aren’t linear. But as long as you have the passion, vision and discipline, you’ll be able to push through and reach your goals. And best of all, as your creative partner, I’ll be right here to cheer you on every step of the way.

So, what do you think? Have you been guilty of any of these common side hustle mistakes — or maybe others? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. biolean says:

    Wow wonderful blog layout How long have you been blogging for you make blogging look easy The overall look of your site is great as well as the content.

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I'M ADRIENNE, CORPORATE GIRLY BY DAY AND BRAND DESIGNER BY NIGHT.

I help passionate and multi-faceted 9-5 women scale their side hustles into profitable side businesses with strategic and elevated branding that screams "main gig" energy. 

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