Experimenting with a side hustle

Jumping straight into a business has its risks: you lose your main source of income, and if it doesn’t work out you could suffer a financial set-back.

Side hustling can be a good way to test whether your idea is viable. You can get a sense of what the administrative duties will be like, identify hidden costs and grow your client base, all while keeping your 9-5.

If it seems like the business is doing well, you can then decide whether you want to go into it full-time. The goal doesn’t always have to be to convert a side hustle to a main hustle though. You might decide you are happy for your side-hustle to simply supplement your main income.

Even if you have a fantastic product or service, it takes time for people to catch on. But while you are busy building up your client base, you still need to pay your employees, cover your rent, buy your materials, and have enough left over to meet your own living expenses.

Even when I was freshly unemployed, my first job was at a boutique fashion store. I wanted to be near the thing that eventually became my business. It helped me make contacts and learn about the industry.

Tshepo Mohlala

Before starting your side hustle, there are some practical things you need to think through. Not all businesses are suited to side-hustling, and depending on your line of work, you might find yourself in breach of contract if you do. First and foremost, be sure to find out about the legality of your proposed hustle, and then start thinking about the practical aspects of it.


If your idea takes off and you start dreaming about the business you could own, there is still work to do before you can make it your main hustle. The next part deals with just that.