6 ways to figure out if your side hustle idea will be a quick failure or a long-term success

side hustle video influencer young entrepreneur
The more you can understand what your audience needs from you, the more you can build something of long-lasting value.

The number one thing I love to do in my free time is brainstorm new business ideas. I find it fun thinking about problems and solutions in the form of innovative, unique, and interesting side hustles. My friends know this about me and at some point, at every dinner or phone call, I ask them if they want to chat about random ideas and see if any of them have potential for success.

While coming up with a long list of business ideas is easy, spending the quality time to check and see if these ideas can actually turn into something requires a series of practical steps.

If you’re collecting business ideas wondering which could turn into long term success and which are doomed for quick failure, here are six ways you can put your idea to the test before investing money into getting a business up and running.

1. Get the idea in front of an audience

Side hustles are created for people to help solve a problem they have in their life. Even if you think your idea is brilliant, it can’t be validated until it’s in front of a group of people, who are your ideal target audience, to see what their response is.

For example, if you’re thinking of starting a career coaching service for women in their 30s who want to make a career transition to another industry, find 10 to 15 people who meet this criteria and spend 30 minutes to an hour understanding their perspective, what kind of coaching they’d like, and how they feel about your idea.

If you are thinking of creating a modern stress ball for those who work in high-energy and fast-paced careers, first spend time chatting with this audience to see if this is something they’d use and then create a test product for them to try out before you build the real thing.

This data will help you pivot or change the purpose of your business. The more you can understand what your audience needs from you, the more you can build something of long-lasting value.

jen glantz
Jen Glantz.

2. Have a pulse on industry trends

It’s common for entrepreneurs to start side hustles in industries they aren’t too familiar with. Sometimes being new can allow you to see what problems no other company has ever tried to solve. Spend time keeping a pulse on trends, projections, and innovations happening within a certain space.

An easy way to help you do this is by setting free Google alerts for topics and keywords within an industry so that you can review daily updates about what’s happening. You can also read industry blogs, listen to podcasts, and attend conferences, all before actually starting and launching your product or service.

What you learn will help you brainstorm ways to make your side hustle stand out and be practical to the ever-changing needs of your customer base.

3. Understand your competitors

Before getting too deep into planning your idea, look into better understanding your competitors. Map out their business plan, identify what they’ve done in the past that’s worked well for them and what has failed, and see what opportunities they haven’t even tried yet.

Once you know the performance of at least three to five competitors, you can really understand how your side hustle can fit into the overall landscape of the industry and potentially service customers in a new or different way.

Look into the marketing of these companies (check out their website and sign up for their emails) and use analysis tools like Rival IQ for help on how your competitors are performing on social media platforms.

4. Eyeball your business plan

A great step to take to really see if an idea has what it takes to grow into a success business is to write out a full and formal plan. Once you can identify how the business will grow and scale, what kind of budget you’ll need, and what the overall solutions are to the problems you’re solving for your audience, you’ll be able to have a blueprint for next steps.

Print out a free business plan like this one and see how much of it you can fill out. Over time, consult with mentors and other experts in your industry to expand on your business plan and see if your idea has legs or is just a decent idea.

5. Chat with a handful of mentors

Side hustle ideas should be shared. The more people with business and industry knowledge you share your ideas, the more you can refine your purpose and product based on their expertise.

Join communities where these experts might be (Facebook groups or conferences) and ask if they will meet with you for 15 to 20 minutes, and come prepared with questions catered to their insights and experience.

6. Be willing to pivot, pause, and plan

A lot of successful businesses started out as something completely different than what they are now. Take Amazon, for example, which started off as an online book seller and has now turned into a platform for buying everything you could possibly need and getting it sent to your doorstep quickly.

If you notice you’re hanging onto an idea that’s not getting a good response from your target audience or industry experts, understand that if you don’t pause, pivot, and re-plan, you might not find the success you’re looking for.

Be willing, as a new entrepreneur, to bend your idea from its original state. Following these steps will help you get clarity on whether or not an idea is worth pursuing.

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Over 70,000 people have applied to work at my bridesmaid-for-hire business – here’s how I decide who to hire

Jen Glantz
Jen Glantz is the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire.

  • Jen Glantz is an entrepreneur and founder of the company Bridesmaid for Hire.
  • Since starting her business in 2014, Glantz has fielded over 70,000 applications from paid bridesmaid hopefuls.
  • Glantz says she scans applications quickly for key details, and then conducts a long interview process to get to know each candidate.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Soon after I started my business Bridesmaid for Hire, clients were requesting something I truly wasn’t prepared to offer. I was the world’s first person offering a service where brides could hire me to show up at their wedding, pretend to know them from some point in their life, and be their bridesmaid for the day. All of a sudden, clients were asking if they could hire me and additional professional bridesmaids as well.

I was a solo-preneur and didn’t know how to hire a team for a job that I’d just invented. So, I decided to start by simply sharing the news that I was hiring people on social media and my website. After only a few weeks, I received thousands of job applications from people all over the world.

Over six years after starting this business, I’ve had over 70,000 people apply to work for me. I’ve both hired and fired over the years – the job isn’t as glamorous or as easy as it looks. I even found a way to monetize the audience of people who were interested in working for me and bring in an additional revenue stream for my business. 

Now, I have a streamlined hiring process. Here’s how I vet and select applicants to join my small business. 

Scanning applications for key details 

With thousands of people applying to work for my company every month, going through each application is nearly impossible. To organize the hiring process, I scan the applications for key details and keywords that are applicable to what kind of experience the ideal candidate should have.

While a lot of people think the number one job requirement to work for my company is that they’ve been a bridesmaid a handful of times, it actually isn’t something I weigh heavily in my vetting process.

Instead, I like to find people who have experience in sales (so they have top communication skills and the ability to read and react to situations), working in high-stress environments (because what wedding isn’t high-stress?), and work well with groups of people (whether they’ve managed teams or worked one-on-one with lots of people before).

Even though thousands of people apply monthly, only a handful of applicants end up being considered. 

When you’re hiring for a position, it’s important to be clear on what skills are must-haves and what experience is non-negotiable versus simply a plus. It will make the hiring process easier and more efficient. 

Conducting interviews and in-person tests

The job of being a professional bridesmaid at a strangers wedding is more of a complex role than you’d imagine. You’re not only a part of the bridal party, you’re also working as the bride’s personal assistant, on-call therapist, social director, and wedding peacekeeper. Hiring for this role means that the interview process has to be in-depth and oftentimes, in person.

Round one is a video call where I assess the person’s personality, experience, and overall passion for the job. During this round, most people express more of an interest in working as a professional bridesmaid for the perks and the party, so 90% of people don’t make it past this round.

Round two is a test where the candidate is given multiple real-life wedding scenarios and asked how they’d handle them. The candidates that don’t make the cut here are often shocked by these questions and unsure of what to do, while the best candidates bring creativity and problem solving techniques to the table. 

Round three, which very few people make it to, involves an in-person meeting and social situation test. This is the stage where I’ll spend quality time getting to know a candidate. A lot can be known about a person, their habits, and their unique value by spending time with them. By this stage, after a day or two of hanging out with the person, I’ll make my final decision on whether or not they are hired. Usually, more than 90% of people I meet in person will not make it past this round.

Creating a money-making course 

Even though over 70,000 people have applied to work for my company, my hiring rate is very low. If 10 people a year make it to round three, only one might be hired. Because of that, I realized I had to find another way to meet a major need of a large audience of people who wanted to work for my company.

In many applications, there were mentions of wanting to work a cool job, be their own boss, and move away from their current career. Since I knew I couldn’t hire all of these people, I decided to find a way to service these needs.

Four years ago, I created an online training course that helps any interested applicants learn how to start a side hustle in the wedding industry. Not only do they get the behind-the-scenes details on my business (from pricing to marketing strategies) but they get the tools they need to start their own company. 

This course has allowed me to create another popular revenue stream for my business, while also providing a service that benefits this audience immensely.

Hiring for your company can be tricky, especially if the role is unique. If you do get an influx of candidates that you can’t hire, finding an offering or product that can help them get a different opportunity might be a beneficial way to help them and help you scale your company.

Read the original article on Business Insider