How to Turn Your Side Hustle Into a Successful Business (Without a Huge Marketing Budget)

Taryn Williams

A side hustle might start small… but that doesn’t mean it needs to stay small. Whether you’re looking to make more money or make a mark on the world, the right tools make ALL the difference. I’ll show you how to go from ‘side hustler’ to ‘business owner’ with the only two tools you’ll need.

The side hustle era is officially here. 

According to the latest stats, 1 in 3 Americans have a side hustle. That figure is similar for budding entrepreneurs worldwide as people look to diversify their income, make extra money, develop new skills, and pursue passion projects.

Despite the growing popularity of the gig economy, turning a side hustle into a fully-fledged business isn’t easy (that’s why they call it a hustle). But it might be easier than you think. 

In fact, there’s a way to get practically *any* side hustle off the ground using just two marketing tools.

Yep, just two.

I’ll tell you what those tools are in 30 seconds, but first I have to ask a question. If you’ve been dreaming of turning your side hustle into a new business, “what’s stopping you?”

How to get in a 'business owner' mindset (and the two tools you need)

For plenty of aspiring entrepreneurs, the obstacle to upgrading a side hustle to a full-time gig comes down to playing small. You’ve got the skills, you’re highly motivated, but you’re playing small… and that leads to small growth.

Look, I get it.

Taking a leap of faith is downright scary (launching the #gifted app is proof of that). But if you’re stuck and unsure how to move forward, it helps to confront uncertainty and create a roadmap of the tools you’ll need and a strategy to extract the most value from them. Does that mean you need to “play big” and mortgage the house or sell a kidney to raise funds?

No!

“Playing big” means you’re using the necessary tools at your disposal (not ALL the tools you can get your hands on) to turn your passion into a profitable business. Best of all, these tools don’t need to be time-consuming or expensive. In fact, you can launch a biz with just two tools: 

  •  Shopify
  • #gifted

Ready to take your side hustle pro and be your own boss? Here’s how you create your own business empire with these two marketing machines.

Are you ready to upgrade from 'side hustler' to 'full-time business owner'?

That was a rhetorical question.

Because you ABSOLUTELY are ready to turn a past-time, hobby, or side gig into something bigger. 

Practically everyone has a creative outlet or side hustle ideas that fuel them. Maybe you’re a pro at knitting, painting, or drawing in your free time. You might create incredible digital designs outside of your day job. Or, you could have an eye for fashion. 

Whatever your “thing” is, you can take it to a larger audience using the right marketing strategies. I’m not talking about expensive investments like SEO (who wants to wait 12 months for results?), or Google Ads (who wants to pay Google a king’s ransom every month?).

The simplest and most effective way to turn a side hustle into a biz is to create a Shopify store and partner with influencers.

#gifted tip: Ask yourself whether your side hustle is a sustainable business idea before you commit more time and money into promoting your Shopify store. Practically every side hustle can be monetised, but not every side hustle can be scalable. If you’re spending 12 hours handcrafting wooden toys then you’ll struggle to make a liveable income selling those toys online (unless they sell for $5,000 a pop).

Why Shopify is perfect to turn your side hustle into a full-time business

The Global eCommerce industry is expected to be worth approximately $5.5 trillion in 2022.

Trillion!

As a growing and borderless industry (let’s be honest, we’re all a little addicted to online shopping after Covid lockdowns), more and more consumers are looking to find their favourite brands and products online.

In the past, this mean you’d need a website to find potential customers. But while websites do help generate exposure, attract an audience, and showcase your products - they’re also expensive! Case in point, the average price of an eCommerce website in 2022 is between $2,500 and $10,000!

If you’d rather keep a few thousand dollars in your pocket, launching a Shopify store is the quicker, easier, and more affordable option.

How does a Shopify store work?

As one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in the world, Shopify lets you start, grow, and manage your own business without the need for a website. 

As a subscription-based software, you can set up a Shopify store and sell your products online without the hassle of finding a web designer and going back and forth on designs for months.

And as a Shopify store owner, you can customise your online store so it captures your brand, then sell from multiple places. The web, mobile devices, online marketplaces, social media - your customers can find you from all over.

Here’s a snapshot of the advantages that come with a new venture on the Shopify platform:

  • Drag-and-drop store builder
  • 70 ready-made designs to choose from
  • SEO-friendly features built into your design
  • Fully mobile responsive to get customers on the go
  • Instant credit card payments without third-party accounts
  • Comprehensive dashboard to track your data, audience & sales

Existing as a cloud-based and hosted platform, you can access your Shopify store from anywhere to manage your inventory, payments, and shipping. So if you want to run your new biz from the beach you can.

If you’re thinking that a Shopify store sounds like the easiest way to get your side hustle online… you’d be right. But it does raise a very important question - “Now that my store is up and running, how do I get customers?”.

The answer: influencer marketing.

The benefits of working with influencers

Many entrepreneurs and business owners spend a lot of time and money on market research, finding new customers, and remaining top of mind.

Between SEO, paid ads, and a website or graphic designers you can easily spend $10,000 a month and up. That may work for huge brands with huge marketing budgets, but when you’re transitioning from side hustler to business owner, you need a way to reach the right audience, market to them, and remain top of mind without remortgaging the house.

Enter influencers.

Influencers provide authentic product recommendations and endorsements to their loyal communities of followers - and these followers aren’t mindlessly hitting the ‘like’ button. With 61% of consumers trusting influencer recommendations, partnering with the right influencer can help drive sales and turn your side hustle into a serious money maker.

Oh, and since your eCommerce store caters to consumers around the globe, you can collaborate with influencers in Australia, the UK, the United States, and anywhere you want! 

Check out the following stats that show the value of influencer marketing:

  • Gen Z is most influenced by social media recommendations (find out how to market to Gen Z here 👈)
  • TikTok influencers have the highest average engagement rate (17.96% vs. 3.86% from Instagram 🤯)
  • Brands make an average of $5.20 for every $1 invested in influencer marketing (and $4.87 in earned media 🤑)

But enough about the proven value on offer, let’s talk about how to launch a successful influencer partnership.

How to launch an influencer partnership

More than ¾ of respondents from a recent global survey admitted they find it more difficult to trust brands. So the collaboration you run with an influencer has to be organic and authentic to build trust and position your brand as authentic.

From Instagram to TikTok and a range of social media channels, you can put your brand in the hands of influencers who are creating content without coming across as spammy. Here are a few of my favourites.

#1 - Product Placement

Product placement is a natural and authentic way to showcase your brand, without the “icky” feeling of a sales-heavy ad. In the right hands, product placement can appear as advice, endorsement, or recommendation from an influencer to their fans. As people see your product being used, you can enjoy brand awareness, spiked interest, and strong trust.

#2 - Product Unboxing

A more direct approach than product placement, unboxing creates a more human and focused view of your product. A live opening or unboxing means live reactions, and it’s these authentic experiences that build valuable trust and social proof. When an influencer’s followers see your awesome gift being unwrapped (don’t be afraid to make your packaging or box stand out), they’re more likely to picture that same gift in their own hands too.

#3 - Product Giveaways

Product giveaways help you leverage an influencer’s audience to grow your own. A gift for your chosen influencer (and a few extra gifts for prizes) can be used to arrange a competition or giveaway. With a deadline for entry, you can leverage FOMO and drive an influencer’s followers to like, comment, tag, share, subscribe, attract customers - whatever entry criteria you want!

How much will an influencer marketing campaign cost me?

That’s the million-dollar question for side hustlers and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Thankfully, working with the best influencers around the world is much cheaper than that. 😉

It’s easy to read about influencers like Kylie Jenner charging $819,648 USD per post and feel like influencer marketing is out of your price range. But those mega influencers only represent a fraction of the industry’s partnerships.

Micro-influencers occupy almost half (41.3%) of all influencers. And with nano-influencers enjoying the highest average engagement, it’s clear that small influencers still pack a powerful punch. Best of all, using #gifted, you can partner with influencers of all sizes without paying a fee.

Here’s how it works… You create a gifting campaign. Upload a photo of your product. Set parameters (gender, location, follower count). Wait for applicants. Then pick the best influencer.

As a gifting platform, you won’t need to spend a cent on your influencers. Your product is payment and you can use the resulting content organically for free (or buy images for your marketing at fixed low costs).

That’s how #gifted makes influencer partnerships affordable and easy.

Final thoughts and what to do next...

According to the latest research, 48% of Australians are using their spare time to go behind the back of their regular job and make money with a side project. 

And with social commerce sales predicted to reach $958 billion in 2022, now is the perfect time to get your passion project onto an eCommerce platform like Shopify and start earning extra money. So whether it’s monetising new ideas, chasing a little extra income, or finally being your own boss, you’re far from alone if you want to turn your side hustle into something more. 

It’s always been easy to scroll through social media and find an inspiring #girlboss or entrepreneur to motivate you. And now you can enjoy your own success leveraging a Shopify store and influencer marketing campaign that creates brand awareness, generates buzz and drives sales through your eComm platform.

And now that you’ve got all the tools and tech you need to make it happen, there’s just one question left…

“When are you going to take your business ideas and get started???”

Start #gifting with the worlds best influencers and creators.

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