How to pick your side hustle idea

Determining your side hustle idea can be a challenging endeavor and it is important to spend some time getting it right.

The likelihood that your first side hustle idea is your “million dollar idea” is very slim, but that is no reason to not be diligent in the process of selecting your path forward. You will be spending a lot of hours, and that time is precious, so you’ll need a process to ensure you are not wasting your time.

First, take out your copy of The Side Hustle Journal, then I will explain how we will go through this process. If you don't have a copy you can go here to get either a hardcopy or PDF version.

I'll try and approach this in a way that it will be beneficial with or without The Side Hustle Journal.

Turn to page 6 if you have your copy out. There are 7 questions on the paper that you must answer. Although it is only 7 questions, you will not be able to answer them in one session. This is by design. Some of the questions will require you to sit and ponder for a bit, other questions will require a little bit of research, and some will have you querying your friends and family. It won’t be a painstaking process, but it won’t be a 5-minute process either. Something as important as the idea you will be allocating all of your free time to shouldn’t be rushed or taken lightly.

With each question, you will write down 3 responses. Each question has 10 points that must be allocated to it across the 3 responses. You want to allocate the points to the responses based on what is most favorable, you like the most, will be the most meaningful, or will be easiest to execute on. The points allocated between the responses must equal 10.

If you are confused don’t worry we will go through an example with the first few questions. Remember, this isn’t meant to be a process that you can do in 5 minutes. It will involve some deep thought about your responses and also gather feedback from others. It’ll be worth the effort though!

Question 1:
What skills do you have, what skills do you want to develop or what are some of your unique life experiences you’ve had?  List 3 of them on your paper and allocate 10 points to the responses. With the best, most favorable, most meaningful, or easiest to execute getting the most points. Take your time.

An example would be like this:
1). I have some basic coding skills, but nothing impressive
Points allocated: 1
2.) I love working out and have helped people with exercise plans before
Points allocated: 6
3.) I spent 4 years as a coach at a summer camp for underprivileged kids and eventually became the student president.
Points allocated: 3

Think about allocating points from the business standpoint. It may not be clear after question 1 but you can always change the point allocation as you begin to work through the other questions. Apply the points after you have all 3 responses listed. Take your time!

Before we move on to the next question, I want to make something clear. 

Your answer number 1). above will apply to the answer 1.) in the next question and so on. 

Question 2:
What are common pain points people experience with the above-mentioned items?
Pain points are negative or discouraging experiences with a product of service. The “most painful” gets the highest rating.  Take the time to ask a few friends and family members for their pain points.

An example would be like this:

1). People do not know what coding language they should learn, people get discouraged if they are not learning the language fast enough, people struggle to find real-world examples to apply their coding skills.
Points allocated: 2

2.) People feel overwhelmed when walking into a gym, People don’t realize you need a good diet to see results from working out.
Points allocated: 3

3.) The kids would often revert back to their old ways when back in their home environment, finding resources for those kids that want to make a change and improve life
Points allocated: 5

Remember to take your time. When done correctly, this one may take the longest to answer since you are soliciting outside feedback.

Question 3:
What could you do to solve the problems that you, your friends and family identified?
Create a new product to solve the issue? Close the gap that an existing offering lacks? Provide a better solution or service?

List your 3 responses and allocate points like we did above.

Question 4:
How much competition already exists in this product/service niche?
The least amount of competition gets the highest rating. Do some general google searches using keywords related to the idea or use a tool like BuzzSumo. If it is a product, then you should also look on Amazon. Remember, competitors aren't always a bad thing, they show that demand exist.

Question 5:
Go to and search several keyword combinations for each idea.
The idea with the highest positive trending search history in the past 5 years
will rate the highest; any declining results should rate the lowest.  

Here is an example of a positive trend for the keyword “online fitness coach”. You will notice that most of the trends will not be drastic in either direction.

Side hustle for online fitness coach

If we looked up “how to code” which is related to the first response in question 1, then you would see a steady line which means that in the past 5 years, this search has remained highly searched.

A good side hustle idea

An example of a negative trending keyword would be “Motorola razor”. If you are unfamiliar with it, this used to be an uber successful cell phone. The search volume in the past 5 years has dropped like it had a brick tied to it. A search result like this would mean you should avoid anything related to the keyword combination. If someone tells you that they have a good deal on some Motorola razor cases, you should pass.

Pick your side hustle idea

Question 6:
Which would still interest you in 3 years?
The item you feel would still be most interesting gets the highest rating.

Question 7:
Which idea would be the least complex to get started on?
Think in terms of time, funding, and skills outside of your own. The least complex rates the highest.

Go through the process above to help come up with the idea that will change your life forever!

If you are still having trouble, you can set up a quick 15-minute video chat by selecting a time slot here >

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