Plenty of people around the UK are working on side projects when they get home from work. Those extra hours in the evening or weekends allow you to develop new skills, work on something you are truly passionate about and above all generate extra income.
Some people will earn extra money by selling things on Ebay or at a car boot sale on the weekends – but for those more entrepreneurial types, setting up an online business in your spare time is a fantastic opportunity.
It has never been easier to set up an online side project and if it really takes off, you could be one of the people that have ended up leaving their jobs to pursue their online business full-time.
Here are the ultimate tips to setting up your own online business on the side.
What to sell
Ideally you want to sell something that you are passionate about and will allow you to gain traction and income when you can only spend a few hours a week on it.
Some of the best questions to ask are:
Is there a gap in the market?
Is there anyone else selling what I’m selling?
Is the market saturated or is there room for one more?
Are there high barriers to entry?
Is there a popular trend I can capitalise on?
Some good examples of online side projects include ways to sell old jewellery, customised bags, fashion blogging, sports writing, property in your area, comparing financial products such as car insurance, credit cards and payday loans. These are the types of things that have high-conversion rates and will get people clicking.
When you consider the barriers to entry, you will have to consider the investment of buying stock, creating partnerships or needing a license.
Creating the website
There are several cheap website platforms which allow you to create a functional website.
Wix.com is very easy to use if you are looking to set up a cheap and brochure looking website.
However, for something a little more sophisticated, it would be better to use WordPress to create quality designs and a more efficient ecommerce setup. You can always speak to a professional designer to help you make the most of a WordPress site.
Buy a clever domain name
A good domain name will cost around £10 a year and it is best to pick a name which is catchy or does exactly what it says on the tin.
Picking a specific keyword in the domain will allow the page to rank better on Google and also tell your potential customers exactly what you do.
Advertising your business
Once your site is up and running, you need to think about how you are going to advertise it and get customers on board.
Posting on your social media pages is the most obvious and free way to gain some traffic. If you are willing to spend a bit more, you can use Facebook advertising or Google Adwords to target specific keywords or locations – so you can reach out to your audience.
Other options include practicing search engine optimisation by trying to rank on Google’s organic searches, however this can take a number of months for your website to show up.
Long term plan
Once you have customers on board, you can start thinking about the long-term plan for your side project website. Do you want to grow it? Do you want to sell out? Do you want leave your job to work on it full-time? The possibilities are endless …