Side business secrets: questions to ask pre-launch

Now is the best time in history to start a side business. Not every side hustle becomes a successful one though, so here are a few big questions that might help you get it right.

Why there’s never a bad time to start a side business

As a business coach, I ask these questions of my clients often. I have a few who believe thinking and planning is a waste of time, so they fail to start or they start and fail to keep their business alive.

What to Ask Prior to Starting a Side Business

5 Wise Why’s

Start with why and ask yourself, “Why?”, five times.

You need to be crystal clear on why you are starting a side business and what your underlying motivations are.

American Entrepreneur, Dean Graziosi, presented at a seminar I attended. He suggested whenever we plan to do something, we should ask ourselves “why?”, 5 times. If we do not have a compelling answer every time, we shouldn’t pursue it.

Time to Start

How much time (and when) can you afford to invest every week in running your business?

When I coach my clients, there are 2 excuses I hear most frequently for why they can’t start a side business. I don’t have enough money OR I don’t have enough time.

No one else is ever going to drive your business for you. If you want anything to happen for you, as an entrepreneur, you need to make it happen. And if it is true you can’t find time to start your side business, check out my course, How Highly Successful People Swap Busyness for Productivity.

Work Arounds

What additional measures do you need in place, so your side business fits around your other work?

If we’re being realistic, you may need to keep working a job that brings in some cash and pays the bills, at least while you build up your own business.

So you need to know what your new routine will look like. Working weekdays? You may need to work on your business on Saturday. Working late evenings? You may need to work your own business early in the morning.

Then have a think about the workflow of attracting, converting and delivering a complete service to your potential customer or client. For example, if you can’t physically visit the customer, you may need an online invoicing system to make it work.

Noah Kagan’s tips for starting a side hustle, without quitting work.

Unique Insights

What opportunities might you see from your current work role which you can apply in your business?

While you’re at work for someone else, you may be able to meet the right contacts, tap into business resources or even afford yourself the time to forge a better business plan.

Often, if you work in the same industry, it’s a great chance to learn about customer needs and pain points that aren’t being met.

Not What But Who

Who can help you plan, start and grow your business?

No success story is self-made, even if they say they are. Think about partnering with someone else who may be interested in doing the same thing.

You don’t need to surrender control or ownership of your business either. There’s more than one partnership type.

Choose Your Allies

How can you partner with your current employer, their  suppliers or clients to give your business the best chance of success?

Remember for any business, there is an ecosystem of people and organisations that have a vested interest in your success. If you succeed, your clients have their needs met, your suppliers sell more, your employees have some level of job security.

When you work in the industry you plan to start a business in, you can see who the most valuable players are.

Create Systems

It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.” -Tony Robbins

What habits systems and processes do you need to get in place to see your plan through?

Plan those routines early because they are just as important when you’re starting your side business, and have limited time, as they are when you establish a team and start to grow.

Early on, your system might be a simple as consistent daily and weekly habits to get the job done.

Know Your Number

How much revenue do you need to earn for enough profit to make your business full time?


Every day I work with aspiring business owners who have their big goal as, “To leave work and turn the business full time”.

No one can ever tell me, at first, how much revenue and profit they would need to hit this goal. They haven’t even thought about how much money they need from their business.

If you’re not thinking about this and working towards it, you have a hobby, not a business.

Prioritise Your Commitments

What is your plan for fitting in your business around your existing roles and commitments?

Maybe you already have an understanding of how you can run a business and work for someone else at the same time.

Remember the other commitments in your life too. You need to think of how your business is supported from those around you. Consider how you will manage the sometimes conflicting priorities of work, business, relationships and family commitments.

From the outset it sounds easy. Many people say, “Family comes first”, which is a fair statement. But if you worked for someone else, your family couldn’t spend time with you all day in the office. That wouldn’t be fair to your employer. The same is true for your business. If you want it to replace your full time work, you need to carve out some time for making it happen.

Make Business Plans

I don’t care if your neighbour’s brother has a business and they told you you don’t need a plan. You do. Completing a business plan helps you achieve clarity around these and other essential questions for creating an exceptional business.


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