The art of turning your side hustle into a booming business

Between full time work, family, friends, and a quick gym session, there's barely a spare second in the day to brush your teeth.  Then try adding a side hustle to the mix. It's quite the juggling act, but it's certainly not impossible.

In fact, there's a few secrets to making it one of the most rewarding career (and lifestyle) challenges you'll ever undertake.

Two heads are better than one

A little help from a friend was what it took for Greater Western Sydney Giants midfielder Tommy Sheridan to get his brand, RIXX Eyewear, off the ground. According to Sheridan, having the right business partner on board to share the workload has been key. He and co-founder Coen Rodgers started the unisex eyewear brand in 2015, and they both have a clear understanding of their roles in the business which makes for smooth operations. 

"I'm pretty lucky because Coen's background is in accounting, so he oversees all the admin and business side of things. I look after design and creative content, as well as marketing for the brand. It's a really good combination," Sheridan reflects. 

Juggling the business alongside a full-time AFL career has certainly been mentally and physically demanding for Sheridan, but with Rodgers staying on top of the time-consuming customer emails, orders and enquiries, it certainly frees up some creative headspace. 

"Sometimes I get the best ideas for designs and concepts when I'm in the gym, and I'll have to run off and quickly write them down. It's really difficult to switch off, especially when you want to keep innovating the brand and finding new ways to engage customers," says Sheridan. 

Making the move

There will hopefully come a time when your side hustle outgrows your lounge room floor. Taking that next step and transitioning into an external workspace could be exactly what your business needs to thrive. 

Senior tax consultant and founder of Bodywater Sam Howell has developed the world's first plant-based flavoured water that replaces sugar and preservatives with amino acids. After extensive research of the global beverage industry that revealed protein-water as one of the fastest growing beverage segments, Howell noticed a gap in the market for a natural, ready-to-drink amino acid product that satisfied increasing demand for health-related beverages. 

He transitioned his side-hustle into a dedicated workspace shortly after he began approaching stockists for his product. He now runs Bodywater from a WeWork space in Melbourne, with the range set to officially launch early next year. 

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"Working from my living room was fine when dealing directly with the consumer, but large organisations require a bit more 'legitimacy' and want to work with established brands over start-ups. Around this time, I was transitioning from a sole-trader business structure to a company, which reinforced the decision to move," he notes. 

Howell reflects on the extent to which his side hustle – and his mindset towards it – has expanded since moving into a WeWork space, connecting with likeminded entrepreneurs in the health and lifestyle sphere.

"Besides the obvious networking opportunities, peer-to-peer support has contributed immensely to our growth. While start-ups and small businesses occupy a big part of the office, there are also many established companies who I've found are more than happy to share their experience," he says. 

Keep it local

From food, to fashion, to fragrance; if your side hustle involves manufacturing a product, there's a lot to be said for keeping your operations local. Having suppliers you can meet with regularly in person means you can cut out the Skype calls to America in the middle of the night, and not have to wait weeks for samples to arrive from overseas. 

Josh Mihan and Julia Brown of Melbourne-based niche perfume brand Mihan Aromatics admit that working two careers is all about effective time management. Mihan, a hairdresser by profession, and Brown a physiotherapist, note that producing their scents locally in Melbourne means they have far more control over timeframes and communication with manufacturers. 

"During the initial planning and development of a product, face to face meetings are always a bonus. Then there comes quality; knowing the exact source and most importantly the face behind the companies we work with is extremely important," Mihan says.

Mihan Aromatics is one of the very few brands to represent Australia on the global niche fragrance market. As the brand continues to expand internationally, the couple are resolute in their mission to keep producing scents, bottles and packing of the highest quality in Melbourne, despite potentially saving on costs if they were to produce overseas. 

Theoretically speaking, anyone can ace the side hustle with the right ingredients; a business partner, a dedicated workspace, some serious time management skills and a lot of commitment. Piece of cake, right?