The challenges of recent years have caused a paradigm shift in income generation. It has impacted how – and where – we work for a living. We’ve been rudely awakened to the importance of having multiple sources of income, both as businesses and individuals.
As a result, more and more Canadians are starting a side business or side gig, commonly referred to as a “side hustle.” Whether it’s a way to supplement income or a backup plan for loss of income, side hustles can save the day.
How are all of these people finding enough time to run a business on the side? Job, family, commitments, sleep… making time for a side hustle seems impossible to most Canadians. Yet every day, more and more people are able to run a profitable, part-time business.
It may surprise you to hear that 44 percent of side-hustlers surveyed by Zapier, said they spend less than 10 hours each week on their business. On average, they spend just over 13 hours per week. Only 13% work 30 hours or more on their side hustle each week.
But how much do they earn?
Side hustle entrepreneurs boost their income by an average of $12,689 USD per year, and 17 percent say they make over $15,000.
The amount of spare time you have isn’t the deciding profitability factor, it’s how efficient you can be with that time. Most side hustlers agree that automation is critical for optimum efficiency and maximum revenue.
Sixty-five percent of those who have a side hustle said they use automation in their business. Forty-eight percent of them say they use automation for more than half of their business processes. Fourteen percent said they automate all of their business processes.
Millennials (62%) and men (71%) are most likely to use automation for at least half of their business processes. Forty-eight percent of Gen Z, 40 percent of Gen X and 21% of “Boomers” use automation for at least half of their business processes.
What is Business Process Automation?
Wikipedia defines Business Process Automation (BPA) as follows:
“Business process automation (BPA), also known as business automation or digital transformation, is the technology-enabled automation of complex business processes. It can streamline a business for simplicity, achieve digital transformation, increase service quality, improve service delivery or contain costs. It consists of integrating applications, restructuring labor resources and using software applications throughout the organization.”
Examples of business automation tools include:
Zapier automates your work by connecting your apps and then moving information between them based on rules you set.
Quickbooks allows you to streamline accounting and automate tasks. Track time & expenses, send invoices, process payments, and administer payroll.
Shopify does so much more than manage inventory and facilitate sales (both online and offline). You can use apps & integration to cover almost every related task, including customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing. Use some of the many dropshipping apps with Shopify for even more automation, including wholesale suppliers and order fulfillment.
Printful and other custom product manufacturers take dropshipping a step further. They include the on-demand production of your unique designs, such as t-shirts or mugs with your artwork or clever sayings. Submit your designs, offer them for sale, then let Printful ‘print on demand’ and send orders directly to your customers.
You can also save an enormous amount of time by streamlining specific tasks with digital tools. For example, Restream makes it easy for you to run one live stream to up to eight of 30+ destinations, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn. You’ll have all of the tools you need to produce and broadcast live streams while interacting with viewers.
Side Hustle Growth
You can easily control the growth of service-based businesses, but other business models may be harder to control.
What if your side gig starts to take more time than you have? Then it’s time to consider turning it into a fulltime business! Use your current side income to calculate how much you would earn if you worked on it fulltime. If you come up short, explore other sources of revenue online that will easily integrate with your main business. If going fulltime isn’t for you, consider hiring virtual assistants and other contractors to help out.
We have lots of online side hustle ideas if you need some inspiration:
Online side hustles require time and effort, just like fulltime businesses. Using business process automation just allows you to work smarter. If you’re only beginning your side hustle journey, take the time to review each tool and determine if the return on investment (ROI) will be worth the expenditure. You don’t have to invest in them all at once. You can bring them in as you grow and your experience will guide you in your choices.
Do you have a side hustle? Tell us about the business process automation tools you love in the comments below, or join us in the Online Business Canada Facebook group.
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Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In 25 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available on Amazon.
Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.