Sage Africa Newsroom

Thinking of starting a side-business? Here’s how

07 August 2017

By Magnus Nmonwu, Regional Director for Sage in West Africa 

Nigerians are full of entrepreneurial energy, with Small and Medium businesses contributing around 47% of GDP. More and more Nigerians are choosing to run more than one small business, and many others hold down a paid job while running a small hustle on the side.

For some, side-hustling is a way to make ends meet in the tough economic climate. Many see it as a chance to pursue a passion such as freelance writing, cooking, or tutoring, and for others, it is an opportunity to share their great ideas with the world. Here are a few ideas about how you can juggle your day job (or main business) and your side hustles:

  1. Stay focused

    Starting a small business demands a lot of time and you might need to invest some savings in stock or assets to get the small business going. Make sure that you are on top of your day job or your existing small business before starting up a side hustle. Do not try to start two businesses too close together because one or both will suffer from the lack of focus. Ideally, your first business should be stable and providing you with a constant income before you try to launch the next one.

  2. Be fussy

    The problem that many entrepreneurs face is not a shortage of business ideas, but an excess of them. Pick your projects carefully and walk away when a side project will not be a success. There are many great ideas for side hustles - repair services, taxi services, web design, tutoring, trading second hand goods, consulting services, and more - but you should look at where you have the skills to succeed and where your community has unmet needs.

  3. Share infrastructure and skills where you can

    Look at the assets and skills you already have when choosing a side hustle. This is a good way to use the contacts you have and the things you already own to make more money, rather than needing to invest in more equipment or needing to sell into a market you do not know. Use your inherent skill to provide services and products that would you in your side hustle.

    Do you have a truck you use to deliver goods to your customers? You could use it as a vehicle for a small office and home moving business on the weekend. Are you good at writing and do you already own a computer? Perhaps a part-time blogging hustle with a site like Y-Naija or Pulse is right for you.

  4. Be a time management and multitasking master
    • Use IT systems to save you time-ditch the spreadsheets and use proper accounting software, for instance, to deal with some routine and admin tasks.
    • Learn to prioritise--perhaps focus on sales first, then marketing and admin thereafter.
    • Make time first thing in the morning or at the end of the day to take care of admin and email when there is no one else around to distract you.
    • Schedule your time carefully.

  5. Sell and market yourself

    If you are starting a new side hustle, be sure to sell and market your service to your friends, business contacts and community. The web can help you market yourself to the world and to find possible side hustles. You can also start by using the free social media platforms to improve your visibility and push for referrals.

Closing words

Whether it is tutoring students preparing for professional exams or qualifications like ICAN or ACCA, rending early morning or late evening taxicab arrangements, or trading goods on OLX or Jiji, there several opportunities in Nigeria to pursue a new passion and earn some extra money. It takes tolerance, hard work and human sacrifice to turn a dream business idea into a way of life.