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4 Proven Failures of Side Hustles and How to Easily Prevent Them

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If your side hustle fails, it is because you abandoned it.

Everybody wants to start a side hustle today, which is good. But do you know which are the 4 proven failures of side hustles and how to prevent them?

If you don’t feel fulfilled with your current job, or you don’t like it anymore, or even just for fun, you should try side hustling. This is the kind of experience that could help you build freedom, happiness, and fulfillment, but it all comes at the expense of sleepless nights and countless sacrifices.

I am a graphic engineer, but my actual job doesn’t give me any satisfaction. I took it a couple of months ago because it seemed interesting, dynamic, and well-payed. However, money has remained the only relevant thing now.

I am getting bored day by day, and I crave sparks of randomness in my work life. I am a creative person, and I can’t let my creativity be in the hands of other people that could decide if my idea is good or bad based on old-fashioned experiences instead of modern data analysis and gut feeling. So I started a writing career, and I couldn’t be happier.

But I am not the only one.

The Studies

According to a study by Vistaprint, more than a quarter of Americans (27%) turned a hobby into a side hustle in the last few years. Moreover, 55% admitted that they would like to start one, but they are yet to leap.

But starting a side hustle is not easy — there are many sacrifices you need to make and many reasons you could fail. So even if you could predict the success of a side hustle by analyzing some of the parameters, it would be better to prevent its failure first.

Thanks to a survey by SideHustleGeneration, it has been discovered that the most significant challenges side hustlers face are growth, time, having the right idea, and motivation. These are the 4 proven failures of side hustles, so if you want to avoid them, you should analyze them closely.

Failure #1 — Growth and Marketing

If you have never dealt with marketing and its practices, it will be hard to understand the best strategies to grow your brand. So you will have to bear a trial and error system, hoping to pick a successful path towards a good marketing formula.

However, finding growth strategies with a trial and error technique shouldn’t be that painful if you use observation.

According to many sources, like RockContent, one thing to understand when starting a side hustle is your niche. Unless you are Coca-Cola&Co, you cannot build a brand that suits everyone, and I bet neither of those multinational corporations aimed it in the beginning. So you should choose a niche first and define your typical client. Then, by observation, modify that client to better suit your brand idea.

An excellent way to find your niche is to build a presence online. This way, you can study how people react to your product, what they like and dislike, and use this knowledge to improve it.

Building an online presence is a slow process that requires patience and hard work. However, you have many options. You can use social media, create a blog, or even use mail marketing. You can even try all of them at once. The wider the sample size, the more accurate will be the results and your product’s improvement.

Failure #2 — Time

Time is the hardest of the 4 proven failures of side hustles. You either have it, or you don’t. Right?


Time is a simple concept, but its management is one of the most complex skills of our generation. So complicated that time management has become a required skill in most jobs, and employers have started to put it on their minimum requirements lists.

For this reason, the first requirement you should put on your checklist before starting a side hustle is a good time management technique. But that shouldn’t be hard. There are millions of systems you can use, so pick one that suits you and practice it. If you need inspiration, I wrote some myself.

Also, if you start a side hustle, it means you have some spare time to dedicate to it. But if you run out of moments to work on your side hustle, it is because there are other things you value more.

If this is the case, the problem is not time but motivation. You stopped believing in your side hustle, and you started prioritizing other things. So you shouldn’t blame time but motivation, which we will discuss later.

Failure #3 — The Right Idea

The concept of right and wrong is relative, so never blame your idea for the failure of your side hustle.

Some ideas are horrible. It happens. But usually, plans fail because they do not have time to grow instead of being terrible.

Perfect ideas do not exist, so stop expecting them. We are wrapped up in hundreds of successful companies that seem to have figured out success, but they didn’t start successfully. They pivoted many times.

Let’s look at Instagram, for example. It started as a location-based check-in app with a horrible name (Burbn), and now it is the largest image-sharing platform in the world. Kevin Systrom, its co-founder, didn’t have the right idea, but a poor one that evolved correctly thanks to his ability to analyze people and understand what they wanted.

So observation plays an impressive role even in this case. There are no right or wrong ideas. But you need to observe and study your audience to deliver a good product.

Failure #4 — Motivation

Among all the interviewed side hustlers, those who blamed their motivation were the most honest. Motivation is a genuine problem for this type of activity indeed, but not unsolvable.

If your side hustle doesn’t give you expectable returns for a while, you will quit. So keeping high levels of motivation becomes a combination between short-term rewards and constant sprouts of gratification. For this reason, having a wide social presence can be beneficial because it can give you impulses of instant gratification to keep you going.

However, there will be dead moments in your side hustle. There will be dry periods where nobody will consider you, and people won’t be interested in your product, but that shouldn’t destroy your motivation. You need to think ahead, develop a consistent plan, and keep working on your side hustle with confidence and faith. This is how you keep your motivation levels as high as possible.

Final Thoughts

If your side hustle fails, it means you abandoned it. But since it is not your main job, you can lie to yourself however you want.

You’ve seen the 4 proven failures of side hustles, and you know that all those problems are easily solvable with the correct systems. So before starting your next side hustle, make sure to deal with them.

Also, to help new generations, Vistaprint listed some advice given directly by some of the most successful side hustlers in America.

  1. Make a side hustle out of something you enjoy.
  2. Focus on what generates revenue.
  3. Build a robust social media presence.
  4. Set realistic long-term goals.
  5. Use the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
  6. Network with people who also have side hustles.

Now, you have no more excuses for your following side hustle. If you have all boxes checked, you cannot fail.

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Cover photo from Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.

Article first published on The Startup, a Medium publication.