For many, starting side hustles to make money is a way for people to start outgrowing their 9-5 job. They want to turn a hobby into a business because they want to find that sweet spot between doing something they love as well as making money. Maybe that’s you. Elva Li shares five steps to creating a side hustle that makes money even while you’re still at your 9-5 job.

Ask yourself this: are you feeling fulfilled, on purpose & completely passionate about your work? What do you really desire to do? 

I know for lots of people, their 9-5 job isn’t the answer. If you are reading this, you are probably like me, who desire to do the things I love and have a business that allows me to grow and expand, that presents me with new experiences, and surrounding myself with inspiring people. 

I want to let you know that you aren’t alone in wanting to create a lifestyle and business that speak to your higher vision.

Having been through the process of building a side hustle that makes enough money for me to leave my corporate job, I want to show you how you too can build your side hustle from the ground up. By following these five steps you too can build your side hustle that makes money and turn it into a full-time business supporting the lifestyle you desire. Do you believe that? 

Elva Li shares how to start a side hustle while you are at 9-5

Step 1 – Determine why you want to start a side hustle

I’d be lying if I said building a side hustle that makes money was easy. You will have your doubts, fears, and insecurities. But if your why is strong, the how won’t seem as daunting; the technology won’t seem as overwhelming; and the naysayers won’t get you down. 

I have my three why statements:

  1. The big why statement reminding me of the value I can provide to other people through what I do and the big vision I have for my business.
  2. The desire statement reminding me of what’s possible for myself and my family if I build my business.
  3. The pain statement reminding me what it means if I don’t make this work? What does it mean if I can’t leave from my 9-5? What does it mean if I don’t get to live a life I love? 

“First, the pain pushes you, then the vision pulls you.” – Dr. Michael Beckwith

Step 2 – Find Your Sweet Spot Business Idea

Whether you realize it or not, you have your special “zone of genius”. It’s that gift, talent, skill, or ability that sets you apart from everyone else. It’s the thing that no one else can do quite like you. This is probably the reason why you’re thinking of starting a side hustle business.

Your sweet spot business idea is the perfect intersection of what you love, what you are good at, and what the world needs. Once you find your sweet spot, you’ll have a much clearer vision of your path and it will become easier to move from doubt and fear into confidence and action.

If you’re a visual thinker consider using the Ikigai method. It’s a Japanese exercise to reveal to you what your “reason for being” is. 

Step 3 – Set Intention and Plan

Launching a side hustle is a big project. So break it down into bite-sized projects with timeframes. Also treat your side hustle as a “business”, not a “hobby”. If your side hustle is just a hobby you won’t have the commitment to stick to it when it gets tough. 

Map out a proper business plan. Don’t forget to do some research on finances and taxes. As we are talking about launching your side hustle while you are still at a 9-5 job, I want to specifically mention planning to make your day job work for you. 

You may be super excited about your new business, but at the same time, feeling overwhelmed. Starting your business while working in your day job and dealing with day-to-day life can be a lot. That’s why it’s important to be organized and committed to making it happen. As someone who has done it and come out the other side alive, I want to assure you that it is possible with the right support, guidance & plans.

If you need someone to talk to about managing it all let’s chat.

Everyone’s situation is different. Generally speaking, I wouldn’t recommend you quit your job and work in your business full time straight away. I was working full time as a Chartered Accountant while building my side hustle for several years before I finally left my full-time job. 

  • Stay in your current job and work full time: It is usually easiest to stay in your current job. This way, you have a steady income to support yourself while building your side hustle and you don’t have to spend all the time and energy to find a new job and fitting into the new environment.  
  • Quit your current job and find a bridge job: If your current job is too draining and long hours, finding a bridge job that can give you plenty of time to work on your business may be a better idea. It would be great if you can find a bridge job in the industry of your new business or a bridge job that will help you build the skills and experience in your business. 
  • Seek flexible working arrangements: Either stay at your current job or find a bridge job, you can seek flexible working arrangements such as working part-time, working from home, or transferring to a less senior role and taking on fewer responsibilities.
  • Bring on an apprentice for affordable marketing help: There are a lot of things that you need to do to get your side hustle up and running. Hiring a full-time employee is out of the question at the beginning, but there are other ways to get support. Using an apprentice for things like web design and social media management is a good way to leverage their skills so you can focus on the higher level tasks of your business.


Step 4 – Take Massive Action

When I started stepping into my new entrepreneurial identity and building my dream business, I realized how vital it is to stay in action. Doubt and fear are a normal part of the process. But you can’t let these emotions paralyze you; you need to take action and build momentum. I worked with mentors and coaches to follow the proven success strategies to keep myself moving forward no matter what — and begin building a habit of massive daily action.

Some of the actions at your initial stages include:

  • Work on your mindset and personal development daily;
  • Determine your business name and structure;
  • Register for a Business Number;
  • Identify your top 3 core values of your business;
  • Get crystal clear of your ideal client – build a persona;
  • Create your offers and pricing;
  • Know your unique selling point (IPS) and create your elevator pitch;
  • Create a Moodboard for your visual brand identity;
  • Create a main logo;
  • Choose your brand fonts and colors;
  • Create your own website using your visual brand identity;
  • Create or update your already existing social media profiles;
  • Set up a professional email with a branded signature;
  • Define your brand message;
  • Let people know you are in business;
  • Work with mentors or coaches;
  • Create your brand content to add value to your audience and connect with your community;


Step 5 – Reassess and Adjust

Reassess your side hustle at least every 90 days: How are you feeling? What progress have you made? What needs to be changed/adjusted/improved? Have you been able to create one or more side hustles to make money? I find this is the most insightful process of all. 

Good luck, hustler. I sincerely hope eventually you will build your side hustle into a full-time business and lifestyle you love. If you have questions and need more help, let’s have a chat.


Elva LiWith a background in Business and Finance for 10 years, I have combined my creative flair with my business savviness to help female entrepreneurs bring their visions to life and turn their ideas into a premium brand. Everything I do exudes style, elegance, and timelessness because these are a necessity, not a luxury. I have been featured on LadyBoss Asia, This Women Can, and have been seen on ABC, CBS, and Fox.

I am a Brand Stylist, Business Advisor, Confidence Coach, and Luxury Brand Creator all rolled into one.