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8 Safe Ways to Test Your Side Hustle Without Risking Everything

12/08/2016 7:12 PM IST | Updated 07/12/2017 8:52 AM IST

Thinking of making your side project your full-time job? Here's how to test the waters without risking your money or your current position.

A. Crowdfund It

2016-08-01-1470062949-5191960-LisaCurtis.png Crowdfunding has become an incredible market validation tool. If you can get hundreds of people to put down thousands of dollars towards making your side hustle into a full-time hustle, then you know you've got something worth doing. - Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli

A. Determine Whether You Can Make Money Off It

2016-08-01-1470063003-9552172-JasonUnger.png A side hustle is only a real business if you're getting paid. If your clients see value in what you're offering, they'll pay for it. If you're able to scale your side hustle to the point where you're making close to what your day job is paying, you're ready to go full-time. - Jason Unger, Digital Ink

A. Assess Yourself

2016-08-01-1470063041-2169875-JessicaBaker.png Instead of focusing on building products that are simply "cool" ask yourself if the product is something you would use. The easiest way to validate an idea is to first "survey" a market of one: yourself. If you weren't you, would you use your product? - Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs

A. Ask Your Family and Friends

2016-08-01-1470063088-943181-AjmalSaleem.png Ask your family and friends whether they're willing to pay for your side hustle. If they're not, then you know it's likely not a worthwhile or sustainable business. Family and friends usually reflect the general market and are a great way to validate your side hustle. - Ajmal Saleem, Suprex Learning

A. Work on It Everyday

2016-08-01-1470063123-9953418-BryanDriscoll.png If you work a 9-5 (or any 8-hour workday), wake up and work for two hours before work. After work, come home, eat dinner and hang out with your family for a bit, then work for two and a half more hours. Do that for 12 months and you'll know whether your side hustle will work. This is the schedule I kept, and it worked for me. It's very low risk, as long as you make sure you sleep and don't burn out. - Bryan Driscoll, Think Big Marketing, LLC

A. Make Time for It

2016-08-01-1470063168-4632698-TimGrassin.png Spare two hours a day to work on your side hustle. Instead of watching TV and going to bars, cut back on certain activities and even a bit of sleep if necessary. You have 2 hours a day, 14 hours a week and 60 hours a month to work on it. If you can't produce any value in 60 hours a month, then your hustle is weak and you should stick to your day job. - Tim Grassin, Candy Banners

A. Brainstorm With the People You Trust

2016-08-01-1470063196-1394254-joshuaMoe.png Working on a side project is a great way stay curious and innovative. When you think you have an idea with good potential, test out the concept by brainstorming and pitching to mentors and advisors, as well as family and friends (at least the ones who you know will be brutally honest). If they're responsive to the idea, see if they know any potential customers or investors to introduce you to. - Joshua Moe, Odigia

A. Build Your Minimum Viable Product

2016-08-01-1470063258-7356787-JamesHu.png I was working on Jobscan on the side. We had a few paying users, and it was growing monthly, so I quit my job after nine months. We're now serving users from 210 countries. I'd recommend building out the minimum viable product as soon as possible, getting feedback, adding payment plans and seeing if users pay. Then see if revenue grows over the following months. - James Hu, Jobscan

These answers are provided by members of FounderSociety, an invitation-only organization comprised of ambitious startup founders and business owners.

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