career

7 clever tips that will turn your side hustle into something bigger.

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Thanks to our brand partner, MYOB

With more and more people having their own startups or “side hustles” in addition to the 9-5, it can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Juggling too many competing priorities and trying to complete tasks that you have no interest in or experience with, like payroll or legal issues, seem part and parcel with getting a small business off the ground.

But Kyelie Baxter, an MYOB accountant and consultant from Burleigh Heads, Queensland, believes it doesn’t have to be this way.

Kyelie, who is the managing partner of IQ Accountants, has used the lessons of running her own successful business to help others in her local area with theirs. Along the way, she’s built up a strong network of female mentors, mentees and customers.

Mamamia asked Kyelie to share the key actionable tips about how to make your startup or side hustle not only take off, but stand out.

1. Back yourself.

Let’s start with a very straightforward, but important one. Years ago, Kyelie received some words of wisdom from her grandmother that has always stayed with her: “If you’re going to back anyone, back yourself.”

This is advice Kyelie often comes back to, even today, and will often share with her clients.

“It gives you the motivation and the self-confidence to do what your gut is telling you,” she explains. “When sometimes there are voices from others or even internally that are telling you otherwise.”

2. Take safe risks.

“There are so many ways to prevent or avoid things going wrong. It is about doing things safely like putting systems and processes in place, figuring out how to do things, making sure you are not wasting time and not being afraid to do the hard work,” Kyelie says.

“Work out how you are going to do things and how you will manage that before your side business launches or becomes successful. Set up customer service processes, a marketing plan and set your goals before you launch so there are actionable plans,” she says.

A part of the hard work needed in running any sort of successful business is getting good advice from the start, usually from an accountant and a solicitor to avoid what Kyelie calls “a legal minefield or a tax nightmare”.

3. Don’t take too much on yourself.

A common mistake people make is “taking too much on themselves”, according to Kyelie.

People often have a view that paying someone else to do specific tasks will cost too much or that because they are a small business that they can take it on themselves, and this can often make people lose sight of why they started the side hustle initially. “When people do this they often let the business side drain their creative side,” Kyelie explains.

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Look into systems that can help simplify things for you. MYOB are the leading specialists in simplifying accounting, payroll, tax and more, so you can fill those gaps and focus on what you are strongest at, and why you started the business in the first place.

4. Automation, automation, automation.

“Automation is so important,” Kyelie shares. “Finding out what technology exists to streamline your processes, so you can work smarter and faster is a really important part of this.”

Kyelie uses MYOB’s innovative digital systems tools, which help to automate tasks in a number of areas, including payroll, tax and job costing, making it much more efficient and streamlined.

“Automation can make the biggest, biggest difference for a micro business,” she says. “It’s a game changer.”

5. Get advice from the right people.

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Kyelie Baxter has helped businesses around her area of Burleigh Heads, Queensland, to thrive. Image: Supplied.

“Accountants are not just who to go to for tax returns,” Kyelie says. “In reality, most of my day is speaking with clients and giving them advice about their businesses. We look at what is happening in your business and what that means for you and how we can make it better.”

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As well as accountants, Kyelie says “bookkeepers and financial advisors are your best allies when you are turning your side hustle into something better”.

6. Go paperless.

Something Kyelie is really passionate about is going paperless. For her own business, going paperless “completely changed my life”, Kyelie says.

“It allowed us to increase our revenue by about 35 per cent without changing our staff numbers. It was simply by a technology and system change,” she says.

As well as making the running of her business more efficient, it also gave Kyelie and her team more awareness of their social impact. And Kyelie says it is not difficult for any business to do.

“Our smart phones are mini computers so going paperless isn’t difficult for micro businesses or side hustles these days because we have mini computers sitting in our handbag,” Kyelie says.

“And if you are doing a side hustle and are wanting to grow bigger you will be likely managing this on the way to work or on your lunch break, so you are going to need everything at your fingertips, so you need to be paperless and integrated.”

Kyelie recommends MYOB Essentials for going paperless, using the MYOB Capture app to take photos of invoices or receipts and upload each line item.

"Within that they have ‘MYOB In Tray’, which creates these automation and paperless systems. It can take photos of tax invoices, it is automatically read and then it is fed straight into your bookkeeping software, streamlining the process,” Kyelie says.

7. “Find your people.”

Networking can be daunting for a lot of people, but the benefits are so huge. As Kyelie says, "you need to find your people".

This means looking for a group that will support and help you. It might be a paid association that you join in your local area or an online group, and often these are the places where you find recommendations, feedback, advice and support.

“As a micro business, this is exceptionally valuable because it is feedback,” Kyelie says. "It might be a paid membership, but it is the cheapest feedback you will ever get and it’s instantaneous."

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What are the best tips you've heard around starting a small business or stepping up your side hustle?

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