How to Talk Confidently About Your Side Hustle
Assuming you’re a human with feelings (so, yes, I'm talkin’ to you), you probably care at least a little bit about what other people think of you. Yeah, yeah, we know — it’s the dream of every pre-teen’s mother to convince them that it’s not necessary to be concerned with others’ opinions, but the truth is that this awareness is basically just human nature. It should come as no surprise, then, that the fear of “what other people will think” is a primary concern for many millennials who are dreaming of making their side hustle visions a reality.
While there are many legitimate reasons to look before you leap into a new business endeavor (i.e., figuring out how to make the time for your side hustle), I really don’t want your concerns about others to prevent you from pursuing your goals. Being uneasy about discussing your hustle is no excuse for holding back, so I’ve compiled five easy tips that will make those conversations a lot easier, whether you’re having them with an old friend or with a stranger at a wedding. Putting these suggestions to good use will (hopefully) help you put your totally human (and therefore totally valid) fears of others’ opinions to rest… permanently.
1. Practice makes perfect. If you’re new to the entrepreneurial game, it may feel unnatural to share the details of your fresh creative pursuit. It all sounds so good in your head, but often, when you’re put on the spot by someone you’ve just met at a cocktail party or by the people sitting with you at your cousin’s wedding, it suddenly feels nearly impossible to put into words the amazing things you’ve been working on outside of the office. To avoid getting tongue-tied in these situations, I recommend practicing your “pitch.” If you know you’re going to have an opportunity to chat about your side hustle, spend some time thinking about how you can best explain your passion project in a few clear sentences. You should be able to share the top-line goals and structure of your hustle in the same way you talk about your nine-to-five, and figuring out how to do this effectively by practicing in front of a mirror or to your BFF will give you the confidence you need to work any room like the pro that you are.
2. Jump right in. Resist the urge to qualify the (hard) work you’re putting into your side hustle with awkward intros like “I’m kind of doing this just to see what happens” or “I don’t know if this is going to be a real business, so I guess I’ll just do it for fun for a while.” Own that hustle, kid! Your business doesn’t need to be a multi-million dollar operation with dozens of employees to merit a serious conversation. Stop dulling your enthusiasm for what you’re doing and just start talking! I even have a strategy to help this come more naturally. Next time someone asks you what you do for a living, skip right to your side hustle. Doing this will force you to put your personal business front and center, and it will help you build confidence in discussing it.
3. Keep smiling! When you smile, it’s a clear signal to whoever you’re chatting with that you’re confident in, enthusiastic about, and proud of the conversation at hand. Even if you’re still feeling a little apprehensive about launching your hustle, fake that happy face until you make it! Every time you meet someone new or reconnect with an old contact, you have a prime opportunity to share the news about your endeavor, and to make them feel as excited about it as you are. Don’t waste that opportunity by looking uncomfortable or stressed.
4. Don’t let the questions get you down. As with everything in life, side hustles aren’t going to garner total support from everyone you meet. People will have questions. How are you going to manage your time? Do you have the money you need to invest in a new business? Do you have any experience with customer service? How will you juggle your side hustle with the demands of your day job, without compromising your performance in either? Why not focus on your nine-to-five? If just reading these questions is making you sweat, you better get ready to experience it IRL! You’re bound to be hit with an interrogation here and there, and being mentally prepared to politely brush those questions off is key to ensuring that your confidence remains intact. If a Negative Nelly is bringing you down, we suggest you say something like, “I really appreciate all of your questions. These are definitely things I’ve considered! I’m figuring it out day by day, and I’m just really excited to see where it goes!”
5. Let it go. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter if other people are questioning your decision to invest time and money into a side hustle or personal business. Over time, you’ll feel more confident talking to people about your project in new situations, which will make it that much easier to shrug off the doubters and go on your merry way. Don’t let anyone dull your entrepreneurial spirit!