Wondering how to start a side business on Instagram? Spoiler alert: it takes a bit of hard work.
However, with the right strategy, you can build a thriving community and grow key sales while keeping a full-time job.
In this blog post, we're sharing the top steps to get your page going – along with some notable tips from successful entrepreneurs.
How to Start a Side Hustle on Instagram: A Step-by-Step Guide
- Define your product offering
- Set up your target audience
- Design your branding
- Create an Instagram business account
- Plan your Instagram content strategy
- Make your Instagram shippable
- Cross-promote your account and collaborate with other small businesses
- Monitor your success with Instagram Analytics
Step 1: Define your product offering
The first step in starting a successful side business is knowing what your product or service is.
While it sounds like an obvious part of the process, it is one of the most important to doing the right thing. Your product or service is the foundation of your side business. So it's worth taking the time to review details like:
- What makes your product interesting?
- Why should people buy your product?
- How long does it take to create?
- How expensive will it be to create?
- How much time will it take?
- Do you need to hire other people to bring your vision to life?
When you understand the value of your offering and whether you can manage it alongside your other obligations, you are on your way to success.
Learn from the Side Hustlers: Find a Powerful Idea
Exequiel Alcobar, head of customer success at a tech startup, landed on his sideline while looking at everyday products from his home country Argentina.
"As an Argentine, drinking yerba mate (a loose-leaf tea blend) has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember," said Exequiel.
"It's a big part of South American culture and I've always wanted to find a way to introduce it to the rest of the world."
With a strong idea, Exequiel and partner Cedric have now given the go-ahead Zappyo, a natural, GMO-free range of yerba mate tea blends.
Are you ready to kick-start your sideline on social media? Sign up today to schedule, plan, and analyze your posts on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and TikTok!
Step 2: set up your target audience
Once you have an idea for your side business, the next step is to define your target audience.
It's a good idea to create an "audience person" for your ideal customer – a fictional profile that covers who they are, what they like, and what they dislike.
Once you have a clear idea of who is buying your product or service, learn how to market it on Instagram – yours visual branding (such as colors, fonts, and photography) to your content strategy, tone of voice, and Hashtag strategy.
If you're not sure who your target audience is, tap your network and do the research!
Ask your friends, family, and co-workers if they would buy your product, and if so, who they would buy it for. Using Survey and question stickers You can also collect feedback on your personal Instagram account.
Step 3: design your creative branding
By this point, you should have enough knowledge of your sideline job to design creative graphics on the brand, including:
- A logo
- 1-5 colors
- 1-2 fonts
- An idea of your product photography aesthetic
Use your brand values to get the best results. For example, if your products are sleek and minimalist, you may want to use a muted color palette and clear, clean font.
When it comes to product photography, think about the story you want to tell at a glance. This can be as simple as a solid color background, white bedsheet, or table landscape with contextual elements in the mix.
Learn From The Side Hustlers: Use Your Brand Values To Inform Your Visual Branding
Poppy Fairhurst, a full-time digital PR manager, started her sideline creating colorful hand-painted prints during the first COVID-19 lockdown.
Bring Poppy's Happy Doodles She brought inspiration to life from her mission to inspire positivity – by using bright, energetic colors in her creative branding.
“I wanted the brand to feel uplifting, contagious and exciting, especially during such difficult times,” she explains.
“I love color, so it was very important to me. The name "Happy Doodles" is fun, as are my pieces. My goal is to make people happy with what I do. "
Do you want to improve your Instagram branding? Discover our top tips too Enhance your visual brand identity!
Step 4: create an Instagram business account
With all your branding done, you can create a new Instagram Business profile for your sideline.
Think of this profile as your virtual storefront – how can you get people to walk into and buy your products?
One of the most important ways is to Optimize your Instagram bio. Here's how:
- Profile picture: Make your profile more professional with a brand photo – whether it is a picture of you or your logo.
- Account Name: Add relevant, searchable keywords to improve your visibility.
- Description: Use this section as a bite-sized "about" page. Share your products, values and who your ideal customer is.
- Link in bio: use a tool like Linkin.bio by Later to send followers to a clickable, shoppable version of your Instagram feed (more on that later!).
- Contact information: Provide contact information, such as a phone number or an email address.
Are you ready to tweak your Instagram bio? Download ours for free Instagram Bio Planning worksheet Here!
Step 5: plan your Instagram content strategy
Next up, it's about the fun part: planning your Instagram content strategy.
Do you want to share Product photography? User generated content? Stock Images? Collages? Motivational quotes? Videos behind the scenes? All of the above?
There's no right or wrong answer – but it's a good idea to plan ahead and preview your posts Later Instagram planning tools.
This is a great way to create a visually impactful Instagram feed that supports your brand values.
As an exequiel Zappyo explains: "Later Visual planner This tool allows us to view and visualize our Instagram feed before we post. It helps us ensure our contributions flow and create our desired aesthetic. "
Learn from the Side Hustlers: Schedule Content for Time Management
Planning your Instagram posts in advance can also save you time.
Frankie De Barr started her sideline, The cookieBesides a day job, other side projects and a toddler to take care of.
Frankie creates biscuit-shaped buildings as edible gifts – from bespoke replicas of people's houses or shops to themed collections.
By scheduling her posts in advance, Frankie can share content with her best times to post – without compromising on family time.
“My best time to post seems to be 6pm to 7pm,” Frankie explains. "Having a toddler makes it difficult to stick to my phone, so planning makes life a little bit easier."
Find the best time to post (based on when your audience is most active) and schedule your content to be published automatically Later!
Step 6: make your Instagram shippable
Now that you have an Instagram account, it's time to make it shoppable.
With Instagram shopyou can compile a list of shoppable products that you can access directly from your Instagram profile.
You can also tag products directly in your posts, stories, IGTV videos, reels and Instagram live broadcasts.
Ready to start? Follow our step-by-step guide here: How to set up an Instagram shop.
In addition to Instagram's native shopping tools, you can also turn the link in your bio into a route to shopping.
With Linkin.bio by LaterYou can make a clickable, shoppable version of your Instagram feed to add to your bio.
And with one Later growth or advanced planyou can connect a Shopify account to Linkin.bio and tag products right in your posts!
Ready to turn followers into customers with an Instagram shoppable feed? Start Linkin.bio today!
Step 7: cross-promote your account and collaborate with other small businesses
It may take you a while to develop a strong following for your new side business, but there are ways to accelerate your growth.
Cross-promoting your new account on your personal account and asking your friends and family members to do the same can be a great way to increase your initial notoriety.
It's also a good idea to tap into existing communities in your niche. This is a great way to increase engagement, meet other sole proprietorships, and be a valuable support network for inspiration and advice.
“Online foodies are a really supportive and helpful group, and I feel inspired by their ideas every day,” says Frankie von The cookie.
Learn From The Side Hustlers: 5 Tips For Instagram Growth
- Share sneak peaks and teasers, not just the bottom line. People love to see the process of your craft. – Poppy, Poppy's Happy Doodles
- Use Instagram Stories to enlarge your co-workers and share others' content. They'll usually return the favor, and those endorsements are invaluable in building an engaged audience. – Frankie, the cookie
- Create added value and stay true to who you are. The authenticity of your posts is a key component in gaining the trust of your audience. – Exequiel, Zappyo
- Don't be afraid to ask your friends for support. Sometimes it's just that they don't understand the value of sharing your posts. – Poppy, Poppy's Happy Doodles
- Be active and engaged. Make sure you are active take part in conversations and your presence is felt by your followers. – Exequiel, Zappyo
Step 8: Monitor Your Success Using Instagram Analytics
By tracking your new account's performance, you can spot trends, monitor "profits," and create a fine-grained strategy that will really resonate with your audience.
There are tons of Instagram metrics You can track and report on it. When you have a clear idea of your secondary goals, you will know which metrics are most important.
For example, if you are most interested in growing your brand awareness, you should closely monitor your reach metrics. When you're more interested in building a community, write down your engagement stats. And if selling is key, then you should pay close attention to what content is getting the most clicks.
Later Instagram Analytics This feature gives you a visual overview of the performance of your posts and stories – all in one easy-to-use dashboard.
You'll find all of Instagram's must-have analytics in a digestible format, plus several additional data points – including yours best time to post (available on growth and Advanced Plans).
You can also track Instagram posts and stories worth up to 3 months to see which performed the best – and filter by all the key metrics like likes, reach, comments and more.
In addition, Laters Instagram Analytics has separate "Post Performance" and "Story Performance" dashboards so you can see exactly how each channel is adding value to your brand.
Starting a side business is not always easy, but it can be done with the right strategy!
As you follow these steps and monitor your performance, you will soon find that your sideline is gaining momentum.
Are you ready to track your performance more efficiently? Register for Later and explore the Instagram Analytics Dashboard today.
Jillian is a content marketer at Later in the UK. She is a lover of London brunch spots and an avid listener of true crime podcasts. You can connect with her on Instagram @ jillwrren.