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How to Start a Side Hustle in Sri Lanka. Make Money On the Side

Admit it. We all have different goals. You may want to buy a new car. Maybe you want to take your wife on a vacation. Or you need to pay off your credit card outstanding. Or you may need a Nintendo Switch just for the heck of it (I can’t wait to get one of these).

Whether we like it or not, all these goals require money. Most don’t want to admit it but money actually can make you happy!

So how can you make more money? You got two options. You can save more or you can earn more. If saving money has worked out for you, you won’t be reading this so that leaves you and me with the second option.

How can you make more money? One way is to start a side hustle in Sri Lanka.

How do you define a side hustle?

A side hustle is a small side business. That’s it. If you own something that generates money, that’s a side hustle. It has to be an asset or something you own that generates an income for you. The key is “ownership.” This website is a side hustle because I own it. It’s an asset that generates income to me.

Most misunderstand the concept of a side hustle. If you’re doing a 9-5 job and if you’re doing another part-time job, that’s not a side hustle. If you’re driving an Uber at night and making some extra bucks, that’s not a side hustle either. I used to do assignments for money (now don’t call me if you have a pending assignment) but that also doesn’t fall under side hustles.

side hustle in sri lanka

Why should you start a side hustle in Sri Lanka?

Wouldn’t it be really great if you get a paycheck every month from your job as well some money from your side hustle? You bet.

I think everyone should have a side hustle, even if you have a satisfying career. Everyone should have more than one source of income and it can be your backup plan.

Having a small side business can help you to live a happier life, feel empowered and confident.

To have a side hustle, you don’t have to quit your job. If you love your job or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving your job, you still can start a side hustle.

Maybe your job sucks but you can’t leave it because of the monthly paycheck (otherwise your 13 cats will starve to death!). Then you can start a side hustle you love. It will give you a creative outlet that your job cannot provide (I’m talking about you accountants!).

There is no downside to a side hustle. It will be fun. You’ll look forward to working on it. Most of all, it will be yours and hopefully, it will generate you money.

How can you start a side hustle?

First things first. You need to come up with a business idea. Here’s a mistake most of us make. We’re trying to come up with the next most “innovative” business idea. Most of us are going to be stuck in this phase for a long time. If you don’t have any ideas, don’t stress out. Just change your perspective on business ideas.

A customer is not interested in ideas. They want a “product” or a “service.” If you can package your skills/passions/interests/talents into a product or a service, you can start a side hustle.

I’m obsessed about self-development and becoming a better person. So I created this website as a creative outlet to what I’m interested in. The rest, as they say, is history.

But what if you don’t have any skills/passions/interests/talents?

Here’s the thing. We all have something that we love doing. That’s just the way it is. If you’re struggling to find what you’re good at, talk to your closest friends. Ask them what advice they would come to get from you.

Curiosity and observation can also help you to come up with ideas. Looking at your daily life, figure out things that you like as well as you don’t like. Find daily problems that you can improve. That’s how I started our online bookstore. Most of the books I wanted to read were not available in Sri Lanka. So I decided to solve the problem to myself. I decided to import books. I found a problem and I decided to solve it. Simple as that.

That’s exactly how Crystal Koelmeyer started Kraftsy. She is a journalist and used to break her shoes frequently. So her mother who is a vocational trainer made her a pair of shoes. When she posted it on Twitter, everyone wanted a pair. Then they started making shoes and selling and now they have a full-fledged business. Read her story here.

How do you know whether your side hustle will work?

This is another problem many hustlers face. Your idea may sound great on paper but it might not work in the real world. So how do you figure out if your idea will work before investing too much time and money?

Here’s something you can do right now. Go and create a Facebook page or a simple website. Put out some flyers about your product or service and ask people to buy your product. At this stage, you don’t necessarily have to have the product. Your objective is to know whether there is a market. If someone orders or if someone inquires about it, you can assume that there is a market gap. That’s just one way.

But sometimes you really can’t validate certain ideas unless you actually do it. It was the case for me. Everyone I talked to said not to start They said it might not work. They said no one will read my site. Nevertheless, I went ahead and started.

If you have no way of validating your idea, my suggestion is, just do it. Take a leap of faith. All we do is make assumptions and no one can really know whether something might work or not.

What if someone is already doing pretty much the same thing?

Should you go ahead while there is clear competition in the market? Hell yes! The market is huge and it’s growing every day. Let’s say you start a clothing company. Do you think the clothing need in Sri Lanka is fulfilled by existing shops? No. Sri Lankans buy too many clothes so there is plenty of market for everyone. If your products are great and if you know how to market them, you will have no problem.

There’s another way to look at this positively. If others are doing it, your idea is already validated in the market. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Sometimes there is a disadvantage in becoming the first mover. You will have to educate the customers on why they should buy your product. But if you’re a late entrant to the market, most of the hard job is done by an early player. You can start selling at once.

OK, you have an idea. What’s next?

Start, start and start!

Here’s a rookie mistake. We focus too much on legalities, how to register your business, funding, accounting and so many other things without focusing on the main thing. Your product or service. I’m not saying that other things are not important. But first get the product right. Once you have some sales, you can focus more on incorporating your business and looking at formalities.

How do you get the word out about your side hustle?

Just because you have a product, don’t assume that people will buy it. You need to do some marketing. One thing I would suggest is, create a list of 10 people who you can get advice on different areas. We all have that friend who’s nailing it on Instagram. Get her help to market your product on Instagram. We all know that friend who knows about websites. Get some advice on how to create a simple website.

What if your side hustle fails?

This may be the biggest question lurking in your mind. What if no one wants your product? Well, that sucks but it’s always going to be a learning experience. That’s why I highly recommend investing a little of your time and money till you figure out whether it’s working or not. If it doesn’t work, don’t be discouraged. Start something else.

If it makes you feel any better, here’s something stupid I did a couple of years ago. I wanted to start a ladies jewelry business. I would buy cheap jewelry from eBay and sell it online in Sri Lanka. But it failed miserably. Why? Because what do I know about ladies jewelry? So I gave up that idea and gifted all that jewelry to my sister (such a good brother eh?).

If it doesn’t work, move on and start something new. The key is experimenting with different ideas.

Now what?

Why are you still staring at this post? Seriously? Go ahead and start something today. As the saying goes, there is no better day to start something than today! I’ll see you on the other side.

If you learned something out of this, add a comment below and let me know. If you know any side hustlers, tag them in the comments. If you really loved it, share this on your Facebook and give me some love.

If you want to start an online business in Sri Lanka, we have a practical workshop for you. It’s called E-Commerce Essentials. To learn more and join the next workshop, click here.

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Nishan De Silva

Nishan is the founder of He is a Blogger, YouTuber, Coach, Speaker, and Entrepreneur.

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