Author Topic: Good Side Hustle Idea?  (Read 6765 times)

kudy

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Good Side Hustle Idea?
« on: March 10, 2013, 03:08:45 PM »
I'm a web marketer, so I am always trying to think up weird/new ideas to try on the web to make a buck. My latest idea is a directory of local restaurants/bars/breweries in my area that have "happy hour" deals. Basically, a happy hour directory that would be helpful to anyone doing a search for a cheap night out online in my area.

I figure it'd take me about 5 hours to set up and customize all of the software to run the website, and about 25-35 hours to research and input happy hour deals from around town.

I'd probably spend 30-60 minutes per month updating things, as there is restaurant turnover, etc.

Costs are pretty minimal, a domain name for $13/year, and a WordPress plugin that manages the directory listings and does fancy things with Google maps for $100.

Ideally, after about 6 months, it would have decent traffic from organic search, and I could easily sell a few local ad spots. After 1-2 years, if the traffic is decent, I could make pretty decent money from ad sales.

While it's not a huge investment in time or money, I am not sure if I should plow ahead - because I love this group of insanely smart mustachians, I was hoping for your feedback! What do you think?

marty998

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Re: Good Side Hustle Idea?
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2013, 03:19:47 PM »
What exactly is holding you back? Sounds like you have a good concept. Just go for it.

At the very least it will give you a bit of experience towards your next idea.

jrhampt

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Re: Good Side Hustle Idea?
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2013, 03:59:26 PM »
I certainly stalk local happy hours, and bookmarked a sort of recent article about W. Hartford happy hours that I constantly refer to.  I think this would be useful, and a fun project.  I think it might be a pain to update on a regular basis, though.

mobilisinmobili

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Re: Good Side Hustle Idea?
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2013, 04:09:38 PM »
You'll have to keep it super up to date or people will start using other sources.

Depending on the size of your community might be hard to get it high enough in traffic results to get many hits.

Ad revenue isn't going to be huge for this kind of site either.. but it's pretty low risk. Give it a shot and see what happens.

Arbor33

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Re: Good Side Hustle Idea?
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2013, 09:00:45 AM »
I figure it'd take me about 5 hours to set up and customize all of the software to run the website, and about 25-35 hours to research and input happy hour deals from around town.

I'm not sure how much work you'd really like to put into this, but if you're looking for more hits, you might want to consider a more populated area to start out with.

I'm assuming you'd be calling the places around you anyways, so just call places in big cities instead. Maybe make some functionality that allows the bars/restaurants to input their specials and get the word out for free so you can save some time or even spend your time expanding your markets.

Make it an app and you'll probably do even better.

There's some potential to it, but the most appealing part is you'd have very little to lose.

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Re: Good Side Hustle Idea?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2013, 12:07:12 PM »
sounds like a good plan... sounds kind of fun to try. if you didn't want to do every restaurant around just select a few that you enjoy yourself and work from there. You can include some kind of request section to let people add to the list to expand as you go. You might even get them to put in some of the menu/prices for you, free work? :D

The google map thing cost money though if you get too much traffic on it, google's new rules on using the maps api. bing is still free as far as I know, but I'd probably pay google for using its software/streetview and to get that much traffic, the site would be pretty successful.

Well thinking of the KC area, I'd probably hit up on the plaza/power and lights/zona rosa/legends areas since they are high traffic shopping/entertainment areas. I only bring this up because I don't know colorado area to make similar comparisons.

oh yeah, as an aside, if you do go to the places to hit them up for the happy hour info (1-2 times/week?), make sure you get to know the owners/managers since the connections might help later on as well, even if you aren't in the restaurant business. They should be fairly receptive of you since you aren't charging them for the happy hour menu, and are providing them free advertising. if later on the concept proves itself to the restaurants and increase happy hour traffic, you might be able to sell "spots"/"highlights" on the site to the restaurant itself, maybe $10/month and do just 5-10 spots total, I'm making the numbers up but to keep the small local hangouts on list when they don't have large advertising budgets. Another reason they might want to pay for your site is if there is an event/special for happy hour that they want to push.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 12:09:08 PM by eyem »

arebelspy

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Re: Good Side Hustle Idea?
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2013, 12:34:31 PM »
I like that this is easily scalable to many cities - hire a VR to call places to find out their happy hour times/deals (could even do user input, ala crowd sourcing), add in a ranking system, etc.

Seems like a great idea to me.
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stevedoug

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Re: Good Side Hustle Idea?
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2013, 12:46:37 PM »
I like the idea. So much so that me and a buddy considered this years ago.

two key hurdles.
One is updating. Specials change at bars faster than their own website can keep up. How will you gather that information? It seems there needs to be crowd sourcing. This let's the owners, or patrons update on specials. Maybe a thumbs up / thumbs down thing?
two is competition. At least locally we have Metro Times, Real Detroit, Yelp, foursquare, etc that all give local specials. Its a tough market

But, If you can get people to the site, and keep them using the site you are golden.
Keeping them using the site is easy, if the data and interface is good.
Getting them to it is a bit more difficult!

Ideas to advertise:
Talk to restaurant bar owners,
Put promotional gear in bars (stickers, magnets, etc)
Social media, of course, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc
Hold some early minor events, basically create a culture around your site
Go to local events, street fairs, openings, etc

It's easy to get a database on the internets... Getting people to use it and keep using it is tougher!
Good luck!

Let me know if you want to expand to Metro Detroit area! :-)

Paul der Krake

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Re: Good Side Hustle Idea?
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2013, 01:02:06 PM »
I live in a college town and see one of these happy hours site pop up at least once a semester- usually started by a bunch of dudes from the business school who find a pour soul to write them a cheapo iOS app. Have yet to see one take off though.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's not a ground breaking idea. Find out who your competitors are, and see what you can do better.

dragoncar

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Re: Good Side Hustle Idea?
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2013, 03:23:28 PM »
First, I hate the phrase "side hustle."  That's just my issue though.

Second, I really like the idea.  But here's the thing.  There are a few out there that I've used when TRYING to find good deals nearby.  There is an app called happy houred.  There's some website.  They suck.  Why? 

The info is totally stale.  I think people figure they will "crowdsource" the info, but it just doesn't work out.  If can get good info, I think you will succeed (until your competitors realize you are a great source of info, steal the data, and invest the difference into marketing)

arebelspy

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Re: Good Side Hustle Idea?
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2013, 03:56:13 PM »
First, I hate the phrase "side hustle."  That's just my issue though.


Giant +1.  Hustle is synonymous with scam for me (as in "to hustle someone").  I've gotten more used to it over the past few years since it got big online, but it annoys me as well.
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arebelspy

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Re: Good Side Hustle Idea?
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2013, 04:02:20 PM »
I think people figure they will "crowdsource" the info, but it just doesn't work out.

So that's how you be better than your competitors - hire a VA to get the data over crowdsourcing.

If can get good info, I think you will succeed (until your competitors realize you are a great source of info, steal the data, and invest the difference into marketing)

Hmm. That is difficult.  You'll need to have better name recognition, or something.
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freelancerNfulltimer

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Re: Good Side Hustle Idea?
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2013, 07:32:04 PM »
You can definitely do something like this, you really have nothing to lose but your time. I know a lot about a local website (former client) that provides a completely different type of information but is the same premise. Competitors are always springing up, but the data collection and data entry portion turns out to be a lot more work than the newcomers think it will be and they kind of just, fade away. This particular site had a kids eat free section and the restaurants did not actively send her the info about their specials. So my guess is that bar owners/managers are not going to take the time to update their listing on your site so you'll have to keep it updated on your own. She also got site visitors who would complain if the kids eat free section was out of date if a restaurant had recently changed their policies. Sometimes the restaurants would get upset as well. And this is when she actively worked to keep it up to date.

You might want to add bar trivia in addition to happy hours.


kudy

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Re: Good Side Hustle Idea?
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2013, 10:34:08 PM »
Yes - the only reason I am not jumping in with both feet to implement this thing is that I am trying to gauge whether it will be worth the extra upkeep time, or if I'd be paying myself like $2/hour to call restaurants every month. I don't think relying on the business owners will work - if they can't update their own websites or claim their Google listings, they aren't going to worry about my site.

I like the idea of a VA or cheap labor to do the grunt work, but again, all the income might have to go to pay for that.

There is currently no viable competition in my area. I am going to keep brainstorming and iterating on the idea for a while. Thanks for all the awesome thoughts!

P.S. I often have called my ideas in the past "scams" when I just mean that I am thinking of creative ways to make money on the side. "Side hustle" sounds much better than scam, but I agree that it almost sounds shady.

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Re: Good Side Hustle Idea?
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2013, 02:42:44 AM »
you mentioned you were a web marketer, meaning you work in front of a computer?

I'd say just pick a handful of places to try it out with, and on the way to work, drive in and check out the menu (maybe leave a hour earlier to do this?), update the site at work if you have free time. Site will be updated for happy hour time that day. All you'd have to do is run in, snap a picture of menu on camera then go to next spot.

edit: Or you could leave a few old camera phones with wifi/data in front of the menu if the place allows you to, then you can remote into it and snap picture from office. Yeah the extra phone cost sucks so don't buy the phones, but use ones you have laying around/or friends. Just an idea, I mean small local places have been fairly okay with doing things like this since it works out for them too. They get increased traffic at no cost to them, and all they have to allow you to setup the camera next to the menu. If you were doing real webcams, you could even let your site visitors look at the menus themselves, it might be a nice thing that people want. To know they have "real" menu, leaving the time stamp there so they know it is "live"/recent.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 02:50:00 AM by eyem »

tylerherman

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Re: Good Side Hustle Idea?
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2013, 08:56:17 PM »
I don't see enough potential with just revenue from ads.

But regardless, figure out what you think you'd make from ads with the amount of traffic you're estimating and compare it to the hours you'll be working. See if it's worth your time.

kudy

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Re: Good Side Hustle Idea?
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2013, 06:52:20 PM »
you mentioned you were a web marketer, meaning you work in front of a computer?

Yep, all day.