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How to figure out your side hustle startup costs

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We often see this question popping up in our Side Hustles NZ Facebook Group so thought we should spend some time answering it for you.

Deciding to start a small business is really exciting, but most don’t realise how much financial planning it requires in the early days. To turn your idea into a successful side hustle it’s important you understand the startup costs and how to calculate them so you can make informed decisions.

In this guide, we will delve into the intricacies of startup expenses and provide a comprehensive blueprint for entrepreneurs to navigate this crucial aspect of business planning.

Understanding Startup Costs

When we talk about startup costs we’re referring to the initial sum of money you need to establish and launch your business. These costs can be broadly categorized into one-time costs and ongoing expenses.

Before delving into the specifics, it’s essential to recognize the significance of accurate estimation to ensure a robust financial foundation for your venture.

Identifying One-Time Costs

One-time costs, also known as startup costs, are the initial expenses you will incur when setting up and starting your businesses operations. These costs are typically incurred before the business starts generating revenue and are not recurring on a regular basis.

Legal and Registration Costs

Launching a business legally involves a series of mandatory steps, each accompanied by its own set of costs. Business registration, licenses, and permits are essential elements that you need to consider. Consulting with legal professionals to navigate the regulatory landscape adds an additional layer of cost, but is important if you don’t want to end up in trouble later on down the track..

Infrastructure and Equipment

If you need an office or location then securing a physical space for your business is a one-time expense that needs careful consideration. Lease or purchase costs, renovation expenses, and setting up necessary infrastructure contribute significantly to startup costs. Additionally, acquiring equipment and technology infrastructure tailored to your business needs is a crucial investment.

Branding and Marketing

Creating a distinctive brand identity is a non-negotiable aspect of business success. Allocate funds for logo design, website development, and initial marketing efforts. While these costs are incurred at the outset, they lay the groundwork for establishing your brand and attracting customers.

Estimating Ongoing Costs

Ongoing costs, also referred to as operational costs, are the regular and recurring expenses that your business incurs during its day-to-day operations. Unlike one-time costs that are incurred at the outset, ongoing costs are incurred on a regular basis and are necessary to sustain and grow your business.

Operational Expenses

Beyond the initial setup, businesses face ongoing operational costs. Monthly expenditures like utilities, rent, and insurance form the backbone of operational expenses. Equally important is accounting for salaries and wages, ensuring that your team is compensated fairly for their contributions.

Inventory and Supplies

For businesses dealing in tangible products, the cost of initial inventory is a significant consideration. Ongoing costs related to restocking and supplies must be factored in. Efficient inventory management is critical to prevent overstocking or shortages that can impact cash flow.

Marketing and Advertising

Marketing is not a one-off effort but a continuous strategy for business growth. Allocating a budget for ongoing marketing and advertising activities ensures that your business remains visible in a competitive landscape. This includes digital marketing, traditional advertising, and promotional campaigns tailored to your target audience.

Contingency Planning

No business journey is without its challenges, and prudent entrepreneurs recognize the need for a financial safety net. Setting aside funds for unforeseen circumstances, emergencies, or fluctuations in the market provides a buffer against unexpected challenges. Contingency planning is a proactive approach to navigate the uncertainties of entrepreneurship.

Utilizing Startup Cost Calculators

In the digital age, entrepreneurs have access to a plethora of online tools and resources that simplify the process of calculating startup costs. These tools often provide templates and step-by-step guidance, enabling entrepreneurs to create accurate financial projections. From simple spreadsheets to dedicated startup cost calculators, leveraging technology streamlines the financial planning process.


The success of a business venture is intricately linked to the effectiveness of its financial planning, with startup costs playing a pivotal role. Understanding the nuances of one-time and ongoing expenses will empower you to make informed financial decisions when setting up your side hustle.

Discussing costs and managing finances is something we work through in our Accelerator Group. If you’re interested in getting support, come join us!

Side Hustles NZ

Hey, I’m Rachel! I started Side Hustles NZ in 2021 with the goal of helping Kiwi’s start and grow small businesses in New Zealand. During the week you’ll find me discussing side hustle ideas in our Facebook group, working in my website design business, or riding my horses.

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