The path to success is seldom straight. For a lot of thriving entrepreneurs, their stories are full of trial and error, risks and hard work. Perhaps, that’s why the term “side-hustle” has become more and more popular these days. It gives everyone the opportunity to dip their toes into their passion without completely throwing caution to the wind. It allows them to be bold without being reckless, and it opens their eyes to the possibility of doing what they love full time.
What’s a side-hustle?
Despite it’s wide popularity, there are still a lot of people who don’t understand the purpose of a side hustle, especially Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers, who was raised to focus on one job and work it until they move up the ladder.
A side-hustle is any activity — whether that’s pottery or freelance copywriting — that earns you money outside of your day job. A side-hustle is not your main source of income. With a side-hustle, people still work a full time 9 to 5 job to pay their bills and maintain the lifestyle, but they also have alternate income coming in as well. Now, at the onset, your side hustle can be slow to grow or inconsistent revenue, but it has the potential to be something bigger with the right about of risk and planning strategy. Many side-hustle entrepreneurs opt to work several small jobs until the side-hustle can earn a decent and stable living.
The million-dollar question is, “How do you go from side-hustle to a profitable business?” Well, do you know how much you are going to need to replace your steady income? If not, that’s one of the first things you need to know. Does the old saying of “if it doesn’t make money – it doesn’t make sense” rings a bell? And although it may be risky, transitioning your side-hustle into the main focus can come with amazing rewards, especially if you’re organized, focused and willing to put in the work.
To help you better catapult your side-hustle to a profitable business, here are a few tips that have helped other entrepreneurs make this important transition.
Focus on the Foundation
One of the most difficult parts of running a business is starting. Laying the groundwork — from filling out legal forms, creating marketing plans or deciding on suppliers can make or break you, in the beginning, There’s a lot to do and each one is just as important as the other when trying to launch your dream. You need to have your business canvas model done and your SWOT analysis completed. These are the items you need to lay your initial roadmap for going forward.
If none of these activities have been completed, you will need to sit down and get them done. All small businesses need a roadmap to help navigate their journey. If you don’t know where you’re going, who knows where you will end up. And in this case, it may land you back working for someone else.
Keep the Right Mindset
For a side hustle, it’s okay to make it work, but running a small business, you have to make sure it works. The difference between the two is what’s at stake. In a side-hustle, you can get by with letting things slide or procrastination – but with a small business, procrastination can cost you money or time you may not readily have. Having the proper mindset is critical to your business success.
Your side-hustle is something that supplements your income. How you run it — good or bad, organized or not — will reflect on the success of the business, your financial stability and the freedom to do what you’re passionate about. More importantly, if you have bad habits with our side gig, imagine what habits you could form a full fledge business. Your mindset can make or break your business.
Find Your Pace
The worse mistake you can make is to rush into a business you’re not ready to manage. It does not matter how brilliant the idea or how much money you’ve set aside to invest in your side-hustle. What’s important are the solid business foundations, the calculated risks and the people who believe in your vision. Those are components you need to be successful.
Before quitting your job, continue to build your brand’s street cred. Grow a loyal customer base, inquire about what they liked and disliked about your product. Take that business intelligence and make necessary tweaks for your business.
Introduce Process and Roles
Part of transitioning to a full on small business is creating formalized structures to ensure business efficiency. To truly make your side-hustle legitimate, you need to start compartmentalizing different functions — like customer service, sales, marketing, human resources, supply chain, and accounting. When you create the structure you can begin to eliminate, automate or delegate functions as a way to increase productivity.
While it may have been easier to have someone help your business along every now and then, you will begin to require subject matter experts to help you manage various aspects of the business. A profitable business requires detailed plans and processes that make it easier to scale.
Be Open to Learn
As an entrepreneur, you should always be open to learning new things. This type of hustle will require you to do so. Being an effective manager of business takes skill and patience. You will find you are no longer the smartest person in the room and that there is always room for growth. What may have been an effective practice when you started as hustler may now require more knowledge. The positive thing about entrepreneurship in this day and age is access to information. You can sign up for online courses, read books, be a part of mastermind groups or attend workshops to gain more knowledge. Sky’s the limit.
Not only that, but you need to make sure you are surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals — other entrepreneurs who are building their business AND those that have been deemed a success. Being around other similar entrepreneurs teach you a ton about who you are and what kind of business owner you desire to be.
Is It Worth It?
Unfortunately, only you can answer that question. What are you willing to risk for the sake of seeing your dream and passion materialize through your own effort? Making the transition from doing something on the side to committing to it full time is a big leap, but it also comes with huge rewards. Are you ready?