Side hustles are great supplemental income opportunities that allow us to pursue our passions and talents outside of our everyday job. However, what happens when your side hustle proves itself to be profitable and becomes a potential full-time job? It can be a daunting task to turn your side hustle into your main job but it is possible. Many business owners that we know today have done exactly that. While we are not telling you to quit your day job just yet, if you truly believe in what you are doing, read this article!
If you believe that you want to turn your side hustle into a business, use the 5 expert tips below.
Begin Treating Your Side Hustle as a Business
Before you begin researching business plans and crafting your own, you will first have to determine whether or not you truly want to turn your hobby job into a full-time job or business. In order to do this, simply start treating your side hustle as if it already was a business.
Begin working longer hours, taking on more clients, and launching new projects. If you are unable to handle the increase in work for your side hustle or if you begin to lose the passion that you currently had for it, you will most likely not be able to handle it as a business. It’s better to leave it as it was than to pursue something that will end up failing down the road.
If you are able to handle the increase in work and you are thriving, however, then your side hustle may be a viable business. You will also have a better idea of what you will be doing when you turn your hobby into a full-time business. Of course, there’s more than just time and commitment to your idea that matters here. You need to plan ahead of time for success and learn from others who have done just as you want to do.
Take heed to a lesson here from Sophie Unwin, who runs a social enterprise that teaches people how to repair and recycle damaged household items known as Remade in Edinburgh, made this amazing statement about passion and business ideas:
“I’ve been thinking about the social enterprises that have sprung up around me, and why some succeed where others don’t. I think a lot of success comes down to how convinced the founder is about their idea, and how they can make that idea a shared vision…”
Start Building Your Audience
It doesn’t matter if you are selling the holy grail of weight loss pills that actually works. Without an audience, you will have no one to sell your product to. If you’ve been hustling on the side for awhile, your audience might be larger than you think. We love to consider the low-hanging fruit you have around you, by that we mean your friends, your co-workers, your circle of influence. We all have them. Just look at your social media feeds! How many potential clients or customers are there?
While you should have already built an audience working on your side hustle, you will need to expand in order to become a business. First, build a website that’s attractive, functional, and make sure that it showcases your achievements to your audience. This website will help you to sell yourself to people and convince them that it’s your product or services that they should be buying. You can also start creating social media profiles that make your work and advertisements easily shareable.
Next, you will need to figure out your marketing plan. Here are some questions that you are going to need to ask yourself during this process:
- Who exactly is MY audience?
- Do I have enough funds to pay for commercials and advertisements?
- What are some free methods that I can use to get my products or services out there?
- How can I market myself and appear more attractive to my audience?
- How can I stand out from my competition?
A marketing plan and a website may not be immediately put to use but they are both things that need to be established prior to filling out business forms and licenses. This way, you will be able to launch your business immediately once you’ve been approved.
Side Hustle Nation founder and social entrepreneur Nick Loper was recently featured in the Change Creator podcast where he talks about monetization, marketing, and reaching his desired audience. He says,
“It’s been just a slow steady climb… Basically, when you write every post, you gotta think of, who is this for and how can I get it in front of them?”
Add to Your Experience and Ask for Feedback
There is a big difference between occasionally earning money from a side hustle and running a serious business. Let’s imagine that you have been producing wedding invitations and other wedding-based goods on a small online marketplace. While a couple of successful designs that you’ve produced for your side hustle are impressive enough to a potential client looking for quick, affordable work, you are going to need more experience than what you currently have in order to attract customers to your business.
Rather than taking on clients who aren’t going to improve your work experience or reputation, aim to take on bigger clients who will help you to grow in your field. These clients generally pay more, respect you and your time, and expect you to provide them with products or services that are of the highest quality.
Along with growing your experience, you will also need to ask clients for feedback on your products or services. This feedback will be valuable to you later one. Especially when you post it on your website so that you can prove to potential clients that you have worked with others before and are capable of delivering them the product or service that they need.
You should also be looking for feedback from other organizations and businesses. Unwin, who we mentioned earlier in the article, discussed the importance of receiving feedback from organizations in regards to her business:
“I talked to a lot of organisations in my field before I started Remade in Edinburgh, to get feedback, learn from them, and to ensure I wasn’t replicating what anyone was already doing in Edinburgh… A couple of years on, when things were really picking up, those other organisations felt like they had a stake in our success because they had been consulted from the beginning. Having them on board has been really valuable as we’ve grown. Make sure there’s buy-in from the groups you work with… you’re going to have a difficult time if the people in your field aren’t convinced.”
Save Enough Money for Emergency Situations
We all envision our businesses being successful from the moment that we launch them but this is often not the case. To prepare for this, grow your savings until you have enough money to safely fall back on in the event of an emergency.
Take into consideration both business expenses and personal living expenses such as:
- Marketing Costs
- Website Costs
- Employee Wages (if applicable)
- Office Rent and Utility Costs
- Electricity and Water
- Personal Costs
Once you have enough to cover the costs of launching your business, unforeseen costs, and a couple of months of living expenses, you should be able to safely move forward with your business.
Of course, this is only applicable to side hustles that are not large enough or significant enough to receive the funding that they need. Do you have interested investors? Are you currently looking for more funding for your social enterprise? If you want to increase your wealth, it starts with a mindset. I recommend you read Lessons for Wealth that Stand the Test of Time to get started!
Build a Network Now!
Forming relationships with other experts and professionals in your field is necessary if you want to thrive as a business owner rather than survive. When you have a relationship with another business owner, it benefits both parties. Through them, you are able to better market your product to a larger audience who will trust what your partner is endorsing. You will also be able to collaborate with them in the event that you find yourself running out of ideas for new products or services.
In order to network successfully, you will need to form meaningful relationships with other professionals. These meaningful, personal relationships will bleed over into your business life when you begin performing favors for each other. Attempting to only ask from favors from others without attempting to form a relationship with them will only prevent others from working with you and might affect your reputation.
In fact, there is a great post in Change Creator magazine that explains the why and the how of reaching out to important influencers in your industry. In order to reach these people in your industry that have already developed their business and have an extensive audience, you will have to:
- Identify who these major players are
- Start mentioning them in your content and providing valuable feedback on their content
- Reach out to them once you’ve received more exposure and attracted their attention
These types of business relationships with other experts will not only help you grow but will make you a major player as well.
Turning your side hustle into a full-time job isn’t as difficult as it seems. Once you’ve done the research, created a plan, and prepared yourself to execute it, you will officially be able to say that your passion is now your career. Take these 5 tips seriously and the transition from hustler to business owner will happen with ease.