If you’re reading this, you most likely have (or are planning to have) a side hustle that you want to want to turn into a full-time, profitable business. That’s the dream, right? Running your own business, making sweet moolah doing something you love. I’ll take four.
But as with most things (like talking to cute boys or riding unicycles), it’s not as easy as it looks. Here are a few things you should be doing if you plan on turning that side hustle into a full-time gig.
1. Plan, plan, plan
If you just start hacking away at your hobby business and hoping for the best, you probably aren’t going to get very far in a hurry. You need to set goals of how much you need to earn and when in order to quit your full-time job. You don’t have to wait until you’re making precisely the same as your full-time job, but it should be about 70% so you can cover necessary expenses. Then when you free up your time, you can quickly scale to cover that extra 30%.
2. Be prepared to have no spare time for ages
Before you commit to going full-time in your side hustle, you should have a little funeral for your evenings and weekends.
‘We are gathered here today to mourn the loss of leisure time. Lazy weekends having BBQs with friends, chilled-out evenings watching bad reality TV, Sunday morning sleep-ins, and dinners at the pub with friends: it was fun while it lasted, but you’re dead to me now. Good-bye!’ *dramatic sob into a lace-edged hanky*
Starting a small business when you have a full-time job is a huge commitment and not one you should enter into if you like having a social life. In the beginning, a side hustle takes up a lot of your spare time, so be prepared to sacrifice Friday nights at the pub and weekend Netflix binges.
3. Get connected
Attend events, flirt with industry giants on social media, cold email people you admire and get your fabulous face in front of the right crowd. Consistency is critical, so don’t drop off the radar for months at a time then all of a sudden come back with a vengeance. Be a lovely, helpful and consistent presence so that when the time comes to ask for favours, you don’t feel like a total jerk who only talks to people when they want something.
4. Give yourself deadlines
Deadlines to get your site up and running, deadlines for product launches, deadlines for sales targets. If you don’t set deadlines, you won’t be able to track your progress, and if you can’t do that, how will you know when your sales are improving? You won’t.
5. Give yourself breaks
If you don’t look after yourself, who’s going to run that profitable business you worked so hard to build while you’re recovering from burnout? No one – that’s who. Get proper sleep, eat well, exercise, and take care of yourself. If you go overboard, you’re going to suck at your side hustle AND your full-time job. The result? No more FT job, and a crappy side hustle you were too exhausted to scale correctly. Sad face.
6. Work smarter, not harder
If there’s one thing ALL profitable business owners do, it’s this: work on the things that are working! Track what you’re doing and where you’re getting results, and invest your time there. You need to be using social media platforms like Instagram, but if that’s not where your sales and referrals come from, don’t spend a tremendous amount of time on it. When you’re full-time in your side hustle, you can revisit those underperforming areas but for now, put your precious time into the shit that’s working.
7. Get a sustainable flow of customers BEFORE you quit your day job
It’s quite easy to make a side hustle look like it’s doing well but unless those dollar bills are landing in your bank account, you’re never going to be able to quit your day job. Yes, your product, branding and socials are essential but not as important as sales. Sales are the thing that’s going to get you out of your day job. Put most of your effort into sales and the minimum amount of energy into the other stuff.
8. Prioritise customer feedback
Retention and customer satisfaction should be your top priority. You want customers to love your product or service and recommend it to others. Many side hustles launch in a flurry of excitement, with lots of sales to show for their first few months of business but then they peter out because the product isn’t strong enough or the company doesn’t grow and adapt with their customers needs and wants.
9. Learn to say no
Right now, your soon-to-be profitable business slash side hustle should be your main priority. That means you might want to think twice before you commit to a freelance job, a promotion at your day job, or an eight-week holiday around South America. These things all sound great, but they’re only going to distract you from what you want, which is to turn your side hustle into a full-time business. Don’t be distracted, set your goals, keep your eye on the prize.
Got big plans for the future of your side hustle? Ready to give it its own online *look*?
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