How to Turn Your Side Hustle into a Full-Time Small Business

Because most Americans aren’t totally in love with their steady, full-time job, millions have side hustles in our current gig economy. Side hustles come in all shapes and sizes; what they have in common, though, is that they are baby small businesses. With some planning and preparation, it is possible to grow your side hustle into your main operation.  

Determine the timing of your transition

Timing plays a significant role in how a passion project can turn into a full-fledged business. You need to get serious about figuring out an ideal time to shift from the security and regularity of a full-time job to the uncertainty of becoming a small business owner. A plan will help you understand how much money you need to save up to succeed and how long you need to keep your side hustle on the side before diving in.

Set a deadline for yourself

However, if you’re serious about starting a business, don’t let the planning scare you off from your dreams. Set a deadline for quitting your full-time job and stick to it. By setting a date for launching your full-time small business, you can figure out how to save funds and how to scale up your side hustle over an allocated time.  

Think about how to scale your gig

The months before launching your business are going to be extremely busy. Not only will you be working your 9-to-5 job full-time as well as working your side hustle, but you also need to plan out how to grow your side gig quickly once it is no longer on the side. Consider what your quarterly goals should be, and think about when you should hire someone to help out. Break down what your new work week will look like — what days will you order inventory? What days will you take care of business finances?

Devise a dynamic business plan

All small businesses need a business plan, no matter whether your gig is plumbing or selling crafts on Etsy. Financial planning is an art in itself, but you need to weigh your costs versus your expected revenue. A business plan will also help you understand cash flows and when it might be necessary to seek outside funding. Most likely, you will want to start your small business financial planning before your side hustle is your main hustle. You should revisit your business plan often, though, and make changes to reflect new data and marketplace trends.

Break down tasks and prepare for long hours

Operating a small business can easily seem overwhelming, especially if you are new to the game. Breaking down your major tasks into smaller ones is a simple mental trick to make everything seem more manageable. For example, if you produce something for sale, break down your creative process into tasks like determining supplies, buying supplies, manufacturing your items, and then packaging them. Planning out specified days for each task can help with this. In many cases, you might find yourself working more than a 40-hour week — the long hours are often the price of working for yourself.

Implement automation where possible

You can almost certainly automate some small business tasks to save time and money. From utilizing spreadsheets to understand your budget situation to using a program to schedule out your social media posts, think about how software and apps can take over some of your workload. You might also be able to outsource some simple but onerous tasks to other companies or freelancers, too, like transcribing audio recordings or designing business cards.

Build your business network

Once you become your own boss, you will find that your network will be critical. It may not seem like it from the start, but good relationships with clients or freelancing friends can lead to years of work down the line. Go to relevant trade shows to meet potential partners or strike up conversations with other small business owners online. Perhaps you want an unofficial advisory board of people you respect, even if they don’t have direct experience in your line of work. Every so often, you can seek advice about how to grow your company — a diverse advisory board can throw out ideas you might not have thought of otherwise.

Revise your rates and pricing

After your business launches, you will want to revisit those business plans to understand how your business can grow. With some time, think about how to adjust your rates or pricing to improve your cash flow. The timing will vary from business to business — maybe you find out within several months that you were underselling your services, or it might take a year or so before you firmly believe you deserve more money. This process should be constant because it can help your business grow consistently over time.

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