In today’s world of far too many financial uncertainties, most people have embraced side hustles. Even people who earn a good income from their regular jobs are known to have one or two side hustles. Entrepreneurs are not left out as well.
It would seem that almost everyone; from the bubbly streets of Los Angeles to the interesting islands of Japan, have some economically rewarding activity other than their main job or business.
The global economic meltdown of the few years before 2010 played a major role in inculcating the side hustle spirit into people. Now, while these side hustles are basically supplements to a person’s main income, they have been known to grow so big that they end up replacing some people’s day job.
How anyone can turn a side hustle into a full business is what this article seeks to explain. But before that happens, what qualifies to be a side hustle?
What Makes Something a Side Hustle?
Different experts have pretty different criteria for describing a side hustle but three factors are pretty much unique to all approaches.
- A side hustle makes money for the individuals involved in it
- It is not the major source of income for the individual
- And the individual has total control over the activity as it usually isn’t a paid job.
Now, let’s see how to grow a side hustle.
1. Run an Assessment on Your Hustle
It is important to note that not all side hustles can grow into fulltime businesses; at least not so easily. While someone ho flips fairly used items on eBay may create a huge, permanent business out of this, it may be near impossible for someone who does post-Halloween cleanup to turn the venture into a fulltime business.
Consider the following factors. There is no limit to the total volume of items that can be sold on eBay but there is a limit to the total number of homes and places that an individual can clean after Halloween Day celebrations. But this is not even the bigger challenge.
Halloween happens once a year in the United States of America. Just once. It then does not make sense to see Halloween-related businesses as a fulltime business as it is highly seasonal.
As illustrated above, the first thing to consider is if the side hustle is scalable. Ask yourself some questions. Would I only make sales once or a few times a year? Are there people actively looking for my products and/or services? Would my earnings cap at a certain point? Has anyone ever successfully made a real business out of this hustle?
Whatever you do, remember that if your business is not in demand, it isn’t likely that there are plenty of opportunities for it. It might as well remain a side hustle. Above everything else, if you do not see this business paying your bills over the next six months or one year, it may not be a good fit. But if your side hustle is in demand; has the potential to grow; and is lucrative enough, it’ about time to give it a try.
2. Treat it Like a Business
Having run a comprehensive assessment on your side hustle and found it fit enough to be called a fulltime business, you may proceed with making it the business it deserves to be. But this means you would have to treat it like a real business. What does this entail?
Create a business plan for it. For less than $100, you can find someone on Fiverr to do this for you if you cannot do it or do not have the time to do it. In this plan, draft a strategy that will help you launch. A good thing is that this side hustle already has some customers or patrons. So, in addition to this business plan, you might want to hire someone to brand your business.
A few graphics designed for you; a website or Instagram handle or Facebook page or landing page, depending on your needs. Then, you’re good to go. Note, however, you do not have to quit your day job yet. You do not have to dump your day gig in a bid to be serious with your new business. While it is way better and faster to grow a business by giving it 100% attention (this would involve quitting your day job), do not discard your regular job if you do not have enough money to keep you going for at least six months. Ideally, you should have up to one year expenses saved up.
3. Commit to the New Business
It is that simple. Commit. However, by no means is this going to be simple. Most people do not invest much into their side hustles. The ones who do, invest more of time than anything else. But then, time is just one aspect of the investment required in making a side hustle or even anything else works for that matter.
You probably did not invest much money into it up till this moment because it was just a source of additional income. Apparently, it is unacceptable to continue treating this new business as a side hustle if you’re looking at making huge profits off it. Now that you are about to make this a fulltime business; perhaps you even want it to become your major source of income, you must invest your money and all other relevant resources into it.
4. Feel Free to Outsource too
But you do not have to do this alone. There is a critical fact most people miss when they are trying to convert their side hustle to a main hustle: you are essentially starting a new business and need all the help you can get. In addition to this, you have become a boss – it does not matter if you are a boss to five employees or to just yourself.
Find one or two great talents and have them handle either the basics of your new business which you do not want to waste time on, or those aspects of your business that you are not adequately skilled at. Now focus on growing your businesses while they handle the other aspects. In fact, the most pivotal aspect of upgrading your side hustle into a business would be in marketing your brand.
While you could always hire a marketing company to do this for you – if you have the budget or do not know how to market effectively or just do not have the time – the best marketer for your business is actually you. This is because no one understands your products and services better than you. Without this understanding, persuading your ideal customers to patronize you will be a lot more difficult than it should.
On outsourcing, if your business is built on the internet or has an online presence as it should, a virtual assistant can be all you need to start winning pretty quickly.
How do you outsource effectively? Simple. Hire remote workers (if this arrangement is suitable for your business) or find contract staff who would work for you on demand. Either way, freelancing platforms like Upwork or Fiverr will help you find top talents at affordable rates. And while you could hire almost any type of talent on these platforms, it is once more recommended that you focus on lead generation experts, virtual assistants and generally talents that help you secure your first sales.
5. Start Small
This is a no-brainer that many people still do not understand. No matter how promising a side hustle looks, do not break the bank as you dive right in. It is one thing for a business to be lucrative kind of business and another thing for it to actually become lucrative for you! The leaner the startup, the better it is. From popular reports across the internet, it should take no more than $1,000 to execute a successful upgrade: converting a side gig to a main hustle.
But then, there are a number of ways to get started without spending a lot of money. Here’s some of them:
– Your Savings: It is pretty cheap to convert most side hustles into main hustles or businesses. For instance, people who sell their services online as part-time freelance contractors can set up their own businesses with about $100 – $200. This budget can take care of a domain, hosting and a premium WordPress theme. What is even more impressive is the fact that this money won’t be difficult to save up.
– Crowdfunding: You might have already heard names like GoFundMe and Kickstarter and what they are about. But make no mistake; these platforms aren’t just for broke people who need funding. That’s far from the truth. A good number of persons who have an idea or a side hustle use it to scale without having to tamper with their savings.
– Soft Loans: In the sad event that a misfortune hits an individual and that individual needs to raise a few thousand dollars to launch, friends and/or family are good sources for these soft loans. An obvious advantage of this option is that interests aren’t usually paid on the borrowed sum.
6. Don’t Expect Too Much
It is unrealistic to think that your new business would make you a millionaire overnight. Beyond the fluff and hype on social media and the blogosphere, most businesses do not make up to $100,000 per year. Annual earnings in the range of $40,000 to $60,000 are way more realistic. This does not in any way mean that you cannot make more than $100,000 or even a million with your business.
The idea is to hope for these and not necessarily expect it to be on the safe side. As they say, “Think big but start small”. There could be unexpected losses; employees could steal from you; deals could go wrong but that’s what starting a new business looks like.
7. Learn, Learn and Implement
If you know nothing or near nothing about starting a business, it is a terrible idea to dive in without covering the essentials. If you have the funds, it is advised that you get the services of a professional business developer. Not only will this save you from the many mistakes most rookies make; you will also save a lot of money.
Note, however, that no matter how much you spend on expert, you still need some business intelligence in your journey as an entrepreneur. Now there are thousands of courses on online learning platforms such as Udemy, Teachable and more. Get on those platforms and for a few bucks, you would learn very valuable information from real experts. Do well to check reviews from the previous student before buying any expert’s course.
But you do not have to spend any money if you do not want to spend any money – even if you have the budget for it. A simple search on Youtube will offer you a plenitude of options for learning both basic and advanced entrepreneurship. Follow Dan Lok, Grant Cardone, Gary Vaynerchuck and Neil Patel for some very valuable entrepreneurship content. Valuetainment is another great channel that shares great content too.
So this is it. The 7 tips above can help you take your side hustle to another level. If you have multiple side hustles, you can implement this same strategy on all of them and probably turn some of them into fulltime businesses with luck on your side.
In a Nutshell
It is no secret and is no news too. The side-gigs you work in a bid to supplement your major source of income can be converted into a new stream of income. And this process can be summarized in a few steps. Find a side hustle that is lucrative enough to become a standalone business; rebrand it and start with small; give it the attention that a business deserves; be patient with the venture; it while you continue to learn how to improve the business. Then, through social media and blogs, stay updated with the latest information in your industry and business as a whole.