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How To Turn Your Side Hustle Into The Main Event

More and more people are embracing the idea of a ‘side hustle’. The term originates from the other side of the pond, and it’s a way to make a bit of money on the side doing what you love without giving up your main job.

A recent Modern Life Report found that only 21% of the over 50s have a second source of income compared to 46% of those in their 20s. What’s more, 54% of twentysomethings are keen to turn their second job into their main career.

Pursuing another interest outside your main source of employment can help you feel more satisfied with your professional life. While some people like the idea of making some extra money, others focus on the sense of joy and personal fulfilment they get from doing something they feel passionate about.

A side hustle can be any commercial and monetizable activity – from baking to photography, blog writing or dog walking, online tutoring or ecommerce – and some business ideas have the potential to become incredibly lucrative. Did you know that some of the best known brands started as passion projects including Apple, Instagram, Spanx and Yankee Candle?

If you are ready to take the plunge and commit to your side hustle on a full-time basis, here are some helpful tips to guide you along this exciting journey.

Get your financials in order

Taking the leap from secure employment to becoming a full-time entrepreneur must be made on the basis that you will be able to support yourself (and your family). Without a stable salary, never mind sickness, holiday and other employee benefits to rely on, you are now responsible for your own finances. With this firmly in mind, you need to create two budgets:

Your (average) monthly income should be enough to cover your personal budget which includes rent/mortgage, living expenses, savings and a few treats. Lifestyle choices may have to be made in order to get your business off the ground.

Set up a business budget to include fixed costs (e.g. rent, payroll, web hosting), variable costs (e.g. utilities, marketing, shipping and travel costs) and one-time spends (new equipment, training course, unplanned expenditures)

Write a clear business plan with short and long-term goals and growth projections, and revise it through the year as your fledgling business grows and changes. There’s a free start-up pack here that you can download now.

Project a professional image

When you start out on your business journey, presenting a credible business proposition is crucial. It may be a case of ‘fake it till you make it’ but paying attention to your business image and identity and making it look professional will make you stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons. Lay the groundwork now.

From the right business name and logo to your website design and marketing material, keep your brand consistent across your channels. “Branding is more than just a logo. It’s about understanding how you want to be perceived in the market and how you want your customers to feel,” explains one expert in the field.

These days, a professional online presence is a must-have for any business with ambitions to scale. Create a professional looking website, publish reviews and testimonials from happy customers, maintain relevant social media channels, and build your credibility as a brand by becoming an expert in your space.

No entrepreneur is an island

‘Teamwork makes the dream work’ may be a familiar management-speak cliché, but the power of collaboration and networking is irrefutable. After all, there’s only 24 hours in a day and only one of you. If your pride and ambition says you have to do all the heavy lifting yourself, recognise the fact that starting a business isn’t all about you.

According to one financial wellness coach, “knowing how to outsource is a key skill that’s as much about finding the right support from mentors and friends as it is about recognising your strengths and weaknesses to make the business the best it can be.”

Focus your energy on doing what you’re best at and play to your strengths, while building up your network of professional contacts and collaborators to help you fill in the blanks. From accountants to web designers, business mentors to social media marketers, surround yourself with people who can support your business where it is needed most.

Permission to fail and succeed

The journey of moving from side hustle to full-time business can be fulfilling and financially rewarding, but it is never going to be a linear progression. Failure, in particular, is a crucial part of the learning process. While not every business decision is going to work out, it’s important to view each failure as a necessary stepping stone towards success. Get comfortable with the idea of experiencing many iterations, failures and growth as you travel along your business trajectory.

In order to become a resilient entrepreneur, you must do more than maintain good mental health, you need to develop a ‘success mindset’ – a powerful combination of positive thinking and intrinsic motivation coupled with a growth mindset of self-improvement. This will enable you to enjoy the ride, including the inevitable ups and downs, with your self-belief intact and able to celebrate any victories along the way.

Is it the right time?

We all know there’s never a right time to make a major life decision. Assuming you’ve done your figures and your business plan is sound, what’s stopping you? If you are waiting for the perfect circumstances to arise until you’re ready to make the switch from side hustle to main event, perhaps you should spend some time addressing your fear of failure.

Taking a leap of faith is always going to feel uncomfortable, and unless the decision is basically made for you (e.g through redundancy, illness or a lottery win), it may be a case of feeling the fear and doing it anyway!

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