7 Strategies for Making Your Side Gig a Full-Time Career
Albert Einstein once said, “Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
More and more Americans are imagining new ways to earn extra income and achieve financial freedom. According to a recent survey, nearly half of all full-time workers in the U.S. are currently pursuing some type of employment or entrepreneurial venture in addition to their regular day jobs. And while many are happy to keep their side hustles on the side, others are dreaming bigger.
Are you curious about growing your part-time passion project into a full-fledged business? Read on for seven valuable tips.
1. Define the Problem
According to many entrepreneurs who have made it big, the first step in determining whether your side hustle has scalable potential is to ask yourself: what problem am I solving?
For example, if you’re really into photography and you’ve started to pick up some paid gigs, maybe it’s: There aren’t enough affordable wedding photographers in my area – and I can do great work at reasonable rates. Or maybe it’s: Small businesses struggle to show the personality behind their products – and I have a knack for capturing that. With a defined problem and a proposed solution, you’ve got a mission.
2. Chart Out Your Journey
With a mission to move you forward, the next step is to craft a business plan that outlines where you want to go and how you’re going to get there. There are many different methods for writing a business plan, and countless free examples to follow online.
The core elements of a good business plan include an analysis of your market and competitive environment, a sales and marketing strategy, and a financial summary that lays out expected revenue and expenses. A well-thought-out business plan can be your roadmap to success and help you attract investors down the road.
3. Anticipate Risks
Every business venture and investment has risks, but some risks can be managed. As a business owner – and even as a side-hustler – you take on liability, but there are many different insurance products designed to keep your enterprise afloat in the event of accidents, product failures, data breaches, and other misfortunes.
You may also want to consider forming an LLC (limited liability company) or corporation to shield your personal assets from any losses or debts that your business might incur. Do your research and find out what the current best practices are in your industry.
4. Separate Your Finances
If your side hustle pays you only sporadically, chances are you’re putting cash in your pocket or depositing funds into your personal bank account to meet your living expenses and spending habits. When you launch your business for real, you’ll want a dedicated business account.
Depending on your business structure, you could be legally required to keep your business and personal funds separate and pay yourself like you would an employee. Even if it’s not legally required, it’s a smart move. You can much more easily control expenses, track your progress toward your goals, and prepare your taxes.
5. Build Community Connections
When you’re just starting out in business, one of the best ways to position yourself for growth is to get to know your neighbors. A little bit of informal networking can help you build a client base as well as meet other business owners who might be able to offer complimentary services, referrals, and advice.
Check out your local chamber of commerce or an entrepreneur meetup. Consider sponsoring or volunteering at a community event to gain exposure and goodwill, or host your own event – entice new customers with a giveaway or demonstrate your topic expertise with a workshop.
6. Leverage Social Media
These days, online presence is vital to nearly any small business’s success. Even if your business is mainly local and in-person, consumers increasingly rely on online information and reviews to make purchasing decisions.
Think of social media platforms as free pieces of real estate in the digital world. You can enhance your visibility and legitimacy, discover cross-marketing opportunities with other like-minded entrepreneurs, and provide a forum for happy customers to share their experiences. If you happen to get a negative review, respond in a timely manner – use it as an opportunity to show that you’re proactive and customer-focused.
7. Don’t Go It Alone
Since our founding over 70 years ago, American Heritage Credit Union has been helping businesses of all types and sizes to thrive and grow. We offer a full range of banking, lending, and treasury solutions, along with powerful digital and mobile tools that help you save your valuable time.
Plus, because we’re a not-for-profit, member-owned organization, our commitment is to you and our local community – not Wall Street. You have a say in how we operate, and you share in the rewards. We’ll help you get from A to B – and everywhere else you want to go. Learn more today.