A 2017 Bankrate study found that 44 million Americans have a side hustle.
Technology, especially the digital realm, have made it easier for people to monetize their passion projects be it crafts, blogging, tutoring, editing, teaching, self-publishing, app development, the list goes on and on.
The good news is that there are ways to turn your side gig into a thriving business; this is especially appealing for those who fall into the group of professionals that isn’t emotionally or financially fulfilled by their current job.
It can be scary, but it can be done.
8 Tips To Turn Your Side Gig Into A Thriving Business
1. Be Honest With Yourself
First, you need to be honest with yourself and clearly evaluate whether your side gig is hustle worthy–is there a market for it, how much competition is there, will you require a lot of initial time/monetary investment, etc. Basically, do your own market research before you take the jump.
Second, make sure you time your jump correctly. While it may be tempting to leave your 9 to 5 job as soon as you start seeing some progress, keep in mind that leaving that job means renouncing to benefits and job security. Before you turn in your letter of resignation, make sure you have enough savings and enough demand for your side gig.
2. It’s Not A Hobby Anymore
While your side gig might’ve started as a hobby or passion project, if you want to grow it into a thriving business you need to start taking a more business-minded approach. This means that you need to create a business model or strategy.
- How will you market yourself or your products/services?
- What will be your sales process?
- How many clients do you need to have a month to earn as much as you want?
- What additional costs will you need to cover?
- Do you need any specialized equipment?
3. Leverage The Right Resources
To grow a thriving business, you need to leverage the right business tools and resources. Consider for example hiring a virtual office package, which can make your business look more professional, it can help you handle calls/scheduling, it can improve your customer service, and it can provide privacy by not having to list your home address as your business address.
Invest in marketing software of use the free versions if possible. Some valuable resources can be emailing platforms, social media, and SEO software. You could also leverage friends’ or coworkers’ expertise (like for example, ask a friend to help you design a logo or come up with a catchy slogan). You can also leverage your network to get valuable feedback about your products or services.
4. Embrace Content Marketing
Content is still king, and it can help you accelerate your growth. Content is a powerful and cost-effective tool. It can help you build brand awareness, it can help position you as a thought-leader within your target industry, it can open new revenue streams (if you partner with other brands), it can increase your reach, and it can help you find your niche.
In order for content to work, you need to be consistent, so make sure you schedule enough time to tackle your content goals.
5. Invest In Yourself
This is crucial for success. While your current skills were enough to set up a successful side hustle, in order to grow it into a thriving business you will likely need to develop new skills.
You’ll need constant learning in order to continuously grow your business, so consider enrolling in online courses or finding a mentor. Some skills you might need to learn or polish could be business development, marketing, online sales, accounting, etc.
6. Work On Your Network
A strong network of people is key to business success, and your network can help you find mentoring opportunities, help you discover a new niche, and find potential clients, business partners, and investors.
You can leverage your network to talk about your ideas, brainstorm new ones, obtain feedback, and build a community that inspires and motivates you. Keep in mind that being an entrepreneur can be a solitary job, and a strong, authentic network can help prevent and battle loneliness.
7. Be Consistent
To be successful in this endeavor, you have to play the long game. This is a process that takes time, and you won’t necessarily see the results you want from the get-go. You have to be patient, and more importantly, you have to be consistent with your efforts. It’s like losing weight, you won’t see satisfactory results if you have a cheat meal every other day; for you to see results you need to stick to your diet plan. The same goes for your business.
Pro tip: Even if you’re working from home, have a routine in place (shower, breakfast, get dressed in something other than PJs, set clear break times, etc.). Not only will this improve your productivity, but it will also help maintain some work-life balance and prevent burnout.
8. Don’t Forget About Self-Care
Speaking about burnout… growing a side gig to a thriving business is not an easy task, and even though working on your passion project is wonderful, you have to make sure that you’re leaving some time to take care of yourself or you risk burning out quickly. While growing your side gig is hard work, you need to prioritize self-care–after all, if you don’t feel your best, you won’t perform your best.
It helps to schedule into your calendar your self-care. You need to get enough sleep, work on your emotional, physical, and social wellbeing, and making sure that you take some time to partake in activities you enjoy (walking, reading, cooking, etc.).
It’s definitely possible to take your passion project from side gig to thriving business, especially with today’s available digital tools and resources. All it takes is a can-do attitude, setting realistic expectations, and commitment to do what needs to be done.
It’s not easy, but it can be done.