5 ways to turn your side hustle into a full-time gig

- Entrepreneurial Skills

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by Leanne Creasey

So, there is this thing called a ‘side hustle’ and according to research in the New York Post, apparently, half of all millennials have one. The simple definition of a ‘side hustle’ is a job, business or project that you do on the side of your full-time work. It might earn you a bit of money (if you’re lucky) or it could be something you do for free (like writing), ultimately it’s something that hopefully makes you happier at work.

Whatever your bit on the side, it’s not easy to know when or how to turn it into a full-time gig.

The first thing to ask yourself is ‘do I really want to do this?’ Go on, say it to yourself: ‘do I really want to do this?’

Side hustles can be a fantastic way to make money without having the responsibility or accountability of a full-time job. But, once you’ve committed to making it a daily thing, you might find all the normal workplace stresses and anxieties creep into what was previously a pretty fun opportunity. Equally, if your bit on the side is creative, making a business out of it could introduce a level of admin and financial strain that makes it less fulfilling and enjoyable. The bottom line is, before you begin, be sure you want to make this idea a reality.

Now that you’ve decided, it’s important to take some steps to make sure it works out. Here are 5 key things you can do to set yourself up for success:

#1: Decide whether you want to be a freelancer or a business

This is a big decision and one that will shape the future of your business. Of course, if you’ve got an etsy store, you know that you’re a business, but you still should answer this question. If you’re the only person who can hand sew all your crochet wall hangings, it means your product relies on your creative skill alone and will be to difficult to scale. Another example, if you’re a freelance writer you need decide whether you want to write or you want to create a writing company where you can spend most of your time, eventually, directing a team of writers, rather than writing yourself.

Essentially, you need to decide whether you are going to create or whether you will eventually get people to work for you to deliver the final product. If you’re struggling to make up your mind it’s worth asking yourself what your priorities are and whether you want to employ people or simply have freedom to work on various projects. Seth Godin talks more about this in his Startup School podcast which is worth listening to before you take the leap.

#2: Start work on your network straight away

‘Your network is your net worth’ is a saying for a reason, and while we shouldn’t live by motivational Instagram quotes (although I do try), this one tends to be relevant. When you’re starting a new business venture, whether it’s a company or you’re working as a freelancer, it’s important to build a network. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking everyone must be in your industry and have a direct link to the work that you’re doing.

The most important thing is to meet people who have a similar outlook and work ethic as you. People that you genuinely connect with will be much more generous with their time and contacts and you’ll utilize them, not just for sales, but also for support. If you’re not sure how to get mixing with like-minded people, there are a couple of things you can do.

  • Meetup.com has loads of local gatherings around a number of different topics and if you can’t find what you’re looking for here, you could always start a meetup as there are bound to be people in your area interested in connecting
  • Join a coworking space: Coworking spaces are set up to create networking opportunities

#3: Think about your personal branding and make it clear on your social profiles

You want to make sure that your social media and website are confirming your personal brand. You don’t need to decide what that is straight away, it’s an ever-evolving thing, but try not to make your personal branding your last priority. It’s so easy to do work that essentially only makes you money and ignores everything else. Define your personal brand, which could be as simple as five core values and go back to these whenever you’re writing, networking or showcasing your work. 

#4: Don’t say yes to everything!

When opportunity comes knocking, be careful what you say yes to. You don’t have your full-time job now and as great and as fun as an opportunity is you need to ask yourself if it’s paying enough and whether it’s going to reinforce your personal brand. When you first start out, you might want to take opportunities without negotiating the terms of the contract or payment because you feel pleased to have been offered anything at all. It’s good to keep in mind though, that you don’t want to waste time on projects that don’t pay what you need them to and waste crucial time that could be spent networking and developing your business.

#5: Know what you can pay people to do for you

One easy mistake to make when you’re about to go at it alone and turn the passion project into the money maker, is thinking you can do everything.

Can you learn simple graphic design? Sure! Can you code a simple website for your business? Absolutely! You may need to do these things at first, but don’t forget this takes away from the time you spend focusing on the business plan and making money. When you are considering the ways to save money, also consider your time as worth money. Looking at it this way, helps you to figure out what you could pay someone to do, allowing you to utilise your time better!

Some great sites to search for pay by the job work from simple graphics to web design include:

So there you have it, five simple pointers to make sure you make the most of turning your side hustle into your full time gig!

Do you have a side hustle? Are you wondering if or how you can go full-time with it? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

Photo: Shridhar Gupta, Unsplash

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