What's the best way to boost your earning power and change your life? Answer – taking a side hustle and turning it into a full-time hustle.
That's why 45% of employees in the United States have one, and it's not only a feature of millennials and Gen Xers. Yes, 48% and 39% of these groups do work on the side, respectively, yet baby boomers aren't far behind. If you were born not long after the war, there's a 28% chance you'll have an extra job.
However, a side hustle is a gift and a curse. On the one hand, it's never been easier to join the world of the self-employed or the gig economy and supplement your main income.
On the other, the competition is tough due to the hundreds of thousands of hustlers in America. Therefore, if you're finding it challenging to stand out from the crowd, you're not alone.
The key isn't to give up; it's to step up your efforts and propel your side hustle forward. When you do this, your dream of giving up your full-time job and concentrating on your idea could become a reality. Still, it's not as straightforward as mixing hard work with a business plan.
To increase your market share and raise awareness in a saturated market, you need to do the following.
Find A Way to Get Consistent Leads
Leads are vital. Before net and gross turnover and profits, there are people who are interested in your product or service and want to know more before committing. The more you do, the bigger your customer base, and the more likely you'll create a loyal group of shoppers who regularly spend money.
The problem side hustlers face is a lack of resources as, somehow, you've got to secure consistent leads on a shoestring budget. Thankfully, it's not impossible. As always, SEO is here to help, particularly low competition keywords and phrases. These search engine terms rank with little to no link building and domain authority, so blog posts that target them could result in quick traffic and long-tail rankings.
Alternatively, email marketing in the form of newsletters is relatively cheap and effective. Unlike cold calls, people are happy to receive promotional notifications – open rates are up by 100% – and a blast that reaches twenty-five thousand people is less than $50 per month. Social media is also free, although competitive, which is why you have to find a tone of voice that adds value. Focus on building an email list of people that are interested in your products and services
If you have more resources and are happy to invest, pay-per-click advertising (PPC) could be the answer. Paying for Google, Facebook, and Instagram ads, to name three, could raise awareness of your brand through the roof as these platforms receive billions of monthly users. Finally, never underestimate the power of networking. If you can find a way to help others, they'll return the favor in the form of commissions for referrals.
Don't Be Afraid To Invest Money
Money is bound to play a huge part in your ability to turn a side hustle into a full-time business. Yes, your mindset and work ethic are strong indicators of the future, as is luck, but organizations fail due to money 82% of the time. Sometimes, it's because of a lack of management, and others are down to a poor understanding of cash flow. But, then, there are hustlers without the right amount.
Therefore, investing feels as if it's fraught with danger. However, it's a risk you should be willing to take for several reasons. Firstly, businesses don't turn over millions of dollars via their savings account. Instead, they take a dollar and turn it into two, four, eight, and so on. Plus, spending your resources wisely will take the pressure off your shoulders.
For example, outsourcing is hiring a third party to take care of the tasks for which you lack experience or expertise. Today, enterprises use outsourcers for everything from marketing campaigns to accounting and customer services. By focusing your efforts on the most vital jobs, you're bound to generate more leads and sales and cut back on wastage.
Also, because these external businesses and individuals are experts, they can increase the standard of the project while charging you less, boosting your reputation and saving valuable resources. Of course, even though liquidity is essential, you have a full-time job, so the chances of going bankrupt are incredibly low.
Without putting the correct processes in place, you'll never be able to quit your full-time job for a life of WordPress and online marketing. Part-time side hustles heighten the urge to type out a letter of resignation and tell your boss you're leaving before it's time. Sure, this is a long-term goal, but you must be prepared for the shift.
If you don't have functioning systems, you're less likely to know what you should be doing. As a result, you could easily throw your resources and momentum down the drain. With this in mind, it's smart to factor in your work process. Do you have a home office, or will you rent office space? Can you prioritize workloads effectively? As HBR highlights, you have to concentrate on what's important, not what's urgent.
Next, there is your sales system. Will you require a physical point of sale software, or are you maintaining a digital presence? Which POS program is the most suitable for your website? Do you understand CTAs and site navigation tactics to increase your site's conversion rate? Choosing Magento, for instance, is the first step as you must decide how the layout of your platform will encourage shoppers to proceed to the checkout, i.e., shorter registration forms.
Through all this research, it's simple to forget about marketing and who you are advertising to. Splitting your audience into demographics will enable you to see which elements impact certain groups so that you can tweak your campaign accordingly. For example, brands with younger audiences tend to advertise on social media platforms as this is where they interact and consume information.
Use Your Annual Leave to Grow Your Business
Reading a guide on how to quit your job is scary. Part of the reason you're hustling is that you have the safety net of your income to paper over the crack. Take that away, and you're a lot more vulnerable, which is bound to make you feel nervous. The good news is, you don't have to make the jump right away.
You can test the water by dipping your toe in at the shallow end and gauging the response. How? With your vacation allocation. Depending on your experience, the average American receives fifteen to twenty days of holiday time a year, which equates to three to four weeks (five-day working weeks). Usually, you would want to save days to go away and recharge your batteries, but Covid-19 means that's not possible.
As a result, you should have vacation leave remaining. Rather than spending it on the sofa watching Netflix, you can use it wisely to attend online networking events and add to your contact list. Or, you may want to analyze your marketing strategies and tweak your approach. Merely cold-calling potential customers (yes, it's still a thing!) or sending prospective emails could improve your reach.
If you want to learn more about leadership, business, and project management, you can enroll in a remote course. Lots of them only take a week, so you'll be certified before you return to the office! Using up your work leave to understand what it's like to be self-employed is a powerful way to gain insight into the actions you must take to be successful.
Take the Leap or It Might Never Happen
When you think about the pitfalls involved in going from a side hustle to a full-time business, you will find plenty of excuses to avoid taking a leap of faith. And, it is because there is an element of good fortune in every successful business story you see or hear. The chips have to fall in your favor.
Still, this isn't a reason to carry on doing what you're doing and play it safe. Although it's more secure and less frightening, it's worse to live with regret since it will nag you for the rest of your life. It's better to take a gamble and fail because at least you're in control.
There's no reason to take unnecessary risks, mind you. An excellent tip is to set realistic goals so that you know it's time to take the plunge. However, you should judge them in terms of quantity and not time, or else you may wait around forever and make yourself unhappy.
The following are fantastic indicators:
- The number of clients you have and need
- How much money you have and need in the bank
- Whether you should start employing staff
- Positive market research for unbiased sources
Once you have these, you only have to remind yourself of why you're putting your faith in a side hustle – the freedom.
Things to Keep In Mind When Starting Your Side Hustle
Side hustles are fun and exciting, and they convince you to forget about important things that could impact the long-term future of your business. To go from side hustle to full-time entrepreneur, you need to climb the ladders and swerve the chutes.
Here are a few things to remember.
- Kill your job: Your hustle isn't ready yet and you haven't left, so you must remain professional and continue to perform your role to the best of your ability. If your employer becomes aware of your clash of allegiances, the boss will fire you at the first chance because the business needs fully motivated workers. That means saving your side hustle tasks for when you're off the clock.
- Avoid debt: This is a tricky one as most SMEs require some form of funding to get off the ground. However, a large percentage of them struggle to return the investment as they're saddled with interest payments from overdue balances. If possible, you should attempt to stick to your savings and disposable income to fund your side hustle. Where you can't, try and get investors to inject their resources so that you are debt-free when the business goes live.
- Prepare for the long haul: “Business success is 80 percent psychology and 20 percent mechanics,” according to Tony Robbins. This is a great quote because it highlights the difficulty of stepping up your side hustle. You can't succeed with a lone quality product or service. You must be passionate, determined, and motivated to work hard – more so than usual – and bounce back from rejection. Too many people view launching a startup as a quick fix to their problems. It's not, which is why you must mentally prepare for the long haul.
- Watching the competition isn't cheating: In a world where originality seems to be lacking, it's common for novice entrepreneurs to feel as if they're doing something wrong. One of the ways the sensation manifests itself is through copying. To the untrained eye, analyzing how your rivals succeed and cherry-picking the most features is a form of plagiarism. To a seasoned pro, it's a powerful way to keep up to date with the latest trends. After all, there isn't a one-size-fits-all strategy, so you must be able to spot which elements are unsuitable and dismiss them.
Is It Time to Pivot your Hustle?
This is the million-dollar question, and there isn't an answer. You have to take it on a case-by-case basis because every hustle is different. Here is a selection of the things to look out for to help you decide.
Your Brand Is Recognizable
Interaction with people on social media channels, as well as data from analytics programs, will show you whether you're getting recognized more.
You are earning a good income.
If the amount is enough to satisfy your current lifestyle, you have stability and room to expand.
You're Becoming An Expert
For those who have been at it a long time, you may be a master of your side hustle. In that case, why are you only doing it part-time?
I believe this guide has helped you with tips on how to start a side hustle and to scale it into a reliable full-time business. Let me know what you think in the comments.