Do you work a 9-5 job right now, but would you like to hand in your two weeks notice? Congratulations, you belong to the club of dreamers! Before I started both of my businesses, I would daydream in the office about making my own time schedule and working with people I chose to work with. So the idea of side hustle came very quickly. But at some point, you start hoping the side hustle can replace your income. In this blogpost I will show you the things I did to turn my side hustle into a full-time business.
What’s your side hustle?
You are an incredible talented person, and I know for a fact you’re really good at doing at least one thing. It may writing, photography, organizing, building websites…Whatever it is, you need to monetize that skill!
One of the thing I hear my former colleagues say was: “I would like to have a business like you, but I just don’t know what to have a business in.” My answer to this would always be: “Well, what’s your current job? Can’t you turn your current job into a freelance thing?” There’s always a possibility to turn your current skills into a side hustle. You just have to let go of the limiting thoughts. For example, if you work as a personal assistant or a secretary at the moment. Why not become a virtual assistant? Or why not become a career coach to corporate support staff?
If you don’t know where to start with your side hustle. Look close to home. Don’t make it any more difficult than it has to be. Second, do your research. Find and talk to business owners to see whether your side hustle has the potential to become a full time job. Ask them what some of the profitable business models are.
Step 1: focus on the necessities
In order to get ahead quickly and replace your current income with the one from your side hustle means focussing on the things that really matter at the moment: making money! You need to generate money in your side hustle. In order to do that, you need to focus on finding clients.
Finding clients in the beginning stages can be difficult, but not impossible. Let your current network know that you are starting your own business and are able to offer X, Y and Z. You can do this by sending all of your friends and family a simple email and posting about it on LinkedIn and Facebook. Tell everyone you meet you recently started a business! Share it with the world.
Putting yourself out there in the beginning can be super scary because you feel like you’re competing with freelancers and businesses who have years of experience. But don’t forget that most people buy from other people they trust. So if a friend shares your post, you already have a big advantage to, let’s say, a random local business.
Step into the “hustle” mode. I generally don’t like using this word, but in the beginning stages it’s inevitable. Most of the time, a friend of a friend or your mom’s colleague needs help with the thing that you offer. I guarantee the first 5 – 10 clients probably come from your own network.
Step 2: Build your brand
Ok, so now that you’ve helped a handful of new clients. It’s time to let your business idea take shape. Because you’ve had a few clients, you get a feeling of what people are looking for when they want to hire you. That’s the basis of your brand.
You need to ask yourself the following questions:
- Who do I want to help/serve in my business? What does this person look like and what do they need?
- How am I going to help/serve them? Will it be 1:1 sessions, an online course, live workshops – what’s the best offer I can give my clients?
- How am I going to reach my ideal client? Do I need social media and online marketing? And if so, what would be the most effective for my business and ideal client?
Building a brand means building a tribe around your business. You need to extend past your current (offline) network of friends, family and colleagues. This is also the phase where you build your website, social media profiles and maybe even a newsletter.
Watch out to not get stuck in perfectionism. Staying in this phase for too long will not move your side hustle forward. Also, don’t invest tons of money in your website, logo and all the “fluff”. You can do this at a later stage when you take your business to the next level. For now, everything needs to be functional and effective!
Step 3: Create systems & automate (or delegate)
After you’ve helped a few of your clients, review the process. What are some of the things you can automate or find a standardized system for? Maybe it’s the onboarding process that you can standardize. Or maybe you can write out the workflow for when you have a new client. What will make it easier for you to find & serve clients? What do you need to speed up the process from social media follower to paid client?
You need your side hustle to take as little time out of your day as possible so that you can spend more time with your clients (and make actual money…). Anything from Facebook advertising to find leads to having a standardized email asking for a review will help your side hustle get ahead. Figure out how much of your business you can automate (or delegate). Do you have discovery calls often? Great, create a standard questionaire you can send your prospects beforehand. Sign up to an online booking system like Calendly if you want people to schedule appointments without emailing you.
It’s little things like this that will make running your business next to your job easier. You need to work smarter, not harder. Let systems do the heavylifting of your business. You are the expert and you should be focussing on your acquisition and serving clients. Not on silly things like admin, emailing or social media posts. You can automate most of that!
Step 4: Nurture your client base
It’s the 80/20 rule. In most cases, 80% of your income comes from 20% of your client base. Once you’ve helped a handful of clients, it’s important you nurture that relationship. Chances are, if you launch a new product or service, they’ll be buying from you again. The reason being that they already trust you, so it’s easier for them to hand you their dollars.
There are many different ways of nuturing this relationship, but one of the more popular ones is having a social media presence where you can connect with them or sending relevant newsletters that include lots of value. You need to make sure that whoever is in your tribe now stays exactly where they are. Word of mouth marketing is the most effective tool when it comes to business. The more raving fans you have in your network, the more clients will come your way. Trust the process.
If you want to turn your side hustle into a full-time business and leave your 9-5 asap, focus on your clients. They are the ones who allow you to make your dream come true. Be grateful and always show them love.
Step 5: Just LEAVE your job
At one point or another, you’re going to feel the need to either work less or leave your job completely because your side hustle is taking too much time and energy and your motivation to work for your boss becomes less and less. Trust me, I’ve totally been there. I quit my fulltime job without any money in my savings account, with student debt, a mortgage and a negative bank balance. But I just couldn’t stand to go to my full time job for one more day. I just couldn’t. So I just quit.
To tell you the truth: not the smartest idea I’ve ever had and I definitely don’t advice you to do this. However, I do believe in taking action before you’re ready. There is no time like the present and I trust the universe enough to know that things will always work itself out. I told myself that if I couldn’t live off of my business I would just go find another job. With a university degree and some work experience, I know that this shouldn’t be a problem. But to be honest, it hasn’t come that far yet. Because somehow you just make it work. You find creative ways to get new clients. And you’ll notice that once you finished working with one client, the next one miraculously shows up.
You need to decide what you want out of life. If you never quit your job to pursue your dream, you will never know if you are able to make it come true or not. I think the biggest failure in life is to have regret. There is nothing worse than looking back and saying “I wish I had done that”. So, talk to your family and your partner. Inform them about your decision and ask for their support.
Your side hustle into a full-time business – are you ready?
Is it time for you to turn your side hustle into a full-time business? Let me know down below in the comments because I would love to be one of your first supporters! I would also love to hear more about you and your business. Did you just start out? What is the biggest struggle you run into? Let me know in the comments below. And let me know which of these tips you are going to implement!
If you need any help figuring this whole “setting-up-a-business” thing, you know where to find me.