Turn Your Side Hustle Into a Business
Currently, over 70 million Americans have a side hustle. That's approximately 45% of the working population.
Starting a side hustle has many benefits, as you can earn extra income, develop new skills, become a small business owner and quit your day job.
But how do you transition your side hustle into a full business? This article will cover eight steps you need to follow to turn your side hustle into a successful business.
#1. Adopt the right mindset
First, you'll need to adopt a growth mindset. A growth mindset says that people constantly change, develop, and learn as they work through obstacles.
When you transition your side hustle into a full business, you'll face many challenges with clients, employees, and financial management. A growth mindset will help you navigate these challenges and focus on your goals.
Naturally, you'll also need to set three types of goals to work towards:
- Financial goals (like "I want to quit my full-time job")
- Skills goals (like "I want to learn Photoshop")
- Time goals (like "I want to spend 4 hours on my business every week")
#2. Ensure your portfolio is strong
As building a solid portfolio will help you attract new clients and customers, you'll need to create one when turning your side hustle into a company.
To build a good portfolio, register a website domain, create a website with a professional theme, and add 2-5 portfolio pieces. For each piece, include a short description explaining the processes and skills you used.
When choosing portfolio pieces to feature, ensure you select work that demonstrates your strengths and the diversity of your skills.
#3. Take steps to scale
As you scale your side hustle into a business, your workload will increase. To manage your work efficiently, you should invest in productivity tools to automate repetitive tasks. For example, you could use tools like:
- Scheduling apps like Trello, AirTable, ClickUp, and Asana
- Accounting software like Wave
- Payment processing software like PayPal, Payoneer, and TransferWise
- Grammar-checking apps like Writer.com and Grammarly
You could also use business plan software to create a long-term plan to guide your side hustle's growth. Effective business plans include a financial plan, competitive analysis, market analysis, goals, sales, and marketing plans.
#4. Seek financing
If you are hiring employees, investing in software, starting a retail location, or buying inventory for your business, you should seek financing. Financing gives you the cash flow to invest in solutions that will increase your income long-term.
There are many ways to seek financing, including:
- Seeking investment from friends, family, and coworkers
- Applying for a Small Business Administration loan
- Starting an online crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo or GoFundMe
- Acquiring a bridge loan
- Applying for local, state, or federal government grants
#5. Start actively marketing your side-hustle
As investing in digital marketing for your business can provide a return-on-investment (ROI) between 10% and 43%, it's a great way to increase your revenue. There are many ways to market your business, including:
- Starting a blog
- Running a social media ad campaign
- Investing in Google advertising
- Starting Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn profiles for your business
- Starting a podcast
- Creating a business plan for investors
- Investing in email marketing
- Paying for billboard, paper, or mail ads
- Hosting webinars
Tip: To get the most out of your marketing, monitor your success with Google Analytics.
#6. Focus on your customers
As increasing your customer retention by 5% can improve your profits by 25%, focusing on keeping your customers happy is a great way to scale your business.
To learn what your customers want, ensure you conduct market research on 3 - 10 customers and use this data to build buyer personas. Creating buyer personas will help you target your customer service policies, marketing, and product or service to your customer's needs.
It will also help you create a customer-centric culture.
#7. Team up with the right partners
As your workload will increase when transitioning your side gig into a business, you should consider finding a business partner. A business partner will bring new skills, expertise, and capital to the business. You can also work through challenges more effectively as a team.
When seeking out a partner, look for someone who shares your priorities, works hard, and has complementary strengths (for example, if you are good at employee management and marketing, they are good at fiscal management).
#8. Establish your business
Finally, you need to establish an official presence for your company by:
- Opening a business bank account
- Registering your business
- Trademarking your idea or project
- Filing for a Tax ID Number (TIN)
You should also establish an official presence online, as research shows that 68% of American consumers research a business on search engines before purchasing anything. To establish your digital presence, ensure you:
- Add your business to Google My Business
- Optimize your website with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), so it ranks well in search engines
- Start Yelp and Yellow Pages accounts
- Start a Business Facebook page
Turn your passion into a full-time business
As COVID-19 has made many people's incomes unreliable, side hustles are only increasing in popularity. In 2021, an additional 60 million people plan to start a side gig and become small business owners. If you're one of those people, make sure you prioritize scaling your side hustle into a business for long-term success.
To transition your brand successfully, you'll need to set goals, build a strong portfolio, scale your operations and marketing, and establish your company. Focus on those things, and you'll find success.
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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.