We spend a lot of time talking about side hustles in the modern economy. But for many would-be entrepreneurs, there isn’t enough discussion about how to turn one into a fully fledged, operational business.
Recent figures released by LinkedIn show the number of people who are freelancing while holding down a full-time job has doubled in the past five years. Some do it to create a second line of income. Some have dreams of turning their side hustle into a full time business. In fact, according to a poll taken by Invoice2go, nearly half of all people running a business on the side plan to transition their independent work from part time to full time in the near future.
But how do you make the leap? The typical advice you hear is to make sure you have a business plan, know how you’ll cover your costs until you start making money, and have enough savings to carry you through. That’s all good. But there’s more to it than that. Instead, to really make the most of their new livelihood, would-be full-time entrepreneurs need to understand three key concepts.
Time is your most precious resource and liability
When you turn your side hustle into your main job, there is a tendency to relax a little because you feel as though you have all the time in the world to manage everything.
Remember that you don’t have the luxury of an outside source of income. It’s all you now, so you’ve got to stay hungry. Bottle that sense of urgency you had as a part-timer, and use it for fuel as a full-timer. The reason that your side job was successful enough to transition to full-time work was probably because of the sheer amount of concentrated effort that you squeezed into it. You want to be working hard, every work day of the week. That doesn’t mean you should work 18 hour days. But it does mean that you should operate as though the clock is working against you.
Like it or Not, You’re in Sales Now
One of the disadvantages of working on a side job is that you have to cram all your regular business activity into hours in which most people aren’t working. This probably means that you didn’t have as much time to find new clients as you would have liked.
Not anymore. Full-time business means focusing on sales in a way that you’ve never had to before. New clients and consistent cash flow are key to keeping your business running long-term. Get more proactive about generating sales than you’ve ever been, and that means creating prospect lists, identifying potential customers, and organising face-to-face time. Don’t forget to spend some time cultivating your existing clients and getting feedback. Word of mouth referrals is a proven way to drive valuable sales.
Learn to delegate
Now that you have the time, you’re going to start thinking you can dedicate more of it to the admin work you’ve been putting off. Maybe think twice about that. You might already be using a bookkeeping system, or a digital invoicing tool to make things easier. But have you considered delegating other time-consuming tasks to someone else, like arranging meetings, or writing blog posts?
If you’re following the two previous principles, then you should constantly be closing deals and follow up on new ones. You might not have as much time as you would like to dedicate to the mundane, yet important, admin tasks, so it’s worth exploring options to make your life easier.
Taking your side business to a more professional level isn’t just about giving yourself more time. It’s about using that time in the right ways, and being more than just your blood, sweat and tears.
You need to change your mindset. Don’t think of your move as graduating from your hobby. Instead, capture the excitement, tenacity and passion that made your side job successful – and then make sure you extend that excitement through every hour, of every working day.