Everyone said you should do it. You have the skills, the patience, and the drive to succeed so you finally took the plunge and got...a houseplant. Oh, and you also started a side hustle. With consistent attention and care, you soon found your plant, and your side hustle, thriving. In fact, your plant did so well that it outgrew its pot. To keep your plant happy and growing, it might help to move it to a larger pot. Like your plant, your side hustle may have outgrown the space you’ve provided for it in your life and could use some more space to grow. It could be time to consider making your side hustle a full-time job. What are some things you should consider as you make this big step for your small business?
Lay the Groundwork
Any gardener will tell you when you’re ready to repot your plant, it’s more than just throwing it into a new pot and hoping for the best. You will want to take some steps to make this transition easy and the same goes for your side hustle. A business requires a lot of moving parts, and there may be roles you haven’t had to worry about up to this point. Take time to think about the different areas of your business you may need to fill out. This might look like tightening up certain processes in your workflow, adding some automation to make tasks more efficient, or keeping better records of inventory and receipts. Getting familiar with these processes and tools is important now so that you’re not scrambling to put them in place once it's time to work.
You may also need to take a hard look at your finances. Will the money your side hustle is making be able to sustain you with any loss of income you may experience if you’re leaving full-time employment? Have you created a separate business checking account for your expenses? Will you need to invest in new hardware or programs? How will this affect your taxes? This may be a little more complicated than you’re used to, so it might be advantageous to hire a professional to keep you on the right track from the start, so you don’t run into trouble down the line.
Give Yourself Structure & Stay Motivated
Part of the appeal of having your own business is freedom from the 9-5 work week.
However, that doesn’t mean you don’t need structure during your day. Without a schedule, you may soon find yourself overwhelmed and frustrated. Give your day some parameters by establishing daily rituals, like having your coffee or lunch at a certain time and taking planned breaks away from your work. No one is going to tell you what to do next, it’s just you, so break out your to-do list and set up a calendar so you can see tasks coming up at a glance.
The good thing about making your own schedule is that you can play around with it and find what works best for you! Do your analytical tasks when you’re the most alert, and your more monotonous tasks when you hit that slump in your day. Test out when attention is at its peak so you can maximize your output. While you’re at it, minimize your distractions. You don’t have to check that notification or that email as soon as it comes in. Doing so breaks up your attention from more important matters and makes you less efficient. Try to designate specific times to follow up on these alerts, you’ll find most of them can wait. Of course, one of the bigger time wasters we have today is social media. Your business needs your focus! If you’re having trouble staying disciplined with your time on social media, it might help to look into apps that limit your screen time on your phone.
Self Promotion & Branding
At its core, your business is you. You’re the boss, you’re the employee, you’re the creative team, and human resources. It can start to feel a little personal, which can make self-promotion feel a little uncomfortable. Remember, you are providing something that people want and need, so don’t sell yourself short by, well, not selling yourself.
Sales is essentially about telling a story to your client that helps them understand the value of your product or service. Give your story credibility by having a cohesive feel to your promotional materials. This might mean investing in photography or a graphic designer. Having those additional markers of professionalism don’t just build confidence in your clients, they can also give you the confidence that your business is a worthwhile investment for others.
Don’t Stay Isolated, Get Support
If you’re coming from an office setting, you’re probably used to having a certain amount of social interaction throughout your day. At first, it may seem like a relief to not have to wade through water cooler chats and small talk, however, you may soon find yourself a little lonely. If your work allows for it, look into co-working spaces where you can get things done with a little more socializing. You may find you’re a little more productive with a change of scenery and the additional mental stimulation.
It’s also important to share the emotional load that your new venture may have added to your life. Your family and friends likely want to support you during this time, but sometimes it may be hard for them to wrap their head around your new commitment. Their well-meaning concerns can add anxiety to your already busy day. Networking groups and business communities, online and in person, can fill that need for connection. Not only do these resources provide answers to tough questions but they can be a place to meet like-minded people who understand what you’re going through. When difficulties arise, those connections may be exactly what you need to stay the course in your business.
Rolling Up Your Sleeves
Social media can make entrepreneurship seem a bit glamorous. From the outside, it looks flexible and fun but, behind the scenes, running your business sometimes means getting your hands dirty. Despite this, as you watch your side hustle grow and bloom into a full-fledged business, you may find the results are well worth the effort.