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5 Tips To Turn Your Side Hustle Into Your Full-Time Job

Does this sound familiar? You get home from your 9-5, slide off your shoes and settle in at your desk to relax, unwind and … kick your side hustle into full gear.

If that scene rings a bell, you’re not alone, and taking that dream full-time is absolutely possible.

Honestly, so many women are making their side hustles their main source of income that even Forbes agrees:

Our passion projects can turn into long-term gigs if we’re committed to taking them seriously.

But, it can feel scary to take that first step, to leave your steady job, and become your own boss.

So, if you’ve got a passion project that your heart is pulling you to take full time, we’re here to help.

Today we’re sharing five tips that will help you understand how to turn your side hustle into your full-time job and some insight from Babes In Business Long Island’s Founder, Jenn Holgerson who did exactly that!

Let’s get to it!

Tip 1: Start Your Business Off Right

One of the most important things to do as you make moves to turn your side hustle into a full-time job is to set your business up on a solid foundation from the start.

While there are many things to consider when you get started, we’re going to share the key pieces that you really can’t skip.

Know Your New Business “Why” Even If You’re Still Working On The “How”

Chances are that if you’re willing to come home from your full-time job and spend time and energy on something else, you love it.

And that love for what you do is going to be so helpful in carrying you through the ups and downs of your new business.

So, setting yourself and your business up for success really starts with connecting to that feeling, and deciding why you really want to make this happen.

This can even go beyond why you want to start this specific business. You might find that you want

  • More financial freedom

  • More creative time

  • The ability to travel

  • A greater connection to your local community

  • More work-life balance

  • Flexibility in your schedule

Whatever the reasons, getting clear on the “why” can help you determine the “how” when it comes to running your business.

After having my two daughters back to back in 2012 and 2013 I knew I wanted to take my 20+ years of leadership experience and use it in a way where I could still use my skills but have the time and freedom to be with my family.

Network Marketing provided me with not only those things I was searching for but it led me to Babes In Business. When the opportunity was presented to start a location on Long Island I ran with it…

Now three years later with a ton of hard work and commitment, I have far surpassed the income of any “job” and created a full-time business providing this platform to women. In three years of building Babes Long Island, I have far surpassed my network marketing income yearly. I attribute this to truly finding my passion in life. I’m able to take all the aspects of the things I love to do and put them together to create not only the life and business I desired but to do the same for others through our community and events.

  • Jenn Holgerson Owner Babes In Business Long Island

If you want flexibility in your schedule and time to travel, you might set up your business to run differently than if you have a different “why” in mind.

And, if you’re someone who tends to get caught up in the nitty-gritty details of how things get done, don’t worry. You can plan for those too. It just becomes easier to do so once you really dig into how life as a new business owner is going to really work for you.

Give Your Business On A Solid Legal Foundation

While we can’t give legal advice, we definitely suggest you consider the legal and logistical aspects of starting a business from contracts to business formation and even creating a business plan. And getting everything in place for the new business starts with the proper business formation steps.

If reading this makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, never fear. You’re not alone and there are so many resources available (many of them completely free) to help you get started.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a wealth of information, how-to’s, and guidance on how to get things started the right way.

They also offer helpful templates and resources for things like writing a business plan.

You can also reach out to a small business attorney for help with the process, or for guidance and insight on things like policies and contracts. It’s helpful to identify a trusted attorney as you start your business so that you have them as a resource when you need them.

The bottom line here is that, whether you set up an LLC or another type of business for yourself, you will want to follow the steps to legally and legitimately form the business and create contracts, and policies (from privacy policies to return policies if you have products), and procedures in the business to protect yourself in the future.

Get Clear On Your New Business Finances

Another can’t-miss part of starting a new business is getting your finances in order. A small business accountant can help you get clear on the specific steps your business needs to take, but there are some things most businesses do when setting up their finances.

Many small business owners get invoicing and accounting software like Quickbooks when they get started. It can also be helpful to open a business bank account and a business credit card. These steps help to keep your business separate from your personal finances.

You may also want to decide how your new business will take payments, whether you’ll offer discounts, how you’ll manage things like payment plans, and whether you’ll offer refunds.

“Financially, you want to understand what is required to be a LEGIT business. It's easy to collect Venmo payments and feel excited, but really investing in setting up your business properly goes a very long way and is 100% required if you want to turn your side hustle into a full-time business!”

  • Jenn Holgerson Owner Babes In Business Long Island

While things may change, these things tend to become your day-to-day best practices. And, as your business grows, you’ll be happy you clarified them from the outset.

Choose The Timing That’s Right For You

One of the biggest questions we get is about the timing of transitioning your side hustle to your full-time gig.

The answer is that the timing is different for everyone.

Some people feel more comfortable leaving their full-time job when they’re making a certain level of income each month from their side gig.

Others set a “quit day” and work on building their business as the day draws closer.

And others slowly step down from their full-time job, going from full-time to part-time at their 9-5 before making the final transition to their side hustle a reality.

As you decide when and how to make the switch, be sure you feel at least slightly more excited than scared and that you’ve considered (personally and financially) what makes the most sense for you.

Tip 2: Take Time To Find Your Ideal Customers

Once you really understand why you’re taking this business from a passion project to a full-fledged business, it’s time to zero in on who your business will serve.

These people will be your business’ MVPs. So, taking the time to get to know them is absolutely crucial.

Getting to know your target customer inside and out is what really helps you connect with them. This process can also help you to niche your business and focus your marketing efforts too.

Wondering how to find your target customer?

There are so many ways to figure this out including:

  • If you are in a particular industry or your services or products are designed for a specific group of people, you can take time to describe those aspects of the people you’re hoping to attract

  • You can journal about your ideal client, writing directly to them as you explain your business

  • If you’ve had amazing clients or customers already you can list the things about working with them that you loved and the things about them that set them apart from other customers too

  • If you have a social media following for your side hustle already you can use a poll or comment section of a post to ask questions that help you learn more about them

  • If you have a friend, loved one, or acquaintance that you think is a great potential customer you strike up conversations with them to learn more

These ideas should get you started!

“I find my ideal clients everywhere. I am a natural extension of my business. So, whether intentionally on Social media and through email marketing or through natural conversation on the softball field watching my daughter play…. I talk to women about their passions and goals and encourage them to be part of the Babes community.”

  • Jenn Holgerson Owner Babes In Business Long Island

It’s also worth mentioning that who this person is may get clearer or evolve over time. So, do your best with this process and be open to evolving your understanding of your ideal customer as your business grows.

The important thing here is that the people you decide are your ideal clients or customers are well aligned with the products or services your business offers. That way, from the start of your business, you have an idea of what your customers are looking for and how to deliver that for them.

Tip 3 Create Branding And Marketing That’s Just Too Good To Be Ignored

Once you know who your ideal customer is, it’s time to think about how you’re going to attract them and make your products or services too good to ignore.

And that process of attraction starts with solid branding and marketing.

The internet is full of how-tos when it comes to branding and marketing, which can feel pretty overwhelming. But if you’re just getting started, resources like Canva and Creative Market can be great, affordable resources for buying or creating new business branding and marketing assets.

And of course, you can always head to the next Babes In Business Event because chances are you’ll learn something about branding and marketing just by engaging with other business babes there!

While there’s a lot to consider when it comes to head-turning branding and marketing here are some things to think about as you get started:

  • What social platforms do my clients hang out on?

  • How do I want my branding to feel (Sophisticated, relaxed, elevated, educational, fun, funky, and the list goes on…)

  • How will my branding set my business apart from other businesses?

  • What 1-3 colors feel most appealing when it comes to what my business offers and who my clients are

  • Do I want to send emails?

  • Do I want a Google My Business page or other profiles so people can find me online?

  • How do I want to set up my website so people can find it and use it to make purchases?

  • How often will I share on social platforms

  • How will I use marketing to attract my customers?

While it may take some time to really feel your way into the right branding for your business, when it comes to creating a brand experience that can’t be ignored it’s all about how you’ll attract, connect with, and encourage your ideal customers to buy from your business.

“Instagram has truly been the baseline of our marketing. In three years we’ve gotten nearly 9k engaged and involved followers. I use the platform to showcase women in business, highlight our events and show social proof through testimonials and highlighting our events and the participants.”

  • Jenn Holgerson Owner Babes In Business Long Island

If it feels a bit overwhelming, just focus on how you can help your ideal customers find you and know they’ve found you when they do.

Tip 4: Build a community around your company/ brand + network for growth

Even if you’re just getting started, remember: You’re not in this alone. If you have a worry, a question, a struggle; Chances are someone else has been there before too. That’s why creating a community around yourself and your business can be truly transformative for new business owners.

When we find ways to create a community around our brand, our business grows. It grows because people feel connected to the products or services we offer. And they get to know not only the brand but the powerhouse woman behind it.

You’ll definitely find ways to create a community around your business. But if you’d like some ideas to get you started, consider:

  • Identifying what your brand can do to help your customers and sharing that with them

  • Inviting engagement from your audience on social media and beyond.

  • Get insight from past customers and returning ones so you know what they love about your brand and can use that in your marketing and branding efforts moving forward

  • Give your audience and customers ways to share their experiences with your brand (This also gives you loads of content to reshare and repurpose…with permission of course!)

  • Focus on positioning your brand so it speaks to one person. This sounds crazy but if you think of the exact person you’re trying to connect with when you create your branding or marketing, it really helps everything stay on message

And when we find ways to create a community around ourselves we’ll find that we grow right along with our business.

Networking is an awesome way to create a community around yourself and your business. That’s one of the reasons we created our Babes In Business Events: When we as business owners come together we learn from each other, share challenges, and celebrate our wins. This experience of community makes the tough times a bit easier and helps us to really see how far we’ve come.

Plus, if you’ve lived in 9-5 land for most of your life, it can be amazing to finally have some business besties who really get what it takes to create and grow their own business.

Tip 5: Create Plans For Your Business’ Marketing And Financial Growth And A Plan For Taking Care Of Yourself Too!

As we round out our 5 tips, we’ve got to mention game planning because it’s so essential: for your finances, your marketing, and your new life as a business owner!

So, how do you plan for business growth?

Set Goals That Light You Up

This might sound obvious as you read it. But in the age of comparison culture, we can sometimes feel drawn to goals that matter to others more than they matter to us.

No matter what path you decide to go, always stay true to who you are, your core values, and what truly inspires you. It is very easy to get caught up in the “it thing”, outside influences, those who are doing what you do + most often your own insecurities. So follow your true authentic self and it will ALWAYS guide the way.

  • Jenn Holgerson Owner Babes In Business Long Island

So, the first thing we’ve got to mention is that you’ll want to set goals that get you excited. Not only will you be more likely to stick with them when things get tough, but you’ll also be excited to share them with your new network of supportive business owners too!

So whether it’s a particular financial milestone, hiring your first employee, or landing an interview or PR opportunity, when you decide what you want to go after, be sure it’s something you truly want.

Set Goals For Personal Things Like Time Management and Self-Care

While deciding you want a certain number of email list sign-ups or a particular number of sales in your first year can be great goals to set for yourself, it’s important to also consider who you’ll become in this new role as a business owner.

Consider setting up a daily routine or way to manage your time and don’t forget to include self-care practices to keep you feeling motivated and like your best self.

Setting goals in these areas is a great way to acknowledge that you’re a vital part of your business too.

Get Specific And Track Your Progress Regularly

A mistake we see some new business owners make is not getting specific enough when it comes to their goals or not tracking their progress from the start of their business.

Seeing how far you’ve come isn’t just a recipe for encouragement, it’s essential for growing your business. What we pay attention to tends to grow and the same is true when it comes to our business.

Picking trackable goals means we can use real information and data, to inform our business decisions from where to spend money, what services or products to offer, to how and when to show up on social media. (Bonus: When we choose to follow the data, we don’t have to guess as much when making decisions.)

And when we set a day on the calendar (whether it’s every week, month, or quarter) to check in our business finances and other key goals, we’re making the practice of tracking our progress a priority.

That way, we don’t get so busy in the day-to-day that we forget about the bigger picture.

We get to enjoy the journey of creating our business and experience the joy of seeing that business grow and evolve!

Are You Ready To Take Your Side Gig Full Time?

Well, there you have it!

If you’ve been wondering how to turn your side hustle into your full-time job these five tips are sure to help

  1. Set yourself and your business up for success by digging into your why and covering your new business’ financial and legal bases

  2. Get to know your target customer and target audience so you can really connect with them

  3. Create branding and marketing that’s just too good to be ignored

  4. Find ways to create a community around yourself and your brand so you both grow!

  5. Create plans for your business’ marketing and financial growth and a plan for taking care of yourself too!

And If you’re looking for a community to cheer you on, show you the ropes, and have your back through all of this amazing adventure, a great place to start is at our Babes In Business events!

You can find all the ticket information for our upcoming events on our website here.

We host events all along the east coast where you can connect with and learn from other women who are taking their side gigs and passion projects full time!

We can’t wait to see you there!

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