As soon as your day job ends, it’s time for your passion project.
Side hustles have moved from being fun projects to a major source of income for many during Covid-19 and stay-at-home orders. So while your freelance gig, Etsy craft store or personal blog may bring in some extra cash flow, it doesn’t have to stop there. A recent survey revealed that 54% of respondents planned on starting a “side hustle” due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with some seeing success they never thought possible within their nine-to-five jobs.
One-off-job-related sites such as Upwork have seen a 50% increase in registration volume across many categories, including technology-related jobs, according to data from the end of March and April.
If you’re a graphic designer, blogger, social media manager, or even dog walker, multiple projects can easily turn into long-term gigs if you start to take your side hustle seriously. Here are three things you should be doing right now if you want to turn that side gig into a full fledged future:
1. Have a team in mind. Although it can be difficult to share your ideas with others, there’s nothing better than finding a team to handle workflows, collaborate on ideas, suggest improvements and share your passion with. The sooner you can focus your attention on what you do best, and leave the mundane tasks to someone else, the more enjoyable your job will become.
You might be thinking, a side gig can’t support a full time staff, and that is where hiring contractors or virtual assistance comes into play. The hours during the day are limited while you build your side hustle, and thus you should spend them focusing on the most difficult or demanding aspects of the business. Consider offloading what you can to a virtual assistant or support agency such as:
- Taskseveryday: You can hire support for $6.89/hour every day to complete tasks such as send emails, update your calendar, conduct market research and compile data.
- IVAA: A non-profit that connects you with virtual assistance from all over the world for various needs and tasks at pay grades that meet your unique needs.
- Upwork and Fiverr: Hire contractors for one off or recurring jobs that you need along the way, such as building a website or doing audio engineering on your weekly podcast episodes.
There are different compensation rates for job markets around the world, so be sure you’re fairly paying the people who work for you abroad, and also saving money for your business that would otherwise be spent on expensive local talent doing the same job.
A SMARP survey found that companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable and show 41% lower absenteeism. That’s why when you pick your team, you also have to be sure to compensate them correctly. While your hustle grows, keep in mind what you want your first full time hire to be and make time to do research on what compensation is competitive and appropriate for their role with you. Leverage websites such as glassdoor.com or salary.com for an honest understanding of what to pay a new hire. This way, you know ahead of time what financial goals you need to meet in order to make the hire worthwhile for the business.
2. No more half-measures. If money has been the main obstacle in your way, seriously consider taking out a small business loan to start your company on the right financial foot. Cover your basics, and even pay your employees (if you have them) at a level that incentivizes them to grind it out with you in the beginning.
There are also loads of places you can apply for a loan online, but the important information to know is what can hold you back from getting approved, since each of these will trigger hard credit checks, and too many hard credit checks can lower your overall credit score. The main factor to focus on before you apply, according to Business News Daily, is to get your credit score up over 700. Many banks offer free credit score checks to their customers on their apps, and you can also visit sites such as FreeCreditReport.com to obtain your score at no cost.
Don’t get a business loan simply for the sake of having cash in the bank, go in with a plan in place around what specifically you plan to do with the money and how to get a return on your loan interest rate as quickly as possible. Do you need to purchase equipment, hire a staff member, order raw materials? Budget what money you need, and what you plan to do with it. And if all else fails and you need some help repaying your loan, look into a company like SoFi, who helps you get your money right.
3. Don’t spend too quickly. If you’ve done your due diligence, created a marketing strategy, built a solid team and have adequate capital, the other major factor you need to consider is how much you spend.
It is easy to get lost when your new business is doing well, but given that only 50% of businesses make it their five-year mark, it’s extremely important to stay on top of your numbers.
According to Entrepreneur.com, four of the 10 main reasons businesses don’t make it have to do with money management, including:
- Failure to create effective sales funnels- this means you must make sure a customer experience funnel is working for your sales before you move onto creating another funnel.
- Inability to control expenses- really ask yourself if it’s going to add value when you take on an expense.
- Inability to compete against market leaders- remember to stay unique in the market.
- Failure to optimize conversions- data is everything. A great business owner is a great data analyst, honestly.
If you’re not good at keeping track of your finances, it’s imperative that you find a financial advisor to help you on your journey.
If you’ve been grinding on your side hustle and have your eye on turning it into a full-fledged business, you have already done some of the most valuable prep work, which is understanding your market. It’s time to take the intimate knowledge that you’ve been gathering over the months and years and turn your side hustle into a career that will not only fulfill your financial needs and career desires, but will also contribute to the improvement of others.