Are you keeping your side-hustle on the side, or is it time you took the next step? According to a 2019 SunTrust survey, nearly 81% of Americans who have a second business want to transition it into their primary source of income. This complex process doesn’t happen overnight, but with research, planning and an entrepreneurial drive, your vision can absolutely become your reality. Do you feel ready to make it happen? Here are five tips you’ll want to keep in mind when elevating your side business:
1. Know your “why.”
A clear vision of your purpose is key to building success. Often, our passions lead us to innovative ideas and new solutions that address industry challenges. For Purusha Rivera, founder of My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear, the choice to elevate her side-hustle was simple: “After 8 years working in the hospital, I chose to work as a private contractor. This decision was made with my own family and obstetrics patients in mind. I wanted to spend more time with my children and have the opportunity to provide high-quality ultrasound experiences to patients. Eventually, my knowledge and aspirations led me to entrepreneurship.”
2. Don’t forget to do your homework.
Long-term success comes at the crossroads of strong industry knowledge and seamless business operations. Take the time to sit down and research industries you’re pursuing, your position against both direct and indirect competitors and how you will differentiate yourself to potential consumers. Hone in on both your personal and business-related finances ahead of time to develop a forecast for how this new venture will impact your income. Build out a comprehensive business plan to support your vision—and if you’re not sure where to start? Don’t be afraid to go to the experts. Finding online or in-person classes can help lay a foundation for your business and connect you to other entrepreneurs who want to do the same.
3. Keep yourself accountable.
When you proactively set deadlines for yourself, you’re 91% more likely to take action and accomplish your goals (British Psychological Society). Those goals should be both realistic and measurable, giving you an opportunity to accurately track your success. Be sure to avoid “glamor metrics,” or data that appears valuable but fails to provide real information—relying on these types of numbers can cause you to make inaccurate assumptions or take the wrong pivot with your business. Ultimately, as you set these objective-driven goals, you’re setting yourself up for ongoing progress. Don’t hesitate to share your game plan with a trusted friend, mentor or colleague to help you stay on track.
4. Build your network.
When you begin to expand a side-hustle, the people you choose to surround yourself with will become an invaluable lifeline. In the modern era, there are multiple ways we can make connections in both the digital and physical space that impact our bottom line. If you’re not ready for in-person networking events or socials, try starting a conversation with peers, colleagues and potential customers through an appropriate social platform. Building a strong network of professionals can provide opportunities to both learn and generate future leads or clientele.
5. Go for it. Fearlessly.
At the end of the day, the best advice we can give is this: just go for it. There will never be the perfect time to start this process, so why not start now? In an interview for Fast Company Magazine, Christine Andrukonis, president and founder of Notion Consulting, shared that “once you have a vision and a thoughtful plan, you must… be confident and make the move. If you think you can shine, then you will.” If you’ve done your research, made decisions based on data and are passionate and ready to work, it’s time to take the first step.