Landing a 9-to-5 office job is a rewarding experience until it isn’t. For many employees, a time comes when they realize their salaries don’t do their performance justice. Then, you have the employee who can’t resist the calling of entrepreneurship. For both types of employees, starting a side hustle appears to be the natural course of action to take.
What began as an activity to bridge financial shortfalls or to fulfill a passion has slowly become an enterprise that makes you feel as if you’re working 2 jobs.
From earning just enough to pay for your child’s tuition, the success of your side hustle now affords you the means to plan annual vacations with your family.
The numbers prove that your business idea has grown past the incubation stage and has now arrived at a point in its young business cycle where you need help to manage its burgeoning size and scale.
You’ve arrived at a crossroads where a question needs to be asked and a choice has to be made.
“Do I quit my 9-to-5 job and turn my side hustle into a full-time business?”
Side Hustle To Full-Time Business: 5 Signs To Look Out For
Steve Wozniack was working with Hewlett-Packard while he was building Apple with Steve Jobs.
Pierre Omidyar was holding down a day job with a software development company even after eBay went live.
There would be no iPhone or an eBay to auction off your stuff if Steve Wozniak and Pierre Omidyar didn’t decide to turn their side hustle into a full-time business.
Surely, both Wozniak and Omidyar saw signs that compelled them to take their respective side hustles to the next level and transform them into a full-fledged enterprise.
What are these possible signs that you should look out for?
1. You Earn More From the Side Hustle
“All I need is one client.”
That’s the mantra of every budding entrepreneur who just started a side hustle. You just want a chance to prove yourself but most clients or customers prefer to deal with more experienced businesses.
To land your first gig, your prices have to be lower than the competition to offset the perceived lack of experience. The expectation is that as long as you consistently do a good job, you’ll get more clients and you’ll more than make up for the monetary compromises.
And yes, it will happen that way.
If clients or customers love your products and services, you’ll develop a loyal following that will only grow as word of mouth grows. In time, your side hustle will generate more income for you than your 9-to-5 salary.
2. You’re Rejecting More Work
Your side hustle has grown to a point where you can’t accept more work simply because you don’t have the time.
With a 9-to-5 job and assuming you get 8 hours of sleep every night, you only have 7 hours to allocate for your side hustle, family, yourself, and other obligations.
Sure, you could sacrifice sleep and “me” time to take in more work and earn more money but the quality of deliverables might suffer due to exhaustion and emotional distress.
You see the potential of your side hustle growing and come to a realization that turning this gig into a full-time business might be more fulfilling.
3. You Have Less Time with the Family
One of the pitfalls of starting a side hustle is that it takes away time with the family. Assuming that you put in 2 hours a day on your side hustle, that means with a 9-to-5 job, you’re clocking 10 hours a day for work.
As the side hustle grows in demand, the 2 hours can easily become 4 hours, then 6 hours. You might find yourself putting in 16 to 18-hour workdays.
If you make an accounting on how you manage your hours in a day, where would you debit the additional hours you need to credit for work?
Given these types of situations, quality time with the family becomes a casualty of your success.
This becomes a wake-up call for you; a moment of clarity:
“I started a side hustle to support my family but what’s the point of financial support if I can’t be there for them emotionally?”
4. You’re Getting Bored and Unhappy at Work
“I’d like those reports emailed to me before 5:00 pm today.”
Your first day at work seemed like ages ago. There was nothing you wouldn’t like to do than show your boss you could get the job done quickly and properly. You were happy to be hired and looked forward to payday.
Since you started getting busier with your side hustle, you find yourself bored and unhappy at work. You lack motivation and energy. On some days, it’s as if you don’t even care about deadlines.
Finishing projects, accomplishing targets, and receiving praise from clients and customers makes you happier and more fulfilled.
If the office starts to feel more like a prison than a place of work, it might be time to break free and focus on your side hustle.
5. You’re Getting Recognized
One day, you decided to run a Google search on your name and came across links that refer to you as a “valuable resource person”, “leading expert in the industry”, or a “fast-rising thought leader for the new generation.”
Your inbox is getting more invitations from organizations asking you to give a talk or a seminar to their personnel. You’re getting private messages from influencers and resource people requesting you to connect with them.
Your social media numbers are blowing up. The number of followers increased by 100% and so has the level of engagement.
These signs are proof that you have done a great job building the brand of your side hustle. If you decide to launch your side hustle into a full-time business, you won’t have a problem getting clients or customers.
How To Turn Your Side Hustle Into A Full-Time Business
Did you nod your head approvingly when you read through these telltale signs? It’s not necessary to have these 5 signs present to decide whether you want to turn your side hustle into a full-time business. Just 1 or 2 signs can be enough to validate your decision to switch careers.
Here are a few steps you need to take in order to make this happen:
1. Create a Business Plan
The Business Plan is your business blueprint. It outlines your business goals and objectives, strengths and weaknesses, as well as summarizes key industry data, target demographics, and courses of action to achieve these specific goals.
If you created a business plan for your side hustle, you’ll need to expand on this a bit to include information about scaling operations, funding requirements, and long-term sales projections.
The business plan also plays another important role. It keeps you grounded. Include a section dedicated to your business purpose – the “why” of your business.
Why did you decide to turn your side hustle into a full-time business?
Be honest about your reasons. Write straight from the heart. Do a deep dive into the decision-making process and let your emotions guide your fingers on the keyboard.
When some days feel harder and heavier than others, revisit your “Why” in the business plan. It will be enough to recharge and rejuvenate your spirit and overcome the toughest challenges.
2. Organize Your Finances
The number one reason why small businesses fail is that the entrepreneur lacks money management skills. He doesn’t keep track of where his money is coming and going. He pays the bills regularly but is unaware that it’s becoming more expensive to fund the business.
Here are some tips that can help you organize your business finances:
- Create a Payment System – How do you want to transact with your clients and suppliers? The easiest way is to choose an online payment platform such as PayPal, Skrill, or Amazon Pay.
These are global gateway payment platforms that allow you to send/receive money. Some have built-in features that help you keep track of your finances.
You can review your transaction history, create invoices, and transfer money to your preferred bank accounts.
- Use a Spreadsheet – At the early stages of your business when activity is still manageable, an Excel spreadsheet will be enough to monitor your finances.
You will need to create a spreadsheet that summarizes your monthly recurring expenses to stay on top of due dates. Another important spreadsheet is a Projected Income or Profit/Loss Statement.
The P/L Statement will identify the income you need to generate in order to profit. At the same time, you’ll get a better picture of how to streamline expenses. Lastly, come up with a Cash Flow spreadsheet.
The CF statement helps you plan out when to invoice your clients and when to pay suppliers.
- Conduct a Month-End Review – Five days before the end of the current month, prepare an actual P/L Statement and compare it with your Projected P/L.
You’ll have a solid basis for identifying the pain points of your business and if your revenue targets are realistic or not.
From there, you’ll have a better perspective of how your business is performing and how to prepare the following month’s projections.
3. Formalize Your Business
To play in the big leagues, you have to do what the big boys do.
It’s no longer a thing on the sidelines. This is now your chosen career. Take it out of the sidelines and professionalize your side hustle by formalizing it as a business.
First, register your business with the proper agencies and secure the necessary business licenses and permits. Yes, even if you run your business from home, you still have to legitimize it as an entity that’s allowed by local laws to operate for profit.
Clients will ask you for a copy of your business registration papers to be assured that they are dealing with a legitimate business and not some fly-by-night operation.
Second, set up a website for your business. Having a website is an absolute must for your business because more clients and consumers prefer to search for information and transact online.
Not having a business website can be seen as a red flag. Potential clients might view you as someone without vision or disconnected from technology.
Similarly, clients and customers might perceive you as “cheap” and not fully invested in your business. These red flags will factor in their decisions to patronize your business or not.
Finally, set up business pages on 1 to 2 social media platforms. Social media makes you more accessible to your target audience. These platforms create a bridge between you and your clients or customers. You can communicate with them through engagement or via the platform’s chat feature.
4. Hire the Right People
To scale up your business, you need help. Success isn’t just about hiring the best people. In most cases, it’s about hiring the right people.
A common mistake entrepreneurs make is to focus on the resume or online profile when hiring personnel. The resume only summarizes what the person can do and has done. It doesn’t tell you who he is or give you any assurances of how he will perform on the job.
If you don’t know who the candidate is, you probably wouldn’t check if the information detailed on the resume is true or falsified.
So how will you uncover the “Who”?
- Invite the candidate to an online audio/video job interview. Discuss the resume but open up the discussion by asking about his personal life. Identify 3 actual difficult situations you’ve had at work and ask the candidate how he would deal with each of them.
- Ask for 3 character references and contact them immediately after the interview.
- Check his social media profiles. Read his posts. What topics does he frequently post about? How does he articulate his ideas? How does he engage with his audience?
- Run a Google search on the candidate. You might be surprised what turns up in the search results!
Here’s a very important tip: Don’t hire the first applicant who responds to your job ad. Try to create a talent pool of 3 to 5 candidates. It’s not that the first applicant is the worst of the lot but you might miss out on a candidate who’s a better fit for your business.
Once you’ve hired the personnel for your team, establish the chain of communication, create the communication system, and assign a business email to each one of them.
A question we’re commonly asked is: “Should we outsource?”
And our answer is: “Absolutely!”
We will discuss the pros and cons of outsourcing for your business in a future article.
5. Plan Out Your Day
As a full-time entrepreneur, you’ll have more mornings where you can sit back, enjoy the view from your porch, and savor the coffee.
Once the caffeine has settled in, you have to be ready to seize the day. To stay productive you need to plan out the day’s activities.
- Plan your day the night before to reduce guesswork.
- Choose no more than 3 key tasks to accomplish.
- Dedicate 90 minutes to 120 minutes per task. Follow it up with a 30-minute break.
- Remove all distractions. Ask callers to leave their messages on your phone. If you work from home, tell your housemates to respect your work hours.
- If your teammates work remotely, make it a point to touch base with them at least once during the day.
Regardless of how your day went, don’t forget to have time for your family and for yourself.
Pencil in time to get at least 30 minutes of exercise 4 to 5 days a week. Get your family involved so you can have quality time together. Having family around is a great way to manage the stresses of running a full-time business.
The performance metrics of your business – the financials and the online analytics – show the transition to be a viable one. Now, what does your gut tell you?
What separates doers from dreamers is they rely on their gut – an intuition – to guide them in decision-making. Sometimes there’s a nagging itch that you need to scratch – the itch to become a full-time entrepreneur.
If the numbers look good and you feel good about your side hustle, take that leap of faith and turn it into a full-time business.
Whether your side hustle succeeds as a full-time business is not the point. The important thing is to try. The first few months, even years, can be difficult because growth is a journey of learning experiences.
But as you learn, you grow.
To get you on the right track, set up a website for your business. Give us a call or drop us an email so we can get you started. We’ll build a website for you that ticks off all the boxes – mobile-responsive, fast, and optimized for search.
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