A ‘side-hustle’ is sometimes also known as a passion project that enables entrepreneurs to chase after their dreams and supplement their income while still holding a full-time job. During the COVID-19 related lockdown and in the post-COVID economy, the side-hustle has become increasingly popular for those who struggled during the lockdowns. No matter the reason, more and more entrepreneurs are looking to turn their side-hustle into a full-time business. ACCES has a history of helping newcomer entrepreneurs to be successful in Canada and we’ve put together some tips on how to turn your side-hustle into a full-time business.
Build a Business Plan
Developing a solid business plan will help you with the timing of your transition. Think of your business plan as a map to guide your future. What is your target market? Who are your competitors and what do they do well? What are your sales targets and what type of marketing will you do to get there? Taking the time to answer these questions and to develop a business plan, including an in-depth cost analysis, will help you be realistic about your business prospects and will allow you to set meaningful goals to grow your business.
Build Valuable Relationships
Continue to create professional connections and make sure you value the relationships you’ve made with suppliers, vendors, freelancers and, most importantly, your clients. Part of turning your side-hustle into a full-time business is having the right people in place to help move your business forward. Is there a supplier that understands your challenges? Who helps you with your business processes? Who has been your most effective collaborator? Even if you don’t have the resources to build a full-time team, you can use your connections to assess the viability of your business and how it will grow.
Think Clearly about your Money
Money and cash-flow are significant early obstacles for most businesses. Turning your side-hustle to a full-time business requires you to think clearly about your money. Do you need to borrow money, or can you get funding? Investing in your business should be purposeful. Have a clear plan to cover the basic needs of your business and know what you will need to grow. Do you need to purchase equipment, hire staff, or buy inventory? Prepare a budget for the things you think you need and balance that against the kind of profits you expect to generate. Check out our guide on how to secure funding for your business idea, which will help give start-ups ideas for how to gain access to capital.
Think About Risks and Expect Setbacks
Every business owner assumes a certain amount of risk. Think carefully about the things that could go wrong. What would happen if you failed to provide the service you are offering? What happens if you sell a faulty product? Do you operate out of a physical location that is up to safety and accessibility standards? As an entrepreneur it is important anticipate potential risks and take steps to protect your business. For instance, you can get advice on business insurance and liability coverage.
Also, prepare yourself mentally for some setbacks. How will you handle a ‘down’ month when you don’t make the profit you expected? Every business has ups and downs. Be prepared to deal with setbacks.
Plan the Pivot
Thinking about setbacks also raises the issue of ‘the pivot.’ Successful businesses can diversify their offerings and change course when needed. Be ready with a few ideas on how your business could change to grow and thrive. Can you offer different services or products? Are there untapped markets? Being adaptable and flexible is very valuable skill to have as an entrepreneur.
Do What You Love
Finding your passion and doing what you love is a lesson we should all follow. If you’re looking to turn your side-hustle into a full-time business, you’re probably already prepared to chase your dreams. However, the stress of building a viable business, and overcoming the challenges that will inevitably arise, can obscure the reasons you started your business in the first place. In these moments, get back to basics; focus on the things that motivated you in the very beginning and you’ll find the strength to persevere.
For more advice and information on starting a business, visit the Entrepreneurship page at ACCES