The excitement of starting a side hustle/business also comes with a ton of emotions that are centered around uncertainty, fear of failing, enthusiasm for a new path, and much more. For anyone that wants to start a side hustle, make sure you check out my three part series:
- Want to Start and Build a Six-Figure Side Hustle? Do This. (Part One)
- Want to Start and Build a Six-Figure Side Hustle? Do This. (Part Two)
- Want to Start and Build a Six-Figure Side Hustle? Do This. (Part Three)
The majority of people who push to start a side hustle are looking to earn additional income and the thing that I love about this is that it is also less risky because you really don’t need to quit your full-time gig. You just need to figure out a good balance between both as I mention in my blog about building a six figure side hustle:
Like quality, success is a habit, not an act. For your side hustle, that means staying committed and setting goals and expectations. Most side-projects do not experience overnight success, so be realistic about what you hope to accomplish. It’s great to dream big and plan for the future, but don’t lose sight of the moment. Create a plan. Put your head down. And start hustling.
More specifically, there are major differences between an actual side hustle vs. just a hobby. If you treat your side hustle like you do a hobby, you won’t see much growth. However, if you are serious about turning your side hustle into a full-time gig, your approach will need to be focused on scaling alongside the actual demand in the market.
In today’s blog, I’ll highlight seven questions to ask yourself before making the leap to running your side hustle as a full-time gig, so let’s dive in.
1. What is your vision?
Starting with the bigger picture is always a great way to look at what it is you are wanting to do. Without a clear vision in place, you’ll likely feel lost when it comes to getting focused on specific goals that align so you can go from side hustle to full-time gig in a certain period of time.
2. How important is accountability to you?
I love talking about accountability because it’s the one thing that has led me to starting my side hustle and then turning it into a full-time gig. The key to success really boils down to taking on the responsibility that you are accountable for the results you want to yield. This means you don’t try to blame other people for things not going your way. Instead, you look for opportunities and you build your own doors.
When you are accountable for the things that you’re able to execute, your perspective on what you’re willing to do to ensure that you can scale your side hustle will go from a vision to a reality. This means that you’re already halfway there such that you know it comes down to YOU to take action. In other words, you own your actions
3. Are you self-aware?
In the same vein as you should hold yourself accountable, self-awareness is going to be a huge win especially when it comes to owning your weaknesses, elevating your strengths, and really understanding where you might need to delegate in order to grow your side hustle.
For me, self-awareness is more than just knowing your strengths and weaknesses. It also means being realistic about what is achievable given your circumstances. My whole mantra is to live big and dream big, but the connotation behind that isn’t to be ruthlessly reckless with your decision-making and risk-taking.
It’s more about being methodical. You know what you’re capable of. What you are willing to make time for and what you aren’t.
In entrepreneurship, it’s important to be able to look inward and understand the following:
- How do you come across to other people?
- How do the decisions you make align with your morals and values? Do they elevate you to becoming a better version of yourself?
- Are you able to be flexible with your decisions? In business, it’s common to have to pivot when things aren’t working well.
4. What are the top goals you want to achieve?
Whether it is to check off something on your to-do list or to celebrate small wins that build up to something bigger, being laser focused on what it is you are trying to achieve is critical to your overall success as well.
Your top goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and have a timeline. In other words, I’m big fan of setting up S.M.A.R.T. goals. Here’s an example I pulled from a previous blog post:
- Specific: What exactly do you want to achieve? Hint: “make more money” isn’t specific enough. Do you want to find more clients? Increase your profit margins? Gain more visitors to your website? Pick something specific that you can focus on that will, in time, make you more money.
- Measurable: You need to be able to determine if you have achieved your goal, and you can’t do that without having a way to measure it. “Increase brand awareness” might be a great goal, but is it measurable? If you want to increase brand awareness, perhaps your measurable goal could be website traffic or social media engagement. Be creative to find a concrete way to make sure you are on the right track.
- Attainable: Be realistic about what can actually be accomplished. We want to dream big, but making goals that are unattainable will only leave you frustrated and discouraged. Pick goals that can reasonably be done in the amount of time you have allotted (more on that later).
- Relevant: Don’t make a goal just to have one. In building your side hustle, you undoubtedly have many goals for its future. But what kind of goal should you be focusing on right now? Perhaps in the beginning you should spend more time prospecting for new clients instead of focusing on your logo. Everything is important when it comes to your business, but everything doesn’t need to be important right now. Make sure that your goals are relevant to what your side hustle currently needs.
- Time-Based: Set a deadline to determine when your goal should be achieved. If it is an open-ended goal with no deadline, you will never have a chance to see if or when you achieved it. Additionally, having a deadline can help motivate you to get things done in a timely manner.
5. Why do you want to run your own business?
You can certainly have “making more money” as one of the objectives for why you want to grow your side hustle into a full-time gig. However, know that you need a larger purpose than just making money because in the longer run, money isn’t going to sustain your overall level of happiness.
I’ve provided this example before but I recall prior to running my business full-time, I was climbing my way up the corporate ladder going from making $55K a year to $175K. Truth be told, the more money I made, I noticed how unfulfilled and unhappy I became too. The reason for this was because even though I was doing something I enjoyed, it wasn’t tied to a larger purpose than just making money.
Tie your vision and the goals you want to achieve to something bigger than something transactional. It has to be value-driven where you can help others too. In other words, push to be impactful and build something off of that impact. From there, making money just becomes the perk.
6. How do you plan to make money?
Figuring how you will scale financially is key to turning your side hustle into a full-time gig. This means you have a financial model that is there and aligned with your executional roadmap.
As I mentioned above, when many people start their side hustle, they have one financial goal: make more money. Initially, you need to plan out financial goals for your side hustle that are realistic and attainable, while also pushing you to consistently improve.
In order to make financial goals, you need to know where you are starting financially. So start with collecting data such as:
- What is the overhead of your side hustle?
- Do you need to rent out space or are you working out of your home? What is the cost of your domain hosting service? BlueHost starts at $3.95 a month while Kinsta starts at $30/month — so the cost can vary based on what features you are looking for.
- Do you need to hire freelancers to get your side hustle off the ground? You can head over to Fiverr or FlexJobs to compare the cost of hiring freelancers for everything from content writing to bookkeeping services to SEO experts.
7. What value do you bring?
Back to accountability and self-awareness, you absolutely need to know the value you bring to the table. Why are people going to be influenced or interested in buying from you? Seriously, this is so important to know because if you’re blindly just trying to push content that is trying to get people to buy from you without any value behind that, you won’t be able to grow your side hustle.
Rather than pushing to be salesy, position yourself and the content you publish to resonate with your target audience. Understand the issues and challenges they are facing and provide tangible solutions to that. Personally, when I started blogging I knew that marketing and entrepreneurship were the topics I wanted to write about… mainly because I’m experienced in both areas and I knew I could provide value.
Know that there isn’t a single road to successfully growing your side hustle into a full-time business; however, there are specific approaches you can adopt to ensure you get started on the right foot.
Don’t rush the process. In fact, you should enjoy the process. This is where the growing pains take place but they will also provide leverage for explosive growth down the road too.
Always know your why, have your vision, bring tremendous value and execute more than anything.