Few people are lucky enough to love their 9-to-5s, and more people are finding themselves doing something else on the side, either to add to their income or feed their passion. Sometimes, those side hustles start to feel more like the real thing, and suddenly, these people are dreaming about running a business of their own. Sound familiar? If you’re one of the thousands of people dreaming about turning your side hustle into a true business, you’re not alone.
Moving away from a steady, full-time position to being on your own is the scariest, yet most invigorating feeling in the world. Being an entrepreneur is a ton of work, but it’s also completely possible. Here are four tips to follow if you want to go pro:
1. Be clear and honest with yourself about when it’s time to make the jump.
Giving up the benefits and security that come with a full-time job is scary, and sometimes unrealistic, but it’s also dangerous to keep waiting until the time feels right. Ask yourself exactly what you need to have before you can make your side gig your new reality. A good rule of thumb is to have enough savings to live for about six months without income and/or with the income you already have from your side clients. You should also have a clear idea of who your potential clients may be and how to connect with them.
After taking care of the logistical considerations, try to avoid dragging your feet. According to the British Psychological Society, you’re 91 percent more likely to accomplish something if you give yourself a deadline. So do it! Hold yourself accountable. Maybe you’re not willing to stay at your current job beyond a certain date, or maybe there’ll be other indicators that will make you certain that it’s time to go. If your current role isn’t fulfilling and the passion is gone, it may be the perfect catalyst for making the jump.
2. Before you quit, put the processes in place to help your side gig scale.
Early on, business organization and strategizing are huge components of success. You’ll need to create as much efficiency and ease as possible in your daily systems. This could mean scheduling things carefully or using free software to make your work more effective. Try not to switch back and forth between different focus areas within the same day. Going back and forth between tasks that aren’t related is inefficient and breaks focus.
Digitizing your work can help, too. According to Accenture, companies that use cloud collaboration tools with their teams improve productivity, have greater clarity about what’s going on in their business, and save money. When you start out, it can feel silly to keep documents in a shareable cloud space (like Google Drive, Dropbox, or whatever option you like best), but you need to have the structures in place so you’re ready for the time you hire a team to support you. This is a good thing to play around with before you quit your main gig. Having the tools and processes you know work well for you ready to go when you make the switch can make ramp-up time easier.
3. Work hard and be humble.
Your time is valuable, but as a new entrepreneur, you can’t treat it like currency. Be prepared to put in lots of hours with minimal returns at first. Initially, your time isn’t money, yet. It’s groundwork. Building a side gig up from the ground up requires wearing a lot of different hats. If you want your business to succeed, you have to be ready to play customer service rep, salesperson, individual contributor, and HR.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, break the work down further. Spend more time working on the day-to-day tasks and checking things off your to-do list. These are all working toward your big vision, but in small doable pieces rather than hefty overwhelming ones. Try not to consider any task beneath you and take some time to truly understand what goes into each part of your business. You won’t have a boss telling you what’s right or wrong, so you’ll need to build a sense of self-accountability—one of the toughest parts of being an entrepreneur. Take notes about the challenges you face in each aspect of your business so you’ll know what anyone you might hire will have to cope with. It’s your best chance to determine what resources might need to go where later.
4. Surround yourself with smart people — even if you never plan to work with them.
As much as entrepreneurship can be a solitary job, especially in the beginning, it’s vital to your success to learn how others can help you thrive. Invest your time in like-minded people. Take time to get to know others and their stories and create valuable relationships. So much of success is built from opportunities or inspiration from people we know. Find people you connect with to talk about your ideas, write about your ideas online, and build a community that empowers you. Take advantage of those around you who want to see you succeed. You’ll be surprised at how much people want to help!
The number of new startups and small businesses has dropped dramatically in recent years, nearing a 40-year low in 2016. The landscape has gotten tougher, which makes being an entrepreneur scarier. Turning a side hustle into the real thing is not easy. But, just as with most other big decisions in life, there are always lessons to be learned no matter what happens. Be thoughtful, take smart risks, and see where your side hustle can go.
Culled from Entrepreneur.com