When to make your moonlighting gig your full-time job
Many of today’s most successful business owners started with a side hustle. They needed to supplement the income from their nine-to-five grind, and, gradually, they developed the requisite skills to launch a company. Little by little, they realized the dream of being in business for themselves.
Unfortunately, the transition from employee to self-employed isn’t straightforward. Those who want to switch from their side hustle to something more significant have obstacles to overcome and challenges to face. With a full-time job, the pressure of bills and time constraints, it’s common to feel trapped.
More than this, the “gig economy” helps create a reality where a side hustle is nothing more than a way to earn extra income. People who would otherwise pursue their passion decide against it, confined by the expectations of those around them. Their side hustle is just that — something to do on the side.
Even so, aspiring entrepreneurs have strategies that can improve their chances of success. When they learn to identify opportunities, they can capitalize on them and achieve their aspirations. Ask yourselves the questions below to find out if your side hustle is something that has the opportunity to grow.
Does the Timing Feel Right?
A business is no small investment. It takes commitment, perseverance and willpower, and even then, an entrepreneur’s plans might not pan out. Because of that intimidating thought, some people hesitate, prolonging the decision to quit their job and spend their time and money on their pet project.
In truth, timing is a critical aspect of starting a business. If the aspiring entrepreneur leaves their position too early, they could run out of resources and have to rearrange their plans. If that same entrepreneur stays with their company too long, their hesitation might stop them from making that leap at all.
It’s advisable to set a timeframe for the side hustle. Entrepreneurs should ask themselves, “How long will it take for me to know if my concept is sustainable and valuable in the market? What’s an exit strategy that will allow me to leave my job without risking my comfort and current living situation?”
Is There Passion Behind the Project?
As mentioned earlier, entrepreneurs need to commit themselves to their side hustle and persevere if they want to see success. Of the 37 percent of Americans who work a side hustle, only a select few of them will have the special mix of determination and opportunity necessary to see a project grow into a full-fledged business opportunity.
If an aspiring entrepreneur is ready to treat their side hustle like a business and not a hobby, they should pursue their ambitions. Then again, it isn’t as straightforward as deciding to make a sudden change. It is not a yes-or-no question, but a combination of different factors.
Among these factors — work, time, money, etc. — entrepreneurs need to address their passion for the project. It’s passion that propels someone with a side hustle to self-employment as a business owner. When things go wrong, and the stress starts to build, drive and ambition will keep an entrepreneur from giving up.
Does the Business Model Need Improvement?
An aspiring entrepreneur should use their side hustle as an opportunity to explore and experiment. As they build their business model, they can make adjustments and changes based on the results of their actions. It’s an effective method of compiling data on consumer/client retention.
Once the entrepreneur validates their business model, they’ll feel far more comfortable taking the next step. It reduces the risk involved in the investment, basing decisions on information instead of intuition. A data-driven approach is always preferable to guesswork, even if it takes more time and effort.
During the long hours and late nights when entrepreneurs are engaging in a side hustle, they should take careful notes. What receives a positive response from customers, and what elicits a negative reaction? This valuable information will serve as the foundation for their future decisions.
What’s the Unique Selling Proposition?
Most entrepreneurs are entering a market with other established businesses. Unless they provide an entirely original product or service, they should expect competition. Beyond this, they should determine which feature of their product or service differentiates them from that competition.
The unique selling proposition — or USP — will separate the entrepreneur’s product or service from other offerings and distinguish their business. Without a USP, they’ll struggle to make progress, just another company in an ocean of similar companies. With a strong USP, they’ll rise above their competitors and excel.
Of course, it’s crucial to acknowledge certain side hustles have little to no potential for growth, and that’s okay too. An aspiring entrepreneur who drives for Uber or Lyft won’t have much room to expand. In much the same way, those who sell arts and crafts on sites like Etsy will have considerable difficulty attempting to scale handmade products.
Striking Out on Your Own
Whether a nine-to-five worker wants to supplement their income, enjoy a more fulfilling position or dominate their market, they can transition to becoming a full-time business owner. It’s not an easy path, but asking yourself a few questions can help you determine whether your side hustle has the chance to become a business venture of its own.
Written by: Holly Welles
Holly Welles is a real estate writer who covers the latest market trends in everything from residential to commercial spaces. She is the editor behind her own blog, The Estate Update, and curates more advice on Twitter.