A side hustle is a great way to make some extra pocket money or pay off debts. But if your side hustle has really taken off, then it might be time to think about making it your full-time job. According to Bankrate, one in three side-hustlers need the income to stay afloat.
You may ask yourself:
- Is this new business able to grow to something more?
- How do I think like a business owner?
- How do I get started?
Research Your Market
Often, a booming market can make a side hustle seem like a better long-term choice than it really is. So, before you quit your day job, take some time to research the market and answer these questions.
- Who are your potential customers? Can your potential market afford your products or services?
- Who are your competitors? How does your company compare to them, and how is it unique?
- What is your growth potential? Will your side hustle have the ability to continue growing once you go full-time?
Start with the Minimum to Test It Out
Before you commit to scaling your side hustle, consider what steps you will need to take to grow. Often, expanding your business from a side hustle may require a considerable cost. A few common things your side business may require include
- A Commercial Space: Whether it is for city regulations, a place for employees to work, a place to store your inventory, or an expanded area to serve more customers, your business may need commercial space to operate.
- New Equipment: Once it becomes your full-time business, it’s quite possible you will need new or improved equipment to keep up with the increased business. It’s important to consider what you need and how much you will need to spend.
- New Employees: One of the most common things you will need if you choose to expand your business is labor. So, if you are going to need to hire someone, you need to plan on the increased cost.
No matter what your side hustle is, it’s important to know what it needs to expand. Whether it’s restoring classic cars and you’ve outgrown your driveway, or you create unique crafts and need more hands to meet demand, it’s important to plan your expansion before it happens.
But before going all out and breaking the bank, hiring new employees, and renting a huge new space, remember that things may not always go as planned. You should always start out small and ensure your side hustle can work out as a full-time business before investing too much into it. A well-thought-out business plan will help ensure your business can meet its expectations and grow with you.
Create a Business Model
Your business model will basically describe how your business is going to make money. There’s a good chance you didn’t take this step back when it was just a side hustle, but now that it’s becoming a full-time business, it’s time.
This tool is incredibly valuable because it will let you experiment and model different ways that your business could structure its costs and revenues and help you be sure it will make enough money.
So, let’s take a look at the minimum details your business model should include.
- Everything it takes to provide your product. Whether your business sells an object or a service, you should include everything it takes to produce it, including design costs, raw materials, processing, and labor.
- The costs of selling your product. This includes all the costs of providing your product to the customer, including marketing, delivery, and processing sales.
- What customers will pay. This will be your income, so what is your pricing strategy? Also, how and when will customers pay you?
Your business model will show you all the costs you will face in providing your product as well as your potential income. All a successful business model needs is to earn more money than it spends, but this should give you an idea of whether that balance will be enough to be worth your time.
This may also give you an opportunity to improve your current business model by helping you identify unnecessary costs. By using spreadsheet software, you can quickly make adjustments to your business model and see how hypothetical changes could affect your future income.
Grow Your Customer List
The biggest part of growing your side hustle into a full-time business is increasing your customer base and, therefore, your income. The best way to start doing this is to look at what you’ve already got.
Your customer list is your most valuable asset, and it is key to growing your business from a side hustle to a full-time job. Because these former customers already know your products and services, they will be much easier to sell to again, and they can be a gold mine of referrals.
This is the reason email marketing is the best marketing tool available to you. For a negligible cost per email, you can make sure your customers remember you, and when they need the service you provide again, you will be the person they think of first.
So, no matter what your side hustle is, building your customer list should be one of your highest priorities. You simply cannot expect to scale your business otherwise.
Market Your Product
Now that we’ve covered the most important part of marketing, let’s talk about some other ways to build your customer base. This is where people just starting their businesses often struggle the most because they think that marketing is only for larger businesses with money to burn.
But, even your side gig can begin to effectively market itself online without needing to spend any money at all. How, you may ask? Organic marketing!
Organic marketing is a strategy to naturally direct traffic to your business over time instead of using paid advertising. This includes any unpaid marketing strategy you can imagine, such as blog posts, guest posting, tweeting, and Facebook.
All of these things also direct users back to—you guessed it—your business. This is one of the best opportunities to show your potential customers what you’re all about, and at the same time, you can learn more about your customers and what they are looking for.
The really good news about this technique is that organic marketing on social media actually has a much higher lead-to-close rate than many paid marketing strategies. This is because your brand has the opportunity to answer questions, respond to feedback, and even just talk about your company.
There are a lot of ways you can use the information you collect from your customers to improve your social media marketing strategy. By learning about your customers, you can adjust your posts on Facebook and Twitter to target criteria such as gender, age, location, and interests. So, if you don’t have a Facebook page or a Twitter account, it’s time to get one and post on social media. Also, consider starting Facebook groups to promote your side hustle by allowing you to reach even more consumers, who in turn could lead to more customers through word of mouth. So you see, your marketing efforts need not be costly. Digital marketing has many options.
Another way to lead your customers back to you is to write a guest post on an industry blog that targets your potential customers. Sometimes these websites will welcome content in return for exposure and a link back to your own social media or website.
Affiliate marketing is another way of attracting customers in which you pay an affiliate to market your product or service. The cost varies. Typically you will pay the affiliate when someone either purchases your product, visits your website, fills out a contact form, or takes some other agreed upon action. This is something you and the affiliate would work out.
Are you a home inspector? Check out this article: “Tips for Marketing Your Home Inspection Business”
Growing your side hustle can be a challenge, and it will require a lot of work to find new customers and make your business plan a reality. This part of the job can be full-time work on its own. So, if becoming your own marketing director wasn’t the job you were looking for, MJI Marketing is here to help. We have the knowledge and tools to help your business take off.