**This is an updated post**
During the recent COVID-19 lockdown, many of us found ourselves with a lot of free time on our hands. You may have used this time to learn a new skill, start a new project, or double down on your exercise regime. For some, this may have been the perfect time to start planning on launching a small business.
In part, the gig economy has helped many of us realise that it’s possible to turn a side business into a full-time business. Pursuing your passion project as an alternative career can be a hugely rewarding challenge.
Having a side hustle is a great way to make a few extra bucks – whether you’re a freelancer, an affiliate marketer, love doing odd jobs for people, or anything else you’ve got happening on the side.
If what was once a hobby has now become a side hustle, what’s to stop you from now transforming your side hustle into your very own small business?
5 tips for turning your side hustle into a legit business
Really getting your side hustle off the ground means that, for the time being, your social life will have to take a back seat. You’ll be working on your side hustle after work and on weekends (basically any time outside your normal work hours) before you’re ready to make it your full-time job.
While pushing your social life to the side for the time being might be hard, you just need to remind yourself that you’re working towards something you really want to accomplish, and you’re not going to get there if you don’t put in the hours.
Turning your side hustle into a legit business isn’t something that happens overnight. While it’s exciting, and it’s good to feel passionately about something, you also need to slow down and take things step by step.
Starting up your own small business takes lots of careful planning. The last thing you want to do is rush straight into things without a long-term plan and end game. That’s when you’ll start to flounder.
Set goals. Research your competitors. Get to know your target audience. Network. Hash out a marketing strategy. Plan, plan and then plan some more.
You should expect to run at a loss for the first few years, until your business really takes off and you can start turning a profit. It’s really important to plan for your own financial stability and ensure you have enough money in the bank to support you and your business in its first few years.
4. Find what works
Once you find your niche, stick to it. Once you work out a good social media marketing strategy, double down on it. While you will definitely need to experiment in the beginning to discover what works and what doesn’t, once you find that winning formula, make sure that you don’t stray from it. It can be tempting to mix things up. But as the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You’re much better off focusing on the things that do work for you already and sticking to them.
You may also find that if you mix things up too often, whether it’s your product or your strategy, you risk confusing your existing customer base. They’re choosing to use your business (or thinking about it) because you’ve already offered them something that they want. Don’t throw them off by suddenly changing things up.
5. Respond to demand
This goes for products and talent. Don’t hire people or up your production in anticipation of demand. Remember, you’ll be running at a loss for the first few years and you need to prepare for that. Instead, remain flexible and agile, and respond to demand as it happens – at least to begin with. Being responsive and flexible are great skills to have, but you should also balance them with proactivity at the right times. For example, after the first few years that your business has been running, you will be able to read trends and data to know when you can expect an increase in demand. With the help of collected data and analytics you can then anticipate demands. However, you can only do this if you’ve got reliable data, which could take time to collect.
Ready to take the next step?
Are you thinking about turning your side hustle into your very own small business? Then take a look at Open Colleges’ BSB42615 Certificate IV in New Small Business and BSB42415 Certificate IV in Marketing and Communication.
This dual qualification will help you to understand the finer points of running your own business as well as how to reach out to customers and build loyalty.
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