The gig economy has made it easier than ever to generate extra income. Now, more than 16% of Americans are using the gig economy as their primary or secondary source of income and that number is increasing all the time. In fact, many people find that a side hustle proves so popular and lucrative it becomes their primary occupation. If you want to figure out how to transition to a full-time entrepreneur, take a look at these 14 things you need to turn a side hustle into a fully-fledged business:
First and foremost, make sure you have a sufficient amount of time to dedicate to your new business venture. One of the advantages of a side hustle is that it can fit around your existing commitments, but you’ll need to be a little more hands-on when you’re heading up your own company. While you can certainly launch a business and retain your existing job, you will need to adjust your schedule so that you can devote enough time to launching and running your company.
The amount of time it takes to run a business can vary dramatically but don’t underestimate the amount of work involved. By managing your time carefully and planning your business growth in advance, you can ensure that you’ll have enough time to maximize your success.
2. Business Management
When you’re earning money via a side hustle, you typically work alone or via an established agency. In contrast, launching a business means that you’ll be responsible for every aspect of the organization, which means that you’ll need to hone your business management skills. Fortunately, there are ways to access the knowledge you need and enhance your performance as a business manager.
When you enroll on a Master of Business Administration online degree, for example, you can gain an accredited and highly-respected qualification while learning everything you need to know to run a company. From business strategy and financial management to organizational behavior and international business, an MBA can give you the grounding you need to launch a successful commercial venture.
You don’t typically require a lot of funding to start a side hustle but starting a new business can require considerable financing. If you need business premises, for example, you’ll need to ensure you have the funds to pay commercial rents. Additionally, you might need to purchase stock, fund new IT assets, or launch persuasive marketing campaigns that attract customers, and all of these things come at a cost.
One way to minimize the financial burden of launching a business is to work with a partner but, if you want to go it alone, you might prefer to take out a business loan. Alternatively, selling a share of your business to a family member or friend or working with a venture capitalist could be a viable way to access the funding you need.
4. A Brand
Technically, you can launch a business and begin trading in a matter of hours but building a brand and developing a customer base requires a little more finesse. Very few businesses are truly unique when it comes to their purpose but establishing a brand enables you to differentiate your company from its competitors. There are millions of online retailers, for example, but effective branding can ensure that your company becomes a go-to resource when users are searching for related products.
A brand should reflect your company’s values and resonate with your target audience, so bear this in mind when you’re selecting your brand attributes. As branding has such an important impact on your business, it may be worth seeking expert advice to help you develop a brand that can grow with your company as it evolves.
You might not need to hire full-time staff straight away, but there’s a good chance that you’ll need to rely on additional workers at some point or another when you’re running a business. Luckily, the gig economy provides entrepreneurs with easy access to highly skilled workers, so make the most of the chance to access the skills you need without inflating your costs with a large staff.
Hiring professional freelancers or outsourcing specific business functions to established service providers can keep costs relatively low while still giving you access to a whole remit of experts, for example. As you build up a network of trusted B2B service providers and freelancers, you’ll have a reliable group of workers you can rely on to provide the professional support you need.
6. Contingency Plan
Every business should have a contingency plan in place for when things go wrong, so don’t overlook this essential step in protecting your investment. You can’t always predict what will happen or how it might affect your company but having multiple contingency plans in place will ensure you have a strategy to follow if your operations are disrupted for any reason.
Few people could have imagined global lockdowns and enforced closures amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, but the impact on businesses was unprecedented. By considering the external and internal factors that could affect your commercial performance, you can make sure that you have backup plans ready to use at any time.
7. A Website
No matter what type of business you’re going to launch, having a website is essential. A significant proportion of B2C interactions begin online, so even bricks and mortar businesses should maintain an online presence if they want to attract new customers.
The design and functionality of your site will affect how your target audience views your business, so it is worth spending time getting it right. From optimizing site speeds and simplifying site navigation to reflecting your brand via logos, typography, and color, there are numerous aspects to consider when you are creating your own site. Of course, a professional designer and developer can provide the specialist assistance you need when it comes to creating, launching, and maintaining your company’s site.
If your side hustle is performing well and you’ve got more work requests than you can handle, it should be a good indicator that your business will do well too. Nevertheless, launching your own enterprise can be nerve-wracking, particularly if you’ve given up your full-time job or invested your savings in your new startup.
However, no-one will have confidence in your business, products, or services unless you do, so it’s important to combine positivity and optimism with realism and data-driven insights. By boosting your own self-confidence, enhancing your knowledge, and gaining experience, you can ensure that you’ve got what it takes to become a successful business owner.
9. IT Infrastructure
There’s no doubt that every business relies on technology in some capacity, but the nature of your business will determine exactly what you need from your IT infrastructure. Some companies can function optimally with laptops and a wireless router, for example, while others require specialist equipment, on-site servers, and reinforced networks.
As well as considering what type of hardware you’ll need, start thinking about the programs, software, and platforms you’ll be using to run your company. Using SaaS platforms to carry out some business functions can be a savvy way to reduce your workload and cut your costs. With accounting, payroll, project management, and/or CRM software, for example, you can stay on top of business management tasks while streamlining workflows.
10. Customer Base
If you want to start generating revenue, you’ll need to build up your customer base as quickly as possible. However, attracting customers isn’t always easy, particularly if you’re facing a lot of competition from other companies. With any luck, you’ll be able to transition customers from your side hustle to your business, which means you’ll have an active customer base to work with. As your venture expands, however, you’ll need to consistently acquire new customers to maximize growth.
There are numerous customer acquisition strategies to employ, so use these to your advantage when it comes to attracting new clients or consumers. Many first-time business owners make the mistake of assuming a customer base will naturally develop but this isn’t always the case. With a sure-fire customer acquisition strategy in place, however, you can incrementally attract new customers and steadily increase your company’s revenue.
11. Regulatory Awareness
All businesses are required to adhere to certain laws and regulations but may be sector-specific regulation that you need to be aware of too. As a business owner, you’re responsible for ensuring that your company achieves regulatory compliance, so understanding your obligations and responsibilities is essential.
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend weeks poring over legislation or endless regulations to find out how to comply with the relevant guidelines. There are established HR consultancy firms that can help you to achieve regulatory compliance as an employer, for example. Similarly, sector-specific consultancy firms will be able to provide detailed advice regarding the regulatory requirements you’ll need to meet.
12. Work-Life Balance
If you’ve been generating extra income via a side hustle, you’re clearly a motivated and determined individual, which are certainly beneficial attributes to have as a business owner! Entrepreneurs are known for dedicating their lives to their work and it’s not unusual for new business owners to spend a large amount of time getting a company up and running.
However, working too many hours can actually have a negative impact on both your well-being and your company’s performance. If you don’t strike a healthy work-life balance, you could find yourself suffering from symptoms of executive burnout sooner than you think. Furthermore, working too much can have negative consequences for the relationships in your life too.
Set your schedule from the outset and make sure you incorporate spending time with loved ones, taking part in hobbies, and rest and relaxation. By doing so, you can make sure that you’re prioritizing your physical and emotional health as you embark on a new chapter in your life.
13. Industry Knowledge
Whatever type of business you’re launching, you’ll need to have in-depth knowledge about its sector and related industries. We can all imagine starting a business but, if you don’t have sufficient industry experience, you won’t be able to identify potential hazards and pitfalls.
This is why many people choose to start a side hustle or business that allows them to use their existing professional experience. If you’ve worked as a web developer for a decade, for example, you’ll have good knowledge of the industry and be able to use these insights as you launch your own development company. By being proactive and staying up to date with industry developments, you can enhance your knowledge and future-proof your business accordingly.
14. Growth Strategy
Launching a business is a goal in itself, but what comes next? When you’re focused on transforming your side hustle into a fully-fledged business, it might seem presumptuous to start looking further ahead but it’s important to have a growth plan in place, so you know what you’re aiming for.
As your business evolves, you might want to expand into new markets or launch additional products and services, for example. Alternatively, you might want to scale your operations to serve more customers or acquire more funding to open in new locations. There are many viable growth strategiesto consider but creating your own custom growth plans will mean that you know exactly where your business is heading and what you want to achieve.
Are You Ready to Launch a Business?
As you can see, there are many things to consider before launching a new business and many ways you can optimize your chances of success. From enhancing your knowledge with professional qualifications to raising external funding and acquiring new customers, you’ll need to hone your skillset to deliver the best results possible.
By learning more about your market, developing your brand, and trialing your products and services, you can get the insights you need to streamline the launch process but, while research, planning,and hard work critical, remember that running your own company and being your own boss can be a lot of fun too!