When I first started up my side hustle, I had no idea if it was going to go anywhere. The only thing I knew? I needed to be doing something to develop my skills outside of my full-time job, and if it could earn me some money on the side too, then that was an extra bonus.
However, a year on and my side hustle is now my full-time job – except, I don’t work in an office anymore, I never work a 9 – 5 work day and I am totally location independent. I loved my side hustle, and I love it even more as my main source of income.
Moving from a side hustling freelance copywriter into a full-time freelancer with multiple clients wasn’t easy, but it certainly wasn’t possible.
Here’s how I did it, and how you could too:
1) Know What You Want
Let’s just be clear: not every side hustle you start has to have the goal of eventually turning into your full-time job one day. For some, the entire reason you love your hustle could be because you do it on the side.
Take blogging – some people use it as a creative outlet to express themselves and make their voices heard. What happens when you start blogging full-time? Well, you’ve just taken away the ‘outlet’ and made your passion into work.
So, first things first: be sure that you want to turn your side hustle into a business. Then, we can get started.
2) Move Slowly
The worst thing you could do is make a few dollars from your side hustle and immediately quit your full-time job to pursue your dream. Sure, it sounds romantic and fun, but in reality, you’re taking a huge risk that in all likelihood won’t pay off before your money runs out.
Move slowly while transitioning between these two careers, until you can more or less support yourself with the income from your side hustle.
Yes, those first few months are going to be pretty stressful juggling what is essentially two full-time jobs, but having that safety net is essential should anything take a sudden downward turn.
3) Network, Network, Network
Some people hate talking about themselves – I’m one of them. Posting on social media does not come naturally to me, but I do it for my businesses. You have to push yourself to get out there and get your name around.
Trying to build up your side hustle under the radar will take a long time – instead, let people know what you’re doing and that you’re in need of some help. The amount of opportunities that can come your way simply from word of mouth and referrals is amazing!
Want to start networking with other entrepreneurs? Join our blogging group on Facebook.
4) Build Your Platforms
To turn your side hustle into a business, you need to start thinking about it like a business. That means focusing on growth, engagement, and followers. If you haven’t set yourself up on a few different social media accounts already, be sure to do that now!
Use the same profile pic and similar descriptions in each to keep some consistency, and don’t be afraid to ask followers from one platform to follow you on another!
When you launch as a full-time business, you want as much hype behind you as possible – so growing your platforms before making the transition is a great way of doing this.
5) Grow Your Client List
When you’re side hustling, having only one or two clients is no big deal because you’re not relying on the income to live.
Of course, all that changes once you take your hustle full-time, so growing your client list now is best.
If you’re only relying on word of mouth at the moment for freelancing, set up accounts on job boards like Upwork, Fiverr, Pro Blogger (and any others that fit your niche) and start applying.
If you’re a blogger or sell products, focus on building ConvertKit and finding ways to diversify your income. Varying where you get your income from is also a great way to provide a little extra security when you make the leap into being self-employed.
6) Take the Leap
Starting your own business is scary, and you’re always going to have a niggling voice in the back of your head telling you to wait a little longer, just in case things aren’t really going as well as they seem.
As long as you’ve taken the steps to grow your side hustle into a business, are making a good income from it and see steady growth, you need to trust your instincts and take the leap. For me, I found that as soon as I made things final, even more, opportunities found their way to me – so sometimes you just need to jump!
This article was written by Yaz is a money and travel blogger over at The Moth Wallet.