Turning your passion project into a full-time gig isn’t easy. Like all career shifts, it requires us to pivot into a new role. Perhaps you’re formerly a student turned entrepreneur, or you’re leaving your corporate position to become your own boss. Either way, moving from the role of a side hustle into a full-time business owner requires some significant shifts and trust in yourself. Making this transition means giving yourself a long runway for opportunity, growth, and even failure. We must be sure we’re giving ourselves the space to succeed and fail. When you’re a first-time entrepreneur, you’re bound to face both. To set yourself up (comfortably) for failure and success, you need to have the infrastructure in place that gives you some wiggle room.
The biggest challenge we face as entrepreneurs is the fear of failing before we even get the opportunity to succeed. And while it isn’t always a feasible option for everyone to have a nest egg to fall back on, that doesn’t mean you can’t have the support system and team set in place to help you succeed. You need to check three boxes to turn your side hustle into a [successful] full-time business. One, a team to back you and catch you when you fall. Two, an actionable game plan that sets you up for progress rather than immediate success. And three, the ability to pivot where your business requires.
Three Boxes to Check When Turning Your Side Hustle Into a Full-Time Business
One | Have a Team in Place
Becoming an entrepreneur can be wildly confusing and very stressful. The team you build is subjective to you, what you can afford, and the people you need to support you. In some cases, building a team means having people around that support you. It’s essential to have friends and family around you that believe in you and can help. And if you have the means to do so, building a team can also mean investing your money into the people that can help you clarify a lot of your confusion. Regarding legality, hiring a business attorney and contract writer can be incredibly beneficial. You want to ensure you’re protecting yourself and your business. Things like making sure you’re legally operating, you understand how to file taxes, and protecting yourself through proper client contracts or product ownership.
Another wise investment to make in the beginning is in a business coach. As you’re transitioning into a full-time business, there are so many questions that can go unanswered. We do our best with our friend Google, but even then, we’re offered an abundance of answers that usually further overwhelms us rather than help us. A business coach can help you make smart decisions and remain well-informed without all the grey area research can provide. By skipping that middle step, we’re making the decisions that need to be made without the anxiety of an overabundance of information.
Two | Have A Game Plan that values progress over immediate success
While it would be amazing to launch your business and rocket from 0 to 100 overnight, the reality of entrepreneurship is that, for many of us, it takes a lot of time. It took me over a year to make any money from my business and almost another full year before I started making a liveable and sustainable income. But this is where my advice may differ from a column you may read on Forbes or Entrepreneur.com; I don’t want to plant a seed that makes you believe you can’t have immediate success. What I’d like to stress is more about planning for your future self. When we value progress over immediate gratification, we set ourselves up for long-term, sustainable success.
We don’t want 10 seconds of fame or one wildly successful launch that never happens again. Being a successful entrepreneur means failing, learning, and trying again. As silly as it sounds, having a game plan that accounts for failure (in my mind) means we’re setting ourselves up for greater success in the long run. By valuing progress over immediate success, you’re creating a space for yourself that permits growth. You want to put yourself in the position to test that product a hundred times. Or you want to perfect that coaching acumen for free before your charge. Successful entrepreneurship isn’t just measured in numbers. It’s about failing, learning, and trying again with a slightly different and improved method in mind.
Three | Always be willing to Pivot
This was probably the mindset I struggled with the most. When I come up with an idea or a product, I tend to think my first idea is the best. I’m not as malleable to suggestions, and I often take them as an insult. One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn as an entrepreneur is being open to consistent change. The world around us is constantly changing, and we have to be available to adjust to the times. I’m always scared to hop on a new trend or adapt to what works better. I get set in my ways, and my lack of pivoting in the past has undoubtedly set me back in my success. Being an entrepreneur means taking leaps and constantly being open to adjustment.
Having the ability to pivot, or even being open to it, is a superpower for entrepreneurs. It means you’re willing to take criticism or simply adjust to the times to get your unique idea out there. When we’re steadfast in a product or an offering, we’re closing ourselves off from progress. This was an issue I faced for a long time because I was ultimately insecure about what I was offering. But now, over two and half years into my business, I’ve learned that pivoting means growth. And as I previously stated, growth happens over time, not immediately. Turning your side hustle into a full-time business isn’t just checking these three little boxes. Yes, they’re a part of it, but most of all, it’s about believing in yourself to reach the success you’re worthy of.
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