We’re living in the era of the “side hustle”, aka part-time freelance work carried out to supplement an individual’s regular income. According to a 2017 Bankrate study, 44 million Americans claim to have a side gig – and unsurprisingly, many of these are Millennials.
The average side-gigger spends around 11 hours a week on their secondary work, and earns $12,609 per year (based on an average of $25 per hour) according to research by The Hustle.
It’s easy to see why part-time home businesses are so popular. They’re often centered around something the person is passionate about and they provide that extra bit of cash for luxuries like holidays or long term investments like buying a house.
Inevitably many side giggers get to the point where they decide to take the leap and transform their work-from-home endeavor into a fully fledged business.
If you’re one of these people, here are a few tips to help you do it.
When is the best time to do it?
Whether you’re running a small graphic design business on the side or brokering real estate, one thing’s for certain: you need to make sure you’re financially ready before taking the plunge. That means having a couple of months’ rent in the bank as a safety net.
Many people decide to ditch their main job to focus on turning their home business into big business once their work starts gaining recognition. If you’re getting more inquiries and clients than you can handle outside of usual work, you know it’s probably time to scale.
Starting out – the basics
Understanding the basics of running the business is important, otherwise it’s at risk of falling apart pretty quickly. First off, think about whether you want to be a sole proprietor or if it’d be better to register your business as an LLC or corporation. Research is key.
Map out what your overheads will be so that you can prepare financially. Price your product or service accordingly, and be careful not to undervalue yourself (this is easy to do in the early days of running a business). Remember to keep track of all income and expenditure.
Be aware of some of the common mistakes new business owners make, including:
- Skipping the planning phase
- Choosing the wrong business type
- Not investing time in online activities, i.e. website
- Failing to research market trends
Growing your business leanly
If you’re operating on a relatively lean budget but need to compete with other businesses in your field, you’ve got to be savvy when it comes to things like marketing and office space. Thanks to technology, this is a lot easier than it used to be.
Once you’ve got your business off the ground, look into the following:
In the early days of your business it’s likely that you’ll juggle everything yourself, which is great because it enables you to learn new skills and have a thorough understanding of your business’s inner workings. However in order to really grow you’ll have to delegate.
Employing permanent staff members certainly has its benefits, but it can be financially and logistically unviable for many startups. Hiring freelancers allows for more flexibility and is a great option if you don’t need someone full-time just yet.
Working from home also has its perks, but having access to an office space will create a better impression on clients and could make you more productive. Yet leasing an office is expensive and risky, especially for businesses who need to be agile.
Unlike a traditional office, a virtual office provides the ultimate flexibility. Memberships are tiered and can include a business address, telephone number, mail handling and forwarding, meeting room access and hot desking options.
Unless you’re marketing-minded, this aspect of the business can feel like a burden – but it needn’t be. There are plenty of easy-to-use online tools that make tasks like social media scheduling and blogging easier for small business owners.
Transforming your side gig into a successful big business is no easy feat; it requires bucketloads of planning, hard work and persistence. But remember, the fact that you’ve managed to establish a home business means you’ve already got a head start!