Makeba White-Chanay is the CEO of B1 Ventures & Holdings which specializes in elderly and disabled care.
While the pandemic has made life difficult in so many ways, it’s also opened a window of unique business opportunities. Factors like unreliable jobs, extra lockdown hours and low-income resources are accelerating people toward a business mindset. This has contributed to the ever-increasing rate of side hustles; 44% of Americans have at least one side job.
For many, side gigs start out as passion projects that allow them to tap into their creative side and develop new skills while earning a few extra bucks. But then the hustle evolves, leading these part-time entrepreneurs to consider the move to full-time. Transitioning from a steady 9-to-5 job to being in business for yourself can be tricky, even scary. But it’s also invigorating, and knowing the right tactics on when and how to make the jump can help alleviate any anxiety you might feel about turning a side hustle into the real deal.
Be clear on when to make the transition.
Moving from a day job to a full-time business isn’t a simple decision that can be made in one day. The benefits and security that come with a day job aren’t always easy to give up. However, waiting for the “right time” to transition could mean waiting forever. So, it’s important to set a personal deadline for making your decision and then hold yourself accountable.
Consider these factors to determine if you’re ready to move into business for yourself.
• Are you more passionate about your side job than your day job? If your current job is no longer fulfilling, it might be time to take the leap.
• Is the revenue from your side hustle consistently outearning your day job? This is a significant turning point, especially if your side income can cover costs like health insurance.
• Do you have enough money put away to make it through the transition comfortably? A good rule of thumb is to have enough savings to live for at least six months without any source of income.
Know how to scale your business.
When you’re starting out with your full-time business, you’ll have to work not only hard but also smart. Many people think they’ll get double returns if they work twice as much on their business. Yes, time is one accelerating factor, but business organization and strategizing are equally important.
Put all your efforts into creating as much efficiency and ease as possible so you’re fully prepared when demand for your product or service increases. Outline your current work procedures, then put systems and processes in place to streamline. Automating different processes and digitizing work can be a useful strategy, especially because there are tons of automated tools available for marketing, social media and accounting. Getting a virtual assistant might be of great help as well.
Create a robust cash flow.
Now that you’re ready to work your side hustle full time, raising money and keeping track of it may be your biggest impending challenge. Cash flow is one of the major areas of concern for business owners, and for those who’ve just started out, financial uncertainty can feel incredibly stressful.
Beyond having your emergency funds in place, the best way to have a smooth transition from your day job salary to your own income is to create a cash flow forecast for both personal and business expenses. This will help you plan out how much money you expect to receive and spend over a certain period of time. Cash flows are helpful in analyzing your financial cycle, allowing you to see what costs you have received and incurred at different points of the year.
Financial difficulties are the hardest to overcome, so it’s best to stay one or two steps ahead and keep your cash flows updated all the time. While transitioning to a full-time business, be sure to take all potential expenses into account—for example, technology needs, potential office space or any hiring you might do—and take the next steps accordingly. You might also seek financing to keep up with all the necessary expenses you can’t afford with your savings alone.
Build a strong business network.
As an establishing entrepreneur, you’ll need a solid base of customers, as well as support from business experts, to ensure a successful outcome. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through networking. Navigating the vast business realm requires strong professional relationships with happy customers and other business owners, as they can be a good source of referrals.
Although entrepreneurship is a solitary job, a strong network can support you and help you thrive. Networking can also be beneficial if you’re looking for a business partner who can bring new skills, expertise and capital to the business. You’ll probably have no issue finding such an individual if you have a strong network within your business industry.
A smooth and successful transition from part-time side hustle to a successful small business starts with some basics. You’ll need to work hard and smart, set goals and develop strong business operations to establish your company as a full-time enterprise. It won’t be easy, but in the end, it’s all worth the effort.