June 6th, 2020 | Updated on December 16th, 2020
So, you’re ready to turn your side hustle into a legitimate business? That’s an exciting decision, however, it’s also one that takes some groundwork to make sure you take off successfully. But don’t let that scare you off from the idea.
With some thoughtful planning and the right support system in place, you can take your side gig from something you do here and there to make extra cash, to your full-time dream job.
Whether you design custom jewelry, make baked goods, or provide digital marketing services (or anything in between), it’s possible to make your goals a reality with these 4 tips in mind.
1. Create A Business Plan
A go-with-the-flow approach may work for a casual side hustle, but if you want to turn it into a legit business, you need to have a plan in place.
A business plan outlines virtually every aspect of your business, from your vision statement, to how you’ll fund the venture.
Business plans are not only valuable in helping you figure out how you’re going to take your business to the next level, they are essential to securing investors.
Some of the key elements of any useful business plan are:
- Business overview
- Competitor analysis
- Marketing plan
- Financial plan
- Hiring plan
While it might seem overwhelming to develop a plan when you’re just getting started, keep in mind that it’s okay (and normal) for your business plan to evolve over time.
Despite the time and effort it will take to create a fully formed business plan, you will be thankful you did as you move through the business formation process.
2. Establish A Team You Can Rely On
For any business owner, having the right team is a critical ingredient in the recipe for success. You can’t do it all yourself, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Having a reliable team behind you will allow you to delegate the workload, have second opinions from others who understand the business, and take the time to focus on business development.
While your team can be your greatest asset, hiring can also be one of your greatest risks. After all, the people who work for you are representative of your company, especially when you’re first getting started with a smaller team.
To help ensure that you choose the right people, it’s important to thoroughly vet anyone you’re considering bringing on.
You might not think you have the resources to devote to screening, but you can use a free online criminal background check to at least confirm that they are who they say they are and don’t have any serious, potentially dangerous convictions in their background.
3. Open A Business Bank Account
One of the most important aspects of turning your side hustle into a business is your financial plan. As a business owner, you’ll be responsible for carefully tracking and reporting your expenses and profits.
The first thing to do to make sure you start off on the right track is open a business bank account. This will allow you to keep your personal and business finances separate and help you keep a realistic view of your company’s financial situation.
Make sure to also keep track of all your transactions with invoices and receipts so you have them on hand for tax season. And don’t toss them once you’ve filed, you may need them in case of an audit.
4. Streamline Processes
Now that you’re operating on a larger scale with more moving parts, it’s important to establish processes and streamline your workflows. Doing this early on will help you work as efficiently as possible, saving you time, money, and valuable resources.
Fortunately, there are plenty of free online tools you can access to help with this – like project management software and marketing calendars, which allow you to automate certain steps, keep track of progress, and collaborate with your team—all in one place.
Once you have all the pieces in place, you’ll be ready to make the leap as an official business owner. Keep in mind that you don’t need to do everything at once.
Instead, gradually work on putting a plan in place to check each of these items off your list and once you feel confident, move forward with diving into your business full time.
It’ll take work to get where you want to be, but it will be worth it in the end when you’re your own boss.