A side hustle is really just a small, part-time business you’re hoping to turn into a full-fledged business. Whether you’re flipping houses, freelance writing, or selling handmade jewelry, it’s possible to turn your side hustle into your main hustle with the right planning and dedication. Sure, it takes hard work to succeed, but when you’re working on your business after a 9 to 5 and on the weekends, it also takes efficiency (more on that soon).
Generally, it’s a good time to be a small business in the U.S. Not only are more small businesses continuing to pop up (there are currently 30 million entrepreneurs in America and 37% expect growth), but small business employment is also rising, with two out of three people working for a small business. Getting credit and funding is more accessible than in the past and the Internet has made it possible for anyone to create a website, market themselves, and find an online network.
Everything you need to succeed is available to you. So how do you shift from hobbyist to professional? In this post, we’re sharing a few practical and actionable ways to grow your side hustle.
1. Find your niche
The main selling point of almost any business revolves around a unique offering. What does your hustle do that your competitors don’t? Do you provide a better solution to a common pain point? Do you make something easy that’s usual arduous? Do you help a very specific group of people at a very specific stage of life? Whatever it is, nail down your niche. This one detail will greatly impact important growth factors and strategies, from website design and copy to how you represent yourself on social media.
The number one piece of advice you’ll hear from social media influencers and strategists is to “be authentic.” Unsure what exactly that means or how it applies to your business? Another way to think about authenticity is simply staying “on brand.” Understanding your niche will help you shape your brand, which will guide your voice and the details of your business offering in a way that makes sense for your hustle.
2. Choose the right business structure
When starting a new business, forming under an appropriate structure is imperative. Unlike babysitting when you’re a teenager, the government expects you to report your earnings and pay taxes once you’ve reached a certain income threshold. The right business formation, however, also protects you from being personally liable for your business. So while legally forming your business means more paperwork, it also means more protection.
Ultimately, your business’ structure determines liability and tax compliance. Before committing to an entity type, you’ll want to make sure the structure is best suited for the size and intent of your business. Do some research on common business structures to find out which one makes sense for you.
A New Business Owner’s Guide to Entity Types
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3. Outsource tasks you aren’t good at or don’t have time for
At a certain point, it’s not realistic (or even a good idea) for you to manage every single aspect of your business. As your side hustle grows, the time you spend on it will become more valuable. This is where efficiency, which we mentioned near the beginning of this post, begins to really matter. Larger companies know that it’s wise to hire specialists who are experts at what they do so that everyone can play to their strengths. While small business owners and employees must wear multiple hats, one person shouldn’t wear all of them if you want things to be completed properly.
There’s not much room in business for accounting mistakes, which is why it’s one of the more popular tasks to outsource. Maintaining accurate books and paying your bills are non-negotiables. But reliable business insights can provide you with the information you need to make smart choices to scale your side hustle from part-time to full-time.
Check out our recommendations for top business tasks to outsource.
4. Leverage quality online business tools
In addition to outsourcing, it’s helpful to employ quality online tools to automate tasks. Why spend hours doing something manually when it can be done automatically and without human error? Whether using a social media management tool like Hootsuite or financial software like ScaleFactor, investing in tools that are applicable to and relevant for your business will save you time so you can focus on what you do best.
It will be clear when it’s time to leverage business tools based on when you begin either dreading a manual task or run out of time to do it. Read online reviews and request demos to ensure a wise investment from the get-go.
5. Track growth
Showing your growth is vital in convincing others to invest in you. For robust data, begin tracking growth from the moment you start your business. The most essential KPIs your small business should be tracking include cash flow, YoY revenue growth rate, accounts receivable turnover, and equity.
Tracking growth data can also serve as the validation you need to leave your day job and pursue your side hustle full time. There’s always some risk involved, but business insights and financial forecasting make it easier to make educated decisions in regard to just how much risk your willing to take.
Ready to Expand Your Side Hustle?
Consulting tax and accountant experts is a good place to start when looking to expand your side hustle. Request a demo with ScaleFactor today to learn just how financial and accounting software can help you sustainably grow your small business.