How to Turn Your Side Gig Into a Full-Time Venture

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Super Investing

Lots of people dream about being able to quit their job and work full-time on a venture that’s their passion, but for many the dream never turns into a reality. Often they’re too worried about failing, not having enough resources, or taking too much of a risk. However, there are many ways that you can turn your occasional freelancing work into a successful business, or create a full-time income from your hobby.

Lots of people all around the world these days spend time moonlighting successfully and then transition their side gig into a booming business over time. If you’re keen to join their ranks, read on for some tips you can follow to make the jump from employee to entrepreneur permanent.

Plan and Research

The best thing you can do to turn your side gig into a full-time venture is to create a plan and conduct extensive research before you go and quit your main job. You need to study the industry your hustle is in, and look at who your competition is, what they offer, and how you can provide something different. You need to be sure that you actually solve a problem, and that there is enough of a market to allow you to expand your part-time hours into full-time ones.

You should put together a thorough business plan that incorporates all your research. Plan things like:

  • Understanding your USP (unique selling proposition)
  • Discovering potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for the venture
  • Planning your likely financial projections through the next five years
  • Figuring out how much money you’ll need to earn each month in order to quit your current full-time job

Invest the Time and Effort

Next, you need to be aware upfront that building up a side business while you still work full-time takes a huge amount of time and effort. This isn’t for the faint-hearted, and simply won’t work if you’re not prepared to make some sacrifices along the way. You’ll have to give up some of your relaxation and holiday time, as well as quite likely a decent amount of sleep over the coming months.

If you prepare yourself for what’s ahead though, you’ll be more likely to be able to cope with the stress of having such a busy work life. It does tend to get easier over time too, as you get used to the grind and also start to see the fruits of your labor.

Go Slowly

It also pays to go slowly when it comes to turning your hobby into a full-time gig. Keep in mind that new ventures not only take time, but can cost a considerable amount of money to build, with the cash required almost always ending up being more than you first expect.

As a result, it’s best to avoid spending lots of money on your new venture straight away. Instead, you should stop and think about each purchase before you get out your wallet. For example, while a new computer or a cool-looking desk may make you feel more like an entrepreneur, are these things the best use of finite resources right now?

You should conduct some tests on your business idea to ensure that it really will work, and that the demand you think will be there for the product or service actually is. Take the feedback you receive from your tests and use that information to tweak your offerings, and then test again. This will help you to scale your business gradually but in a smart way. You can try out affordable sites like Etsy, Fiverr, Craigslist, Gumtree, Elance, and the like to sell your wares and see what the demand is, all for a low cost. As well, try some low-cost marketing avenues, such as social media sites, to start building a base of followers and potential customers.

Don’t Forget to Recharge

Lastly, it’s also very important to avoid burnout when you’re working long hours across two different jobs. It can be exhausting trying to fit so much into each day, so you need to make sure that you take at least one day off each week to rest and recharge. It pays to take a vacation (even if it’s only a few days) every so often too.

This break will not only help you to stave off burnout, but is also likely to help you come up with fresh ideas because you spend some time in a different place and frame of mind. Some time off can also help you to come back to work feeling much more invigorated and with more drive than ever to make your side gig a success.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, always revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance producer for USA Today, and a contributor at Technorati. She lives in Utah with her 2 kids and husband. Melissa Thompson can be reached via LinkedIn or Twitter @melthompson88. Please follow and friend her on either site.