According to Statistics Canada, the percentage of workers with multiple jobs has more than doubled in the last 40 years. A side job or “side hustle” is becoming a regular part of Canadian’s daily routine, with the internet ensuring all that’s needed is a laptop and an idea to get started.
Assuming you’re willing to perform a little bit of careful planning, a side job has the potential to become far more lucrative. In this article, we examine five tips for growing your side job into your main source of income.
1. Lay a Solid Base
We get it, stepping out from the safety of your 9-5 job can be terrifying. However, it’s possible to mitigate a significant amount of the risk if you create a solid financial plan before you start. The first step in this process is to establish how much income you’ll need to be comfortable each month. Consider adding all of your personal expenses and obligations into an Excel sheet, as well as the costs your side job will accrue. Decide on a figure that will allow you to lead a comfortable life and achieve your financial goals. Next, create some financial benchmarks for the business and think of them as progress markers toward making it your main job. Once you hit the progress mark needed that matches your current income, you’ve set yourself on solid financial footing.
2. Put in the Time
A huge obstacle to growing a side business is the time constraint. You’re already likely working a full-time job. Where will you find the time to spend on your side business? Think of this time as an investment. If you’re willing to put in the hours needed to make your side business successful now, it has the potential to pay off down the road when the business is established and you can pick and choose your own hours. For now, it’s likely some sacrifices will need to be made to grow your business. If the prospect of this time investment doesn’t sound appealing, it may be time to reconsider.
3. Scale Accordingly
Unfortunately, not all side jobs have the potential to become a full-time business. It’s important to establish at the beginning whether your business can grow into something that can support you solely. Once you’ve established the potential to grow, it’s best to take things slowly and grow gradually while you continue to work your day job. Scaling up slowly can be as simple as setting quantifiable goals you want to achieve for the next stage of your business and working toward making them happen. This could mean more sales, orders, or new leads. You could also target a minimum monthly profit goal and figure out what you need to do to achieve it. Another important point to consider is do you have the budget to commit to scaling, both in terms of finance and time. Reaching the next stage might involve investing more in marketing, inventory etc, as well as more time on your behalf. Can you afford it?
4. Listen to Expert Advice/Mentorship
Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of experts in your field. A simple bit of outreach could yield amazing results. If you feel like you’ve hit a wall in your progress, an expert or mentor could provide the outside viewpoint that helps you surmount the obstacle. It’s understandable wanting to figure everything out on your own, but sometimes admitting help is needed is the first step to making tangible progress. At Small Business BC, our Ask The Expert program can connect you with industry experts and entrepreneurs for guidance. This one-on-one consultation provides practical advice for your business.
5. Grow Your Network
As the old saying goes: “don’t hide your light under a bushel”. Your small business will live and die based on your number of customers. Getting the word out about your product/service is vital, and don’t underestimate the power old fashioned networking can have. Networking comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can attend local meetups, connect with people over social media, attend conferences, or even solicit referrals from your current customer base. Establishing a wide network enables you to place your product or service in front of more people. It should be a central part of your growth strategy.