How to Grow Your Side Hustle in BC

Growing your side hustle is about more than additional income. When inflation and the cost of living are high, any extra income is welcome, of course. But growing your side hustle can also create confidence in yourself as a business owner.

Also, if your side hustle is related to one of your passions, it could create more purpose and opportunities for you to learn or refine new skills. So, how do you start to grow your fledgling side hustle? Creating a business plan is the first step to getting clear on its potential.

The Importance of Having a Business Plan

One of the best things budding entrepreneurs can do is to create a business plan. This will help you adopt the mindset that your side hustle is a serious business. Keep in mind that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can learn from people who’ve done it already.

Small Business BC offers an affordable Start Smart package that will help you understand the business registration process in BC, decide which business structure is best for you, and learn about more resources to help you get started.

Finally, get clear on what your objective is with growing your business. Do you want to reach a monthly income goal for some extra spending money? Are you wanting to grow your business so you can leave your 9 to 5? Are you seeking partners or investors to bring your business to the next level?

Once you have a business plan and clear objectives, you’ve laid the groundwork for growth.

Managing Your Time as an Entrepreneur

Time is an entrepreneur’s most precious resource. When time is limited, it’s hard to “find the time” to work on your business. There are several time management strategies that you can put in place now to increase your overall effectiveness and efficiency.

First, if you can foresee scaling your business in the future, create systems, outline procedures, and produce documentation right away. It’s all well and good to have the know-how in your head, but by simply writing down what you do and creating documents like guides and checklists, it’s going to be so much more seamless when you hire your first employee or outsource part of your business to grow.

Secondly, you want to set aside time each week to work on your business. Set a sustainable pace, you’ll likely burn out if you go too hard, too fast. Try to create a roadmap if you have a big goal, like growing your business to replace your 9 to 5 income, of when you will meet certain milestones.

Getting Your Financials in Order

Set yourself up for financial success, and your future self will thank you. Start with keeping your personal and business financials separate. That could look like opening a business account at your bank and speaking to an accountant about what you need to do to get tax-ready.

Early in your entrepreneurial journey is a great time to reinvest in your business. Strategic upgrades in tools, products, services, and staff can help your business grow and scale faster, saving you time and energy down the line.

As part of the business plan you created, you should have a robust cash flow forecast for the next two years. And if you do decide to make the leap out of your 9 to 5 and into your business full-time, it’s a good idea to have an emergency fund in place of six months of living expenses. Your income from your side hustle should be more than your current income before you make the leap, especially because you will have to pay for your own health insurance.

Finally, find out what loans and grants are available for you. For example, Futureprenuer has a side hustle loan program that pairs you up with a mentor and gets you a collateral-free $15,000 loan. There’s also the Canada Digital Adoption Program and Workplace Accessibility Grant available through Small Business BC.

Marketing Your Business

You don’t have to be a marketing genius to market your business. You can start with low-cost email and social media marketing.

Pick two social media platforms that your customers use and update them consistently. Even if it’s one post a month, consistency is key. While your social media marketing might have to change in response to trends, the time you spend building your email marketing list is never wasted.

When you have an email list, you have a direct connection to your customers, making it one of the most valuable marketing tools. Leverage your customers and learn from them. Be open to ways you can pivot or adapt your offerings to fit their needs. You can also take advantage of automation tools in social and email marketing to streamline processes and get you out of the day-to-day of your side hustle.

With a business plan, a clear direction, good time management skills, organized financials, and a marketing plan, there’s no limit to how far you can grow your side hustle in BC.

Small Business BC is Here to Help

SBBC is a non-profit resource centre for BC-based small businesses. Whatever your idea of success is, we’re here to provide holistic support and resources at every step of the journey. Check out our range of business webinars, on-demand E-Learning Education, our Talk to an Expert Advisories, or browse our business articles.