We all have hobbies and passions. They fulfill us, energize us, and restore us when we’re disenchanted with life. Most of us would love to quit our day jobs and pursue our passions full-time – but how? Turning your side hustle into a full-time gig is no easy task, but it’s what being an entrepreneur is all about. Here are our top five tips for making your startup dream a reality.
1. Do the Math Before You Take the Leap
It can be terrifying to leave a full-time, well-paying job to pursue your business idea. What if it doesn’t work? What if you can’t make enough money to make ends meet? Before you give your two weeks notice, spend some time figuring out what it will really take to make this work. How much do you have to make in a month before you’re able to replace your current income? Would you be willing to leave your job even before you hit that point if you make some lifestyle changes? Knowing these benchmarks will help you decide when it’s the right time to take the plunge.
2. Be Prepared to Work – Really Work
When you’re trying to monetize your hobby, you’re going to need to spend more hours on it than you did before. No longer is it just a “when I have time” thing – you’ll have to devote disciplined hours to it. There will be sacrifices, sometimes painful ones. You’ll need to get comfortable saying no to after work drinks and lazy Saturdays for a while, and this will require the support of your family. Make sure you’re honest with them from the very beginning. This is going to be a big adjustment for them, too.
3. Don’t Work Too Hard
This may sound like it’s in direct opposition to our last point, but it’s very important to avoid burnout as you work to grow your business to the point where you’re comfortable quitting your job. You’re going to be balancing more than ever, and it’s going to be tempting to just sleep less and work on your business in the wee hours of the morning. Your whole life will suffer if that’s your approach, however. Burnout is a very real thing, and nothing kills a dream quite like working yourself into the ground. Take a least one day off per week to really recharge, and try to devote at least a few productive daylight hours to perfecting your side hustle. Balance is hard, but doable.
4. Spend Money, But Only What You Need
All startups need some cash to get off the ground, and most likely that will be coming from your own pocket. You don’t need to rent office space or even get a new computer – your trusty laptop and your spare bedroom will work just fine. Resist the urge to drop a bunch of money on advertising and branding as well. While you certainly want to make sure your company looks legitimate, saddling yourself with debt early on is a recipe for disaster.
5. Just Do It
There will never be a perfect time to turn your side gig into a full-timer venture. At some point you’re going to have to decide you’re “ready enough” and take the plunge. If you’ve laid careful groundwork, you’ll be better prepared to succeed, although there will still be some bumps in the road. By carefully planning how you’ll launch, you’ll take some of the pressure off of the big day when it finally arrives.
Finding the Right Partners
Even solo entrepreneurs need a little help. It’s not realistic to assume that you can handle every aspect of your business yourself, which is where great partners come in. Take credit card processing, for example. You’ll want to find a company that puts your needs first, is honest and transparent, and backs up their products with great customer service. Come to think of it, that sounds exactly like 360 Payments. Give us a call or drop us a line on our website – we’d love to show you what sets us apart.
PS – Here are some more tips to help new entrepreneurs rock their startups.
PPS – You’ll want to protect your intellectual property from the very beginning. Here’s how.