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Want to Turn Your Side Hustle Into a Real Business? 5 Lessons from the Trenches

While it brings me great joy to say I successfully transformed my side hustle into a full-time business, I have to admit, it all began as a happy accident. Like many eventual entrepreneurs who find themselves unemployed, I didn’t know how to start a business and fear of financial ruin was paralyzing me. If I only knew then what I know now …

After losing a marketing job in corporate America, I pursued what I thought was the easiest path to replenish my bank account. That’s right, I immediately started looking for another job in corporate America. Fortunately, a higher power intervened and forced me to do what I love to do to find success.

Starting a business was hard – but NOT starting a business was no longer an option

As weeks turned into months, I picked up a few writing gigs to help pay the bills. Writing and editing were my side hustles. It was something I had done here and there in past jobs and on the side. I’ve always loved writing, but I never thought I could transform that passion into a business – until the checks started coming in.

Eventually, I realized this business was meant to be, so I took proactive steps to make it grow. I knew corporate America was something I never wanted to go back to. I believed, I truly believed, that becoming an entrepreneur was not only possible, but it was also my destiny.

Want to become an entrepreneur? Decide to do something different

The sad part was I allowed myself to be miserable for years working a job I hated. It wasn’t until I lost that job that I was forced to try something different. What if I had allowed myself to believe that it was possible to build a business doing something I loved? I’m here to tell you all – IT IS POSSIBLE! You just need to decide to do something different.

Here are a few things I learned as I made the shift from side hustler to full-time entrepreneur.

No. 1: It helps to sock away a little savings before quitting your day job.

In my case, it took a couple of years to meet then exceed the income I earned at my previous job. If you can save up a few dollars to give you a cushion while you get your business off the ground, life will be a lot less stressful.

No. 2: Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Once I decided that starting a business was the right move for me, I reached out to other entrepreneurs, past clients and business leaders for advice. I wasn’t asking them for business. I was asking what they did to become successful and lessons they learned along the way. They were happy to oblige, and I learned A LOT.

No. 3: Network, network, network.

You need to set goals for yourself when it comes to networking – whether it’s by phone, email, text or in person. One of my mentors recommended I set a goal of connecting with five to 10 people every week. Those goals kept me focused.

No. 4: Commit to being the best and they will come.

When you love what you do it’s a lot easier to do it well. That being said, all entrepreneurs have those “too much on our plate” days, when it’s hard to do our best. Suck it up! My clients know they can rely on me and that I care about their business as much as I care about my own. That’s good for job security and even better for referrals.

No. 5: If you don’t know how to start a business, get professional advice.

Another happy accident that happened in the early days of my business was meeting Succeed On Purpose CEO and Founder Terri Maxwell. Who better to get advice from than a serial entrepreneur? Terri taught me the critical steps necessary for launching a business, her secret sauce for accelerating business growth and more.

If you’re ready to turn your side hustle into a real business, make your entrepreneurial dreams come true or kick-start a business that is floundering, the time is now! To learn more, visit Shift/Co for details.

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