I got an email from one of my Subscribers: “I have a side income and a full time job. I would love to just do my business, but can’t afford to ‘quit the day job’… yet. How do I take my side hustle to full time income?”
This Subscriber has a small biz on the side and it’s doing okay… but not near enough to live on.
But that’s a happier situation than you might think…
Congratulations, dawg. You got past the most important hurdle: “validation”.
Validation is the stage where you determine if a business idea can actually make any money. You do this by actually attempting to make sales and figuring out what works.
So guess what. THIS post is NOT going to be about validation. You can find examples of that in three places here on Shoestring101, or go to my very favorite work on the subject: “Will it Fly?” by Pat Flynn.
Who’s Talking About How to Take Your Side Hustle to Full Time Income?
But there aren’t many guides for navigating the no-man’s land in between… the exact, clear steps to take the aspiring entrepreneur from:
“Hey, cool! Somebody actually bought one of my widgets!”
“Holy Order Fulfillment, Batman!
…How am I ever going to deliver all these dang widgets?”
Too often, great ideas die on the vine because the entrepreneur has the “side hustle” up and running… but can’t afford to take the leap from part-time to full-time.
If he (she) quits the “day job”, there will be too much demand to pay the bills, and too little time to get up and running from side hustle to full-time money. It’s a lot of stress when you have a choice between growing the biz and paying the rent… so I recommend the following steps if you think you’re ready to go full time:
Take Your Side Hustle to Full Time Income, One Step at a Time
SO you’ve started a small biz venture and it’s making a little bit of money. You can’t afford to “quit yer day job”… just yet.
BUT..! You don’t think it’s possible to grow your business to the point that you can live off it alone, without devoting full-time effort to it, either.
Catch-22… or is it?
The first step to freeing yourself of being a wage-slave and becoming your OWN boss is to determine what that really looks like.
Depending on what stage of life you’re in (full-time student, single, newlywed, new parent, kids and a mortgage, empty nester, retiree) there are different challenges facing you, time- and expense-wise.
You’ve got to take your target income and work backwards.
- all the expenses of producing your widget or delivering your service…
- and how much you’re able to sell it for…
- you’ve got to crunch the numbers and arrive at how many customers you’ll need
After you have your “Freedom Number”, it’s simply a matter of working on your self-sustaining marketing funnel.
We’ll talk about that ^ in Part Two of this little series.
So, compute your “Freedom Number” first. Fortunately, I’ve got a little tool that does just this. It’s called the Side Money Blueprint Freedom Calculator and it’s FREE to folks on my email list.
In case ya missed it, ^ that was just one more
bribe erm, REASON to join the SS101 email list. Run, don’t walk… okay, click and get yourself added. Then ping me by replying to one of my emails with “Calculator” in the subject line and I’ll send it to ya free.
Take Your Side Hustle to Full Time Income the RIGHT Way
Lots of folks would love to monetize their hobbies and interests to the point that the hobby pays YOU, instead of the other way around. And it is possible.
But there are hazards.
Having done this (taken a side hustle to full time income) three times, with three very different kinds of businesses, in three different decades…
…I’m going to say something that may not seem obvious to the entrepreneurial spirit. Here it is:
KEEP your PERSONAL MONEY and your BUSINESS MONEY SEPARATE.
Going from part-time to full-time is really very simple once you understand a few principles about scaling your marketing and delivery. But without responsible accounting and money handling you can get yourself into serious trouble.
Hear the voice of experience:
It’s very tempting to look at all the money coming in and think that it’s, um… YOURS.
Wife #1 didn’t get this. Check it: in the late 90’s, with over $13K/month coming in (and only $4K in expenses), I still had a car repossessed. This is because we didn’t communicate effectively with each other, and because money that wasn’t ours got spent before we even got it… making mess upon check-bouncing mess.
You HAVE to understand that gross does not equal net, and understand it on a GUT level.
And any partner of yours needs to understand that too…
The conflict over this was one reason for the failure of my first marriage. My ex-wife didn’t understand that five figures a month coming in was not a license to spend, spend, spend. And I didn’t understand how to make her understand, so I took her name off all the checking accounts.
This factor was a big one contributing to the end of my first marriage. And, yes, I might have handled things much better… not pointing any fingers because three end up pointing back at me.
But, my point for you is that if you start making booo-kooo money, but don’t have the tools or mindset to manage that money properly, it will be nothing but trouble for you.
So start learning NOW to handle it when you start getting big paydays.
The best way to do this is to plan to take a salary from your business equal to what you’re bringing in now from your “day job”, at least until you have 3-6 months of expenses saved up.
THEN it might be okay to negotiate a raise to your level of lifestyle.
I tell you, if you leave this step out and you’re broke now… you will STILL be broke… only ‘broke at a higher level’… when you start raking in lots of cash.
Learn discipline and don’t spend all you make. The business money is separate from the personal money, which you pay yourself in the form of a salary… until you are BEYOND “stable” and finally thriving! Then it could be time for a vacation- a PAID-for vacation (no borrowing! save for it instead).
And don’t forget about taxes.
Okay. Rant complete.
Next Step to Take Your Side Hustle to Full Time Income
Okay, so I’ve cautioned you to:
A) Start at the end… your desired income… and work backwards to find out how many customers you’ll need to scale to full-time, and
B) KEEP your fuh-reakin’ business money and personal money SEPARATE.
I think now it’s safe to give you the next step:
C) Decide what kind of customer you want more of.. and find out where they’re hangin’.
If you’ve been side-hustling for a while now, you have probably come across at least one sweetheart client. A customer that buys easily without trying to talk you down in price… is a pleasure to deal with good, honest feedback but no whining complaints… is ecstatic with your product or service… gives you raving testimonials… and refers you new customers.
You’ve more than likely also picked up a troll or two 😉
Now it’s time to do two things:
- Build an “Avatar“… an imaginary profile that’s a composite of your favorite customer(s) ever
- Conduct a survey of all your existing customers to find out exactly how they found you, what they love about your business, and most importantly how you can reach more of them
This ^ is market intelligence, which will help you design both your message and your medium for the marketing campaign that will take you to full time income: your self-sustaining funnel.
I’d love to tell you what questions to ask in that survey, and what a self-sustaining funnel is and how to construct one (both online and offline), but, uh…
…just look at the time.
We’re 1400 words into this thing and I wouldn’t want to ramble, now would I? 😉
Watch this space. On May 1st we’ll unpack the “Avatar” idea and show you examples of self-sustaining funnels. Imagine advertising for free… or even getting PAID to advertise… unleashing a supply of leads only limited by how many you can serve at a time.
Meanwhile, subscribe if you haven’t already to my daily, military-grade marketing tips and ping me on email to send you your “Freedom Number Calculator”.