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5 Steps to Making Your Side Hustle a Profitable Business

Many people dream of quitting their day jobs and working on a project they are passionate about. Which leads me to ask, “Why don’t they?”

By Claudiu CozmaPublished about a year ago 4 min read

True, for most people, quitting their jobs with little to no resources and embarking on an adventure into the unknown is a risk they cannot afford to take. Still, nothing prevents someone from meticulously planning and carrying out that manoeuvre.

Many entrepreneurs have found success by growing their side hustles, which are defined as a part-time job that has grown into something more. According to an Academy of Management study, businesses that are started while the founder is still employed and then become the founder’s full-time focus are one-third less likely to fail than full-time ventures.

The side-hustle-turned-business scheme isn’t for everyone, but if you have the motivation and energy to work on your business in your spare time, you’ll succeed.

The good news is that if you’re passionate about a side project you’ve been wanting to scale for a while, you don’t have to quit your job and plunge into the unknown. Not right away, at the very least. Here’s how to take your side business idea to the next level and put yourself in the best possible position to succeed:

1. Laying the groundwork

Taking a chance and venturing into the unknown can be risky, but you can reduce your risk by planning ahead of time. A side hustle is one of the best ways to test a business idea because it allows you to prove its viability before investing your entire life savings.

Before you quit, figure out how much money you’ll need to make per month to quit your job and how much income your side hustle will need to be successful. Create and track financial benchmarks to see if your project is a viable business venture, and then define success for yourself.

2. Investing the time

Prepare yourself for what’s to come. I’m not going to lie: when you first start out, you’ll have to put in a lot of hours. The vast majority of them, in fact.

Because you’ll have a regular job and work on growing your startup in your spare time, you’ll have to make some sacrifices. This means foregoing almost every weekend outing with friends and skipping after-work drinks with coworkers. It does get easier, but your project will consume a significant amount of your time at first.

The truth is, if the prospect of devoting all of your spare time to your side project doesn’t excite you, this venture isn’t for you.

3. The Right Way to Scale

When it comes to expanding your business, resist the urge to blow your budget. The idea of investor-backed companies is romanticised in startup culture, but the truth is that growing your business slowly is often a better idea. Sure, you’d like a new desk and computer, but do you really need them to get started?

Many entrepreneurs began their careers as proprietors of small businesses. Consider the company’s founder, Craig Newmark. In 1995, he started the business as a side project and expanded it into a full-fledged business in 1999.

If you can, start small and gradually expand your business. Avoid taking on additional, unnecessary debt when you’re first starting out.

Many entrepreneurs started their careers as small business owners. Consider Craig Newmark, the company’s founder. He started the company as a side project in 1995 and expanded it into a full-fledged company in 1999.

Start small and gradually expand your business if you can. When you’re first starting out, avoid taking on additional, unnecessary debt.

4. Burnout prevention

Burnout is a real possibility when it comes to scaling a business. It can be exhausting to work a full-time job while also trying to fit in your side hustle around your free time.

To avoid burnout, try to devote a few of your most productive hours to your company. Scaling a business is difficult enough when you have a full-time job, but it will be even more difficult if you only work on it between midnight and 3 a.m.

Burnout is caused by exhaustion. You’ll want to work as much as possible, but resist the temptation to work seven days a week. Allow yourself at least one day to rest and recharge.

5. Taking a chance

Finally, keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect time to quit. At some point, you’re going to have to take a chance. Smaller details will almost certainly fall into place as you devote more time to your business idea if it has a lot of potential and you’re on track financially.

While we all love stories about people who quit their jobs on the spur of the moment and went on to become successful, the reality is that most businesses do not begin this way. Most entrepreneurs succeed by carefully planning their moves and quietly laying the groundwork behind the scenes.

Why not try out your brilliant business idea by growing it on the side? Testing the waters before diving in is always a good idea because it allows you to see if your idea is viable before jumping ship.

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