It seems that being an entrepreneur has not only become the "cool" thing to do. Thanks to advances in technology and virtual staffing, it is more accessible and flexible than ever before.
However, if you are going to develop a side hustle into a full-fledged business, you need to be realistic. Most startups fail, and many successful entrepreneurs aren't huge risk takers. In fact, many founders like those of Warby Parker kept their career options open while building their business on the side.
I've side-hustled writing a book and building The Influencers while holding a full-time job. Managing a side hustle may not be as risky as quitting your job altogether, but it is not without its challenges. To take it from side hustle to the main gig, aspiring entrepreneurs should keep these essentials in mind.
1. It's going to take a lot of time.
To do anything worthwhile, it takes an average of seven to ten years. Of course, there are exceptions, but they are rare. The venture that you pursue has to be something you are willing to commit to and work on for the next seven years or more of your life. Make sure that you actually like it. Otherwise, you will be stuck in a career that you hate.
2. Don't go all in too soon.
It's an all too frequent story. People have an idea, and they quit their job to pursue it. In the early stages of a startup, more time doesn't translate to more productivity. Instead, without the safety net of a steady job, you'll likely be more stressed and be less productive.
Most successful entrepreneurs knew when it was the right time to go from side hustle to full-time gig. (Usually, it is when the startup starts bringing in the cash needed to support them and more.) It's better to wait until the later stages to go all in.
3. It's not what you know, it is who you know.
While you are forming your idea, make sure you are connecting with the right people. Depending on your industry, critical people might be investors, media or clientele. Your Rolodex needs to be thorough to be able to close deals and support yourself. As any investor will tell you, form connections long before you ever need to ask for anything.
4. Have the right people on your team.
Don't select a cofounder simply because you grew up together. Members of your founding team should bring a unique skill set and value to the company. If they don't, the role might be better filled by a virtual assistant for a few dollars an hour.
5. Master productivity.
If you decide it's time to quit your main gig, then you'd better learn efficiency and productivity skills before. There may not be a boss breathing down your neck to make sure you get your work done, but you could have investors and customers.
Recognize that although quitting your job may give you more available hours to work, it's what you do with the time that you have that matters. Don't think that having more time will make you work faster. The time constraints of a full-time job can actually force you to be more productive, which is essential in the early stages.
Productivity tools make it possible to hold a job while running an effective business and earning major income on the side. You can learn and develop productivity skills by connecting with my friends and experts at Leverage or Lifehack Bootcamp. Need logos, graphics or web design? Hire a professional through Fiverr. If you need an extra hand, hire a virtual assistant for cheap through Upwork.
Need to incorporate or get legal advice? Many universities and law schools offer free support to entrepreneurs. It gives their students training and experience and supports local businesses.
There are more resources than ever for budding entrepreneurs to build the business and career of their dreams. However, it doesn't mean that you need to jump ship from the start. It is possible to work on your side-hustle and keep your day job (at least for a little while) with these principles in mind.