Turning a Side Hustle into a Small Business

Taking a monolithic approach to one’s work:life balance is no longer the status quo.

The lines between the working day and recreational time, vacations, and holidays used to be much less blurry than they are today, partly because one job is sometimes simply not enough, but also because side hustles are helping supplement people’s incomes.

Side hustles blend hobbies, recreation, and business, allowing people to dip in and out of running their own small businesses alongside a more regular job.

Here are some stats that show the popularity of side hustles today:

Side hustles include everything from running a drinks or food stand or small food delivery service to selling clothes on sites like Teespring, Vinted, eBay, or Amazon, selling products on Amazon or Etsy, or partaking in local marketplaces and craft fairs. Many of the world’s biggest businesses emerged from side hustles – read about 5 of those here.

It has to be said that side hustlers enjoy varying success – it’s a competitive situation, but there’s still plenty of room for people to ‘niche down’ and find their own successful business groove.

At some point, many side hustlers wish to scale their business to the next level, and the sky is the limit.

Here are 4 things to consider for turning a side hustle into a small business:

1: Hard Work and Dedication Pays

Side hustles are a grind in their own right, but this is often offset by the fact that they’re something we really want to do.

Even so, there is simply no way to escape the fact that you get out what you put in, so commit yourself to your side hustle every single week no matter what.

Hiscox found that successful side hustlers were spending at least 20 hours a week on their projects.

That extra time is spent on things like:

  • Properly branding products and securing brand messaging
  • Creating social media content and interacting with users
  • Outreach, e.g. pitching products to influencers and related brands
  • SEO and building backlinks via content marketing
  • Ensuring product photography is always on point
  • Monitoring website data and social media metrics
  • Keeping an eye on trends and potential new products

 Turning a Side Hustle into a Small Business

2: Don’t Wait

One of the biggest small business killers is waiting ‘for the opportune moment’. This also applies outside of business, and whilst it is a pretty standard cognitive bias that most people are susceptible to, it must be resisted in this context at least.

Instead of deciding that you just need to wait a little longer until everything is ‘just right’, it’s better to go for it now and iron out any issues as you go. It’s impossible to fix something before it’s broken. This isn’t to say that planning is unimportant, though, and it’s worth mentioning that there will be occasions where proper timing is useful.

But, overall, right at the start, it’s all about getting the ball rolling and gathering some initial momentum.

3: Write a Plan

Even if you’re very familiar with your business, your goals, and objectives, and so on, writing these down is an important step in officiating your side hustle as a business.

Set attainable goals with milestones and associated tasks that you’ll need to complete. Use project management software like Monday.com, Notion, or Trello to break your tasks down into smaller segments.

The most important thing is committing to updating and monitoring your progress, taking notes, and staying engaged with the entire process, even when things aren’t necessarily rolling as quickly as you’d like them to.

4: Manage Finances

Financing a small business is different from financing a side hustle. With a side hustle, it’s normally adequate to keep a simple balance sheet or use one’s own bank accounts rather than a separate business account.

See below, the main reason startups and small businesses fail is because they run out of cash.

Ensure that appropriate cash flow is present, committing money to your business that you can afford (and possibly afford to lose if things don’t work out).

 Turning a Side Hustle into a Small Business

With a small business, it’s much better to look to separate business finances from personal finances wherever possible (and may also become a legal necessity depending on where you are in the world, and there may also be tax advantages).

Investing in your side hustle at the start may provide the lift-off it needs to begin growing, look to invest in:

  • A business website and some content
  • Branding and logo design
  • Paid promotions and adverts
  • Mock-ups, products, and other stock
  • Research and development
  • Print collateral, e.g. flyers, business cards, and leaflets

Summary: Turning a Side Hustle into a Small Business

If you have a side hustle, you’re in good company. If you want to turn it into something a little more full time, you’re following in the footsteps of legends.

Once you’ve set your goals, written your business plan and committed to proper financial management, it’s time to simply crack on!


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