Is it time to turn your side hustle into a business?

These days, lots of people have a side hustle to help them earn extra income, develop new skills, become a small business owner and quit their day job. Lots of them connect with a SCORE mentor to help them transition their side hustle into a full time business. Here are some of the steps they often need to take. 

Adopt the right mindset 

First, you’ll need to adopt a growth mindset. A growth mindset says that people constantly change, develop, and learn as they work through obstacles. 

When you become a business owner, you will face many challenges… with customers, employees, contractors and suppliers. You will have to handle marketing, sales, financial, taxes, and more. 

A growth mindset will help you navigate these challenges and focus on reaching your goals. 

Make sure your portfolio is strong 

Building a solid portfolio will help you attract new clients or customers. You will need to register a website domain, create a website with a professional theme, and add 2-5 portfolio pieces. For each piece, include a short description explaining the processes and skills you used. 

When choosing portfolio pieces to feature, be sure to select work that demonstrates your strengths and the diversity of your skills. 

Take steps to scale 

As you scale your side hustle into a business, your workload will increase. To manage your work efficiently, you should invest in tools to automate repetitive tasks. For example:

  • Scheduling apps like Trello, AirTable, ClickUp, or Asana
  • Accounting software like Quicken or Wave
  • Payment processing software like PayPal, Payoneer, or TransferWise
  • Grammar-checking apps like Writer.com and Grammarly.com

You could also use business plan software to create a long-term plan to guide your side hustle’s growth. Effective business plans include a financial plan, competitive analysis, market analysis, goals, sales and marketing plans.

Seek financing

If you are hiring employees, investing in software, starting a retail location, or buying inventory for your business, you may have to seek financing. 

Financing gives you the cash you need to invest in solutions that will increase your income long-term. 

There are many ways to seek financing, including:

  • Seeking investment from friends, family, and coworkers
  • Applying for a Small Business Administration loan
  • Starting an online crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo or GoFundMe
  • Acquiring a bridge loan
  • Applying for local, state, or federal government grants

Establish your business. 

You will need to establish an official presence for your company by:

  • Open a business bank account 
  • Register your business with your city, state and Feds.
  • Filing for a Tax ID Number (TIN)

You must establish an official presence online. Research shows that 68% of American consumers research a business on search engines before purchasing anything. To establish your digital presence, be sure to:

  • Add your business to Google My Business
  • Optimize your website with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), so it ranks well in search engines 
  • Start Yelp and Yellow Pages accounts 
  • Start a Business Facebook page 

Start actively marketing your business

As investing in digital marketing for your business can provide a return-on-investment (ROI) between 10% and 43% according to Statista.com, it’s a great way to increase your revenue. There are many ways to market your business, including:

  • Start a blog 
  • Run a social media ad campaign 
  • Invest in Google advertising 
  • Set up Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn profiles for your business
  • Create a podcast 
  • Invest in email marketing 
  • Host webinars 

You don’t have to do all of these things at once. Just pick the ones that make the most sense and add them to your to-do list. To get the most out of your marketing, you can monitor your success with Google Analytics. 

Focus on your customers 

Making sure that your customers are happy is a great way to scale your business. 

To learn what your people want or need, be sure to have discussions with customers or potential customers. Find out what benefits your products or services provide from their perspective. 

Work hard to create a customer-centric culture. 

Get the help you need

As you’re developing your new business, reach out to SCORE to connect with a mentor. SCORE mentors can guide you and provide feedback. With expertise in all aspects of starting and growing a small business, SCORE mentoring is a valuable (and free) resource that can help you succeed.

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