Craving a career change? We feel you! Whether you’re itching to quit your 9-5 office job to pursue your freelance writing career or ready to turn that brilliant new idea into a profitable business, here are 7 tangible tips to turn your side hustle into your main gig. Dreams don’t work unless you do, so let’s get right to it.
Be realistic with your time and finances
Dreaming is great, but try to keep your head out of the clouds for now. Taking the leap from part-time hustle to full-time main gig is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage and part of that is having the courage to access where you are in this very moment.
Overnight success does happen, but it’s more the exception than the rule. Plan to be the rule. So, what does this mean? First, you want to get really clear about your budget and where your money is going every month. Your short-term goal might be to pursue your passion full-time, but your long-term goal is to sustain this profession for years to come.
Once you have a good idea of how much you can save each month, as well as where you can cut costs, you can start putting a timeline together. I always encourage people to save up some money to act as a cushion, so that you can propel your business and not seek immediate monetary gain because you’re operating from a place of scarcity.
Up your goal-setting game
I always try to find a purpose in everything I do, even if I’m not 100% in love. It’s really a shift in perspective than anything else.
For example, let’s say you are currently working a corporate job that isn’t in the field you want to pursue anymore. Or maybe there is office gossip weighing on your overall mood. While we’re not here to devalue those experiences, we do want to offer another viewpoint.
Think about what purpose, if any, this job is serving in your life? It could be that this job is providing you with a steady paycheck every two weeks and part of this money is going to go toward investing in your new business.
If you really can’t a purpose or reason in your job, then it might be time to choose something different; to take a different path. That, in and of itself, is pretty purposeful.
Invest in yourself
I know it’s hard to rationalize investing in yourself when you’re barely breaking even but again, it goes back to thinking ‘long-term.’ To be clear, we’re not suggesting that you go into depth; that said, you will need to take some risk to see the reward.
Investments don’t need to break the bank. Coworking, for one, is a small monthly investment (try our ‘Part-Time’ membership) and gives you access to hundreds of inspiring spaces across the country. Even better, you can participate in events happening in these coworking spaces every month.
You might also want to invest in an online course where you can further develop skills necessary to succeed at your side hustle. There are many education-based platforms out there that are both cost-effective and offer high-quality courses. Learning is fun and we’re guessing it will give you an extra jolt of confidence knowing you’ve mastered a skill or two.
Get serious about networking.
Like it or not, networking is about to play a big role in your life. As an introvert myself, I struggled with this when I started my own business eight years ago but once I committed to meeting new people in this way, it really did propel my career forward.
Finding networking events is easy on Deskpass and yes, you get access to hundreds every month! Head to the community tab in your app to view upcoming events in your city. If time allows, try to attend at least one even each week and make it your goal to meet 2-3 people.
Unsure of how to ‘sell’ yourself to others? You don’t have to. If you’re new to networking or feeling shy, start by asking about the other person. What do they do? How can you support them? This is how real conversations form. You might not get a client right off the bat, but relationships grow and you never know if this person does know someone who would be a great fit for your business.
Surround yourself with people who are ‘better’ than you
If you couldn’t tell by the quotation marks, we don’t mean for you to take this literally. What we mean here is that you should want to surround yourself with people who are ‘better’ than you in your area of expertise. Look for a mentor. It doesn’t have to be someone hugely successful; it can be someone who is a couple steps ahead of you. These are going to be your biggest teachers.
As someone who is asked ‘hey, can I pick your brain about…’ more times than I care to count, I’d avoid this approach when you can. Of course, if it’s someone you already know well enough, they’d likely oblige. For people who you don’t know, I’d suggest first attending an event they are speaking at, as a way to learn from them. Then, if the relationship grows, you can ask for more of their time and expertise.
Ask for advice, not help
Which brings us to our next point. Being direct is great and all, but sometimes it pays off to be a bit more subtle. I had a friend who once gave me really good advice. He said, ‘people who ask for help are given advice and people who ask for advice are offered help.’ This might not be true all of the time but in my experience, it has been.
We want to be givers, not takers. Authenticity is huge and first impressions go a long way. If you come from a place of service, rather than one of self-serving, you will find so many more doors opening for you. Always think of a way you can help them and without expecting anything in return. Yes, there will be some people who take, take, take but most people will eventually pay it forward and help you out as well.
Be selective (aka, quality over quantity)
One of the mistakes I made when I first started my blog, was to take whatever was offered to me, even if it wasn’t really the best fit for the business I was building. It’s a rookie mistake and I fell into the trap but that’s okay, because it was also a huge learning. Over the years, I’ve found so much power in saying ‘no’ to things that don’t feel right. Maybe it’s the wrong time, maybe the wrong collaboration or maybe there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with it but it just doesn’t light you up in the way it should.
It’s really easy to assume that if you say ‘no’ to something, that you are missing out. What I would suggest is that before agreeing to something business related, take a breather and really think about whether this deserves the green light or if you should table it. Something better might be coming your way and this is your intuition’s way of guiding your decision-making.
In case we forgot to mention… we’re a monthly membership that currently gives you access to 500+ coworking spaces in 20 cities including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Houston, Denver, Boston, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Seattle, D.C., and Raleigh / Durham. Deskpass is a fantastic way to explore coworking, get you out of your home office or your local cafe and around a bunch of vibrant communities of lovely folks.