In today’s episode, I’m going to share with you how to take your side-hustle to your full time business.
We’ve got some milestones to look out for, and some strategies to implement.
It’s going to be super juicy!
Here for the links referenced in the show notes?
Episode 147: How to increase your prices: tashcorbin.com/147
Fast-Track Your Start-Up: tashcorbin.com/fasttrack
Let’s dive on in…
If you’ve got a side-hustle, the big dream for most people is to eventually let go of the job and move into it as your full time business.
When I say full time, I mean your main source of income, not necessarily that you’re working 50 hours a week.
Let’s remember that you generally don’t start a business to make yourself work really hard and be a mean boss to yourself.
Ultimately, for most people with a side-hustle, the dream is to be able to let go of the day job (or whatever else you’d like to call it), and focus on your business as your core income source.
It is such a dream, and it’s such an amazing thing to be able to do…
But what are the milestones that you need to achieve to feel like you’re ready to make that leap?
And how do you get to those milestones faster?
That’s what I want to cover in today’s episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast.
I have a great resource for you that’s also going to help you with the achievement of those milestones, so stay tuned until the end and I’ll let you know how you can access that one as well.
The first thing I want to talk about when it comes to milestones and how to achieve them in order to let go of the job and make your side-hustle your thing, is the sales.
Sales are the lifeblood of your business. The business needs to be making money in order for it to be a good idea to jump into it and make that leap, especially if you’re relying on that income and need that income in order to be able to survive and look after yourself.
If you’re relying on the income, you want to make sure that the business can actually meet those income needs.
There are two things that you need to really look at when it comes to having those sales foundations (or a baseline of sales) coming into your business.
1: Have you got the foundations in place so that you know what to do in terms of going out and getting new clients?
It’s all well and good to have had a $10,000 month in your business through referrals and people coming to you from word of mouth, but is that actually a sustainable sales model that you can reliably and predictably put time and energy into should those sales dry up? No.
If you’re all reactive and passive when it comes to how you get sales, then when it comes to jumping into the business full time and letting go of other income sources, what do you do if you stop getting referrals? What do you do in order to continue growing that business and getting that money coming in if you’ve never been able to do that proactively before?
Really make sure that you’ve nailed your marketing foundations and you know how to go out and get clients rather than wait for them to come to you.
That’s going to be an important part of that baseline of sales.
2: Have you got a way to sell at scale?
This has come up for a couple of my clients who’ve dived into the Take Off program in order to get that side-hustle to be their main source of income. They’ve had some money coming in from referrals and word of mouth, or they’ve been able to make sales through one-to-one strategies (like going out to networking events and meeting a handful of people who might be their ideal clients) but if they want to increase the number of clients that they get in each month, they would need to find more networking events and go to more networking events and invest a whole lot more time. That’s not necessarily a scalable business growth strategy.
The reason why they’ve jumped into the Take Off program is to look for those ways that they can get those foundations sorted, and also have some sales strategies that do work at scale.
‘Work at scale’ means that instead of putting in more time to make more sales, you can instead put in more money to make more sales.
For example, with your organic strategies on Facebook, some can be scaled and some cannot.
If you are posting in Facebook communities, and that’s where you’re making most of your sales, unfortunately, that’s not a scalable marketing strategy. In order to make more sales in Facebook groups, you would need to join more Facebook groups and be in Facebook groups more consistently.
You would need to put in more time.
You can’t advertise into those Facebook groups… BUT if you’re also building up your Facebook page at the same time, recruiting your audience to that Facebook page, and starting to grow your audience and your reach on that Facebook page, you can scale THAT part of your marketing strategy. You can put money into Facebook ads and scale that strategy up to larger audiences, not by putting in a bunch more time, but instead by investing some money.
Looking for scalability in those sales foundations is something that you want to make sure you’ve got sorted before you dive into your business as your main source of income (if you’re relying on that income from the business and know that if you can’t get it, you’ll have to go back to your job).
By the way, there’s no shame in giving it a go and then going back into a job.
I know several people who had/wanted/chose to do that over their startup journey. They’ve still had amazing business results.
I think that there can be a lot of shame and judgement around trying and then going back to some part time work. Power to you for making those decisions and taking the steps you needed to take in order to get the resources and foundations under you to feel like you’ve got what you need to get your business working.
I would much rather see someone take some part time work to create that sense of financial stability, rather than continue to spiral themselves further and further into debt, spiral themselves into feeling more and more pressure, and really just creating more and more pressure on them to get this business working and not feel like they have any breathing room.
I haven’t seen a lot of entrepreneurs who have thrived in that environment.
Some people have definitely hustled their way out of that situation, but it’s resulted in their burnout where they’ve had to be working 60 hour weeks in their business, or they’ve had to take on massive debt that just crippled their business for years and years to come.
In my opinion and in my experience, just taking on some part time work or taking on a little project here and there to keep that sense of financial security and stability whilst you grow your business is a really smart move for a lot of people.
Do what you need to do to create the stability and the sense of foundation that you need so that you are not feeling like you’re constantly under pressure, constantly under the hammer and constantly under stress load. That’s not going to be supporting you to really make smart decisions anyway.
That’s number one – get that sales baseline (both having proactive marketing foundations and selling at scale).
2. Appropriate pricing
This is something that I sometimes hesitate to talk about because I don’t want to say you have to charge a certain rate for it to be particularly effective or for your business to be successful, but as a business owner, the rate that you charge is different to a rate that you would be paid if you’re working as an employee.
For example, if I’m making $100 an hour as a business owner, not all $100 of that $100 I’m making is owner pay. We often can get caught up in this logic that if you’re earning $25 an hour in your job, and you’re charging $45 an hour in your business, then you can totally jump into running your business full-time because you’re earning more per hour.
When you’re in a job, you’re being paid for activity regardless of whether it’s client-facing or not.
When you’re in a business, there are things you need to do that aren’t being actively paid for.
If you’re being paid $45 an hour by your clients, you’re not working for clients 40 hours a week or 100% of the time in your business. You’re working with clients a percentage of the time in your business, and that payment from those clients needs to also ensure that you’re being paid appropriately for the time behind the scenes.
As a business owner, let’s say you are charging that $100 an hour for client-facing time. I would be recommending 25% of that gets put aside for tax because at some point, you’re going to get to the point where that’s an appropriate ratio, so a good chunk of that needs to be put aside for tax. (I’m not a financial advisor, but let’s just work with some round numbers here.)
25% of that needs to be put away for tax. Then I would say another 25% of that needs to be put aside for your behind-the-scenes work time. And then I would also be putting a percentage aside for your business expenses.
For me the equivalent roughly of a pay rate between working for someone else and being an entrepreneur would be if you’re being paid $25 an hour in a job, the equivalent you would want to be charging your clients is at least $100 per hour.
For most people, it’s more than that.
Now I know I’m triggering a bunch of people to @ me saying that they don’t charge hourly, they charge for a package price, but I’m talking about the baseline financials that go into what your package involves.
If you’re doing 20 hours of work for your $2,000 package that you’ve signed your client up to, that works out to be $100 an hour.
You can do the maths on what the equivalent rate per hour is, and I think it’s complete financial bypassing to just gloss it over and not calculate what you’re paying yourself in your business.
Do that maths and really look at: Are you being paid appropriately? Are you pricing appropriately to be able to let go of that other income source?
It can be a really rude awakening for people who’re making $1,000 a week in sales, and think that that’s enough for them to survive off of as their only form of income. Then their take-home amount of that is actually only $250 a week which isn’t even enough to cover rent.
I just want to flag that as a milestone to look at.
Rather than just saying that you’re making $100 an hour with clients, be a little bit more discerning about what you’re being paid. Be really clear on what your take-home portion is, and whether that’s enough to meet your financial needs.
You don’t always need to replace your full-time income from your job before you’re ready to take that leap into entrepreneurship full-time or as your main income source. I know that for a lot of people, your living expenses do drop when you’re not travelling to work, buying lunches, etc. It does have an impact.
If you’re working 40 hours a week in a job and you’re making $75,000 a year, then most people don’t have 40 hours on top of that to put into their business to get to the $75,000.
I totally understand all of that, but one key thing to look at is what your actual income is that you get to keep from this business.
That’s number two. Number one was baseline sales, number two is really being clear on your financials, and particularly your prices. For a lot of people, I would recommend a couple of price increase periods before making that leap.
I do have a previous podcast episode on how to increase your prices and use that as a way of really shoring up your cash flow. If you want to learn more, check it out: tashcorbin.com/147
3. Have a buffer of money / great money management strategies
I didn’t necessarily have a good buffer of money, but I did have some good money management strategies behind me, which meant I:
- Already knew I was putting tax away
- Already knew what I would do if I didn’t make the sales
- Had some good strategies to get backup income if I needed
That was enough for me.
I didn’t have six months of expenses saved up in advance or anything like that before I jumped into it full time, but I did have good money management strategies behind the scenes AND the income coming in from my partner.
I was very fortunate that he was willing for me to take that leap of faith and give it a go.
We had set out what our strategy was for how we would be able to operate for a couple of years without the business getting big financial success. We had some strategies around how we would minimise our lifestyle expenses and make some lifestyle changes to be able to feel confident in our ability to continue to enjoy our lives and get by financially, even if the business wasn’t as successful as I thought it was going to be.
I didn’t have my business as a side-hustle before I started, I just leapt straight from my job into my business.
The reason being was I tried to go part-time in my job to start my business and they wouldn’t allow me to do that. I had a big conversation with Davey about how I was being bullied in the workplace and was going to be leaving anyway, so we decided I might as well leave the workplace to try and start a business (I’m so glad that I did that – look where I am now!) and just give it a go for two years. Worst case scenario, I could try it for two years, and if after two years it hadn’t gone anywhere, I wasn’t really into it, or it wasn’t really thriving, then I could always go back and find a job in the industry.
I was very well skilled, very well paid, I could take a significant pay cut to jump back into the industry and start over if I needed to, and we would still be better off for having tried.
It was a very privileged position to be in to be able to start a business, but if you’re wanting to jump from side hustle into it being your main form of income, I think having a little buffer (it doesn’t have to be massive) so that you’re not under pressure immediately, and/or having great financial management practises or other income sources is going to help you feel really confident in taking that leap.
4. Have a transition job/project
It can be a good idea to have either a transition job or some transition projects that will help you create the time that you’re looking for by leaving that job, but also are going to provide some of that financial stability in the form of their own income.
One of the things that I had as a little backup for me was when I first started my business, I was already a qualified workplace investigator. If a workplace had an allegation of bullying, harassment, fraud, code of conduct issues, etc., I was qualified to go in and do workplace investigations as a third-party investigator for those workplaces.
I had a very substantial friendship network who were in HR roles or CEOs of businesses, so I felt very confident that I could reach out to a bunch of people in my personal networks and tell them that I was starting my own business but was still maintaining my investigator licencing qualification, so if they ever needed to call on me, I was still able to come in.
There were only a couple of little projects that I ended up doing because I didn’t really tell my whole network, I just told a few people (and the business took off pretty quickly so I didn’t necessarily need to do that) but it was a great transition opportunity or a way of bringing in some short term income if I needed to as well.
I know some people who’ve:
- Jumped into part-time VA stuff so that they can focus some time and energy on growing their business
- Done tasks on air Tasker
- Put themselves on Upwork or Fiverr
I also know people who’ve taken on a part-time role in someone else’s business or had a transition project of some sort – a part-time job that’s going to create that financial stability
All of those are totally valid.
If it gives you the trust, security and sense of ease knowing that it’s giving you some extra time and space, but it also isn’t going to put you in financial peril, then I’m all for that because I do think it makes your startup transition a lot smoother, a lot less pressured and you can really enjoy that process of moving to being more in your business and not necessarily feeling like you have to do everything in the next 10 minutes.
Those are my four tips for transitioning from side-hustle into having your business be your main source of income.
As I said, I do have a resource for you that will also help you with hitting some of those key milestones.
The resource is called Fast Track Your Startup.
It’s a detailed training where I talk about what you do and do not need to get those early results in your business and really start hitting some of those milestones (including making sales).
So many people shy away from that being a focus when starting a business, but actually, you can make sales WITHOUT having:
- Hundreds of followers
- A website
- A mailing list
For a lot of people, I think that we can get very distracted in some of the strategies around building the website, building the mailing list, finding the audience, finding the perfect hashtags, pre-recording 400 videos, and doing all the things and getting all the ducks in a row before you’ve ever made a sale.
What I’ve seen is for a lot of people, they actually do all of that work, and then when they do start talking to their potential clients or starting to work with some clients, they realise that everything that they’ve created is actually through the wrong lens or it’s not specific and tangible enough. They change their mind and decide they want to pivot, and then all of that work that they’d done so that they could keep themselves busy before they made their first sales was actually wasted energy.
Make sure to grab that free training here: tashcorbin.com/fasttrack
As always, I’d love for us to continue the conversation about this podcast episode over in the Heart-Centred Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook community. Come on over, use #podcastaha and the episode number (265), and let me know if you’ve got any follow-up questions or any lightbulb moments that have come up for you from reading this episode.
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.