What to do When Your Side Hustle Takes Off

It might start out as a very part time enterprise, maybe selling a few items on the side or making hand crafted items on commission. If you hit on a popular line in your side hustle, though, you can soon find yourself properly in business.

You have a couple of choices. You can either scale back and carry on as you have been, or you can grasp the nettle and find out how far this venture can take you.

We’re assuming you’re taking the second path and want some tips on considerations and ways forward.

What to do When Your Side Hustle Takes Off

Guard Your Life Balance

When you’re running a side hustle alongside a proper job plus family commitments, you can pick it up and put it down whenever you like. When you’re running a business you have a certain amount of leeway, but you must work on a more professional and consistent basis.

Things can get a bit hectic, especially in the early days when you’re possibly spinning more plates than you’re comfortable with.

So, before you launch into business proper, have a good think about how you’ll manage the extra time commitment. Discuss your plans with family and enlist their support. Just getting partners to help with housework or do the school run can make a huge difference, and you may find it hard to get people to take your business seriously.

At first, you’ll probably be working two jobs – your fledgling business and your regular employment. Don’t underestimate the stamina needed. A few months down the line you might consider going part time at work, which would ease your load.

Manage Your Finances

Do a full costing if you can. You need to get an idea of how much extra stock you’ll need, how much profit you need to make, whether your overheads will rise and by how much. You may, for instance, need more space for business stock storage or find your home fuel bills are higher.

Factor in hidden costs, such as paying for accountancy services or accounting software if you’ll do your own books. Think about things like registering for VAT, whether you’ll trade as a sole trader or form a limited company. There are benefits to both and even if you’re not ready to make that decision yet, it’s worth being aware of the options so you know where you’re heading.

Open separate bank accounts for business purposes and make sure you have sufficient funds to tide you over the early months when expenses can outpace income. At the same time, make sure the legalities are taken care of, such as registering with HMRC.

Take a business course if you feel a bit out of your depth regarding all the ins and outs of being a business owner. Find out if there are any grants available for startups, and maybe ask around for local business networking groups to join. People are often very generous with time and expertise when you’re part of the same group.

What to do When Your Side Hustle Takes Off

Moving Onwards

After the first few months you’ll have a better idea of the potential for future growth. You may even be able to outsource some of the necessary tasks, such as bookkeeping, social media management, or even just answering the phone if you have direct contact with clients or customers.

Introduce as much automation as you can, such as card payments and appointment booking systems. If you’re doing your own accounts via online accounting platforms, link your bank account so at least some of the transactions get logged automatically.

When the time comes to think about offices and moving out of the house if that’s where you started, look for economical ways to make that jump. Traditional office leases can be expensive, but there are alternatives such as flexible office spaces. Here, you get all the professional amenities you’d expect but without the long contracts and added costs for things like business rates and VAT.

Moving up from a part time side hustle to a full-time business takes some logistical gymnastics and creative thinking. There are lots of moving parts and they all affect each other.

While you’re considering the practicalities, consider ways to diversify. It’s always good to have more than one income stream. One idea is to start a YouTube channel. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but it can be a solid way to share your expertise and passion, while gently promoting your services and making a little extra income at the same time.

Putting a casual enterprise onto a more professional footing is a big leap but taken step by step it’s not so daunting and is nearly always rewarding. You already have the skill and expertise needed to create a successful side hustle, so there’s no reason to doubt your ability to take it to the next level.