Whether it’s starting an ecommerce store and selling online, tutoring and sharing your expertise, blogging or vlogging, there are plenty of ways to make a bit of extra money with the skills and experience you already have.
But as your side hustle starts to grow, you might be considering pursuing it as a full-time opportunity.
There are plenty of online jobs you can do from home, but there are a few key factors to consider that are essential for growing a successful business out of your side hustle. You need a great idea, a good plan, an understanding of your target audience, and determination.
If you’re thinking of going from side hustle to serious and want to take the next steps with your business, we’ve got you covered. Below we take a look at the steps you need to take to turn your side hustle into a serious business.
Understand your customers
Customers are, of course, essential to any business — but when starting up your side hustle, you probably haven’t spent a lot of time researching, analysing, and understanding exactly who you are trying to sell to. You might have an idea of who’s interested in your products, what your customers are like, but if you’re going to take the next steps you need proper insights into your target market.
You need to know everything there is to know about your current customers and identify other customers that you want to reach.
Conduct market research so that you can create buyer personas and understand exactly who you should be targeting. You can get a better understanding of your existing customers by looking at the details they might have shared with you to create an account or place an order. You can do this in a few ways, such as using tools like Google Analytics to understand who is visiting your website, or by asking customers to complete surveys.
You want to know everything there is to know about your target market: demographic factors like age, location, gender, income, as well as their interests and behaviours. This will help you to improve your business offering — you can tailor or adapt your products or services so that they better meet your market’s needs or interests.
But just as important, it’s going to be invaluable to your marketing strategy. Knowing your target market and in-depth buyer personas are going to help you target your marketing so that it connects with the right people.
Establish a brand
Another important part of turning your side hustle into a serious business is establishing a clear brand.
It’s probably not something you paid masses of attention to when first starting up your side project, but moving forward, it will help you to stand out from your competitors, help your customers to identify you, and make it easier to increase awareness of your business. It can also make your business seem more professional and legitimate.
You need to come up with a clear brand identity that covers everything from your logo, to brand colours and font, to your tone of voice and language.
Establishing all of these elements will ensure that you can create a consistent image and message for your business across every platform. Whether it’s on your own website, social media, or in emails, people will be able to recognise your brand anywhere.
Update your website
An effective website is going to be another important element of expanding your side hustle.
If you don’t already have one, then now is the time to set one up. Whether you’ve been doing your side hustle offline and relying on word of mouth, or if you’re selling products on a third party platform — your own website is essential to growing your business. And if you do have a website, then you should consider a complete redesign.
Your website doesn’t just need to work well — it needs to look great and be easy to navigate. Two things to focus on are user experience (UX) and search engine optimisation (SEO).
When it comes to user experience, you want to make sure nothing frustrates or distracts visitors and makes them leave to visit a competitor. It needs to be easy for them to find what they’re looking for — whether that’s more information, a product, or contact details. Think how frustrated you get when you can’t find things easily in a shop (online or otherwise), and quickly that deters you from spending your valuable time and money with a business.
Make sure your website loads quickly, is well laid out and uses high-quality images. If you’re running an ecommerce store then streamline the checkout process as much as possible, and offer multiple payment and delivery options.
The written content on your website is also going to be key to how well your website ranks in search engine results. Make sure every bit of copy is well-written but also optimised for search — in everything from your product descriptions to your About page.
And if you haven’t already got one, then a blog is a great tool for getting more organic traffic to your website. You can write helpful guides, posts and articles that are relevant to your target market, so that they find them when searching for topics and questions related to your business.
Plan to scale your product or service
The other important part of developing your side hustle into a serious business is going to be planning how to scale your products or services. As you start to get more orders or people signing up to your business, how are you going to keep up with the demand?
For example, if you’re selling handmade products how can you scale up that process — can you find a way for them to get manufactured in bulk or work with others to make more? If you’re reselling wholesale products, do you have enough room to store larger amounts of stock? Do you need to teach yourself new skills to grow your business?
If you’re selling a service, do you have the capacity to increase what you’re offering? Perhaps if you’re teaching or tutoring, you could turn this into an online course that multiple people can take at the same time.
It’s also important to have new ideas for related products or services that will further boost your side hustle and help grow it into a full-time business. It’s not enough to have just one really great product — there’s only so many times people need to buy the same thing, and you could risk your customers getting bored.
It’s important to remember before quitting your full-time job to focus on your side hustle that you need to do a lot of preparation and planning.
Turning your side hustle into a serious business is an exciting opportunity, but even if you’ve already seen some success, it’s not something you can jump straight into. Follow these tips and you’ll be heading in the right direction to set up a successful business.