You’ve probably heard the buzz words “side hustle” or “side gig” in recent years. Maybe you’re just starting one for fun and have no idea where it’s going to take you. Or maybe you’ve been in it for a while and these uncertain times are forcing you to think about moving toward something more permanent.
If you’re really passionate about your side gig and can see yourself giving it your all, you might be ready for that next step. However, self-employment and running your own business can be a daunting task. On one hand it requires dedication, persistence and proper planning –but it can be extremely freeing, fulfilling and successful! Here’s a few tips for those considering the transition or taking that next big step:
Run the Numbers
Before you even think about making your side gig a permanent deal, run the numbers and then, run them again. It’s important that you consider every aspect and account for every expense to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success. If you haven’t been keeping track, what better time to start than right now?
There are many budget tracking apps available that can easily help you divide up your income, expenses, bills etc. It helps to see the bigger picture – especially if you are potentially subtracting your 9-5 job income from that bigger picture. If you still think your numbers are looking good, aka, you can cover your cost of living plus extra expenses, it might be time to move on down the path of starting your own business.
Consider Your Strengths
Starting your own business or becoming self-employed does mean that a lot of the burden will be on you. But that doesn’t mean you are in it completely alone. Consider your strengths during this planning process and it can help determine where you’ll need to pull in extra support.
Maybe your partner or significant other could help you with the finances/legal work, while you handle the day to day operations and customers. Or, maybe you’ll need to outsource the accounting or project management aspect. We all have things we are good at, self-employment just requires you to really be honest with yourself about what you cannot handle.
Find a Mentor
Along the lines of finding support, a mentor can be extremely valuable, either before you take that jump or during the process. Seek out individuals who you admire or look up to that have experience doing what you are attempting to do. You can learn so much from others who have been there before and they can help steer you in the right direction.
If you can’t find one who you can connect with face to face, turn to the Internet! Whether it’s honest advice on your business model or just someone to be your cheerleader – seek out a mentor ASAP.
Know Your Health Insurance & Tax Options
It’s important that before you drop your 9-5, you understand your options when it comes to self-employed health insurance and how you’ll be taxed. These two areas can make a huge difference in your business plan and will require research on an individual basis to see what makes the most sense. Self-employment tax is very different from employee tax, so it definitely makes sense to get advice from a CPA to explore all of your options. Regardless, you will figure out what works for you and you can continue down the path of starting your own business.
With a solid business plan and a good foundation, turning your side gig into your full-time position is definitely a feasible task. Of course you won’t know everything, but you can be as prepared as possible and learn as you go along!
Interesting related article: “What is the Gig Economy?”