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How to Turn Your Side Hustle Into a Full-Time Business

How to Turn Your Side Hustle Into a Full-Time Business
Credit: Uber Images/Shutterstock

With technology on their side and passion in their hearts, many individuals opt to start their own company while they're working for someone else.

According to Bankrate, a consumer financial services company, 44 million people have a side hustle, and 25 percent of millennials rely on theirs to make an extra $500 each month. Working and saving money while developing your potential company is a great way to start your journey as an entrepreneur. It will also keep you inspired and determined to reach your end goal.

"Working on your side hustle while in a full-time job gives you room to play and experiment," said Jessica Lawlor, president and CEO of Jessica Lawlor & Company. "You can figure out what you like and, more importantly, what you don't like about your side hustle before you take the full leap."

But turning your side hustle into your primary occupation is not simple. It takes courage and faith to take the leap into entrepreneurship. Here are some expert tips for growing a side business into a full-time gig.

It's easy to put off your dreams day by day, but years from now, you may realize that no moment is the right one.

"There's never going to be the 'perfect time' to start a business, so when you have an opportunity to make the leap, take it," said Michele Romanow, the youngest investor on "Dragon's Den," Canada's version of "Shark Tank." "The key is to get out there and execute. Just do what you need to do – whether that be creating a prototype, marketing it or finding investors."

You can set the pace when starting your business, so don't be afraid to experiment with different approaches and ideas. You don't need to settle on one project right away.

"You have the gift of time on your side," said Lawlor. "This is the time to try everything, and then to decide what works and what doesn't."

Romanow suggests trying different types of projects to determine potential challenges. That way, you can weigh your options before investing your money and growing your business.

"Research your planned business concept before you dive into this more," said Nicole Pomije, creator of The Cookie Cups. "Make sure you know your competition and you are not infringing on any patent rights."

Finances are a concern when starting a company, so be sure to have a financial plan. You'll want to save enough money to invest in your business so that it can reach its full potential. Sometimes, this means keeping your day job for as long as possible or even picking up shifts at a local restaurant.

"Figure out how you can save up some money to use as funding for your new endeavor and a timeline to leave your job that will keep you comfortable," said Pomije.

You also want to make sure you and your company are protected before working with clients or making sales.

"Ensure you have proper contracts in place," said Crystal Richard, president of Crystal Richard & Co. "Invest in a lawyer's help to ensure that you are covered and protected in the event of a disagreement with a client or if a legal matter should arise."

John Doherty, founder of Credo, compared starting a business to cleaning a house.

"If you look at everything that needs to be done, you'll be overwhelmed," he said. "But if you start with the kitchen counter, you'll keep going and eventually have your whole house clean. You don't have to have everything figured out before you start."

There are risks that come with starting your own company, but you can't let them cloud your vision. If every entrepreneur fell victim to doubt and anxiety, there would be no successful businesses or companies.

"The only way to approach this risk is by testing it and seeing how it works – that's how you figure out whether you have a good business model on your hands," said Romanow.

If you're afraid to fail, and you carry that fear with you, you're going to attract negativity in your endeavors. Failure should be welcomed – it means that you are willing to explore outside of your comfort zone despite the risks.

"For every successful business that I've started, I've had five others that have been complete failures," said Romanow. "That's OK. The key to turning a side hustle into a successful business is to turn these failures into learning opportunities. Never give up, and be willing to start again."

Sammi Caramela

Sammi Caramela has always loved words. When she isn't working as a Business.com and Business News Daily staff writer, she's writing (and furiously editing) her first novel, reading a YA book with a third cup of coffee, or attending local pop-punk concerts. Sammi loves hearing from readers - so don't hesitate to reach out! Check out her short stories in Night Light: Haunted Tales of Terror, which is sold on Amazon.