Everyone’s got a side hustle these days.
For many millennials, a side gig offers necessary financial supplementation to a full-time job. A recent study co-published by researchers at Stanford University, Harvard University, and the University of California-Berkley concluded that only 50 percent of children born in the 1980s make more money than their parents, compared to 90 percent of children born in 1940.
Whether it’s to make ends meet or to have a little extra spending money, lots of millennials work a 9-to-5 corporate job, and then go home and work on their own passion projects. So what happens when you realize working late nights and weekends on your side-gig gets you more excited than your “real” job? It might be time to upgrade your side hustle from casual fling to serious relationship. Before you do that, you need to determine if your secondary job is something you can truly launch as a successful business.
It doesn’t matter how passionate you are about your side hustle—if it’s not a service or product that people want to buy, you’re destined to crash and burn. It might be hard for you to take an unbiased look at what you’re offering; you think it’s a great idea because, after all, you want to make a business out of it! The first way to test the waters and see if your idea is viable is to ask friends and family their honest opinions. Sure, they might blindly support you, but they might also offer helpful, more objective feedback that’ll strengthen your idea.
Then get clear on what your actual product is (you should be able to give a short, two-sentence “elevator pitch” that clearly defines your business idea), what your market size or customer base looks like, and finally who your competitors in the space might be. “In most instances, [the first iteration of a business idea] is a bad one, and sometimes it’s a good one,” points out Danielle Yadegar, co-founder of Above the Glass. “Once you know the specifics and feel good about your idea, you can workshop it even more by mocking up a business plan,” she suggests. That’ll tell you if your idea is a viable business opportunity that will eventually pay off enough to become your full-time job.
“Make sure that there’s a real opportunity in front of you—that what you’re going after is available. What’s your goal? Personal fulfillment, financial profit? Decide why you’re doing this—you’ll need to remember your reason down the road, because everything gets harder the more successful you get,” notes Heather Serden, Yadegar’s business partner and co-founder.
It’s awesome if you want to quit your well-paying corporate job to teach yoga full-time. Your primary goal would likely be personal fulfillment—sure, you might make less money, but you’ll be doing something you love, helping people, and in control of your own schedule. Get clear on your “why” before things get challenging—it’ll be easier to keep going when things get tough.
“You’re going to live with this business, especially if it does well. So make sure you really like what you’re doing,” says Yadegar. Passion is an integral part of being an entrepreneur—it’s the thing that drives those late night brainstorming sessions and overtime hours. When you believe with your whole heart that you have something unique to offer the world, and it’s your duty to do that, even the toughest circumstances are manageable. Without passion and belief, it’s so much easier to give up and walk away.
So you’ve built your business plan, tested your product, decided you’re overflowing with passion—time to take a breather. “My biggest piece of advice would be to take your time,” Yadegar says with a laugh. Rome wasn’t built in a day, people!
Ready to launch your genius idea? Get business plan tools, financial advice, and tips for female entrepreneurs at Above the Glass. Use the code SPORTELUXE50 for 50% off the ATG Business Plan Tool!