I can’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t had a side hustle to tend to. Looking back, my passion for having a service offering of my own to grow and mold began in early high school when I got my first DSLR camera. I started working with my peers on photoshoots and even earned some great summer money ($50 a shoot, hollaaa!) shooting senior portraits. In college, my freelance writing gigs took off, and then my first blog bloomed into something larger than I ever could have imagined.
And now I’m here. Running and growing my blog, design and social media offerings one client at a time. I’m 10 years deep in the side hustle game, and leaving my 9-to-5 only to plop down at my home desk to work on “my” work feels so natural.
But lately, I’ve been wrestling with the question of what’s next for me. Each passing day it seems like one of my fellow side-hustling comrades crosses the line from side hustle to full-time entrepreneurship (party time!), and I can’t help but wonder when my time will come.
Is the same true for you?
If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that there’s no time to wallow and wish - there’s only time to take action! Because as side hustlers, we know better than anyone that time is of the essence and we’ve got to spend it wisely if we really want our businesses to flourish.
If you’ve been struggling with how to take the next step in your side hustle after years of maintaining business as usual, this one’s for you, friend. I’ve made a list of these intentional steps not only to help you, but to also hold myself accountable - I’m following these steps, too!
Set up office hours, stat.
If you haven’t set office hours for your side hustle yet, I encourage you to take out your planner right now! Alright - got your pen in hand? I’d like for you to choose three business days that work best for you to fully, 100%, no-interruptions tend to your side hustle, and pencil in office hours for those days. For me, this looks like 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. And you know what? I get more accomplished for myself and for clients in those three hours each week than I ever did before I set up office hours. P.S. Sometimes office hours look like me sitting at my desk, and other times they look like me on the couch, working away with my pup on my lap. There’s no magic method: work where you’re most productive!
Do a check-up of your brand.
When’s the last time you polished up your logo or updated your website? Do you have a website? How about those pesky business cards? Who even is your brand’s target market anymore? It’s time to ask yourself these questions and invest where attention is needed. My recent rebrand opened my eyes to a ton of places where my side hustle was lacking in personality and uniqueness, and I was able to optimize those areas of my website and social media channels accordingly. A new logo, color palette and tone of voice can work wonders for your brand!
I know you’ve been avoiding contracts, but…
Or maybe that’s just me! Regardless, having contracts in place for your side hustle is key. I know - I too once believed that because my business was “just a side hustle,” I could avoid going through the work of setting up contracts with legally binding verbiage. But that’s just not true. One of the biggest steps that you can take to legitimize your business is by getting client contracts, a website disclaimer and proper business documentation (hello, LLC!) in place. Not only that, but it will end up protecting you in the long run. I recommend first researching creative contract formats to get familiar with the verbiage that you will need included in your contract, and checking out this helpful read from 99U on a few important creative provisions to include in your contracts. You’ll feel like a legal-ese pro in no time.
Get connected and serve others well.
This is the biggest one for me. It takes a village to build a business community, and if you’re not yet plugged into a mastermind or creative brainstorm group – why not? Now more than ever, we’re just clicks away from meeting new business friends thanks to Instagram pods, Facebook groups, online course groups and more. If you haven’t checked out my recent blog on the Facebook groups that creative entrepreneurs must join, you should check it out and choose one group to invest in. I challenge you to comment consistently for one week and see what magic happens for you! Serve others well by providing comments that add value and will help grow their business. I’m huge on giving more than receiving – it always comes full circle.
How are you going to commit to stepping up your side hustle? Comment below with the first step you’re going to take to step up your side hustle this week. I’m cheering you on!