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5 tips to flip your side hustle to full-time

Saying sayonara to your annual salary to go steady with your side hustle is a daunting but exciting idea for anyone with a streak of entrepreneurial spirit in their soul. With some solid preparation, going it alone can prove hugely rewarding and show the world you’re destined for bigger and better things than a 9-5. Before letting go of the handlebars, here’s five tips to help set you on the road to success.

Find a mentor

Celebrated New Zealand chef Al Brown swears by “picking the brains” of successful people as a key way to win out in business. A business mentor should be someone who’s been where you want to go, so look for someone whose career you admire and ask them to be your someone special. A mentor will know the steps you need to take to get your new venture off the ground and be able to offer you an outside perspective of your business. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to be your mentor – not only is it flattering for them but they’ll also gain satisfaction and new perspectives from providing guidance and sharing insights with you.

Build a nest egg

Unless the thrill of potentially not making this month’s rent appeals to you, building a nest egg before you leap into your next venture is super important. Most businesses need at least some capital to get started and planning for a period before you turn a profit is wise. Use this opportunity to take a strong look at your finances and work out where you can cut back, so you can focus on your business dreams rather than your bank statements.

Grow before you go

Consider sticking with your day job until you’ve grown your business to a point where it feels like it needs your attention full-time. There are other important learnings you can nab from your current place of work too. An established company will have tried and tested resources, policies and procedures that will be useful when the time comes to scale up your own venture. Take note while you can!

Nurture contacts

Everyone you know is now a potential future customer, so don’t be afraid to ask your friends, colleagues and loved ones to be your personal guinea pigs. If you feel like they’re feedback isn’t completely honest, get a focus group (of people you don’t know) together. This will help you to refine your business and prepare you for the big wide world of dealing with the general public. Resources such as Neighbourly, New Zealand's free and private neighbourhood website, are ideal for setting up groups like these while giving you an opportunity to connect with your local community.

Plot your dreams

Put into writing what success looks like to you. Set yourself simple immediate, medium, and long-term goals and, with your mentor, work backwards to figure out the steps you need to take to reach them. Remember to celebrate your successes along the way. A good way to start the process is to ask yourself basic questions like: how many customers do I need to break even? How much weekly traffic do I want to my website? In working through the answers, you’ll see your goals start to take shape.

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