How To Convert Your Side Hustle into a Business
My Adventures With The Bohri Kitchen
When I started The Bohri Kitchen in 2014, I had a full-time job at Google, India. I worked in the ad sales team with some of the smartest and most hardworking people in the country. I had spent nearly 4 years at the Mumbai office, and I was by no means unhappy with my role, the work culture, my bosses, or anything else. Yet, I felt the familiar itch of wanting to do something more. That and the fact that my mother Nafisa Kapadia is an incredibly talented cook, propelled me to create The Bohri Kitchen (TBK) – a home dining experience inviting strangers to our home to eat home-cooked Bohri fare.
Before I quit Google to sell samosas (which also happens to be the title of my new book) and become the full-time Chief Eating Officer of The Bohri Kitchen, I spent 6 months juggling my corporate job at Google and TBK through the weekdays and weekends. Most people quit their careers to make time to pursue their passions or set up their new ventures, which is a wholesome way to go about it. But if you are passionate about something and aren’t ready to plunge into entrepreneurship yet, working on your idea part-time is a good way to approach it. Once you feel you have put your ideas to test and have a proven concept in hand you can make a rational, well-informed decision to take the next step.
Here are a few of the things that helped me take TBK from our living room in Colaba to the outside world.
Consistency is key. If you want a proof of concept, a confirmation that your idea works you need to work at it relentlessly. I would work 9-5, five days a week and spend my weekends marketing events, curating menus, and hosting strangers in my living room for a grand Bohri lunch. It was exhausting but ultimately exhilarating. My mother I and didn’t skip a single weekend. Within a short period of time, I knew full well that my idea worked and that gave me the confidence to quit my full-time job.
Get as Much Feedback as You Can
Whether you are writing a book, selling samosas, making a film, working on an app, the surest way to know that you have what it takes is to actually ask people what they think. Friends and family are a given. But if you know or have access to industry experts or relevant professionals, run your idea by them. The one-piece of feedback that clinched the deal for me was a conversation with my super boss who convinced me that pursuing The Bohri Kitchen full time was worth the risk!
Be Your Own Funder
Bankroll your own first steps into entrepreneurship. Even if you have an idea that you want to take to VC investors, put aside funds to carry you through basic expenses like consultants, bankers, travel for meetings, etc. If you don’t have plans to raise funds, it is even more important to have enough money to tide you through the first 6 months of entrepreneurship. It’s best to assume that you won’t make any money. Until you have the savings in place, continue working on your idea part-time.
There is a lot to be learned from other entrepreneurs but each individual and each journey is unique. You have to adapt to your own set of circumstances and be unafraid to move in a different direction from what collective wisdom tells you. If you care about your side hustle enough, in the end, pursuing it full time will be well worth it.
(Munaf Kapadia is the Owner of The Bohri Kitchen & Author of How I Quit Google to Sell Samosas)