5 Ways to Grow Your Side Hustle Into a Full-Time Income
If you're making a couple of bucks on the side you are much closer to a real business than you might realize.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
When I was 12-years old, I begged my parents to loan me some money to start a business. I needed capital. Dial-up modems were still the norm and I needed to scoop up a 9600 bps modem (blazing fast at the time). I also needed to run eight phone lines to the house to setup my internet chat board.
Well, the phone company came out, drilled across our street and ran a huge pipeline to our home so that we could support the additional lines. It cost my parents a small fortune at the time. Plus all the hardware I needed to make this whole thing a reality. But, I was a technical kid. An engineer in the making, if you will.
Long story short, that business never made money. But, it was my first foray into the world of side hustles. Sure, I was a kid. I didn't know how to run a business. The lines were costing over $1,000 per month to support. Back then, that sure was a lot of money. I was only making roughly half that so I was constantly in the red.
Now, I didn't know a thing about marketing back then. After all, I was just a kid. But, since then, I've learned a thing or two about making money online. I've also learned business basics, which is something I hadn't quite mastered back then. But, if you're struggling right now to find the time to grow your side hustle into a full-time gig, you can probably learn a thing or two from this post.
Over the years, I've managed to take several side hustles and turn them into passive income producing streams of revenue. However, you can't do that when you exchange your time for money. I knew that. But, it was a trade-off. I've always been in the camp of doing lots of work in the front end for little pay, but reaping the benefits down the line when the same work you did one time continues to pay you repeatedly.
However, if you're struggling to make ends meet, that might not be the path for you. But, either way you look at it, there are ways you can turn your side hustle into full-time, income-producing businesses. It's simply a matter of identifying and scaling out the proper activities that bring you the biggest results. Here's how you can do just that.
1. Effectively manage your time.
Okay. I know. It sounds pretty basic, right? But, how well are you managing your time? The truth is that most of us waste lots of time. When you waste time, you have less of it on things like growing your side hustle. The hard part? Being honest with yourself and just how you spend your time.
If you want to figure out where all the time is going, start logging all the time you spend. Chunk them into 15-minute or 30-minute intervals. Use the quadrant time management system. Simply categorize each of the types of activities that you did during that interval based on the following four quadrants:
- Quadrant 1: Important and urgent crises that have to be handled in that very moment
- Quadrant 2: Important but not urgent tasks related to your long-term goals (i.e. growing your side hustle)
- Quadrant 3: Not important but urgent tasks that interrupt your time
- Quadrant 4: Not important and not urgent tasks that simply waste your time (i.e. binge watching television or endlessly surfing the web)
Throughout the day, in each block of time you choose to track, place the corresponding number of the quadrant and circle it. At the end of the day, do an audit. How much time did you spend in each of the quadrants? How much did you waste in quadrant 4? How much did you devote to quadrant 2? You might be shocked by the results. If you're serious about scaling your side hustle, then knowing where your time is going is crucial.
2. Follow the 80-20 Rule.
The 80-20 Rule, or the Pareto Principle, states that 80 percent of our results comes from 20 percent of our efforts. When it comes to your side hustle, that means that only a fraction of your efforts are generating the biggest results. The key here is to identify those efforts if you intend to scale.
In fact, the best way to scale your side hustle idea is to follow this rule. By tracking your time, you can better manage this. But, you need to be meticulous about how you track all your efforts. Identifying this might be a challenge. But, once you do, the sky really is the limit.
3. Spend one hour every day planning.
Take the first hour of every morning and spend it planning. Sit and think about your business. Notebook and pen in hand, do it the old-fashioned way. Ditch the laptop and phone for the hour. Turn off all the other distractions. And just write down what it is you plan to do to get you from your current situation toward your goals.
If you're serious about achieving your goals, you need to plan. The devil is in the so-called details. That's why you have to obsess over the planning phase. Make it a habit. Do it every single morning. It will help you to determine what's working and what isn't.
4. Model other successful businesses.
Tony Robbins often says that you should model what works. "Success leaves clues," are words that he often speaks. However, it's not just Robbins who believes in this. Russell Brunson, who's one of the greatest marketers in modern history, believes wholeheartedly in modeling. He calls it funnel hacking. And he's devoted an entire TV series to help instill this into his fans, followers and overall culture.
Brunson suggests going through a business and buying everything they have to offer. And record it while you do it. This way, you can see all the up-sells and down-sells and emails and headlines and copy throughout the process. Then, you can just model what's working. If there are five paragraphs under a title, write five paragraphs. If there were two one-time offers, create two one-time offers. And so on.
You can scale any side hustle by doing this. It doesn't matter what industry you're in. Head to Facebook and like all the pages and groups associated with that interest so that advertisers begin targeting you. Next, look for ads with hundreds of thousands or millions of views that are relevant to what you're offering. Then, hack the sales funnel. Plus, you can use Ad Beat and Similar Web to see all their ads and where their traffic sources are coming from.
5. Use email marketing effectively.
It doesn't matter what type of side hustle you're engaged in, if you're not building your list, you're wasting your time. You can't expect to scale your efforts of earning money online or as a digital nomad from anywhere in the world, if you're not sending out emails.
Afraid to send out emails? That's quite okay. You'll get used to it. But, this single activity will net you more money than all the other activities combined in trying to scale your side hustle business. Plain and simple. So, get really good at email marketing. Create a lead magnet that adds value and tell your story.
Engage with your audience and they'll engage with you. Remember, people don't buy products from brands they don't trust or know. They buy from other people. If you get people to fall in love with you or your journey, then they'll buy whatever it is that you're offering. And you can offer just about anything at any price point, and people will buy it.