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How to Go From Side Hustle to 7-Figure Business and Beyond, According to 3 Women Who Did It What starts as a way to earn extra cash just might launch you into full-time entrepreneurship — if you're strategic.

By Amanda Breen

Key Takeaways

  • More than half of Gen Zers and millennials have a side hustle, according to a recent survey.
  • Successful side gigs can outpace 9-5 salaries and lead to extremely lucrative full-time businesses.
  • Three women share their best advice for going from side hustle to multimillion-dollar success.
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More than half of Gen Zers and millennials have a side hustle, and 80% of them say they need the extra cash due to the state of the economy, according to a recent survey from LendingTree. From driving for rideshare services to teaching courses online, operating cotton candy vending machines, turning your backyard into a dog park, and so much more, there's something for everyone hoping to diversify their income streams — and anyone who might want to launch into full-time entrepreneurship, too.

Sometimes, successful side hustlers grow their earnings to the point where they outpace the salaries from their full-time jobs, and it only makes sense to go all in on their new venture. But even people whose side gigs see less initial return might have an entrepreneurial spirit and clear vision that motivates them to commit in full, and with the right strategy and mindset, those businesses can also become highly profitable, hitting six- or even seven-figure months.

Below are three women who did just that: Katherine Watercutter, founder and CEO of activewear brand Gold Hinge; Julie Berninger, co-founder of e-printables curriculum Gold City Ventures; and Danielle Cohen-Shohet, founder and CEO of booking and payments platform GlossGenius. Their journeys and areas of expertise are different, but they all know what it takes to go from a side hustle — maybe lucrative, maybe not — to a thriving multimillion-dollar business.

Related: 44 Side Hustle Ideas to Make Extra Money in 2023

Here are their stories and best advice for business success:

Katherine Watercutter: Gold Hinge

Katherine Watercutter is the founder and CEO of activewear brand Gold Hinge. When Watercutter was 23 and worked as a sales representative for a distribution company working with kitchen and bath designers around Indiana, she started the business as a side hustle. Lack of funding proved a major hurdle in the beginning, but today, Gold Hinge counts celebrities including Kristin Cavallari and Kaitlyn Bristowe among its fans. The brand also went viral during TikTok's "RushTok" trend, garnering 40 million hashtag impressions and sales in the multi-millions.

Watercutter's advice: "My advice may sound as cheesy as it gets, but don't give up. People in this day and age are impatient and sometimes quick to give up when they feel like they keep failing. There were a few times when I thought I hit 'rock bottom' and exhausted all options, but I found a way around it. I felt like I was failing consistently for three years, and I know many would have given up by then, but business is all about problem-solving."

Related: At 23, She Started a Side Hustle for 'Quick Money.' Now the Business Brings in More Than $1 Million a Month — and Boasts Celebrity Fans.

Julie Berninger: Gold City Ventures

Julie Berninger is an Etsy shop owner and co-founder of Gold City Ventures with Cody Berman. Berninger worked as a project manager for large tech companies and planned to be in the industry long term, but the "financial independence, retire early" (FIRE) movement inspired her to start a side hustle. She opened an Etsy shop focused on the bachelorette party niche, then co-founded the online course business that teaches other entrepreneurs how to find success on the platform. She quit her 9-5 in 2021 when the income from her ventures replaced her salary.

Berninger's advice: "Don't start a business by yourself! Pick a business partner and scale faster! Also, don't waste time trying to piece information together on YouTube. Pay for a step-by-step program or a business consultant because your time is valuable."

Related: This Former Amazon Employee Started a Side Hustle Because She Wanted 'Lifestyle Freedom' — Now Her Business Earns $100,000 a Month

Danielle Cohen-Shohet: GlossGenius

Danielle Cohen-Shohet is the CEO and founder of GlossGenius, an all-in-one booking, payments and point-of-sale solution that helps beauty and wellness professionals drive bookings and grow their business. In college, Cohen-Shohet did freelance makeup out of her dorm room, and she and her twin sister also collaborated on a digital receipts payments venture. Ultimately, she'd pull from those experiences to help self-care entrepreneurs run better businesses — and build a software company worth over $510 million in the process.

Cohen-Shohet's advice: "Be fearless. Don't take no for an answer. And, importantly, surround yourself with like-minded people. You might find this through a community like the one we've created for entrepreneurs with GlossGenius, or you might look to people closest to you. I've had many close supporters along the way, but my strongest collaborator is my twin sister, Leah. She has been a thought partner from day one and has played an invaluable role in expanding the company into what it is today. So surround yourself with people who get you."

Related: The Side Hustle She Started in Her Princeton Dorm Room Led to a $510 Million Business: 'Don't Take No for an Answer'

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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