This Social Worker Started a Side Hustle to Pay Back Student Loans. It Earned $300,000 in One Year — So She Quit Her 9-5 Altogether. It wasn't long before Dielle Charon's business revenue "far surpassed" her annual salary.
- Starting with a single offer and platform, Dielle Charon saw her side hustle income exceed her full-time job in about a year and a half.
- Today, as a full-time entrepreneur, she advises new side hustlers on mastering sales, adopting a successful mindset and ensuring a solid financial plan to mitigate risks.
This Side Hustle Spotlight Q&A features Dielle Charon, a former social worker who now runs a seven-figure online coaching business to help women of color "experience full freedom and liberation."
Image Credit: Courtesy of Dielle Charon
What were you doing before you started your side hustle, and why were you interested in entrepreneurship?
Prior to starting my side hustle, I was a licensed social worker for Duke University. I was looking at my salary and realizing I just did all of this hard work and I barely had enough to pay my student loans. I was also experiencing racism within the workplace, so I wanted to find my way to creating a work life that I felt respected and valued in. It was about creating the life that I wanted after feeling stuck with my social work job.
When did you start your side hustle, and where did you find the inspiration for it?
I started my side hustle in 2018. I had just learned about the coaching industry from a friend who was sharing some with me, and I began to dive more into the industry. I found my inspiration for this business from my own story. Daily, I was using skills around sales to build that same level of trust quickly with those that I served. I also wanted to help other people build their businesses. I became inspired to serve other women of color: We can all build this life of freedom together.
What were some of the first steps you took to get your side hustle off the ground?
I first dove into doing as much learning as possible about the coaching industry, as this was the side hustle I was choosing. I listened to podcasts and gained as much knowledge as possible. From there, I started to use my story in order to promote my coaching. I would showcase myself commuting to work and working before and after my 9-5 to show how others could build their side hustle as well. I would go live on Instagram all the time, and people knew me for my rants and passionate speaking. I began to build a brand slowly about what I was coaching and quickly gained clients.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced while building your side hustle, and how did you navigate them?
Learning not to resent your 9-5 is so key. You want to make sure that you see your job as the biggest investor in your business and not the enemy of your business. It helps keep that financial pressure off of your business so you can build a strong business instead.
I also learned how to manage my time well so that I was doing well in both areas. I kept the time between the two very separate.
Another challenge was the three-and-half-hour commute I had to work as well as the long hours as a social worker. I learned to make the most of this time.
Finally, I learned that if I wanted to be able to make a side hustle a full-time business, I needed a financial plan. I worked to save a year's worth of expenses for business and personal so that I would not feel that strain on my side hustle if and when it was time to quit my job.
How long did it take you to begin seeing consistent monthly revenue, and at what point did the side hustle's income surpass that of your full-time job?
I was consistently seeing monthly revenue pretty quickly. I would say it took a few months to get to that point. About a year later, I was hitting six figures and even got to $300,000 a year when this was still a side hustle. In 2020, at $300,000, I decided it was time to go full-time. I had far surpassed my social worker salary about a year and a half before.
You've turned your side hustle into a full-time business. How much average monthly or annual revenue does it bring in now?
Today, I am bringing in $1.5 million with this as my full-time gig. This is my second year in a row hitting a million dollars or more.
What's your advice for other side hustlers who hope to turn their ventures into successful businesses?
1. Start out with one offer and one marketing platform and get really good at it.
Do not try to have every single marketing platform and tons of offers that you will try to sell. Focus on one side hustle offer and platform and get really good at it. Then once you are established, you can start to add more in, but this is a new skill. Give yourself time to be a master.
2. Take on the identity of what you want.
If you want to be a six-figure business owner, be that in your identity. Act like this. Talk about how you do this side hustle for work. Be proud and take on the mindset that this is going to be successful. Mindset is very powerful.
3. Don't expect your job to bring you happiness.
Remember that your job is investing in your business by letting you make decisions in it without being your only income. Respect it and perform well until the end.
4. Have a financial plan.
As mentioned, I saved a year's worth of life and business expenses. This made it so that if I did not make another sale, I had runway. This just eases the pressure and stress once you go full-time so that you can make clear decisions.
5. Learn the art of sales.
Sales will be something you need to learn. It is a skill, and it does not have to be something we do not like. Instead, lean into learning it by listening to podcasts or finding others who share how to sell well in your industry.