I see you. The super-motivated, creative spirits scouring online job-postings, linking up with prospective employers on social media and updating your resume with each new skill learned. Like you, I spent a lot of time going from corporate position to position, waiting on the perfect job to come along. I was searching for a space that would allow me to showcase my skills (while I was still discovering exactly what those were).
Finally, after searching, applying and waiting, it hit me – if I wanted the perfect-fit job for me, I was going to have to create it. On my journey of the unknown, uncharted and largely unprepared, I found my talent. What’s better, I found that a lot of people were willing to pay me to share that talent with their business. If you’re wading in the waters of turning your side gig into a full-time hustle, use the highlights of my journey to dive in and find your success.
Find Your Talent
In so many companies today, team members are cross-trained, spread thin and handed responsibilities they barely understand. Step number one to making your side gig a full-time six-figure hustle is forgetting the idea you should be good at everything, and find your glowing talent. What are you great at? Focus in on the talent at which you excel, and stop trying to strengthen the areas where you’re not-so-fantastic (which is 100% ok). You want to be the best in a specific niche, not a jack-of-all-trades who’s so-so at a few tasks.
Learn From The Best
I wanted to learn how to effectively work remotely (an obvious requirement of building a successful online business). While I was still working my corporate job, I started educating myself on the hard and soft skills I’d need to be able to work in the remote space, what platforms to use, what skills I should have (think building landing pages, knowing email marketing platforms, using project management tools). In order to become an expert in your particular field, you need to spend every waking hour that you’re not at work taking online courses, reading books, and attending or listening to seminars and podcasts from those in your field who have paved the way to success. I partnered with a mentor I found on social media who was able to guide me through some of the sticky spots.
Test The Waters
Once you’ve discovered your six-figure worthy talent and submerged yourself in any piece of educational material you can find, it’s time to test the waters. I took on a few part-time clients while working the 9-to-5 and cramming info into my repertoire. Working freelance in your side gig specialty allows you to:
- Determine a good pay rate (which naturally grows as your skills develop)
- Survey the need for your particular skill
- Learn how to communicate with clients
- Develop new skills based on client needs
Take on freelance gigs to learn how to handle clients’ needs, maintain your schedule, and reserve time for continued learning.
Fight The Fear
Even when you find success with your first few clients, you’ll battle the natural (and totally understandable) fear that comes with realizing you’re doing this all on your own. Walking away from a secure income is hard, and I’m not going to sugarcoat this – it takes a determined, positive mindset to transform your side gig into a career. It takes a lot mental toughness to create a successful business from nothing and sometimes I really struggle with it. You always see the glamorous side. Who doesn’t want to sit on the beach with their laptop or work from home in their PJs while catching up on the latest episode of This Is Us? But it is HARD FREAKING WORK. If you have the mental toughness to take on the hours and ability to hear “no” numerous times and not stop until you get the “yes,” then get out of your own way and rock your side hustle.
I don’t have any regrets about my decision to start my own business. I have learned more about myself and what it takes to run a rockstar startup in the past year doing this than I ever did in college or working in a corporate job, and you can find the same success. While this has been the MOST rewarding thing I have done for myself, it was also been one of the hardest. When you’re ready to launch your side gig into full-time territory, use these tips that helped me find success:
- Surround yourself with a support network
- Never stop learning: take online courses, work with a mentor, listen to podcasts
- Keep up with changing trends in your niche
- Routinely evaluate your processes to ensure what you’re doing is still working
- Involve yourself in like-minded communities: co-working spaces, attend networking events, reach out to people you admire for a virtual coffee chat
You have greatness inside of you. You have the power to transform your side gig skills into a six-figure career. Do today what others won’t so you can do tomorrow what others can’t. If you need some direction on how to get organized and which digital platforms you’ll need to incorporate to help you find success, let’s chat about it.
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