Side hustles have become increasingly popular in recent years—and they show no signs of slowing down. Spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, new business formations increased by 42% in 2020.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned pro, turning your side gig into a full-time business can be a great way to explore your passions and launch a new career. To help you get started, we’ve outlined some key steps to take as you shift from being an employee to being your own boss.
Get Serious About Your Goals
Goal-setting is an important part of career planning and is especially critical when it comes to starting your own business.
In addition to having an overall sense of what you’d like to achieve (such as solving a specific problem for your customers), it’s important to have a clear sense of how you want to start and grow your business over the next several years.
Creating both short- and long-term goals is the first step to achieving this type of growth. Start by thinking about the upcoming quarter, then expand your strategy to include the next year and the next three years. This can help you establish benchmarks for your business and determine the resources you’ll need to achieve those goals.
Decide When to Make the Jump
Perhaps the scariest part of going out on your own is knowing when to leave your current job behind. Depending on your circumstances, you may decide to make the transition slowly rather than doing it all at once. To determine which path is best for you, it may be helpful to ask yourself a few questions:
- What income goals do you need to achieve to be successful as a business owner?
- Do you have enough savings or startup capital to cover expenses while you get your business off the ground?
- How comfortable are you with risk, and what’s your plan for managing risk as you move away from full-time employment?
Your answers will guide you in the direction you need to go and help you make a clear decision about timing.
Tap Into Available Resources
Being your own boss doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Asking for help when you need it can make a big difference when it comes to making your business sustainable.
Your professional network is often the best starting point. We recommend reaching out to a few experts who can offer advice on marketing and business development. This can be a helpful way to refine your current strategy and figure out which areas of your business to prioritize in the coming months.
Opt for Health Care Coverage That Suits Your Needs
Moving away from your full-time job also means leaving behind many employer-sponsored benefits. While this may require some adjustment, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to forgo access to important things like health care.
Exploring your options via a professional organization such as the Freelancers Union or health care marketplace can help you determine what type of health care coverage is right for you. Depending on your state and your income, you may also qualify for certain plan discounts.
A smart place to start is solidifying vision coverage with VSP® Individual Vision Plans. With plans as low as $13 a month, VSP offers quality care at an affordable price and covers everything from comprehensive eye exams to prescription lenses. There are also no waiting periods, so you can start using your plan the same day you buy it. You’ll also have access to flexible payment options and a large network of independent doctors.
Running a thriving business may seem like a dream job, but the right planning can make it an achievable goal. By developing a strategic vision, you can take the first step on the rad to success.