We’ve talked about the transition from hustle to starting a business before, but it bears repeating: there are a lot of ways to know that you are ready to start working for yourself. Many people spend years doing what they love on the nights and weekends between shifts at a steady job, but a little thing can change, and you may be ready to take the business full-time, with great results. Here are some potential signs to look for!
You’ve Found a New Market
Perhaps you’ve been offering your product or service in a very small marketplace, somewhere that had limited options but created security and a positive experience for you. If you mention this product or service in a new place and instantly here, “can you work for us too?” there is a good chance that your growth potential is huge. If you’ve discovered a “well of work” where people will want your services without a substantial need for marketing, you owe it to yourself to take advantage of that opportunity.
You’ve Found a Partner or Potential Team Members
One good reason to keep a side hustle is so that you don’t have to field huge amounts of work all by yourself. However, when you find someone else equally skilled who wants to work with you, it can be easier to transition the business: for instance, a two or three person side hustle can eventually gain enough cash and notoriety that starting someone full-time is less of a risk. When you have found the perfect person to help you scale up, who helps in your weaker areas and who offers access to a new part of the industry, you may have found the right moment to take your side hustle up to a full business.
You’ve Done Serious Self-Reflection on What This Means For You
One of the biggest signs of being ready to start a business is that you’ve been thinking about it for a while, and you really understand what it means. This means that you’ve mulled the following questions over and you now have confident, informed answers:
- How will I scale as I grow this business?
- What limits will I put on my time so that I still have work-life balance?
- What permits or licenses do I need to operate legally?
- What space will I use in order to host my business?
- How will I overcome hurdles associated with both the early, lean months and the (hopefully) wild months when my business takes off?
By thinking these things through for a long time, you make the first months of running a business that much less overwhelming, and you ensure that you solve problems before they arise: be proactive, not reactive.
You Have a Plan for the First Months Post-Transition
An extension of self-reflection is planning. When you know you want to scale up to a full business, you can delineate exactly what you’ll do with your time and seed money to ensure the greatest possible returns:
- What will you spend on marketing, and what places will be your most effective channels?
- What will you do with downtime in a storefront or office that can always be growing the business?
- How will you make your production process faster and more efficient, or how will you source bulk supplies?
- How will you chart “success” and what are your monthly and weekly targets?
Having answers to these questions shows that you have a rough and flexible idea of what those days will look like: that way, a rough day doesn’t take you down, but instead simply helps you re-adjust your plans. People who enter a business without a plan often end up wasting time because they didn’t consider what they’d do with occasional downtime – make every minute count!
You See Room For Continued Innovation
Sure, your side hustle offers a great product or service, but what would you do if you had a little more capital or more time to grow your skills? Few businesses are sustained off a single product or service, but instead grow through various new options, customizations, or innovative products. If you are excited by the possibility of expanding your line, offering different but related services, and generally giving the public a “menu of options” in your field, you might be ready to see your business scale up.
Word is Spreading Quickly About Your Quality
While marketing can definitely get a lot of people “in the door,” be it literally or on your website, one of the best signs that your business is poised for growth is that you see reviews, sharing on social media, or friends referring friends to your business. It is only natural that lots of one’s customers in a side hustle are in somewhat connected to you as friends or family: however, if you notice that people who aren’t friends of yours are still out there repping your product or service, you may be sitting on a rocket about to take off. Start creating Google Alerts for your name and your product/service, so that you’ll be the first to know if someone mentions it online. Be forewarned: this takes a thick skin, since there will occasionally be naysayers, but the benefit is great when you discover how much someone loves your product or service.
You Feel Supported and Uplifted in This Endeavor
While the above sign is about people who aren’t friends and family, don’t underestimate their value in your business choice! If you have a spouse who is supportive or a family member who is willing to invest a little seed money, you are being given the signs that someone really believes in what you are doing. When your friends and family show up when you have events, and when they share your information with their networks, that isn’t to be taken for granted. Having a network will be a huge part of getting through the challenges of your first year as a business, so make sure you recognize and appreciate the people who helped you get this far; they’ll be there with you in the big success times too!