This month marks the one-year anniversary of owning my own business. I started a marketing agency after working in the private sector for five years. The best part: the firm emerged from a side hustle while working a full-time job.
And when it was time to move on, I was ready… because I had a plan.
A plan that would give me a much-needed break from the fluorescent lights, “office sweaters,” and cubicles. I did not want a quality of life dictated by someone else. And frankly, I’d rather gamble on myself.
So here are some steps I took to put my side hustle plan in motion—and one surprising lesson I learned along the way.
Step 1—Prep Your Bank Account
I built $5,000 in savings by working outside the 40+ hours a week. The $5,000 was a self-defined goal, and it didn’t come easy. I started with zero dollars in my savings account and adhered to a strict budget with the help of a simple Google spreadsheet and the old-fashioned envelope system, dividing my spending money into designated envelopes according to a fixed budget. But, as a risk-averse person, I knew I couldn’t take the leap into my side hustle without a small financial cushion to fall back on.
Step 2—Build Your Confidence
I warded off the nagging feeling of being “only” a project manager, marketing coordinator, at my fulltime job by creating my own opportunities outside of it—and ultimately that helped me realize the extent of my own capabilities and fueled my sense of self-worth.
Step 3—Cultivate Your Client List
I found opportunities by asking friends, approaching mid-sized companies for freelance work, and joining local marketing clubs.
Step 4—Trust Your Passion To Drive You To Work Like Crazy
Supportive family and friends always asked: “How do you have the energy to work full-time AND do something else?” It’s not a matter of power; it’s passion. Without passion, the gig falls flat and resentment sets in.
Step 5—Don’t Let It Totally Consume Your Life
With money in the bank and a solid client list, I left my job with a six-month plan, but I hadn’t factored in one major aspect building a new career: Burnout. Making customers happy and producing deliverables was easy. Keeping stable, mentally, was the biggest obstacle while building my own company. What I learned was that prioritizing self-care was as important as cultivating my business. I knew I had to shift my schedule and commit to creating more balance between my personal and professional existence in order to keep growing and thriving.
For me, breaking out on my own served up plenty of teachable moments. So, I learned the importance of a well-defined side hustle plan. Not just when it comes to money, but also when it comes to time.
Now I wake up every day and value what I’ve built because I worked hard to make it happen.
And I learned so much in the process.
For this post, we’d like to thank our friends at Levo.