Lester Romero of small business: Taking your side hustle full-time

From selling designed products online to supplementing income with photography or driving for a ride-share service, the gig economy is changing the way people work and earn a living in Carson City. Proof of this is shown in a recent study from Intuit saying 40 percent of U.S. workers will be freelancers in some capacity by 2020.

With the growing popularity of the “side hustle” in Northern Nevada, many people are considering how to take these gigs from supplemental income to the main stage. But making this transition means several considerations, including what the local market (and demand for your intended service) looks like, how to finance the growth of your venture, and what you want out of your business.

When I look at successful Northern Nevada small business owners I’ve worked with over the years, from the ones who started in their garage to those continuing a family tradition, a few key trends have emerged which can help those looking to transition their side hustle. The first (and sometimes most challenging) is to objectively determine the scalability of your business and what transitioning it to full time might look like. Doing this early is critical to making the road to a full-time career smoother.

Once you’ve determined what the path forward might look like, here are some other key considerations as you transition your side hustle:

Know your options for saving (and how to use them)

While funneling all income toward growing your business might seem paramount to success for some business owners, saving also is critical for tackling issues that may arise, reaching long-term goals, and improving your financial health. Replacing a broken piece of equipment? A vendor disruption preventing you from filling orders? Having savings set aside for emergencies can make these scenarios more manageable. From understanding what types of tools might help you save money to best practices for tracking savings, knowing your options is a key part of your business’ financial success.

Mind your cash flow

Managing your cash flow is critical to growth. The proof? A review of 101 failed startups in a recent CB Insights poll showed 29 percent failed due to lack of cash. Achieving success in cash flow management means utilizing tools that can help you accurately forecast, properly plan, and consistently be prepared for challenges, which are all an important part of maintaining the growth of your burgeoning business.

Know who you’re serving (and potential competitors)

Before you establish a business, you need to know your service area and our local Northern Nevada market. Knowledge of who your competitors are, what need you will be filling in the local area, and proper market analysis are all pieces of competitive intelligence that will improve your ability to successfully transition your side hustle to a full-time career.

Remember the “why”

What might be the most important thing to consider in taking your side hustle full-time boils down to a simple question: Why are you doing it? Beyond any strategies or logistics, it’s key to remember what your motivation is to take your side hustle to the next level and make it your full-time career. From flexibility with hours, to being your own boss, to filling a market need, maintaining your focus on the “why” makes turning “what I do on the side” into “what I do” a much more rewarding experience.

Lester Romero is the small business leader for Wells Fargo in Carson City. More tips and tools to manage your small business are available online at www.WellsFargoWorks.com.


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