Out-of-the-ordinary ways of earning an income are on the up and up. More and more, we’re renting out spare rooms on Airbnb, selling crafts on Etsy or moonlighting as Uber drivers to earn extra cash. But what do you do if eventually you want that side hustle to become your main gig?
If you have a side hustle you’re passionate about – and one with genuine potential for financial success – it may be worth exploring. Start with these basic questions before ditching your day job to pursue your dreams full-time.
Am I financially ready?
The last thing you want to do is take a leap of faith and quit your job only to realize you’ve jumped into the financial deep end. Do you have a financial plan in place? Have you saved enough to cover your monthly budget for six months if needed? Do you know how much you’ll need in your retirement, and are you tracking to your goal? Are there start-up costs to fund your entrepreneurial dreams, and do you have those in savings? It’s important to estimate whether the income from your side hustle will be enough to keep you on track with all of your financial goals and sustain you long-term.
Map out a prediction of your side hustle income along with your monthly expenses. Try creating a budget using Northwestern Mutual’s 20/60/20 breakdown: 20 percent of income should go toward saving and investing, 60 percent for essential expenses and 20 percent for discretionary spending. Online tools can be a lifesaver when it comes to revamping your spending and saving limits, and using budgeting apps can keep splurging on guilty pleasures to a minimum while you’re trying to save.
If you don’t already have a financial plan in place, you’ll need one now more than ever. Before making your move, meet with a financial professional who can advise you on the best approach and create a tailored plan to help maximize your chances of future success.
Have I set boundaries?
Once you’re actively running your business full-time, the temptation can be to prioritize the financial needs of your business over your personal financial needs.
It’s important to define boundaries along with your personal definition of success. Realistically, how much money do you hope to make in the first year of your business? The first five years? How much of your own money are you planning to invest at the ground level? And perhaps most importantly, will you at least break even?
Ask yourself the tough questions now to help reduce financial stress down the road. Start off on the right foot by meeting with a financial professional who can help you chart out a plan as you build your business.
What will help me achieve success?
Have a clear vision of what success looks like to you. Whether your goal is based on financial success or simply having more work-life balance, there are plenty of online resources to help your business succeed: online accounting software for balancing business finances, sites for building your online and social media presence, and even online business consultation.
Online tools can help you test out options that will make the most sense with your business plan. Online forums for having conversations with other entrepreneurs can also be extremely helpful – after all, these people have already faced some of the same challenges you’ll likely experience.
Despite the prevalence of online resources, don’t underestimate the value of meeting face-to-face with a financial professional who can give the personal attention you’ll want when considering this important life change.
The financial responsibility of becoming an entrepreneur can be a unique challenge. But, by considering these important issues beforehand, you can build a more solid foundation for your start-up and be on your way to making your passion a success.
Sometimes it takes falling to rock bottom in order to be built back up again. I learned this many years ago when the life I'd carefully built for myself and my family suddenly changed. But in those times, you learn to lean on those who love you – a friend, family member or someone who can relate to what you've been through. I was lucky enough to have two incredible women help me through one of my lowest moments. They taught me to love myself and inspired me to pass on their lessons each day.
In 2010, I was a wife, a mother of 3, and had filtered in and out of jobs depending on what my family needed from me. At different points in my career, I've worked in the corporate world, been a stay-at-home mom, and even started my own daycare center. Fitness has always been a part of my life, but at that point being a mom was my main priority. Then, life threw a curveball. My husband and I separated, leading to a very difficult divorce.
These were difficult times. I lost myself in the uncertainty of my future and the stress that comes with a divorce and found myself battling anorexia. Over a matter of months, I lost 40 lbs. and felt surrounded by darkness. I was no longer participating in my health and all efforts to stay active came to a halt. I didn't want to leave my home, I didn't' want to talk to people, and I really did not want to see men. Seeing my struggles, first my sister and then a friend, approached me and invited me to visit the gym.
After months of avoiding it, my sister started taking me to the gym right before closing when it wasn't too busy. We started slow, on the elliptical or the treadmill. This routine got me out of the house and slowly we worked to regain my strength and my self-esteem. When my sister moved away, my good friend and personal trainer started working out with me one-on-one early in the morning, taking time out of her busy schedule to keep me on track toward living a healthy life once again. Even when I didn't want to leave the house, she would encourage me to push myself and I knew I didn't want to let her down. She helped me every step of the way. My sister and my friend brought fitness back into my everyday routine. They saved my life.
I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again. My friend has since moved away, but, these two women made me feel loved, confident and strong with their empowerment and commitment to me. They made such an incredible impact on me; I knew I needed to pay it forward. I wanted to have the same impact on women in my community. I started by doing little things, like running with a woman who just had a baby to keep her inspired and let her know she's not alone. I made sure not to skip my regular runs, just in case there was a woman watching who needed the inspiration to keep going. These small steps of paying it forward helped me find purpose and belonging. This gave me a new mentality that put me on a path to the opportunity of a lifetime – opening a women's only kickboxing gym, 30 Minute Hit.
About four years ago, I was officially an empty nester. It was time to get myself out of the house too and find what I was truly passionate about, which is easier said than done. Sitting behind a desk, in a cubicle, simply didn't cut it. It was hard to go from an active and chaotic schedule to a very slow paced, uneventful work week. I felt sluggish. Even when I moved to another company where I got to plan events and travel, it was enjoyable, but not fulfilling. I wanted to be a source of comfort to those struggling, as my sister and dear friend had been to me. I wanted to impact others in a way that couldn't be done from behind a desk.
When I heard about 30 Minute Hit, I was nervous to take the leap. But the more I learned about the concept, the more I knew it was the perfect fit for me. Opening my own gym where women can come to let go of their struggles, rely on one another and meet new people is the best way for me to pass on the lessons I learned during my darkest times.
Kickboxing is empowering in itself. Add to it a high energy, female-only environment, and you have yourself a powerhouse! The 30 Minute Hit concept is franchised all over North America, acting as a source of release for women who are just trying to get through their day. I see women of all ages come into my gym, kick the heck out of a punching bag and leave with a smile on their face, often times alongside a new friend. 30 Minute Hit offers a convenient schedule for all women, from busy moms to working women, to students and senior citizens. A schedule-free model allows members to come in whenever they have a free half hour to dedicate to themselves. Offering certified training in kickboxing and a safe environment to let go, 30 Minute Hit is the place for women empowerment and personal growth.
Through my journey, I have learned that everyone is going through something – everyone is on their own path. My motivating factor is knowing that I can touch people's lives everyday just by creating the space for encouragement and community. It's so easy to show people you care. That's the type of environment my team, clients and myself have worked hard to create at our 30 Minute Hit location.
Fitness saved my life. If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today. The perfect example of women empowering women – the foundation to invincibility.