How to Turn Your Side Hustle Idea Into a Real Business

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Do you dream of quitting your job and becoming your own boss? You’re not alone. According to a survey by YouGov and Volusion, more than half (52%) of Americans have spent time at work thinking or daydreaming about a job or career they would rather pursue; 84% of full-time workers would rather pursue a career tied to one of their passions than their current job. (In fact, 67% of Americans overall and 79% of millennials say that even after winning the lottery, they would still like to work—as long as it was something they’re passionate about.)

There is a way to pursue your passion without quitting your job: Start a side hustle. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of full-time workers in the survey say they want to start such a passion project in addition to their regular job. However, only 37% have actually done so.

Side hustle stumbling blocks

What’s holding the majority of people back from pursuing their passions? Starting a side business has several barriers to entry:

1. Some 37% of survey respondents say lack of money, startup capital, or resources is keeping them from starting a side hustle.

2. One-third (33%) say they don’t have enough time to start one.

3. One in five (20%) admit they are overwhelmed by the steps involved in launching a side business or simply don’t know where to start.

Fortunately, all of these issues are easy for most people to overcome. All you’ve got to do is put your mind to it.

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Starting a side hustle

How can you overcome common challenges and make your side hustle real? Let’s take a look at the obstacles one by one.

Obstacle 1: Lack of money/resources

There are more ways to start a business (especially a side business) on a shoestring than ever before. Look around and see what resources you have. For example, if you have a hobby you want to turn into a side hustle, do you have the equipment and materials you need to get started? Try starting with what you have and then putting your profits back into the business to keep growing. If you have a laptop, there are dozens of businesses you can start with that alone.

Also assess your skills, experience, and talents, and brainstorm ways you can turn these resources into a side hustle. (If your side hustle idea is related to your current job, make sure you aren’t breaking any noncompete clauses or other legal agreements you may have signed with your employer.)

Of course, even a shoestring startup still needs a little bit of startup capital. To find it, go over your budget to see where you can cut costs. Most likely, by reducing spending on “extras” such as streaming subscriptions, eating out, and retail therapy, you can quickly build up a sufficient startup fund. If that’s not enough, consider moving in with a roommate or even moving home with your parents. (Need inspiration? Check out this post on how to finance a startup on minimum wage.)

Obstacle 2: Lack of time

If you want to get your side hustle off the ground, you’ll have to make some sacrifices. Depending on your current job and life situation, that might mean getting up early or staying up late to work on your side business when your kids are asleep, cutting back on your social life and working on your side hustle instead of meeting friends for drinks, or devoting your weekends to your startup.

However, chances are you can find a couple of extra hours in each day simply by giving up social media, watching TV, or mindlessly surfing the internet. Put that time to better use by working on your side hustle instead.

Obstacle 3: Not knowing where to start

Starting a business—even a part-time side business—can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are lots of free and low-cost resources out there to help you. One of my favorites is SCORE.

SCORE is a nationwide network of experienced mentors who provide free advice, consulting and guidance to startup and existing small business owners. SCORE mentors offer services in person at your local SCORE office and host a wide range of events in the community. What makes SCORE ideal for someone starting a side hustle: they offer a full range of online services, including online/email consulting, live and recorded webinars, and online courses in every aspect of starting and running a business.

Other startup resources to check out include the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network and the SBA.

What are you waiting for?

Almost half (47%) of Americans in the YouGov and Volusion survey say being their own boss would be worth taking a pay cut. Start a side hustle, and maybe you can have the best of both worlds.

(Disclosure: SCORE is a client of my business.)

RELATED: Do What You Love? Entrepreneurs Spill the Truth About Starting and Running Businesses

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