6 Tips For Growing Your Side Project Into A Legit Small Business

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Side hustles are booming right now, and many of you are the ones building this next generation of businesses. Whether it's all the recent time at home that’s sparked a new idea for a business, or simply an idea you've been sitting on for a while waiting for the right moment to launch, we're here to encourage you to take it to the next level. We know that everything involved in creating an actual business can be a bit intimidating, so you’ll want to break it down and take it step-by-step. Here are six tried-and-true ways to set yourself up to grow your side gig into a legit small business.

  1. 1. Establish your “HQ”

    Designate a space where you can focus and work.  Every entrepreneur has their preference on where they feel most productive, whether it is creating an office nook in your bedroom, dorm, or apartment, or joining a more official office space, like WeWork. Setting a specific space as the 'headquarters' of your side gig will catapult you into legit business territory so that when you enter that space, you’ll feel like you’re “at work”, even if your only coworker is yourself. Pro-tip: WeWork has a flexible membership option for young professionals so you can work wherever! Try WeWork All Access with a free one month trial for new members, and unlock 400+ workspaces today.  

  2. 2. Build a brand guide

    Coming up with a cohesive look and feel for the brand you’re building will help take your side hustle to the next level. From your logo to your website and even social media feed, you should be using the same fonts, colors, and overall design style. Not sure where to start? Look to your favorite brands for inspiration and list what you do and don't like about each of their styles. From there, you can begin curating your own brand's style by defining fonts, colors, and logos and then making sure you keep it consistent across everything you do. You’ll also want to create an official style guide doc (it can be a Google doc!) where you list and memorialize each of these choices. Pro tip: Reach out to a graphic designer in your network and see if they may be able to provide any tips or advice on creating your style guide, or better yet actually help you make one.

  3. 3. Schedule your time

    Most likely, you're still working at least part-time on something else to support yourself while growing your business, or you’re juggling it with school--or both! Instead of constantly switching gears between the different spheres in your life, start using your phone's calendar, Google calendar, or a physical planner to map out your schedule far in advance so your side hustle doesn’t keep getting pushed to the wayside. Determine how many hours per week you’d actually like to devote to it, and designate a spot where you can feel inspired, like a WeWork workspace. This may fluctuate week to week and that is totally fine, but be intentional about it ahead of time rather than getting to Sunday night and feeling bummed that you didn’t end up making any progress over the past week.

  4. 4. Set boundaries

    When you're working or going to school and growing a side hustle, it's easy to burn out. If you're spending all of your off-hours and weekends working on this project, you may find yourself taking no time for yourself or to relax. Establish rules for yourself, whether it's reserving Sundays just for yourself or designating the hour before bed as non-work time. This will help ensure you feel motivated, energized, and inspired during those blocks of time you’ve set aside when you DO want to be working.  

  5. 5. Collaborate with other small biz owners

    Taking the time to network with other small business owners is always a good idea. Not only will this help spread your business through word of mouth, but you could also end up finding synergies where your businesses could mutually benefit from a collaboration. Plus it’s nice to draw inspiration from other entrepreneurs or vent to each other when you’re having a tough day.  Online communities like Facebook groups, female founder networks or coworking spaces like WeWork are some amazing ways to invest in your future and connect with a global community of entrepreneurs.  

  6. 6. Don't be afraid to seek help

    Online or IRL, there are so many ways to seek guidance on your small business. Tap into your network or entrepreneur communities to get help with everything from budgeting to legal services to marketing best practices. Learning from people who have been in your shoes as well as experts in various domains will help you avoid pitfalls before they happen.

With these steps, you’ll be on your way to feeling like you’re running a real business. The sky’s the limit and we can’t wait to see how far you can take it!

Please note, depending on your state or city laws and ordinances, indoor activities may be resuming in your area. However, nothing in this article should not be taken as endorsement for outdoor or indoor group activities, as there are still safety concerns and risks involved. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to COVID-19. For updated information on coronavirus prevention and safety protocols, please visit the CDC website.