387: Tangible Tips I Used To Scale My Side Hustle To A Full Time Business

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387: Tangible Tips I Used To Scale My Side Hustle To A Full Time Business

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There is an overload of info and tips for entrepreneurs on the internet, it can be hard to filter through what is actually helpful. In this week’s episode, I’m giving you the real deal with 7 tangible tips to scale your side hustle to a full time business. Having been at this for over 7 years now, I’ve learned that scaling a side hustle is a journey of constant learning and pivoting, but having a solid starting point is key. 

 In this episode I share about:

  • Recognizing the seeds that were being planted in my life that led me to entrepreneurship
  • How I used my 9-5 background in social media to launch my side hustle 
  • How I took my “failures” as lessons and improved in my next steps

Highlights Include: 

2:30 The Power of Believing In Yourself 

6:02 Find The Easiest Entry Point

9:26 How To Re-invest In Yourself 

15:06 Testing Out Your Side Hustle

17:40 How To Leverage Social Media

23:20 Figuring Out What To Sell

25:04 When To Quit Your 9-5

Check out episode 387 of Side Hustle Pro podcast out now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube 

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Guest Social Media Info

Side Hustle Pro – @sidehustlepro


Nicaila Matthews Okome 0:02

You're listening to side hustle Pro, the podcast that teaches you to build and grow your side hustle from passion project to profitable business. And I'm your host Nicaila Matthews Okome. So let's get started.

Hey, friends, Hey, it's Nicaila here back with another solo episode of side hustle Pro. So today I want to share with you my tangible tips that I use to grow my side hustle from side hustle to full time business. Now, for those of you who don't know me, my name is Nicaila started the side hustle pro podcast in 2016, I grew the podcast to over 10 million downloads. When I started the podcast, six months in, I started monetizing, or my first $4,000 podcast contract. And from there, I just kept going with revenue streams of podcast sponsorships, teaching my own courses and programs. And sure enough, within a year and a half, I was able to quit my full time job working at NPR to podcast full time. And that's what I continue to do. Now. It's been almost seven years and counting since I quit my job. So today, I'm looking back at what are some of the things that really helped me? And how was I able to do this? And what can I share with you, there are a lot of things that I look back and I see consistent trends in my life that I didn't realize at the time, but truly were impactful in helping me to scale side hustle Pro. So here it goes. Let's get right into it. And here's what you can do as well. Tip number one is you got to get into the right mindset. Mindset is everything. Not only do you have to believe you can do this, but leave that you can scale and grow a side hustle that you can be an entrepreneur, that you can just be a business owner, because you don't necessarily have to be an entrepreneur, but you have to believe that you can do this. So for me at the time, I was eager to side hustle, I didn't feel like there were any limits or restrictions on me, even when I was tempted to be scared. Like what if my employer finds out, I would push that to the side, I spoke to people who reminded me, these are just fears trying to stop you from doing what you know, you're being called to do doing what you know, keeps, you know, nine at you and nine at you because it's something that you're supposed to be doing. So with that in mind, I just pushed those fears to the side. And I said, I'm gonna keep doing this and see where it leads me because it feels good, I enjoy what I'm doing. And who knows where this could lead. So a part of getting into the right mindset is again, believing that you can do this, believing that this path is for you. And most importantly reminding yourself that you are not supposed to have it all figured out. You are not supposed to know what is going to work. Your job now is to be open to testing, learning, receiving and improving. All right, that is your only job. So get to work doing just that. The only thing that you need to do is believe in your ability. Okay? Believe in your ability. Notice, I didn't say believe in your idea. So there's this misconception that in order to be an entrepreneur, you need to have this $100 million idea, you need to have it all figured out and then you launch something. That's actually not how it works. You need to believe in your ability to figure it out. You need to believe in yourself like okay, I'm gonna test. I'm gonna figure this out. And that's what I did. I got out there. And I started with one thing that didn't work. So I changed my name, I changed the whole platform. It was a blog, it was called something else. It was called que lo que speaks, I ended up switching to a podcast, and then it was called Side Hustle Pro. I thought, Oh, I'm just gonna focus on getting ads for my podcast. That's how I'll be able to leave my job. All right, I got that revenue stream started. And then I decided, hey, I want to have some more revenue streams, just so that I'm not overly reliant on advertisers or brands because budgets can be cut. As we saw these last few years, right? budgets can be cut. brands can be finicky. What else can I do? So I taught myself to be a content creator and an educator, and create those additional revenue streams for myself. And all of that came not from one idea, but from continuing to learn and believing in my ability to grow, to pivot. And to just continue to improve as I learn new things like we are not these creatures that will just go someplace, learn one thing and then come out and be that thing. And that's what a lot of us feel because that's how we're programmed in school, right? You're going to go to school, you're going to learn these things. You're going to get this job in this field, and then boom, you're ready for the world. Whereas what you really need to do is know that, okay, I'm gonna learn this thing. It's going to help me for a bit and then things are gonna change in the marketplace, and I need to get ready to learn some more. And I need to always be reading and learning and paying attention Due to what's going on in the news, trying out new platforms, trying out AI, trying out, reels, trying out everything that's coming into my field, and not just being such a stickler to thinking, Oh, I'm finally done with school, I finally got my MBA. Now I'm a Marketing Pro, no way, no way. These textbooks are not incorporated, and Tiktok. These textbooks are not incorporating reels. So it's up to you as a person who wants to grow, to continue to improve yourself by going after that knowledge. And actually putting that knowledge into practice. It's one thing to read, it's one thing to observe what everyone else is doing. But you also need to go out there and implement it. So having the mindset, which is also called the growth mindset, that you can always learn, you can always improve that there's not this fixed level of knowledge that you have. And then oh, I'm checkmark smart. That is what really has helped me. So I'll end it there because you guys get the gist. But you know what I mean? So get into the right mindset, mindset, mindset. Mindset is everything. It's key. Alright, tip number two, start small with the easiest entry point for you. What do I mean by that? I mean, we tend to overthink things, right? We think that it needs to be harder than it really is. And it doesn't, it doesn't. I knew that I just wanted to get back to creating, I wanted to create something that I owned. That was for me, that no one could take away from me, at the time that I planted the seeds for my side hustle. I was in a low space where I was interviewing for jobs. So I was unemployed, I was interviewing for jobs, I was getting a lot of rejections. It was killing my vibe, to be honest, it was really, really killing my vibe. And I really wasn't appreciating the rejections. And I just needed to get back into a zone where I felt good about myself where I felt like I am really excelling. I'm shining, and I'm not going to be hearing these nose, I'm going to be doing something that I'm good at. So I decided to start blogging again. And by the way, I also you guys might have heard me say this before, but I pulled my friends because I was in such a low place. And I asked them, you know, guys, tell me what my strengths are again, because I don't know if I'm not applying for the right jobs or what but it's not working. So people were telling me, you know, get back to writing, get back to social media. And I said, You know what you're right. Like, that's, that's really my zone of genius. I love doing that. So I said, All right, I'm going to start my blog backup, because I had a blog before in 2009. And it's time for me to start it back up. So I started blogging again, that was the easiest point of entry for me, you know what that required, getting a domain name, opening up a WordPress account and starting a blog. And at the time, I had no idea where it would lead, I didn't have $100 million idea. I didn't have a business idea. I didn't have a business plan. But the easiest point of entry for me was to get in motion to take action. And that action for me was to start putting my thoughts out into the atmosphere. That was step number one, put yourself out there. I've seen people nowadays doing that by creating their Instagram account and starting to share what they enjoy doing. If that's interior design, start to slowly share pictures of the work that you're doing, you know, for friends or family on the side, or even your own home, you might not know, hey, I don't know if I want to one day open up my own interior design house. I just like doing this for myself right now. But let me share what I'm doing. I don't know where this will lead. Just start sharing. That's the easiest, lowest point of entry for you. And it doesn't cost you anything. It's not that much extra lift. It's not going to put pressure on you because you can do it at your own pace. But that is how you get started. So again, I wasn't sure where I wanted to begin. But I knew I wanted to write. I started the blog. And then once I started the blog, that's when I was able to narrow down the content I wanted to create. I saw that I gravitated towards interviews. And from there, I saw that I gravitated towards certain kinds of interviews. I loved interviewing black woman who were side hustlers, working in corporate but also doing their own thing growing their side businesses and doing well at it. And so those were the seeds of side hustle Pro. Tip number three is to set aside a small side hustle budget. So use a portion of what you earn from your full time job or your many part time jobs to set aside for your side hustle budget. It doesn't have to be a huge amount. It could be $50 it could be 20 $25 You know, slowly start to put some money into that pot, so you can use it towards your business expenses. So business expenses will be things like Buying the domain name, buying whatever equipment you might need to start producing what you're producing, if you're creating a physical product, the ingredients and the things that you need to create, if you want to take a course, putting aside some of that money towards that, that is what you should be doing when you're starting out. The beauty of side hustling and what I love about side hustling is that you have the time, you have the time to really test out and experiment. And the goal is that you are doing this on the side. So you got you have a full time job that can then be your first investor, like you are your own first investor, you are rearranging funds, and moving money away from categories where maybe, okay, I don't need to spend as much. And I can spend a little bit more on my side hustle. So for me, I would go out less after work, you know, like I had coworkers who invite me out to happy hour. And not only was I not spending on drinks or anything after work, I also wasn't spending my time in that way. So I was reinvesting in myself, because I was giving myself back time. Whereas I could spend two hours after work, doing something where it's fun to bond, and you know, just let off some steam. And I'm not saying that you can't do that sometimes. But if even you know, one less Thursday or one less Friday, a month, you go to a cafe and you take those two hours or even more hours to just bang out some work on your side hustle, you will be amazed at where that investment will go. I've also seen people take some of their income from their full time job and use it to pay for conferences. And sometimes you can kind of finagle work to pay for the conference depending on what field you're in. So look into that as well, of course, don't tell them oh, this is from my side hustle. But see if there's a way that you can make the to align for me, I worked in social media. So I happen to eventually get a job working in social media for NPR. So it was the best of both worlds because I was able to any kind of conference that I wanted to go to I could kind of go to under the guise of both my job, but also I was learning things for side hustle Pro. So I know not everyone will be able to do that. But again, you'd be surprised at the things that you can pitch to attend, that may work in your favor. So don't rule that out. In addition courses, there are a lot of jobs that pay for college credits that pay for graduate school credits, and all these other things. And by the way, I'm not saying that you need like graduate school or any kind of certification to start your side hustle, because that's a common way that people used to procrastinate. Like, let me go and take all these classes first, before I test anything, and no, no, no, that's not what we're doing. That's why in Tip two, I said to start small, with the easiest point of entry. So even if you're setting aside money, to learn, and to do all these other things make short, you're starting to take that action, too. So let's say you want to, you know, buy my podcast moguls course, for example, right, I still want you to start getting started with your podcasts, okay, I don't want you to wait until I'm done with the course. And then I will know, start thinking of your podcast name. Start doing that research. Start thinking about ideas that you have, and all that good stuff. Don't let any of these steps keep you in analysis paralysis. And if you're finding that you're getting into analysis paralysis, go back to tip one. Let's go through this again.

If you're a small business owner, this is for you. Running a business is just plain hard, endless to do lists employees to take care of and you're ever present bottom line. So first of all, kudos to you for staying on top of it. And now I want to tell you about gusto. Gusto builds an easier and more affordable way to manage payroll benefits and more. They help over 300,000 businesses by taking the pain out of tasks like automated payroll tax filing, direct deposit, health insurance administration, 401k, onboarding tools, you name it. gussto makes it easy, and they really care about the small business owners they work with. Their support team is attentive and helpful. And since money can be tight, sometimes you'll even get three months free. Just go to gusto.com/shp and start setting up your business today. You'll see what I mean when I say easy. Again, that's three months of free payroll@gusto.com slash sh p. So now Tip four, let's get into the testing phase. So the biggest thing that helped me with scaling my side hustle is I wasn't afraid to test. And I tested right away, I tested fast. And I just got to work. Because if I waited, then I wouldn't be here, right, I wouldn't have had that success in a year. If it took me a whole year to take even one step, you have to really be willing to take that step. So for example, as soon as I had an idea, I researched a way to test out that idea that worked with my budget. So for example, when I started the side hustle pro podcast, I said, Maybe I will sell merchandise, let me test out if people would want to buy side hustle pro merch. And the easiest, lowest point of entry for me with that was to just Google some print on demand websites, meaning you only print what people order, right? You put up your logo, and then if people place an order, then it's fulfilled. So you're not holding on to a bunch of inventory. So I'd said that with the first website I use was Teespring. I tested it out every idea I had, I got to work and I tested it out. So for you, what can that be? It can be putting up a Shopify, it can be looking up the recipe to what you want to make. It can be okay, how do I make a minimum viable product, right? How do I do the first thing that needs to be done? is create an app, how do I create an app? Like how do I create a wireframe, you know, like, the easiest, simplest thing that you can do, start testing that out, start testing that out right away. And then as soon as you pivot, or you want to do something else, so you want to take the next step, test it right away, the testing is how you're gonna get to what you're going to stick to, you got to rule out a bunch of stuff on the path to taking your business full time, the things that you see people selling in their stores now on their websites. Now, there are a whole bunch of things that did not make the website, there are a whole bunch of samples that they received from the manufacturer, that were not up to snuff. So please understand that when you finally see something out there, that there are a whole bunch of rough drafts, waiting in the wings that will never see the light of day. So you cannot afford to wait to test because you're not going to get to where you need to be until you get out there and start getting those reps in and doing the testing. So that is tip number four. Tip number five, social media expert ration. Social media was huge in my journey, and it still is huge in my journey. Social media is where I do a lot of my testing. To be honest, social media just allows you a free way, mostly free, a free way to gauge interest to find audience, and to practice creating the kind of content that will resonate with that audience. You know, as soon as I launched a blog, and actually I converted my personal page into the blog page. So that was the easiest thing I did. Like I didn't even create a separate page at first, right? I just said, Alright, this is my page on Instagram. And now it's gonna be all about me plus my blog. And then when it turned into when I realized that I need to rebrand it was rebranded to salsa Pro, and I said, Okay, this is still gonna be about me, Emma podcast.

But I say this to say, there are a lot of rules out there. And what I'm sharing with you, I want you to know, I never share rules, I share tips, tips are things that have been known to work may or may not work for you. But I highly suggest testing them out because they have been known to work very well. And these are tips based on things that have worked for me. But one thing you got to remember is, there are no rules to this thing. Anybody who says that is just incorrect. I'm sorry, because these platforms change entirely too much. If you want to convert your personal profile, and start posting about your business, then do that. Do that. But then just know, as you start to iron things up a little bit more and you start to tighten up. That's when you want to really start thinking about, you know, the handle names and all of that, so that it makes sense. But for now, start out by choosing your social media platform. And then start posting about your side hustle daily. start posting about your side hustle daily, and don't worry on being on all of the platforms. This is not the time to worry about, oh, I need to get my tick tock handle and I need to get this and this and that. No, there's a time and a place for expanding but you have to be good at one and be really good at one first, before you start spreading yourself thin. And you also want to know where is the audience? For your side hustle? You need to figure out who is your target person? And where are they hanging out? Are they on LinkedIn? Or are they on tick tock? Are they on Instagram? Or are they on Facebook, and then base your content and which platform you select around that. So for me, so I was pro audience was on Instagram, my sister Nadine, my husband, moil. They have found amazing success posting on LinkedIn, having newsletters on LinkedIn, sharing what their updates on LinkedIn and getting a lot of leads for their businesses on LinkedIn. So that's called knowing your audience. But what you want to do is make sure that people know what you have going on. When I was launching salsa Pro. Oh, people knew I had the countdown going, I had, here's what I'm working on. Here's the first episode. Here's the second episode. It's come in all of that countdown Blitz. And even today, if you're following my pages, you know, you know, when the episode has dropped, you know what's new, you know what's going on, people need to know what you have going on in order to support you. This is not the time to be shy. So I know a lot of us are shine. And you kind of have this mindset of I'm doing this thing, but I'm too embarrassed for anybody to know, I'm working on this. They're gonna say, Oh, my goodness, what's also talking about now What is she trying to do over there? She tried to, she tried me on Instagram girly, it's not the time to worry about that you're not first of all, no one's thinking like that. But I know in your head. That's how you think people are thinking. But actually, no one is thinking that, I think you would be surprised at how proud people are when you step out, and you show your ideas, and what you have going on and what you're passionate about. I know for me, when I see people that I've known, whether it's from junior high school or college, all of a sudden, turn up and start doing something new on Social, I'm impressed. And I am proud, because I know what it took for them to get the courage to start showing the sight of them, I know that it really takes getting out of your head. And out of this getting outside of other people's perception of you, and truly living for you. You know, there's a guy I know who has always been focused on being a tech entrepreneur who all of a sudden, has just started posting about his music. And he just completely has changed up and is posting his songs, his music videos, and it came out of nowhere. But some people might be like, Oh my gosh, I can't start singing, people are gonna be like, where did this come from. But I felt really proud to see him doing that because he's living in his truth. And he's finally going after what he really wants to be doing. And I want that for you as well. I want you to step outside of other people's perception of you, other people's boxes, that you have allowed yourself to be put in, and truly live for you this year. So that means that you got to start posting what you really want to post, which is posting about your side hustle and do it daily. Now, tip number six thing that I did to scale, my side hustle was to test out selling, test out what you would sell. And that means you have to figure out what kind of revenue streams would work for your business. If it's a physical product, how many skews, okay? How many different products would you want to launch with? Hence, not that many? What would they be? What price point then create one or two and start selling it and see how it does? Because you want to know what's going to make you money. So for me, I started doing this. Like I said it started right away with the T shirts that I moved on from that. And I said no, I want something that is bringing me income at a higher price point. So I started testing out advertising, podcast advertising, I started selling spots on the podcast, started testing out by pitching brands to be on the show. Lo and behold, after dozens of pitches, I was able to start landing brands to be on the show all by myself. I didn't have any representation at the time no one was doing it on my behalf. I just was simply cold pitching people when they responded back. I was doing the math based on research, coming up with the pricing based on research on what shows should come in based on CPM rates and download rates and going from there. And then after that I also tested out okay, let me create what would it look like to create my own course? What would it look like to create my own premium course. And all of these lanes were tested before I quit my job or right shortly after? So I knew what my revenue streams were going to be. Because Tip number seven is, make sure that you start making money before you quit. Do not quit your job before you start making money, serious money from your side hustle and consistent money. This should be self explanatory. But it goes without saying. So I have to remind you guys, because this is how I was able to scale my side hustle to full time business by making money before I quit. So when I could save when I could reinvest into my business, to grow even more to make changes to advertising for my episodes, and even more, so that I could accelerate my growth and the growth of the show so that I could command more for the ads and so forth and so forth. But then it also helped me to plan and to be able to make the decision to say, Hey, okay, this is how much I'm making now as a side Hustler, because I only have the bandwidth and this many hours that I'm putting into it. So what would this look like, you know, if I was able to do this full time, and being able to make those productions because I was making money from it is what helped me to ultimately make the decision like yes, I will be able to quit now. So there you have it, you guys. Those are my tangible tips that I used to scale my side hustle to a full time business. I hope this was helpful for you guys. If you have any questions, be sure to hit me up, over on at side hustle Pro, or hi at side hustle proz.com And with that, I will talk to you next week. Hey guys, thanks for listening to side hustle Pro. If you like the show, be sure to subscribe rate and review on Apple podcasts. It helps other side hustlers just like you to find the show. And if you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram at side hustle Pro. Plus sign up for my six bullet Saturday newsletter at side hustle Pro, that CO slash newsletter. When you sign up, you will receive weekly nuggets from me, including what I'm up to personal lessons and my business tip of the week. Again, that side hustle pro.co/newsletter to sign up. Talk to you soon

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Meet the host:

Nicaila Matthews-Okome

Hi! I’m Nicaila, the Creator and Host of the Side Hustle Pro Podcast. I started Side Hustle Pro when I was a side hustler myself. I was a digital marketer at NPR by day, side hustler by night. Through the powerful stories shared on this show and the courage to launch my own initiatives, I was able to quit my own job and go full time with Side Hustle Pro.

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