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How to make your passion profitable when everyone’s doing it

Make Your Side-Hustle Full-Time

Do you consider yourself a “hustler”?

With ambition beyond the constraints of the traditional workforce, a hustler is someone who consistently does what it takes to keep their bank accounts plump, their skills sharp, and their dreams moving forward.

If the “hustle” is the ambition itself, then the “side-hustle” is a 21st-century derivative, wherein quitting one’s day job is not quite an option, so the hustler allocates additional hours to a separate vocation. A side-hustle can be anything from freelance or contract work to a creative project or part-time passion.

The side-hustle goes live

TSheets surveyed 2,000 people across the country about their career plans for 2018. And the study found 1 in 5 plans to supplement their income with a side-hustle this year. Meanwhile, 4.5 million people will quit their jobs to focus on their side-hustle full time. That’s roughly 3 percent of the workforce.

If you’re one of the millions of people who plans on hustling into the world of self-employment and the gig economy this year, it’s important to know how to get the most out of every minute you spend working. Here are a few tools you can use to track how you’re doing, so when you assess your work this time next year, you can set bigger goals and achieve more.

Three must-haves to help you turn your side-hustle into your full-time job

  1. Data

As you start making the dream of self-employment a reality, tracking your progress will be essential to keeping momentum. The type of data you collect will depend heavily on your line of work. If you’re starting an online apparel shop, for example, tracking inventory and expenses will be vital, whereas if you’re a freelance writer, you’ll want to track your time, your projects, and your tasks.

Some data will be required for taxes anyway, so don’t procrastinate. Make a list of everything you need to keep track of and find solutions that will scale with you — like accounting software, for one — so, a year from now, you can look back on data and view your progress.

  1. Friendly experts

As tempting as it may be to stay home full-time during the week and hunker down through the weekend, it’s important to attend relative community events and build a rapport with people in or associated with your industry. Meet and stay connected with experts with whom you can exchange pointers and favors. And having an experienced CPA or tax attorney on your list of contacts can save you time and money down the road, as your business grows.

  1. Marketing

If your side-hustle started online, you may already have marketing built into your business model. If you’re not on social media, or if your social media presence could use some work, spend an hour or so each day building your following by posting relevant blog content, engaging your audience on Twitter and Facebook, and sharing your story. Start building an email list, and reach out to your customers and leads with useful information. Once you’ve gained some recognition, think about creative ways to make your customers or clients feel special and appreciated.

Is this the year?

If 2018 the year you’ll make the switch to self-employment, good for you!

Side-hustling is hard work. But the trend shows no signs of stopping. There are plenty of explanations for the popularity of side-hustles. In an increasingly connected world, people are drawn to the freedom of working from home or on their own time, the prospect of building a remote team in the cloud, or the dream of making that so-called “gig” a full-time job.

People strapped with student loan debt or other outstanding expenses use the extra income simply to make ends meet, while others are dipping their toes into a new field. Just a quick look at Etsy will show you those with a passion are finding ways to make it more profitable.

Whatever gig you’re working on this year, don’t take it full-time without the tools and resources you need to be successful. With data, experts in your field, and a marketing plan, you’ll be in a much better position to move forward with your plans.