The Blue Kite Blog

How to Make the Leap from Side Hustle to Full-time Entrepreneur

By | May 30, 2013

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you know that a little more than one year ago, I took the flying leap into full-time entrepreneurship. I quit my job, waved goodbye to “the man,” and ventured out on my own to build Blue Kite Marketing.

That first day of freedom was certainly sweet. But, that was hardly the first day I had spent working on my company.

For nearly two years, Blue Kite Marketing was my “side hustle” while I worked full time as a government spokesperson. I decided that if I wanted to start my own company, I needed to build a platform and get some experience first before quitting my job.

I’m so glad I did.

It made the transition to full-time entrepreneurship much easier and helped me get my business off of the ground faster.

Starting Your Business While Working Full Time

Working two jobs made for a difficult two years, but it was all worth it.

So, how did I do it?

If you’re considering starting your own side hustle, here are a few tips about how I made it work:

1. Make sure your spouse is supportive. 

I think this was incredibly important – my husband was completely on board from day one. He knew that I would be working long hours and that it would limit our time together.

But, we also set aside at least one night a week where I wasn’t allowed to work. Not only did that give us time together, but it also gave me a much-needed breather.

2. Find more time in your schedule. 

We are always quick to complain that we are too busy or don’t have enough hours in the day. But, if you give a long, hard look at where you spend your time, you’ll find that there are pockets of time you could use better.

For me, I got up earlier and worked for an hour or two before I went to my day job. I used my lunch breaks for meetings and writing. And, when I came home, I hopped on the computer for another few hours. I also used my Sunday afternoons and evenings to get work done for the week.

Certainly, there comes a point of diminishing returns and you have to give yourself a break, but you have to be committed to putting in the hours to make a side hustle work.

3. Get active. 

It’s no coincidence that I ran my first half marathon the same year that I started my business.

Training gave me the mental toughness I needed to build my business and it helped sustain my energy. And, being active also helped create a much-needed balance in my life.

Not to mention, running gave me plenty of quiet time to let my mind run free. Perhaps that’s why many of my best idease come to life during a run. If running is not for you, find an activity that will work your body, but also give you some much-needed time to think.

4. Build your network online. 

Given my schedule, my ability to attend networking events was extremely limited. So, I focused on growing my network online.

I used social media to develop key relationships with colleagues and business leaders. This allowed me to build a network in a more efficient way and within the confines of my day job. And, when it came time to quit, I had a built-in network of support to help spread the word about what I do and send business my way.

5. Set a deadline. 

Repeat after me: There will never be a good time to start your business or quit your job.

You’ll always find some excuse or reason not to get started. But, there comes a point when you just have to jump.

When I first started my business, I had all of these benchmarks I wanted to achieve before I could quit my day job. I thought I needed a certain number of clients, a certain amount of money coming in every month and a certain amount of money saved in the bank.

None of those things happened.

I finally realized that I wasn’t going to get to where I wanted to be unless I quit. So, we set a date and I worked like hell until I was able to give my notice.

And you know what? Once I quit, I had more time to dedicate to my business and I was finally able to start generating the revenue I needed for my business.

There are no easy answers

Before I started my business – and especially before I quit my job, I was always looking for the answer or sign to know whether it was the right time to make the jump.

Those answers never came.

In business, you have to be willing to take risks and work hard. And, if you do, it can pay off. But, you’ll never find out if you don’t take the that first step.

If you want to hear more about my entrepreneurship story, check out this podcast interview I did with Laurel Staples from The Day I Quit (which, by the way, is a fantastic resource for aspiring entrepreneurs.)

What about you? Are you thinking about starting a business or have you already started one? If you’ve already taken the flying leap, what worked for you?

A version of this post originally appeared as a guest article on the Big Leap Creative blog.

Image credit: Justin De La Ornellas

7 Comments

  • Gia Volterra De Saulnier at May 30, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Wow! This is awesome! Congratulations! My husband and I have been coordinating Renaissance Festivals here in MA/NH area and I totally get the working full time and then doing that part time. It is what makes me thrive! I also created a fan page and blog to help other performers and merchants help promote themselves and will be creating a website (hopefully shortly). I’m also having my first (ever) children’s picture book that is coming out this year! With any luck, I’ll be right behind you and joining you in the life of no 9-5 day gig.

    • Wow, Gia! Look at you go! I’m impressed by all that you’re doing. So not only do you have one side hustle, but multiple ones!! Amazing. Keep on trucking! And, let me know when you make the leap. I’ll be right here to give you a huge round of applause!! 🙂

  • Startup Updates at June 3, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    Great article! Kudos to you! But it is almost impossible when you have kids! Needs extraordinary courage and patience! see applause on Twitter about your good work:
    http://t.co/JfORj2Sy7U

    • Thanks for the kind words. So glad you liked it. And yes, doing this with kids would definitely be harder. Certainly, that’s why the timing has worked for me because I don’t have them yet. 🙂

  • You’re so right on #5. There is never a perfect time and excuses are usually based on fear, something you must contain to get started. Just get moving and don’t let anything interfere. Well, life happens, but you know what I mean.

    And about #3. Strange, but the busier I am, the more I get done. It’s always been this way and I find the more work I have, the more things I do, the happier I am too.

    Keep on a rollin’, Laura! 🙂

    • So sorry I missed your comment, Craig! You’re right – there’s never a good time to get started. You just have to decide and then DO IT!

      I agree about how busyness helps fuel productivity – but only to a point. There also comes a point when you have too much on your plate that you’re not productive. I’m feeling that right now! Time to start delegating more – which is a whole other topic!

  • […] It is no coincidence that I started my business the same year I started running. […]