Take Your Side Hustle To The Next Level: Tips For Success

Do you want to make more money with your side hustle? Or, do you want to turn your side hustle into your full-time career? There are many things to think about before taking your side hustle to the next level if either of the above questions apply to you. I know this because it took me around two years before…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: June 5, 2023

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

Improving Your Side Hustle Starting A Small BusinessDo you want to make more money with your side hustle? Or, do you want to turn your side hustle into your full-time career?

There are many things to think about before taking your side hustle to the next level if either of the above questions apply to you.

I know this because it took me around two years before I made the decision to pursue my side hustle full-time. Even after that, I still prepared myself for another few months before I actually left my day job.

I look back and I still cannot believe that I gathered the courage to take my side hustle to the next level.

Life is incredible now and I’m very glad I made the preparations that I did.

Below are my tips for taking your side hustle to the next level and starting a small business successfully.

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Create a plan.

Starting a small business is a lot of work. Whether you want to make more money with your side hustle or if you want to make it your full-time income, you will want to create some sort of plan.

Below are some of the many things you should think about:

  • Can you make a full-time income with your side job?
  • Can you make an income for many, many years to come?
  • If you plan on keeping your day job, will it suffer if you try to make more money with your side hustle? What can you do so that your day job doesn’t suffer?
  • How long will it take for you to make a full-time income after you leave your day job?
  • What will you do for health insurance?
  • When will you turn in your notice at your current full-time job?
  • What is your backup plan?

Related: If you are wanting to leave your current job to pursue something else, I have the book for you. I highly recommend the book How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye. It includes 150 pages of information on how to negotiate a severance from a job you no longer like, profiles of people from different demographics and income levels who’ve successfully engineered their layoffs, and how they did it, and more.


Have a self-hosted website for your small business.

I receive many emails each week from people who are trying to get their freelance writing career off the ground. One of the first questions I always ask is whether they have a website or not. Surprisingly, most people say no! How are people supposed to find you or even know about you if you don’t have a website?

There is a chance that your side hustle doesn’t need a website, but I find that rare in this day and age.

The first thing almost everyone does when they are interested in a company is look them up online and check out their website. If you don’t have a website, then you are cheating yourself out of potential customers.

I recommend setting up a website, opening social media accounts with your business name (or your name), and more when starting a small business.

Related to this, I also recommend having a professionally designed website and/or logo once you can afford it. Companies such as Deluxe Business Services (affiliate link) can help your business look professional. For example, with Deluxe’s logo design service, you can receive a great design on a low budget. Their logo design service starts at just $245 and this includes personalized service where you actually work one-on-one with a designer. Also, right now you can get 10% off any logo design package with my link.

If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, I created a tutorial that will help you start a blog of your own for cheap, starting at only $3.49 per month for blog hosting. In addition to the low pricing, you will receive a free website domain (a $15 value) through my Bluehost link if you purchase at least 12 months of blog hosting. 


Hire help when starting a small business.

Outsourcing is needed in order for most businesses to grow.

If you can make more of your time available by outsourcing work and other tasks, this frees up more time so that you can make more money, grow your business, and so on.

There are many positive reasons for why you should start outsourcing:

  • You can add more time to your life.
  • You can focus on the bigger picture.
  • You can outsource tasks that you hate.
  • Outsourcing work is great when you are not an expert at a task. Yes, this means you may have to hire an accountant or lawyer for your business!

RelatedShould You Outsource Tasks To Make Life Easier?


Network with others.

If you want to take your side hustle to the next level and start making more money, then you will want to start networking.

Networking can help you and your business because you can learn about new ways to improve your business, you may make valuable contacts, you can learn more about the industry you are in, and more.

This means that you may want to start networking with others in your industry by attending conferences, local meet ups, emailing others, and so on.


Find ways to market your services or products.

In order for a business to grow, you will need to market it in some way.

Starting a small business without any marketing would be near impossible because no one would know that you even exist!

Whether it’s something as simple as providing great customer service so that your reputation will spread across your market or if you plan on placing advertisements, marketing your business is important.


Have a proper work environment.

While at one point it may have been fine just to work from your bed, eventually you may have to invest in a home office, a co-working space, a shared conference room, and so on.

Having a professional and proper work environment can help you separate your work from your life and it can help you look more professional to clients.


Beef up your emergency fund.

You will want to beef up your emergency fund if you’re going to rely on your side hustle for your full-time income. This is because you may experience unstable income when starting a small business.

You might have your best month ever one month and the very next month may be your worst. Stress can impact the quality of work that you provide and this is something you don’t want to happen. A lack of an emergency fund may even cause you to completely give up on your side hustle because you may not have the funds to continue.

Are you interested in taking your side hustle to the next level and starting a small business? What are your future plans for your side hustle?


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Karibelk Mendez

    Hey i love your blog i was wondering if you had a post about credit companies that claim to help fix your credit what are your thoughts

    1. Hello!

      Sorry, I don’t have a blog post about that. I’ll have to do research.

  2. You can’t underestimate the power of networking. It may seem difficult or out of your comfort zone to connect with other people but it has to be done to have success.

  3. Always good to keep your 9-5 and build the hustle in your spare time, once it reaches a level of income that can support your budget you can leave the 9-5. This will prevent you from taking a leap to early.

    1. Yes, I think that’s the best way. Thanks!

  4. Lindsay VanSomeren

    Great post! I’m just starting up as a freelance writer now, and I’d like to take that to a full-time job in the future. I’ve been doing it for about a whole two weeks now, and it’s been working out great so far! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Having a plan and having an emergency fund are both really important when it comes to side hustles in my opinion. A plan will help you measure your growth and success (is it worth your time and money?) and the emergency fund is helpful because there are expenses with starting a new venture. If things go wrong, having an emergency fund is key to protecting your finances.

  6. Hey Michelle, thanks for these tips! I’m planning to try to start some freelance writing soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. You should! I love your writing.

      1. Aw thanks Michelle. ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ll see how it goes!

  7. I think it’s important to find out from others in your niche if your side hustle is something with the potential to support you full-time. Some side hustles are easier to take full-time and some are hard. It’s a good idea to find out if it’s possible for your side hustle to be a full-time job.

  8. Seriously though, it’s tips like this that made my side hustle out grow and kill my day job. BOOM!

  9. I outsource a few, such as accounting, the technical side of my blog, and a little more.

  10. Stockbeard

    Thanks Michelle, this is good advice. I’m right at the point where my side hustle could become a full time business if I decided to jump in. I’m reaching the limits of how much work I can do in parallel to my full time job, but I’m a bit too risk adverse to finally make the jump.

    your advice is great, I think I need to look for outsource help

    1. Do you think you’ll make the jump? ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Stockbeard

        Yes! It’s on my roadmap for early to late 2017, depending on how fast I can grow my emergency fund.

  11. Networking is HUGE. Doing that has helped me a lot the last 2 months. I still can’t believe that I’m making money freelancing.

    1. It’s a great feeling, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Jen

    Thank you for these. These are important for blogging and entrepreneurial success and all these tips you mention work! I highly recommend your point of a good work environment. I use to work from home except there were so many distractions like a dog that thinks it’s the weekend! I tried looking into co-working spaces but they were expensive in my area so I worked in the quiet rooms of libraries + it’s free!

  13. I’m definitely not looking to make my side hustle full time. But I do want to grow it. I finally accepted that, to do that, I need to hire other people. I think that’s one of the harder things to do when you’re just starting out. If you’re making little to no money, it’s scary to go into the negative for a bit. But you have to make sure everything you do is professional, and the money will come back to you.

    1. Yes, it can be difficult and that’s why it’s important to weigh the pros and cons.

  14. Good watch-out with the increased emergency fund. Do you have any idea how much you should shoot for (i.e. 6 months of expenses+)?

    Thanks for another motivating post!

    1. I think it really depends on the specific circumstances, such as if you have a house, your medical deductible, and more. We like to have around one year. It’s a lot, but I’m a major worrier and I like the comfort of it.

  15. Starting an online side hustle is good because it allows anyone from all walks of life to start a content based site and grow it from small potatoes in possibly as little as 3 years. It’ll be alot of work writing those evergreen blog posts 1,500 words or better daily but worth doing the transformation business work. Writing lots and lots of content has to be something a person wants to do in building an online side hustle site, because little do they know that those quiet thoughts rambling in the back of their minds can possibly turn into affiliate marketing commissions when least expected. And most importantly, thank you Michelle, for putting out these thought-provoking blog posts and keeping us inspired to make “healthy business transformational changes.” ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. You’re welcome Michelle. Looking forward to hearing more great news about your blogging adventures in the new year. Thanks a million for keeping everyone inspired about making money online and turning a side hustle into passion and profit! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. I’m focussing on building my side-hustle into my main income by the end of 2016. I have a $1000 per month goal to reach by May and I’m already half-way there.

  17. The Saving Nerd

    I have several side hustles. I believe I have to doing something to make money. I have tried many methods, but the best one for me is usertesting.

    Can you recommend one for me?

  18. Leanne

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I always wondered why you waited so long to leave your day job when your side hustles were doing so well. Then I sat down and actually figured out how much my day job was really worth – not just my take home pay, but other things like health insurance, retirement funding, employer paid taxes… and it turns out that I was underestimating what I’d need to quit by about half! On the one hand, it’s a bit depressing, but on the other hand I value my day job a bit more now.

    You’re an inspiration by the way! I hope someday I can capture even a fraction of the success that you’ve had ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yes, there are so many other things that go into whether or not you should leave your day job. It’s definitely not a decision that should be taken lightly. Glad you understand now ๐Ÿ™‚

      And thank you for being a reader. Your comment made my day!

  19. Happy Friday Michelle,

    Stopping by to check some of your past posts discussing blogging and side hustles. So I was looking at the first sentence of this post here that you wrote back in 2015 asking the question if people want to make more money with the side hustle. Of course they want to but as you and I already know, most people are not willing to get out of their cushy emotional comfort zone and take that Leap of Faith by starting your own business online. They rather stay content in their small potato 9 to 5 day job career settling for the small beans, meaning taking their little salary every two weeks and being happy with their $0.05 while they’re greedy employer continues to get rich off of them. I’m not one of those people that like when my employer gets rich off of me and I don’t see anything financially in return for my hard labor. So like yourself, I decided to give the side hustle a try and discovered this is a labor of love, though it is a lot more work than traditional employment. I wouldn’t trade side hustling for any other job.

    I commend you for having the courage to take your side hustle to the next level after looking back. I look back also or my past working career of 20-plus years and often wonder to myself where did time go. I worked on jobs where I didn’t want to be there but I did it because I believe in working. I took less than desirable jobs but still continue to be responsible and show up for work. I’m glad I made the decision to cross over into entrepreneurship because I always wanted to have my own business whereas like yourself, we strive to make money online 24 hours a day and hopefully wake up in the morning with a piece of Mind knowing you made some money while sleeping. I love the fact that anyone and career bloggers can make a full-time income with the side hustle because some people are just sick and tired of being around their employer and other people. I think it’s safe to say that everyone wants a business where they can make all the money they want without having to look and deal with people. That’s a pretty sweet feeling if you personally asked me. I’m glad that I’ve gotten out of the traditional day job mindset because employers have tried to enslave me to the point of being their corporate slave and having to tell an employer off to their face. I love that you have a recommended book entitled how to engineer your layoff make a small fortune by saying goodbye. Narcissist employers who plot on employees termination have no idea they made the one they secretly plotted on rich. And rich goes far beyond financial gain.

    Thank you for a thought-provoking post Michelle. Keep doing what you’re doing. Your side hustle blogs are awesome! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Keep the inspiration flowing abundantly my friend. Just linked to this blog post for readers’ motivation to consider affiliate marketing as a full-time career. Let’s keep this positive online marketing energy going strong! ๐Ÿ™‚