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March 16, 2020
This is a guest post by Maria Cannon
Are you tired of the nine-to-five grind and looking for a way to turn your passion into a money-making venture? While most experts agree that quitting your job and going all-in on a hobby business isn’t the best idea, that doesn’t mean you have to leave your entrepreneurial itch unscratched. It’s possible to build a successful side business while keeping your day job — and your financial stability — intact, but juggling two ventures at once requires a smart approach.
As tempting as it may be to walk out of a soul-sucking career and never look back, putting all of your eggs into a basket you’ve yet to weave is rarely a good choice. One in five new businesses don’t make it past the first year, and nearly half fold by year five. Even if you manage to keep the doors open, you may not be able to replace lost income: Only 40% of small businesses are profitable, while the rest barely break even or lose money.
There’s another drawback to starting a business without a day job to fall back on: startup funding. Bank financing isn’t easy to come by when you’re a brand-new entrepreneur, and most small business owners rely on personal funds to get their venture off the ground. Without a stable source of income, you may struggle to access the funds you need to grow your business.
Instead of quitting your job to pursue an untested passion project, look for ways to build a side business with a solid customer base and stable profits before leaving your day job. While starting a side hustle inevitably means longer hours, it doesn’t have to obliterate your work-life balance if done right.
E-commerce is one of the most efficient ways to build a side business, because once an online store is up and running, day-to-day labor is minimal. It only takes a few hours per week to pack and ship orders, write email newsletters and social media content, and respond to customer service inquiries, especially in the early stages when your customer base is small. You don’t have to know a lot about e-commerce to go this route either. There’s no shortage of online guides and e-commerce wikis to teach you about everything from branding to search engine optimization and more.
You will, however, need a professionally designed website if you want your business to stand apart from the countless e-commerce businesses on the web. Unlike a generic template, a professionally designed site reflects your brand and suits your unique needs. You can connect with talented web professionals through online platforms and job boards like Upwork so that your company’s website meets your high standards.
Speaking of updating your site: A great e-commerce website is more than product listings. If you want to build your brand and engage customers, you need click-worthy content, too. If writing isn’t your strong suit, try recording yourself and having it transcribed for casual, conversational blog posts that take minutes to produce.
Once you’ve built a solid e-commerce store, look into expanding your business into maker fairs, trade shows, brick-and-mortar stores, and other venues. With luck, your employer will offer the flexibility to scale back hours gradually so you can grow your business at your own pace. However, even if you decide to go all-in, you’ll do it with the confidence that you’ve built a solid business with the potential to succeed.
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