How to Go From Side Hustle to Self-Made Entrepreneur

UPDATED: April 28, 2020
PUBLISHED: April 8, 2020

“A huge part of successful entrepreneurship is self-reliance, consistency and focus.”

Raise your hand if you have a side hustle or passion project, and keep that hand up if you’ve ever wanted to take that hustle full time. If you raised your hand, you’re not the only one. The gig economy is growing faster than ever before. In fact, it’s growing so fast that 71% of employees report having a side hustle for extra income. This means more of you are asking, how do I take my side hustle full time?  

I had about five side hustle jobs before I felt confident both mentally and emotionally to go all in on the career that I’ve built today. Having lots of side hustles is very common, but here’s the truth: A huge part of successful entrepreneurship is self-reliance, consistency and focus. If you’re serious about truly stepping into that business that you so badly desire and bringing your big idea to life this year, you need a plan.  

That’s why I’m sharing a five-step road map that you can use to build your business starting today. Each step should take you one to two months, meaning by this time next year, you can have a thriving full-time hustle.  

Step 1: Start with a self-assessment.  

It takes a lot of work to create a sustainable income on your own. You need to get really honest with yourself. Ask yourself questions like, what inspires you to take this action? Is it financial freedom, location, independence, doing what you love for a living, a desire to make an impact in the world? Then ask what sacrifices you’re willing to make in order to make it happen. Whatever your driving force is, write it down and visit it often to stay on course toward your goals.  

Step 2: Tap into your network.  

Now that you’re crystal clear about why you want to do this, it’s time to let your network know. First, you need to update your social media profiles and secure a website domain to reflect your new business venture. Once your networking tools are tidied up, you need to figure out how you’re connected to the people who work in your industry, or the industry that you’re trying to get in. Look for opportunities to collaborate or offer support. When you’re first starting out, relationships are extremely valuable and often lead to referrals. Growing a business takes a village; do not feel like you have to go at it alone and stay isolated.  

Step 3: Get realistic with your time and goals.  

Time management is always a struggle when you don’t have anyone to report to but yourself. My secret to cutting my work days in half is batching: taking blocks of time to focus on one thing and not letting anything or anyone get in the way of that. The best way to beat procrastination or resistance is to sit down each morning and write down three things that you will batch that day. They should be manageable tasks that you not only feel confident being able to complete in a day, but actually relate to the goals you’re trying to achieve—so nothing too heavy or unrealistic. You want to repeat this every day, and if you struggle to finish your three daily tasks, then you’ll quickly start to see where you need to make adjustments in your schedule.  

Step 4: Get clear on your audience and get confident in your pitching.  

Now that you’ve created your foundation, it’s time to get clear on who you’re talking to, who you’re trying to attract, who you’re going to be serving and selling in the future. You’ve got to know who they are, what challenges they face and how you help solve those challenges.  

The next order of business is to start pitching like it’s your job, because it is. No matter what your venture, you need to get comfortable with pitching to clients, brands, companies, investors. I’ve been teaching pitch skills for years in my program, and the reason why is simple: because you have to learn how to sell yourself in a way that builds confidence and clarity.  

Step 5: Lean into sales and marketing.  

By now, you’ve been networking and creating content, you’ve gotten super clear on who you serve, and you’ve mastered your pitching. So now it’s time to sharpen your sales and marketing skills. Take a step back and look at everything that you’ve done so far. What makes you unique? What are you offering that no one else is? You’ve got to find your competitive edge and lean into it with all you’ve got. Make yourself known as the go-to in your niche.  

When all is said and done, make sure that you take time to pay gratitude to everything that you’re accomplishing. By the time next year rolls around, you can look back on all that you’ve accomplished this year and start to set those new goals for the next year.  


Do you want step-by-step method to hold you accountable through these steps? Click here to download a FREE guide to help you go from side hustle to self-made entrepreneur in five steps!  

Then make sure to come back for the next video in this series, where Julie will share exactly how to get started on your side hustle with confidence, and how to recognize and shift potential mistakes that can come your way.  

Julie Solomon is an expert in digital marketing, PR, and personal branding and is the host of the top-rated The Influencer Podcast. She has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, and People Magazine.  With her viral podcast achieving over 5 million downloads in more than 170 countries, Julie was recently named as one of the Top 100 leaders in influencer marketing. As a seven-figure entrepreneur, she has founded several companies and has worked with household names such as Dave Ramsey and Lenny Kravitz and has interviewed cutting edge trailblazers including Rachel Hollis, Marie Forleo and Drybar Founder Alli Webb. With degrees in journalism and digital media, Julie is the creator of The Influencer Academy, Pitch It Perfect and is a sought-after keynote speaker. Her new coaching membership program SHINE launched in February 2020. With over a decade of experience in helping individuals turn messages into movements, Julie empowers entrepreneurs to expand their brand and grow their influence.