Growing a Business from Side Hustle to Sustainable Income

At the beginning of the year, everyone seems to be talking about goals and growth.

How can I grow to six figures?
When do I hire my next team member?
What’s the easiest way to scale my business?
Why haven’t I hit six figures yet?

I can tell you from personal experience that slow growth is tough on the mindset, but sometimes taking it slow is a necessity. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that.

I’ve been in business since 2007, but only took it full time in May 2013. That’s a lot of nights, weekends and holidays working my side hustle, trying to make some extra cash. Trying to make my business viable full time.

I’ve talked before about why I ultimately quit my day job and how I’ve invested in my business. But what I haven’t really talked about is how some slow growth helped me to get to where I am today–in a place where I’m not yet bringing home six figures (sooo close), but have steady clients who I truly care about and am continuing to grow as a person and business owner.

The Side Hustling Beginnings

In the early days of my business, I had no idea that the online space existed–at least not in a way that could help me network and grow my business. I started with a copywriting gig that paid $9 an hour (for real–more on this later), allowing me to learn a ton and get my feet wet.

I signed up for Guru.com to find more clients, one of whom I still work with today from time to time. Eventually, I had a number of clients on my roster and was unhappy enough at my day job to finally quit. Note that I did not have a good savings and I was the only income in my house. I knew some serious hustling was on the horizon, but had no idea how challenging it was going to be.

The Full Time Struggle

In May 2013, I said goodbye to my very secure teaching job and went home to my pj’s and my computer. And I struggled. A lot. I was still working that $9 an hour gig (I know…again, more on that in another post) and working way too many hours to keep my sanity in check.

In all honesty, I had no idea what I was doing. People told me what to write and what they would pay me, and I wrote. I churned out content like my life depended on it (my livelihood did), but it didn’t feel very good. And I continued to work just as much, if not more, than I did when I was working full time with a side hustle.

Investing in a business coach is the perfect first investment to move your biz forward. Click To Tweet

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably started a business of your own, so you likely know what I experienced. You may have felt just as lost. It’s a struggle, especially when your immediate circle of friends has no idea what you do all day.

I knew something had to change, so my first real investment in my business was a coach. I really couldn’t afford her, even though she was very reasonably priced. But I knew that if I wanted to make this business thing work, I needed help.

Finding My Footing

Once I started working with a coach, things slowly but surely started moving forward. I finally started figuring out how to be a business owner. And I discovered a whole world of online resources in the form of Facebook groups.

Part of finding my footing involved determining where to invest further in my business. It’s hard to spend money, especially when you’re not making much to begin with. But it’s absolutely essential if you want to grow.

Investing in your business doesn’t have to be expensive either. There are a lot of ways to invest that are low-cost (or even free!).

Slowly but surely, I hired people to help support me in my business. I’ve worked with VAs, graphic designers, editors, video editors and more and every single person I’ve hired has brought value into my business. They’ve accomplished tasks that I couldn’t (or didn’t want to) do on my own. And they’ve saved me loads of time so that I could spend more time working with clients.

Now and Beyond

Today, at the beginning of 2018, I am much more comfortable in my business and in life. I’ve figured out where my own bottlenecks are and how to deliver what my clients want–at the right price. I’m no longer working that $9 an hour gig (I know…you’re not surprised!), and while my prices aren’t outrageous, they’re certainly not entry-level.

At the moment, I’m no longer working with a 1:1 coach because I’ve decided the best investment of my time and money is in a group program (two of them, actually). I’m also spending a lot more time developing myself, personally, because I know that time will pay off in the future.

Decide what next best steps to take in your biz so you can maintain forward momentum. Click To Tweet

I’ve been in business full time almost five years now and I’ll be the first to tell you that I haven’t hit it out of the park just yet. I have yet to bring home six figures, and I’m okay with that. I’m still the only income in my household, but I’ve also been able to buy a house on my own. Something that I know a lot of business owners struggle with. But I’m comfortable and I know how the bills are going to get paid every month, even if some months are tighter than others.

No matter where you are in business, I think the most important thing to consider when you’re growing or investing is your own comfort level and your own goals. I don’t need a big house or luxurious trips. Sure, they’d be nice. But at what expense? I’ll stick to my slow and steady growth because that’s where I want to be.

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