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How to turn your side hustle into a full-time design biz

Transitioning your side hustle into a full-time business is such an exciting moment, but it can also be a very scary one! I’ve been there. Before I started my design agency, Quixotic Design Co, I had a whole list of mindset blocks that were trying to hold me back from making the leap. Luckily, when I made the transition, I had money set aside and a game plan I could fall back on in case it didn’t work out. 4 years later, I’ve more than tripled my corporate salary and work with a team of four building obsession-worthy brands for female entrepreneurs! Everyday I wake up amazed that this is my job and I want to pay it forward by helping other graphic designers make the transition as well!

If you’ve been grinding on your side hustle and have your eye on turning it into a full-fledged business, you’re not alone! Nearly 44 million U.S. workers are currently running a variety of side hustles. Side hustles are a way people can empower themselves and feel like they are the agent in charge of their work.

But if the thought of starting your full-time business has you feeling overwhelmed, I’m going to break it all down into bite-size steps so you can transform your dream into a reality. Here are the 4 things you should be doing right now if you want to turn that side gig into a full-fledged future.

Develop a business plan.

Now is certainly the time to develop a business plan if you haven’t already! The basic sections of your business plan will include: identifying your target market, competitive analysis, a sales and marketing plan, operations and management plan, and an outline of your financial projections. Writing a detailed business plan will not only help you focus on specific steps necessary to make the business idea succeed, but will also help you achieve short-term and long-term financial goals and objectives. Now get to writing!

You don’t need to go it alone.

There’s a common myth that doing it all yourself will save you money. Unfortunately that’s just not the truth. Doing it all alone is the quickest way to burnout. If you’re scared to invest money back into your business, I hear you! I know when I first thought about outsourcing, I didn’t want to have a huge overhead every month. But when you invest in software and team members, it can significantly grow your business! If you’re still unsure about outsourcing, think about how much your time is worth, and if it should really be spent doing administrative tasks. Ditch the overwhelm and position yourself to scale by hiring out and taking things off your plate!

Manage your money.

Get a true sense of whether the effort you’re putting into your side hustle is paying off by tracking your numbers and keeping your personal and business finances separate. If you feel like you’re taking on enough clients but still not hitting your income goals, then I have an important message for you. You need to raise your rates. And you can do this by accessing the value you provide to your clients and your income goals. If you’re ready to finally have profitable months and start financially scaling your business, then you'll definitely want to check out our Rates Calculator (an added perk when you join Dream Big Designer). Simply plug in your income goals + a few more key details, and the Rates Calculator will give you a project baseline!

When to finally make the leap.

Are you ready to let go of your 9-5? One of the biggest indicators that you’re ready to make the leap is when you’ve replaced half of your income with your side gig. Additionally, when your side hustle workload becomes too overwhelming and you need more time in the day to focus on your business, that’s a great indicator that you’re ready to go full-time in your design business.

If you’ve been thinking about taking the leap and going full-time in your design business, then let me be the first to congratulate you! If you’re looking for an exact roadmap on how to build passive income, set up systems for scaling your business, and how to effectively raise your prices while working with your dream clients, then definitely check out our Dream Big Designer course: it's jam-packed with everything I wish I had when I started a design biz. You can learn more about the course and enroll HERE.


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hey, I'm meredith

I'm here to give you my best tips to help you build a successful biz. Welcome to our blog: the spot for growth hacks, DIY design tips, and advice from real business owners. Grab your latte and let's get creative!

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