As millennials, it is our dream to work for ourselves and have no boss. For many of us, that means becoming “entrepreneurs.” Media outlets have made this profession famous over the last decade—and made it sound easy to achieve success.
Even if you have a graduate degree in entrepreneurship (as I do), that does not guarantee success. I’ve been involved in numerous failed ventures, and I’ve learned lessons along the way. One of them is that a side hustle is not entrepreneurship. A side hustle requires your physical presence, and entrepreneurship does not. Think about it like this: An amateur basketball player in the park can side hustle by playing a few pick-up games for money. A professional basketball player earns money whether he is playing or sitting out.
If you want to live that millennial dream and move from side hustle to full-on business, be sure you prepare yourself accordingly. It requires a lot more than quitting your day job. Here are a few tips to help you succeed.
Understand What Entrepreneurship Is
A few weeks ago, a high school friend I hadn’t talked to recently messaged me about an “entrepreneurship” opportunity. At first, I was suspicious, and after hearing more about the opportunity, I realized it was the typical Ponzi scheme: I make lots of money just by getting others involved.
That is not entrepreneurship. True entrepreneurship is putting a value on a product or service in the marketplace where there was no value before and building a system that functions with a team in place. Being an entrepreneur, you have to continue to innovate your product and expand beyond one location.
Entrepreneurship is extremely hard, and very few people succeed at it. It takes a lot of time and effort. If someone presents you with an “easy’ way to make money, they are lying.
Test The Market
The gig economy is a great way for individuals to earn money on the side. In addition to supplementing your income, these side hustles can help you start building a business. The first step? Testing the market to see if there is a need for your services.
With one of my ventures, I attempted numerous partnerships, video productions, social media posts, and marketing efforts. I did this all while I working full time. It was hard balancing both because I had to give my best effort at work and the same energy at my start-up.
What made it even harder was that I eventually had to realize that the market was not interested in my venture. There are times when you have to pick and choose your battles, and my venture was just not the battle I wanted to fight anymore.
Keep Your Full-Time Job
Being your own boss takes work—which means you should likely let someone else be your boss for a while. I would not suggest quitting your day job and going at your entrepreneurship venture full time unless you have a year’s worth of living expenses saved up.
Remember: nothing is guaranteed. There are no promises of mass riches with any venture. You have to feel comfortable with that if you’re going to move from a nice side hustle to being a full-on entrepreneur.
Have you undertaken an entrepreneurial venture? What lessons did you learn from it? Sign up or log in with your Salt account to post them in the comments.