Life Happens. Can You Transform Your Side Hustle to Your Full-time Gig?

March 23, 2019

The government shut down lasted 35 days — the longest shutdown in U.S. history. For hundreds of federal employees, it meant 35 days of no pay. Many turned to food banks and crowdfunding sites for assistance. However, others turned to their side business for that extra flow of income.

While a government shutdown is a very specific reason to be out of work, being laid off isn’t. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly common in fields where companies are looking for digital or cheaper solutions. Take the example of Angie Chambliss, co-owner of Ships and Shores Travel Co. and Travel Planners International agent. She was in the medical field for over 20 years, working last as a medical transcriptionist. Unexpectedly, last January, she was let go.

“I was very shocked to say the least,” said Chambliss. “I had always …exceeded my [quota] and had 99-100 QA scores every quarter. Being let go didn’t make sense to me at all.”

At the time, Chambliss was also working as a travel agent on the side with her husband. Instead of finding another job, she decided to dive right in as a full-time travel agent. A decision that she believes was the right one.

“I’m very glad I made the leap of faith, stepped outside my comfort zone and decided to be a full-time agent,” said Chambliss. “I have enjoyed growing our travel business [and] helping others plan their dream vacation.

Chambliss isn’t the only travel agent with a story like this. Many travel agents make the switch from part-time to full-time because of serious life events, the flexibility, and even the money (yes, you can make more money as a travel agent than at your regular 9-5). Not sure how to take your side business into overdrive? Below are our three tips on how to make your side hustle into your main source of income FAST!

Tip 1: Have a Plan

Set you and your business up for success by creating a solid business plan. Consider your overhead costs, membership fees, and any emergency expenses. Create a profitability plan for your business as well. This will help you determine how much you work you need to be doing to make, well, a profit.

“Only way you can dive right in is to have a solid plan,” said Jenn Lee, VP of Sales and Marketing at Travel Planners International. “If you don’t understand what makes you profitable, your full-time business won’t succeed.”

And if you’re in niche, make sure you’re anticipating any shifts or trends within your field.

Tip 2: Push Yourself (No One Else Will)

Let’s be honest, if you don’t push yourself to go after that sale or client, no one else will. You have to keep yourself on the hook. Without the self-discipline, your side-gig will never get off the ground. Network with everyone you meet and tell everyone you know about what you do. Self-promotion is the name of the game and you never know what opportunities are out there if you don’t just push yourself to go after them.

Tip 3: Be Passionate

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised to know how many people don’t have a passion for their side hustle. Being a full-time travel agent requires a lot of work and if you don’t have a passion for it, it’s best if you look for something else.

Also, try incorporating another passion or hobby into your travel business. If you’re really into fitness, focus on wellness cruises or resorts. If you’re really into movies, you can focus on customized FIT trips that take your clients to movie locations (think Harry Potter).

These three easy tips are a step in the right direction, but we know it takes a lot more to launch a successful full-time travel agency (and fast!). Connecting with the right people and partnering with the right host makes all the difference. Scaling your business can seem like you’re on your own but you don’t need to be. Henry Ford said, “"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.” We think you can.