Transitioning your side hustle to your full time coaching business

It’s what most of us here are aiming for right? Getting to the point where you can quit your job and go full time as a coach – working from anywhere, being in charge of your own hours, uncapped income potential – what’s not to love?

It’s a great goal for anyone starting out as a coach. But how the heck do we get there?

I’ll start by sharing some of my own story…

I started my first blog back in 2010 while I was working full time as a project manager in the Community and Voluntary sector. I didn’t have Finley back then of course, so I found I had quite a bit spare time to dedicate to it, and back then the thought of it becoming part of my business never even crossed my mind. I blogged because I genuinely loved it.

After a couple of years I could start and see ways in which I could make income from what I was doing, I trained as a health coach, started working with brands around my blog and things slowly started to come together. Slowly being the key word here!

It took me 2 years after training as a health coach to go completely full time self employed.

I was luckily in a job where I could reduce my hours gradually. I also had various different streams of income as alongside coaching and blogging I was also providing community projects locally on a freelance basis.

So yep, even with those things it took me 2 years to go totally self employed.

It’s going to take time, and often a fair bit of investment too. I always reinvested any income I made in the business back into it – to pay for things like custom websites (before I realised I could do a better job doing them myself!), coaching and mentoring, courses and programmes etc. I was also building up a financial fund to give me some security when the time came to bite the bullet and leave my job.

Again, this was all before Finley came along so I had the time to create quite a lot as a side hustle and build up that income.

So that’s my story, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s journey to full time self employed is going to look the same.

Here are some tips based on what I’ve learned and what I’ve seen has worked for others:

Accept it’s going to take some time

I’d say 1-2 years (to go full time) is realistic depending on your circumstances and how much you can afford to invest in the business at the start. When you think of all the benefits of running your own business, don’t forget that’s going to be time well spent even if it seems like ages!

Invest

I honestly think the more you can invest at the start the quicker you’re going to transition to making it work full time. Obviously we all have our own individual financial circumstances and I would never suggest anyone get into debt to fund a business venture. Maybe you save up for a year to get going first, or maybe you just start where you are.

I’d always say that investing in a good brand, website + professional photos, mentoring or coaching, perhaps some paid ads if budget allows and of course any professional retraining you need are good solid investments at the start and will accelerate your progress.

If you have to start where you are or don’t have as much of a budget, it might take a bit longer, but that doesn’t mean it will never happen! It’s ok to start where you are and work in the budget you have available.

Embrace a multi-hyphenate career

If you’re not familiar with this term I encourage you to read Emma Gannon’s The Multi-Hyphen Method. She basically suggests that embracing multiple ways of working or roles with multiple income streams.

This is quite similar to how I transitioned. I did some coaching, some brand work, some community projects, still worked part time at my job etc.

Your journey to becoming a full time coach doesn’t have to be so rigid, think about what other work you can do to support yourself that gives you the time to also build your business. Maybe that’s a part time job and some freelance work alongside it or some other configuration!

Create a set time to work on your business

If you’re really serious about building your business it’s not just money you need to invest, it’s also time! Nothing is going to grow if you aren’t spending time on it.

Especially if you’re embracing that multi-hyphen method, then what can become tricky is spending all your time on what’s making you money now, and not spending enough time on building your business.

As with everything, balance is key, as is having a clear plan and some goals. If you know that you want to build your coaching business setting aside time is essential – but you also need to balance that up with whatever you have going on in your life.

If you’re working full time, maybe Saturday mornings become your sacred business time as well as a couple of lunchtimes. Whatever time it is, try scheduling it in your calendar or diary.

Just be careful you don’t let yourself become burned out, maybe you can only spend a couple of hours a week to build your business right now, that’s fine! Just keep taking baby steps until you’re able to find more time without stressing yourself out – it might take longer but taking longer is better than burning out!

Know when you’ve reached your tipping point

There’s always going to be a tipping point when your coaching business is picking up but can’t seem to go any further without you giving more time to it. This is when reducing hours down at work can help, or quitting all together.

Believe me I know how scary / exciting it can feel to hand over your notice of resignation – this is where having some good financial plans in place can really help. I live by my cash flow spreadsheet now – which crazily I didn’t start using until a year or so ago. A good cash flow will let you know how many months you have before the shit would hit the fan financially, you want a good few months of financial security ahead before quitting completely.

So yep, it might take a bit of time and investment but well worth it for what you can gain, which for me was freedom with my time, doing something I absolutely love and never dreading Mondays!

I’d love to know your thoughts, where are you in your business journey? Are these tips helpful? What’s your next step?

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2 Comments

  1. LillianZahra

    This is so helpful! I’m at the very early stages of this process and I’m currently, slowly, working to bring my website back up to scratch after a few years of neglecting it. I figure the more I can do now, while I’m still studying and working full-time, the easier it will be to eventually make the big step!

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Glad this was useful for you! Great that you have time to do things like that now too :-)

      Reply

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