A tangible revenue goal that is meaningful to you will help you scale your side hustle without overworking. Here’s the one that worked for me.
I started my first business, a retail fashion company, seven years ago while working at a full-time job and going to graduate school on nights and weekends.
Thinking You’ll Make As Much As You Can Is A Surefire Way To Burn Out
On average, 4.4 million businesses are launched each year in the United States. As a financial and business coach, I teach new entrepreneurs, who are growing a business alongside a day job, how to increase their revenue without reaching total burnout.
Like 59% of women business owners, I wanted to experience more work and family balance. I mistakenly thought being a business owner would provide more flexibility, but it turned out to be the opposite. My first year of running my own company full time was incredibly stressful. I couldn’t figure out how to balance all my responsibilities and not lose sleep at night.
The worst part: I was working twice as hard as I did in my corporate job, but I was making no money. I made the mistake of setting a business goal to make as much as I can without any clear goal or strategy.
The ‘Finding Your Why’ Concept Was Too Abstract For Me
When it comes to effective business goal setting, a common piece of advice I’ve received from other entrepreneurs and thought leaders like Simon Sinek is to “find your why.” Rather than only setting an arbitrary revenue goal for your business, attach a meaningful reason to make it more motivating to you.
However, when I tried this, my list of reasons still felt abstract, self-indulgent and just downright hard:
- I want to be financially independent.
- I want to be more generous.
- I want to have more free time.
- I want to go on more vacations.
Finding your why takes time and patience, and I didn’t feel like I was in a financial position to have either of those. The fear of going deeper into debt was paralyzing me from taking any action to move my business forward. I needed to make money, or my bills weren’t getting paid.
A Simpler Start: Match Your Revenue Goal To Your Housing
Instead, I put a very practical and measurable revenue goal for my business in its early stages: I want to make enough money to pay for my mortgage.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the median monthly mortgage was $1,672 in 2021. However, a 2023 Lending Tree survey found that new homeowners are now paying $2,317 on average, due to higher interest rates and rising home prices.
Whether you rent or buy you will have to pay for housing no matter what. Instead of making as much as I could make, I reset my business’ revenue goal to $2,000 per month. That was the amount I needed to cover my mortgage. If I sold enough of my services, I equated it to be able to live essentially mortgage free.
Use This Revenue Goal To Drive Your Pricing Strategy
With this more tangible goal, I was able to set a realistic price to drive my activity each month. To reach $2,000, I could choose from selling to:
- 100 customers at $20;
- 20 customers at $100; or
- Two customers at $1,000.
I ultimately chose the middle option, rationalizing on average I needed one customer every weekday, and I could still take the weekends off. I earmarked every sale toward my mortgage and that made each sale feel more rewarding.
If you’re trying to scale a side hustle and feel like you’re not making progress, you likely need to recalibrate your money goals. I started with the very basic need of having a roof over my head, and the security that it wouldn’t be taken from me.
Now I net a six-figure income working less than 30 hours a week — in the side hustle that eventually replaced my day job. Paying that expense through my business was the “why” element I needed to keep moving forward, even when times got tough.
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