Is it still possible to turn a new side hustle into a thriving online business? According to this entrepreneur, the answer is a resounding Yes.
Nicole Barham is the founder of Design your heritage. Its main offering is a membership program called 5 Minute Bookkeeperâ¢in which she provides simple finance tracking tools, support and accountability to help women entrepreneurs stay on top of their finances in minutes a day.
âI started the business after my own experience of mismanaging my finances landed me in bankruptcy court. I have a background in accounting and spent years dealing with my employer’s finances, so it was particularly heartbreaking to have this position.
Barham says the rebuilding process â and the empowerment that came with it â inspired her to start a side hustle that quickly evolved into her full-time career.
“I decided to use my skills to straighten out my finances and teach other women how to do the same so they can actually create wealth in their businesses.”
How Watching Your Money Builds Momentum
The buzz around personal entrepreneurship as a way to achieve financial freedom is bigger than ever. From the United States Trademark Office seeing a record number of new applications For millions of people exploring side hustle, professionals are capitalizing on trends like e-commerce and the creator economy to boost income and build wealth.
As your online hustle or business begins to pick up steam, bookkeeping is one of the first things you’ll want to sort out. But as Barham notes, many beginners avoid getting into the trenches with QuickBooks or other calculators and finance trackers because they feel overwhelmed.
âI’ve learned that the reason most of us don’t have our finances together is a lack of simplicity in the tools and platforms we have,â she says. “That and the lack of support and accountability.”
Top earners usually get all the attention in entrepreneur success stories, but those sexy numbers don’t always paint the full picture. Often, new entrepreneurs don’t even know if they are making a profit or a loss. They sometimes take out loans or other funding to provide capital, but then avoid tracking their numbers consistently, which tends to make matters worse.
Barham notes how she sees this avoidance â and her past experiences â in many of her clients.
“I’ve seen so many women entrepreneurs like me who don’t have a handle on their finances, don’t know if they’re making a profit or a loss, don’t set revenue goals and follow them, don’t create budgets , and were just rushing by the tax deadline to get all their numbers together.
“But more than that, I saw myself in them. I was in their shoes and I knew I had the expertise and the tools to help them.
“A personal trainer for money”
To combine financial savvy with accountability and community, Barham created 5 Minute Bookkeeperâ¢, a membership program that provides women entrepreneurs with simple, intuitive financial tracking tools/software and access to a private group of ‘other entrepreneurs and tax/accounting experts who provide ongoing support. The membership also has weekly “Money Dates”: joint work sessions to help customers stay in control of their finances.
“It’s our secret weapon to achieving incredible results for our clients,” says Barham. âIt’s the difference between just having a gym membership and having a personal trainer. I wanted to make sure my clients got the results they wanted.
Barham was clearly not the only entrepreneur who wanted a money tracking solution. His offering was an immediate success and led to notable milestones in 2021, including $100,000 in sales in a single quarter as a solopreneur.
“I also had a month last year where I made more money in my business than I would have made in an entire year at my old full-time job. It’s definitely tough, but the rewards far outweigh the challenges.
Advice for people considering a side hustle or business
The term “side hustle” has been around for almost 70 years, but as DollarSprout research notes, 2021 has changed that. According to them annual survey on secondary jostling:
- 41% of secondary scammers rely on this income to cover their monthly bills, a 50% increase from 2020.
- The percentage of people spending more than 15 hours per week on their secondary activity(ies) more than doubled in 2021, from 12% to 27%.
- 76% of respondents predict that side activities will become even more popular in 2022.
Barham agrees. She points out that her foray into entrepreneurship also started as a side hustle – just 18 months ago.
âI started out working with a few people while keeping my full-time job, and I learned along the way,â she says. “I constantly tested and tweaked.”
She started with a secondary hustle and fully validated her idea before taking the leap.
For creators, scammers and online entrepreneurs, the testing and tweaking never stops. According to a 2009 report from IBM, 98% of CEOs surveyed admitted that they iterate and refine their business models. If publicly traded companies can experiment and tinker in real time, so can we.
âEven though my business is now my main activity, I am still testing and tweaking. My advice [for aspiring entrepreneurs] would be to start, because it will never be perfect.
Barham also notes how being an entrepreneur has allowed for a level of financial flexibility that allows him to be more at home with his family.
âBeing an entrepreneur is the best decision I’ve made in my life, both personally and professionally. It gave me the freedom to work from home and be there for my autistic son.
As the employment landscape continues to change, more and more professionals are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to their financial future. Barham encourages him.
“Stop waiting and go.”