Building a successful small business doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it’s often a labor of love that takes time to build. But with perseverance and dedication to the end goal, it’s possible to turn your passion project into a successful business. Here, three side hustle entrepreneurs share their experience and advice in growing a new business. Plus, we hear some of their resolutions for the future.
Tameka Jones, Lip Esteem
Before launching her line of luxe lip products, Tameka was working as a makeup artist and manager of a cosmetic line. She launched Lip Esteem in July of 2020 in the midst of the pandemic and civil unrest in her local home of the Twin Cities. Now, she is proud to call it her full-time career.
Although it was a challenging time to build a new business from scratch, it also felt like a much needed on. “There was so much trauma and racial tension that I was faced with that I wanted to bring light those around me by creating a lipstick line that would work on every woman,” Tameka explains.
Managing a Side Hustle
“My business was a side hustle for just a few months while I was furloughed,” she shares. “I had the time and the finances to start my brand. Once my job called me back to work, I knew I didn’t want to go back into a toxic environment so I took matters into my own hands and made Lip Esteem my full-time job.”
But how long did it take? “It took me 4 months before I was able to make it into a full-time job,” Tameka says. “It was and has been the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
In fact, Tameka is even featured on a Hulu series about her journey into entrepreneurship.
“This has been an amazing adventure. I have less anxiety. I am happier,” she says. It’s also become a family business. “My daughter started working full-time for me three months ago and we are both happy.”
Advice for Side Hustle Entrepreneurs
“The suggestion I would give side hustle entrepreneurs is to treat your side hustle like it is the main event,” Tameka encourages. “See how the universe will make that happen—if you want it.”
As for her goals for the future? “My resolution is to be kinder to myself by celebrating accomplishments and taking breaks when needed,” Tameka says.
Emmett Soldati, Teatotaller
For those who think you need lots of business experience and education before starting a business, Emmett is here to say otherwise. He opened his New Hampshire-based cafe in in 2011 without having much of either—aside from a childhood lemonade stand, he jokes. Since then, Teatotaller has become a local favorite with its’ array of beverages, specialty pastries, breakfast, and lunch dishes. Notably, it was even dubbed one of the “Most Instagrammable Restaurant in America” by Food Network Magazine.
“I had just moved back to my hometown of 11,000 people and really wanted our community to connect in a third space like a cafe,” Emmett says. “I hoped this venture would add to the growing vibrancy of the small mill town.”
Managing a Side Hustle
For Emmett, the progression to full-time endeavor wasn’t linear. “It has swung back and forth between being my side hustle and main hustle many times,” he says. “I’ve always had many irons in the fire but pretty soon into running it, it became full-time.”
Importantly, he recalls that it wasn’t an easy transition. “Initially, this was daunting and miserable. I did not understand what it would mean to run a business full-time, which just about soaks up all your free time.”
But building a quality team and support system made all the difference. “Over time I found people who shared my mission and that helped me to see the forest for the trees and see how the business needed to grow,” he shares. “I’ve been fortunate to have found employees who care about our mission and that has made it easier.”
Advice for Side Hustle Entrepreneurs
Emmett advises intentionally building out your team to not get overwhelmed in the journey. “Find other like-minded people and bring them along,” he says. “Don’t go it alone.”
Micki Krimmel, Superfit Hero
Micki Krimmel’s line of inclusive activewear is fit and tested across their entire size range from size large to 7XL. Now beloved across the world, Superfit Hero all started with a successful Kickstarter campaign and desire to promote more body positive representation in the industry.
Micki got the idea for her business from a hobby she enjoyed in her free time. “I was inspired to create Superfit Hero by my experience playing roller derby,” she says. “Like most women, I had spent most of my life in a constant battle with my body, doing everything I could to change its appearance and still always feeling terrible about myself. Roller derby taught me that sport and movement doesn’t have to be about losing weight. A regular movement practice can and should connect you to your body instead of battling with it. There are so many benefits of a movement practice that have nothing to do with your appearance.”
With that in mind, she wanted to offer activewear that supported this point of view. “I wanted to create a new kind of fitness brand,” she says, “one that celebrates bodies as they are, not as they should be.”
Growing the Business
As a serial entrepreneur, Micki was able to commit to building her small business full-time after having sold her previous company. With that, she dove headfirst into a Kickstarter campaign. “The Kickstarter was necessary to fund the business,” she explains, “but it was also a test to see if the business was viable.” Ultimately, the campaign allowed her to raise enough money from investors to get the business off and running. “My approach was to commit full-time to the project and see if it would work,” she says.
As she looks ahead to the future, Micki resolves to grow by delegating. “My resolution for 2022 is to work ON my business, not IN my business,” she shares. “When I first started my business, I did everything. I met with factories, tried on samples, shipped all the orders. At some point, if you’re going to grow, you have to step away from these daily tasks and instead work every day on growing your business.” For her, 2022 is all about leadership.