Evolving from Side Hustle to Full-Time Business Owner

I should have done it a long time ago. I wish I had made the change from side hustle to full-time business owner years before I did it.

I had a ‘side-hustle’ consulting business for a long time – more than 15 years. It took me that long to realize I really should become a full-time consultant and start an “official business.” One that is registered with the state and federal government.

During those 15+ years, I didn’t know that the side-hustle would turn into a full-time consulting business. But I’m so glad it has evolved into two organizations: Institute for Effectiveness in Higher Education and a personal brand website — KPPowers.com.

Make It Official!Briefcase On Leaves - symbolizing consulting

But – I wish someone had said to me, “You’ve been doing consulting for a while … Take the time to officially register your business.” Even if you only continue consulting as a side-gig, it’s good to ‘make it official’ for a variety of reasons. And, doing so allows you to easily evolve from side-hustle to full-time consulting.

I looked into the business registration process many times – and it seemed ‘clear as mud.’ What forms did I need to complete? Do I need a lawyer to submit the paperwork? How much is all of this really going to cost? Naturally, I got discouraged – so the task moved to the bottom of the list.

Of course, I wish I had officially registered my business years ago. In reality, I was already expanding my consulting business into my full-time role – full steam ahead. I can’t believe that was back in 2017.

Increased Interest in Consulting Businesses

Since the pandemic, a number of people – colleagues of colleagues, strangers, and friends – have reached out to ask me more about setting up their own business. Some wanted to make the transition before COVID. They really didn’t find their job fulfilling anymore, and the pandemic has put that into perspective.

In 2019, according to Upwork, more than 53 million people did freelance work. That’s about 35% of the workforce. Who knew?!? And – freelancers are expected to constitute the majority of the workforce by 2027.  Which makes sense – traditional W-2 positions are not as desirable as they used to be. And – many organizations are outsourcing select roles.

Starting A Consulting Business on a Budget

One of the most frequent questions I get is — “How much does it cost to get a consulting business going?” So I’ve put together a simple “calculator” with a list of expenses and estimates. There are a few blank lines so that you can add in your own expenses, custom to your business. For example, if you know you’ll need to buy a subscription to a specific organization to do your work, include it. Or, if you know you’ll need to buy a computer, add in the amount. The total may still be scary, but when you put it on paper — it becomes a known amount — rather than an unknown. Working towards the known is possible. You can download the calculator and begin estimating your start up costs.


Good luck with your new adventure!