I was interested to read a Henley Business School white paper that claims 25% of UK adults have a side hustle – a business they run in their free time. These part-time ventures are giving people the flexibility to pursue what they’re really passionate about, while retaining the stability of their day job. As an entrepreneur, I think this is extremely valuable.
Most successful businesses are years of hard work in the making and many of them started as a side hustle before the time was right for the founders to take the plunge. It takes an incredible amount of time and commitment, so it’s essential you build your business around something you’re genuinely passionate about.
In my experience, that passion is often focused on solving a particular problem. When we started MarketInvoice it was about solving the challenges SMEs faced in accessing funding for growth. Traditional finance was broken and we had this idea of using technology to fix it. In the beginning we were just three founders in a top-floor office following a passion. Fast-forward seven years and we’re a team of almost 100.
I was chatting to some of our new joiners the other day about the early days of MarketInvoice and they asked what advice I would give future entrepreneurs based on my experience. The first thing that sprang to mind was to build a business around what you love but two other important factors for me are partnering with the right people and really just getting out there and making it happen.
Starting a business is a long journey and it’s not always easy, so you have to be sure you embark on it with the right person. And that’s not necessarily a good friend or family member. You need to choose someone who complements you – both in attitude and expertise. They can challenge your thinking, see things you may not have considered and bring new ideas to the table. This is far more valuable than working with someone just like you.
Having innovative ideas is a start but it takes action to turn them into reality. Over the years I’ve learned it can often be better not to overthink and rather just go and do things. I try to spend 5% of my time thinking and 95% of my time doing. You need luck to grow your ideas into a successful business but must actively put yourself in situations where that can happen.