Austin Small Business Spotlight – Turn Your Side Hustle Into A Career


Do you have what it takes to leave your full-time, job to pursue entrepreneurship? If you’re lucky, that side gig that you have had in mind may take off. But it may not. These are the hard truths to consider. There are extensive risks attached to the trendy concept where everyone becomes an entrepreneur. In order to enter the daunting and sometimes intimidating world of unknowns, it is easier to break things down into smaller, more digestible pieces.

That’s why we decided to ask a local Austin entrepreneur to share some tips with us! Meet Amanda Nelson. 

austin small business

As a content creator, motivational speaker, and coach, Amanda is all about helping you tap into your full potential. Passionate about travel, she has grown her influence on multiple platforms by sharing her adventures, as well as un-filtered advice and one-of-a-kind motivational messages. In addition to working as a travel influencer, she coaches students on her exact methods in order to successfully land paid travel.

We asked Amanda to share some tips on how to transition a side hustle into a full-time gig here in Austin. Here’s what she had to say.

Find Your Niche

Let’s talk about how over or under saturated the market is that you want to enter. Now let’s talk about how that doesn’t matter at all. Say you want to quit your 9-5 and enter into the world of candle making, which happens to be something you’re truly passionate about. But everyone is already making candles. You have two choices: you can become easily discouraged; or you can do what many don’t have the courage to and do it anyway. The fact that the market is booming means there is room for you to put your own unique flair onto your candles. A candle niche, if you will. By leaning into what makes your candles different from the competition, you have a stronger marketing outline already. 

Once you’ve defined your niche you need to think about…


Moving onto what you’ve probably been thinking since you started reading this article… How do I finance my endeavor? Create an exit number. It’s easy to let money get in the way of actually pulling the trigger, which is why I recommend creating what I call an exit number — the amount of money you need to feel confident before you hand in your resignation at work. It may be 2021, but money still doesn’t grow on trees, so in order to be financially responsible and prepared for your new gig, be patient with this number. 

If time is not on your side when it comes to finances or if you are eager to get started, consider friends and family for funding assistance. If that is not an option, I’d recommend a small business loan. There may be a loan tailored just for you based on race, gender, location, service to this country, etc. The Small Business Administration has multiple funding categories that can be found here. Don’t simply get an SBA loan just to say you have extra cash on hand, consider your finances both potential profits and losses before making this choice. Microsoft Office has plenty of templates that can get you started. 

Next you should start to create a strategy for your new business endeavor.

Create a Business Plan

The planning aspect helps visual learners to delve into the inner workings of their new business. Some thought-provoking questions:

  • Will you have employees? 
  • Are you selling a service or product? 
  • E-Commerce, or Brick and Mortar? 
  • What is the COGS (Cost of Goods)?
  • How will you market? 
  • Who will market for you? 
  • Video or photography? 
  • Which Social Media platform is best? 

Phew, that’s a lot. Do you like hats? You’ll be wearing a lot of them at the beginning. Remember, there is a substantial amount of free information on the internet. Not to mention articles such as the one you’re reading right now. If you’ve already gotten this far, then you’re on the right path! I strongly believe in order to be successful, the CEO should be able to do most of the jobs he or she is hiring for, and then outsource/delegate later. Focus on what your strengths are and hire out for the rest. 

This means a lot of your time spend will go into your new baby (the biz) so you may need to put your vacations on the back burner (that is of course unless you get paid to travel like me – more on that here). 

Speaking of time spent, I’d recommend an accountant who can help with legal, taxes, and business entity. This will save you a lot of time and a lot of headaches! And because I do not give legal advice, that’s about all the time we are going to spend talking about business taxes. 

Realize that this will not happen overnight, be patient with your choice, your exit number, and remember why you chose to break away from the “norm” in the first place. You’ll need these thoughts when things inevitably get tough. You are choosing to play a different game, defy odds, and grow in the process. By carefully following your exit strategy, you will create value for others, control income for you and your family, and most importantly, you will learn so much about yourself!

exploring amanda

For more advice and adventures, follow Amanda on Instagram and TikTok!