Follow along as I share my experience selling a side hustle when it was time to pivot instead of letting the business fade away.
What I Know Now About Selling A Side Hustle
Well the cats out of the bag. I listed my food photography side hustle for sale. And spoiler alert, it has sold! In celebration, I am creating a 4-part mini series on Side Checks Podcasts about the experience. I am sharing everything I now know about selling a side hustle, the ups and the down, and what life looks like now.
This has been a wild journey. And one that I am very excited to share about. If you’re curious about what selling a business (or buying a business) looks like, be sure to subscribe to Side Checks to follow along.
And if you’re at the beginning of your side hustle journey and looking for your next venture, download my free like of 500 Side Hustle Ideas right here.
How I Built My Business To Sell
When I built my business, I had a chip on my shoulder for entrepreneurship. You can learn more about my food photography side hustle here. I built a successful wedding photography business in Chicago on the basis of personal branding.
The issue with this is that my business became “pigeon-holed” when it was time for me to move back home to South Carolina. The business needed me at the steering wheel in order to earn income. This was because of the amount of enmeshment and personal branding that was inside the business.
Therefore when it was time to create my food photography side hustle, I wanted nothing to do with personal branding. Instead, I wanted to build a machine that did not rely on my personality at all but the end product alone.
Even though this was from a chip on my shoulder and NOT a strategic move at the beginning, it set me up for success. By not having buyers needing “me”, a new owner was able to take over operations and revenue without an emotional “business break up”.
Selling A Side Hustle Instead of Ramping Down
There was not one moment that made me decide to list my side hustle for sale. I do not recall an “ah-ha” revelation that lead me to listing it for sale.
However, there was a revelation.
I knew it was time to pivot my career. My husband and I wanted to have kids in the near future and I wanted to no longer hold a camera in my hand. After all, I never claimed to be a photographer but a business woman.
My natural thought when thinking about pivoting my business was to ramp up my business coaching services and begin to ramp down my food photography business.
And then I got angry.
If I had a machine-earning income without me as its’ poster child, why should that machine ramp down and fade away? I thought to myself, “Is this what happens in the real world? If not, why should I consider it?“.
I was tired of entrepreneurship feeling harder and not being rewarded for the business itself, but only the revenue. After all, if I DID ramp down… the money my customers spent wouldn’t disappear. They would just go somewhere else. So instead, how could this business live on without me? And how could that turn into a mutual benefit? The answer: listing my side hustle for sale.
When I Couldn’t Double My Sales
Along this journey, I received a contact for a local business broker. When I met with this broker to review my business and determine if it could be sold one day, he gave me a challenge.
The challenge was to double my sales and return to him in one year. At this point, I was on track to earn $100,000 at the end of the calendar year. And I knew the following year I could earn more. See how I managed to run a 6-figure business in 3-day work weeks here.
Doubling my sales became my obsession. I hired more people, I added more hours to myself, I increased my prices and gave it my all.
However, I couldn’t double my sales. And this effort alone lead me to exhaustion. I knew in order for me to grow my sales I would need to hire a business manager and find a significant amount of new buyers.
This could have been possible. However, in this season of life, I simply did not have the capacity.
There will be times inside entrepreneurship when your capacity of maxed at different levels. For me, being newlywed and running another business made my capacity lower.
I returned to the broker 8 months later and inquired what it would look like to proceed with listing my business as it.
Having My Business Appraised & Listed
During this journey, I met so many amazing individuals. The business broker who helped me list my business for sale included.
When I told him I wanted to proceed with listing my business for sale, he helped me list it privately. This was a solution for a younger business like mine instead of listing it through a brokerage firm.
The first step was to have him appraise my business. This was the process of assigning value and a price tag to my business. My business was apprised at just over $173,000. The factors for determining this were time of the business and revenue.
Since my business was for sale by owner, I listed it on www.bizbuysell.com. Here I was able to create an executive summary, inventory list, photo gallery, and income information.
What To Expect In This Mini Series of Side Checks
In this series, I am going to walk you through the listing process, selling process, and post-sale process. My hope is that listeners and readers can begin to think differently about entrepreneurship.
One of the biggest lessons learned through this experience has been to view a business not always as an extension of yourself. Instead, consider your “end-game”. Maybe even ask yourself these questions:
- What would happen if you broke your arms/legs?
- Can you retire doing this? If so, how?
- Does 100% of your income rely on you being you? If so, what happens in an emergency?
Your business doesn’t need to be the manifestation of what you love most. Instead, you can build a business with professional boundaries that operates as a machine. This is how you can begin creating something you can sell to someone else, start a nest egg of your own, and continue carving your entrepreneurial path.