Start Up Talk

Steps to Transition From Side Hustle to a Structured Organization

In the course of my work as a business consultant, I have seen many business owners who have and are still struggling with scaling their side hustles. Although many people started with side hustles that eventually grew into big organizations, there are still many who struggle with knowing the difference between both structures.

Every industry has a unique system. The oil and gas sector’s business protocol differs from those of the automobile industry or the food processing business.  To begin, you need to understand the sector your side hustle falls. This knowledge will help you start to put the building blocks of growth in place.

On Startup Talk this week, I will highlight the difference between an organization and a side business hustle and share seven of the fifteen steps to transition your side hustle into a structured organization, no matter how small you are today.

A Side Hustle Vs an Organization

It is essential to state here that your side hustle and an established organization are both classed under the same tag as “Businesses.” What this means is that your side hustle is also a business though a “micro-business,” while an organization can be either a “small, medium or established enterprise (SME).”

The focus of this article then is to help you understand the differences between both types of businesses and what you can do to move your micro endeavour into becoming an SME.

The difference between a side hustle and an organization lies in the time and attention it receives from the business owner. A side hustle is a business you engage in by the side, while you go to school, have a full-time job or nurse your children as a full-time housewife. Also, a vital characteristic of a side hustle is that the founder often assumes the role of the production manager and delivery driver, among others. One significant thing about a side hustle is that without you, it cannot run successfully. Another difference is that working in your side hustle only happens in your spare time when compared with an organization.

Though, this is a service or product you are currently providing on the side to augment your income, this type of business is still classed as a micro business due to its unstructured nature. What makes it a business in the first place is the fact that there is an exchange of value between you and your customers. That is, you deliver value in exchange for money.

This exchange of value for financial reward equally applies to an organization. However, where a side hustle differs from an organization is in the nature of its structure. Any serious-minded organization would have gone through the process of formal registration with the appropriate regulatory body. In the case of Nigeria, every organization must be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission before it can fully operate as a formal business. Once your side hustle is put on the grid, this is the indication that you have successfully started the journey towards becoming an established organization.

Difference Between a Side Hustle and an Organization.

1 High risk Low risk
2 Full-time engagement Part-time engagement
3 Registered and regulated Unregistered and unregulated
4 Structured with systems and processes Unstructured and is operated without a clearly defined system
5 Require the hands-on commitment of a professional and experienced workforce to succeed Requires only the attention of the founder to succeed

The real difference between these two is that an organization has gone a step further to create systems, structures and to hire the right personnel to ensure consistent delivery of commercial excellence. All these, without the direct hands-on, day-to-day involvement of the founder. The founder or CEO’s role is more of policymaking, risk assessment and management. The CEO is also in charge of executive management and defining the global vision, goals and objectives of the organization, while ensuring the workforce is meeting the financial target.

For clarity sake, a side hustle is not an inconsequential endeavour. Some side hustles have earned in six months much more than their founders ever made in a year. Some have self-sponsored themselves in school, gotten married and raised their children from their side hustle. However, if your goal is to build a Startup that will become a mega business, then you need to start thinking about formalizing your processes.

Many businesses started from home or the boot of their cars or garage of the founders. This informal structure is excellent and can work only for as long as you are satisfied with the current state of your income. However, if like me, you are ambitious, driven and passionate about running a well-established organization, you will fight with all you’ve got to scale your side hustle.

Starting your business as a side hustle may be the only way for you to learn how your business works and how best to operate within the industry you have found yourself. This period in your company might well also be the only time that trial and error are tolerated in your business. Make the best use of this time.

Making mistakes in this low-risk environment will avail you the firsthand knowledge on how to and not to run your business. This process will also help lay a solid foundation for your business growth goals. Not leveraging this opportunity could be a waste of the lessons you have gleaned from your days of little beginnings.

Therefore, you need to be as smart as your contemporaries who are career-driven and have made no bones about their goal to build their dream life through paid employment. They will have a juicy package and be paid pension upon retirement. They will also receive huge bonuses that will enable them to take out a mortgage and make a down payment on their homes.

While you are still struggling and sinking all your pay not on paying off a mortgage, but into building your business. Fellow founder, this is not a pretty picture. It is a sad reality, and the sooner you wake up to the fact that business is warfare, the better! As a Startup, you will experience many discouraging episodes. Your mind will tell you to give up on this dream and hang on to your employment, especially when you remember the perks.

However, since you have read up to this point, I dare say that you are ambitious, fearless, and passionately driven to change the destiny of your micro business. I promise you that you cannot get the dividend of your labour if you choose to play or stay small. So, let us go mega!

Seven Steps to Transition Your Side Hustle into an Organization

There are, in truth, fifteen steps to take to make this a successful and sustainable transition. However, for the sake of this article, I will only list the first seven steps. To access the other levels, join my mailing list on

These fifteen steps each have sub-actionable steps that you need to follow to meet your set business transition goals systematically. I dig deeper into these sub-actionable steps in my workshops which you can get more information on once you join my mailing list.

I have used these fifteen actionable steps with my mentees, many of whom have recorded successful transition testimonials from employment to entrepreneurship. Two especially went on to win the Worldbank grant, worth a whopping sum of seven million naira each in the recently closed-out GEM project.

These steps are the real deal. You too can become the next big organization if you come on this journey with me.

Below Are the Seven Steps:

Step One: Register your business.

Step Two: Acquire a Tax Identification Number.

Step Three: Open a current account.

Step Four: Get a dedicated mobile line, email address in your business name and a physical address where you can receive customers or regulators.

Step Five: Create a brand identity for your business

Step Six: Create a digital footprint on social platforms – Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, website or blog etcetera

Step Seven: Create a Customer Relationship Management system (C. R. M)

For the full steps, join the Startup Doctor’s email list on

Point to note: You can efficiently serve more customers by creating a system for your business, putting structures in place and hiring the right hands. It is when you carry out these steps that you will begin to build an organization that will attract investors, partners and guarantee recurring income.

Don’t forget to write to me and share your business challenges on And to join my mailing list so you can get more business success strategies.

To your continued success!

Keep Sparkling,

Muna Onuzo

The Startup Doctor

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