Turning a side hustle into a business

Tom Evans founded BleepBleeps – a tech startup making connected products for parents – while working in advertising. Here, he shares some advice on taking your side hustle to the next level

When I founded BleepBleeps in 2014, it was one of the many side hustles I had alongside my full-time job. I had the infancies of the idea when I was in the first forays of parenthood, and it escalated into a whirlwind of crowdfunding where we raised 100% of our funding target within 24 hours. [The brand now makes a range of connected products, from a toothbrush to an alarm, which can be found in Harrods, Selfridges and the Conran Shop as well as online.]

I was working as Executive Creative Director at Being / TBWA – a brand behaviour agency specialising in innovation, technology and design – at the time. Finding a balance between the two was one of the greatest dilemmas I faced while starting my business. What to prioritise, job security versus passion, and the ever-tempting thought of creating something entirely of my own was always on my mind.

As BleepBleeps grew in scale and recognition, the ‘what next?’ question kept creeping into my head and growing louder and louder with each and every milestone. But the idea of taking the leap – of pursuing what had started as a creative idea but morphed into a standalone business – was intimidating. Could I make it profitable? Could I build something sustainable and long-term? These were powerful and hugely daunting questions. But as I made the leap from side hustle to fully fledged business, this is what I learnt along the way.

DESIGNER

Worthing, West Sussex

INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER

Frome, Somerset

SENIOR DESIGNER

Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire