All around it feels as though people are leaving full-time jobs in pursuit of self-employment—and they’re now free to work whenever and from wherever they want. While you’ve been spending your fringe hours working on your passion project—something it seems you were destined to do. You’re inching forward to making the leap and joining the self-employed work force and you’re starting to wonder if you’re ready to make the switch.
If that sounds like you, here are five questions you should ask yourself before taking your side hustle full-time:
1. Are you prepared financially?
Money problems are the most common reason that businesses fail—and having personal money issues while your business is experiencing a slow period can be a recipe for disaster. When you’re just starting out, income can be inconsistent at best. So while you’re focused on the task of growing your business, you want as few distractions as possible. If you’re in debt or don’t have a big enough emergency fund stashed away to sustain you in those slow months, you might find yourself making decisions that are bad for your business or worse, feeling like you need to ditch your business too soon to go back to a steady paycheck.
Try to have enough cash stashed away to cover nine to twelve months of expenses. That should give you enough cushion to get through any slow periods or to cover unexpected emergencies.
2. Have you been earning money from your side hustle?
Having a side hustle is a great way to test the waters before jumping in and leaving your full-time job. But make sure to acknowledge the difference between your excitement from momentum (having new leads, getting new requests, growing your social media following, etc.) and the reality of whether you are actually earning a relatively consistent income. Momentum is something to be excited about, but learning how to monetize while still having the safety of a full-time job can make the transition much more comfortable.
You need to start working on your business and acting as the CEO would: looking for opportunities to grow, expanding your offerings, reaching new customers, etc
3. Have you transitioned to your CEO role?
When most entrepreneurs move to running their business full-time, one of the biggest things I see people struggle with is moving from an ‘employee’ mindset to a CEO mindset. People are often stuck working in their business as an employee would—doing all of the necessary tasks that need to be done in order to run a day-to-day business.
But to really start moving and growing your business you need to start working on your business and acting as the CEO would: looking for opportunities to grow, expanding your offerings, reaching new customers, etc. Making this switch can be difficult but it’s one of the most important changes you can make in order to grow your business from a side hustle to a thriving full-time business.
4. Is this a passion or are you just passionate about leaving your current job?
Most people I know (myself included) started their side hustle because their current job was no longer satisfying. That’s a totally legit place to start, but before you make the jump to working on your side hustle full-time, make sure it is a business that you are passionate about and can work on each day through the highs and the lows. While working for yourself and setting your own schedule can be amazing, it is still work. And if you’re running from one job you’re not passionate about to starting a business you’re not passionate about, burnout can set in quickly.
5. Have you connected with other entrepreneurs for support?
Running a business can be lonely, especially if you work from home. It can be extremely helpful to have a group of friends you can talk with when things are going right, when things are going wrong, or when you need advice from someone who knows exactly what you’re going through. Before making the jump and leaving your day job, make sure that you’ve started to develop friends and a network in your new business world to make the transition less lonely. If you don’t have that network yet, you can reach out to others in Facebook groups, find a local meet-up, or send an email to a fellow entrepreneur you’ve been following online.