A side-hustle can be a great way to gain some extra cash alongside your full-time job, but it also has its downsides. Experts recommend working no longer than 40 hours a week, and squeezing in a side-hustle alongside your usual shifts can be harmful for your physical and mental health. It’s therefore not surprising that successful side-hustlers might be considering dialing down their day job and turning their side-hustle into their primary career — but this can be a daunting move to make. These signs might just suggest that it’s time to take the plunge.
1. The sums show that your side-hustle has full-time potential
One of the biggest worries when it comes to making any career change is how it will impact your finances. After all, you’ve gotten used to having two incomes, and losing the more stable, consistent, and likely larger of these can be an anxiety-inducing idea.
When you aren’t doing something full time, it can be tricky to know what earning potential your side-hustle actually has. To get a clearer idea of this, monitor the time that you spend on your out-of-hours projects for a few weeks, and your earnings in the same time period. Use this to calculate your average hourly earnings, and then multiply by how many hours you would intend to put into your projects were they your only source of income. Knock a margin of around 10 to 20 percent off this to be on the safe side, and if you end up on a figure that you can feasibly see yourself being able to get by on, then you know that you can afford to take the leap.
2. You’re beginning to find that working two jobs isn’t sustainable
Although finding a secondary source of income that you enjoy can be exhilarating at first, regularly working evenings and weekends after a long day in the office can soon start to take its toll. If you find that your health and well-being are suffering, then it’s time to take a step back and take some time to reflect on which of your current jobs you would feel more comfortable dialing down. If you can’t stand the thought of saying goodbye to your side-gig, then perhaps something has to give at your day job. If the idea of handing your notice in seems too extreme, then consider discussing reducing your hours with your boss.
3. You have more work than you can fit into your spare time
As your side-hustle starts to gain momentum, you might find yourself being approached by new clients or offered big projects. This is a fantastic marker of how far your business has come, but can also be frustrating if your full-time job is getting in the way of accepting exciting offers.
Having more work than you have time to do it is a clear signal that your side-hustle has the potential to grow even further were you able to devote the time to it. Seeing that prospective projects are beginning to pile up might also give you the confidence boost that you need to know that you won’t be stuck for work once you make your career move.
4. You have a business plan
Whilst it might have been enough to carry out your side-hustle on a more ad-hoc basis with the security of a full-time job to fall back on, turning your personal project into a career needs some serious planning. Calculating your finances is an important part of this, but you should also think about how you will grow your income once you have more time to invest in your new role. How do you plan to make new contacts and grow your client base? Can you diversify your income and expand into other areas? What would you have like to have achieved in your first year of taking your side-hustle full time? What tools and processes will you need to make your business a success? Starting to treat your side-hustle as a serious venture will mean that you feel prepared to be up and running as a serious business as soon as your notice period ends.
5. You have enough savings to fall back on
By forfeiting the security of a full-time job, you almost always run the risk of experiencing some financial instability, no matter how successful your side-hustle is. Prepare for any initial investments you might need to make, cash-flow problems, and inevitable dry spells by aiming to save at least a few months’ income before you quit your day-job. This way you know that you can comfortably get by as you grow your business, even if it turns out to be initially less profitable than expected.
Turning a side-hustle into a full-time venture is a scary step, but if you are passionate about what you do then it can also be an incredible and exciting one. Have confidence in your abilities and your business, and be prepared to take a risk. You might find yourself being rewarded.