From Etsy shops to freelance design work, it seems like almost everyone has a side hustle these days. In fact, surveys found that approximately half of all Millennials have some type of side hustle, “in a bid to boost their cash or chase a long-held passion.”
In my experience, a big motivator behind starting a side hustle is a desire to eventually leave behind the 9-to-5 grind and work for yourself. But how can you have confidence that you’re ready to turn your side hustle into a full-time gig?
During a recent interview I did with Justin Gignac, Adam Tompkins, and Emily Slade of Working Not Working, I was able to gain a few extra insights into what helps entrepreneurs know it’s time to finally take the plunge. Here’s how you can have confidence that you’re ready to take your side hustle full-time.
1. You’re Financially Ready
It doesn’t matter what your side hustle is; chances are, you won’t be making a ton of money right from the get-go. In addition, many entrepreneurs need loans or investments to start growing their business—and that requires good credit.
As Working Not Working founder Adam Tompkins advises in his interview, “You need to have a couple months’ rent in the bank—a little bit of a cash buffer.” Why? Well, Tompkins and Gignac didn’t really pay themselves much until they were a few years into running their business. A strong credit score and healthy savings can make all the difference during those early stages.
2. Your Personal Work Is Gaining Attention
Traditionally, many freelancers try to gain attention for their work through projects they complete for smaller clients or by putting up spec work. As the Working Not Working team explains, however, one way to know your side hustle is ready to go to the next level, is when your passion projects are starting to gain attention.
“We know so many people who put stuff out on Instagram and it turns into a full-time job for them,” Gignac explains. “I think that’s what you need to do. You need to go for what you’re into. People want to hire passion.” If your passion projects are turning into job offers and building your online following, your side business is ready to expand.
3. You’re A Motivated Self-Starter
Once you start working for yourself, there’s only one person responsible for your results: you. That means discovering the most reliable ways for keeping yourself motivated for the long haul—whether that’s plastering motivational quote posters to the walls around your workspace, regularly rewarding yourself at the end of the workweek, or otherwise, you’ll need sustained motivation in order to make it full-time with your business.
Fellow entrepreneur and podcast guest, Stephanie Joanne, who currently works for herself as an online business coach, puts it this way: “Yes, talent and great ideas are important, but they’re not everything. At the end of the day, if you don’t have the discipline or you’re not a self-starter, you will not be successful with your side hustle. You have to develop these entrepreneurial skills before you try and take it full-time.”
4. You Know Your Business Basics
If you don’t know how to actually run your own business, things will quickly fall apart. Are you aware of the many mistakes that derail young companies? Do you fully understand what your overhead costs will be? Have you priced your product well for your ideal customers? Do you have a well-thought-out growth plan to help you expand at a sustainable rate? Are you aware of trends and shifts in your niche? The better you understand your market as a whole, the easier it will be to make a smooth transition.
5. You’ve Mastered The Art Of Self-Promotion
Never forget that your side hustle is a real business. That means you’re going to need to devote a fair amount of time (and financial resources) to promote yourself and your solutions. After all, how else are you going to find new clients?
As Tompkins explains, while this can prove to be a challenge, it’s an essential part to master. “Think of it more like you’re starting a business of one person rather than going freelance. The self-promotional aspect is hard for a lot of people, but it’s really really important. There are a lot of talented freelancers out there who don’t do it well and don’t succeed because of it, and less talented people that do it well and succeed more.”
6. You’re Missing Out On New Projects
As you gradually expand your side hustle, new clients might start reaching out to you, or your current clients might want you to do more work. “There are all these great things that just open up as soon as you say yes to a project,” Slade says. “It sort of sets a tempo.”
Of course, it’s hard to take on additional work for your side hustle if you can only dedicate nights and weekends to it. If you’ve reached the point where you wish you could say yes to more projects and feel like you’re actually missing out on financial growth by turning them down, then the time has probably come for you to go full-time.
Living The Dream
Leaving behind your old job to fully dedicate yourself to your side hustle can be scary—but it doesn’t have to be. As so many people have learned, when the signs are pointing in the right direction, you can move forward with confidence as you start chasing (and living) your dream.
| By Ryan Robinson| Entrepreneur