For entrepreneurial individuals, the side hustle is becoming an increasingly popular way to pursue a passion while bringing in extra income. If you have a thriving side business, you may dream of making that venture your full-time career—but you might not know if it’s a viable option.
So, how can you tell if your side hustle is ready to become your main hustle? Fourteen members of Forbes Coaches Council shared their advice on when to take your side business full time. Read on for their answers—and if you feel you’re ready, it just might be time to make that leap!
1. The Risks Of Self-Employment Won’t Financially Devastate You
Even if your side hustle now outpaces your income at your regular job, you need to consider the downside of self-employment. What if the income fluctuates? What if you cannot get or afford health insurance? What can you handle if it fails? Do you have a way to go back to your “regular” job if it does not make it? Who else is at risk if your enterprise does not work? Answer risk questions soberly. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
2. You’re Spending More Time And Money On Your Side Hustle
Working a side hustle is a balancing act. Typically the scales fall in favor of income generation. When the scales tip toward the side hustle with respect to your name or brand recognition, time spent on projects and investment in tools and training, it’s time to consider moving over to the “heavier” side. When this happens, it’s a sure sign your passion, energy and potential success has shifted. – Joynicole Martinez, The Alchemist Agency
3. Your Revenue Growth Is Greater Than The Cost Of Doing Business
Viable side hustles often enrich lives beyond monetary gains. Fulfillment, creativity, independence, flexibility and contribution are a few of the enrichments gained through side hustles. These reasons and more are why individuals choose to engage. Converting a side hustle to the main squeeze requires effective business models where revenue growth is greater than the cost of doing business. – Lillian Gregory, The Institute for Human and Leadership Excellence
4. You’re Willing To Spend Time On The Administrative Tasks
There is a romantic view that one will never work if they love what they do. But running a business is not only fun. There are marketing, sales and administrative tasks involved in it. Can you spend time on these tasks? Will you be confident enough negotiating prices? How will you feel while pressing others to pay you on time? Before switching your jobs, investigate this darker side deeper. – Inga Bielińska, Inga Bielinska Coaching Consulting Mentoring
5. You’re Bringing In Enough Money To Cover Your Expenses And Then Some
You know it is time to quit your day job for your part-time side business when you are bringing in enough money to pay your personal and business expenses with money left over to enjoy your life. This means you should be making the same amount or more in the part-time job as you do in your current full-time job. Also, consider if the side hustle is really a hobby or something you can do every day. – Katrina Brittingham, VentureReady LLC
6. Your Side Hustle Aligns With Your True Mission
Do you just want a way to make money or do you want to enjoy a passionate, purposeful life? Identify your life purpose, because sooner or later, this calling will pester you until you answer, “I’m ready.” Once you’re aware of your personal mission, countless opportunities appear. If your true purpose is tied to your side hustle, it will be much easier to sustain momentum when times are tough. – Doris Helge, Women’s Leadership Success Strategies
7. You Care More About Your Side Hustle Than Your Day Job
Interestingly enough many individuals use financial aspects to determine the viability of switching to full-time entrepreneurship. Though valid, it is a short-sighted strategy. The determining factor should be passion: Do you care more for the side hustle than your day job? When passion is used, the income will come. Passionate entrepreneurs tend to reach their financial goals faster and easier. – Kamyar Shah, World Consulting Group
8. There’s A Sufficient Market For Your Side Hustle
You might be doing fine with a side hustle, serving “low-hanging-fruit” customers. The main question you need to answer is, “Is there a large enough market to replace my full-time work?” You should evaluate the market and make sure that it will fully support you without the extra income. The side job might look good, but, in reality, does not have enough customers to support full-time employment. – John Knotts, Crosscutter Enterprises
9. The Financial Model Works On Paper
One of the biggest mistakes solopreneurs make is that they jump into a new venture without doing a basic financial model. Until you can sketch out 12 months of P&Ls that lead to positive cash flow, don’t quit your day job. If you can’t make it work “on paper,” you won’t be able to make it work in real life. – Josef Shapiro, Clear and Open
10. People Are Willing To Pay For Your Expertise
The easiest way to test if your side hustle has wings is to ask yourself this question: Do you have knowledge or expertise that people are willing to pay for and can you improve someone’s position by sharing it? If the answer is yes, there are ways to monetize your expertise. Do this correctly and your side hustle can very much become your main hustle. – Karen Kissane, Karen Kissane Coaching. The Smart Woman’s Business Hub.
11. Going Full Time Would Add Value To Your Life
It can be helpful to examine how much pleasure is derived from that side business. Doing what you love cannot be overrated. If that side business had full-time effort, how much more value could it add? That is a critical question to be answered. – Dr. Diane Hamilton, Tonerra
12. You’ve Created A New Market
If your side hustle was born of ingenuity and is a brand new response to a new, growing demand, consider the cost of waiting to launch your startup. If you’re willing to bet the farm to be first to market, create your business plan, secure financing for the first three years and make the leap. Being first to market will reward you for the struggle of bootstrapping and pitching to investors. – Christine Rose, Christine Rose Coaching & Consulting
13. You’re Running Toward Your Side Hustle, Rather Than Away From Your Main Job
There are the obvious things to consider like the finances, the day-to-day activities, the risk and whether you’re passionate. One thing I think is critically important is whether you are drawn toward your new venture or whether you are running away from something. A vision or a dream creates resilience through the ups and downs. Also, know how it fits into your long-term vision for yourself. – Kimberly Roush, All-Star Executive Coaching
14. You Feel Ready To Take The Leap
I’m not saying you should jump willy-nilly into something that’s not profitable or not driven by passion. However, too often people never make the leap to full time with their side hustle because you can never truly excel in any one direction when you’re straddling two paths. If you’ve done the work, built the brand and found the demand and profit to be there, then it’s likely time to go all in. – Laura DeCarlo, Career Directors International
Join us for eCoaching!
Do you have a business idea but don’t know how to get started? Or maybe you have a side hustle that you want to scale? Starting a business is no easy task. If you want to build a business that will thrive, it is important to start with a few essential fundamentals. By focusing on these fundamentals, you will have a clear understanding of your goals, be able to set your business up correctly (legally and financially) and will be able to prioritize actions that will allow you to scale.
In this webinar, entrepreneur Katrina Brittingham will show you the steps you need to take to launch a thriving business.
Key takeaways will include:
– The importance of a strategy or plan and how to develop one;
– How to identify your audience and develop a niche;
– Essential legal registrations;
– Managing business finances; and
– How to use your network to grow your business.
Register for eCoaching here.