By definition, a side hustle is something you do at the same time as your regular job. It’s not meant to serve as your main source of income, but it gives you a little extra money to help make ends meet. In the best cases, it also allows you to follow your passions and monetize the things you’re good at.
Sometimes, what starts out as a minor side project can grow in scope. Maybe you attract more clients than you’d expected, or perhaps you find yourself dedicating more and more time to what was supposed to be a minor commitment. At a certain point, you might ask yourself, “Could my side hustle become my full-time job?”
Many entrepreneurs and gig workers have successfully turned their side projects into their main sources of income, allowing them to quit their regular jobs altogether. Before taking such a drastic step, you should ask yourself if you’re ready. Here are the four definite signs that it’s time to bump your side hustle up to full-time status.
Your Side Hustle Could Take Off With Greater Commitment
When you’re dedicating 40 hours a week to a regular job, it can be hard to give your side hustle the attention it needs. Many ideas fail to reach their full potential without tender love and care. Maximizing a project’s output requires marketing, relationship-building, and practice – all processes that take some serious time. Often, a side gig seems like a thirsty plant that you just don’t have the time to water.
Take a long, hard look at your side business to see if it could benefit from a greater commitment. Are time constraints currently holding the project back? Are there obvious ways that an increased focus would make the job more lucrative? Are you having to turn down new clients because you don’t have the time to take them on? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you might be ready to leave your regular job behind.
Your Side Business Provides Consistent Income
With a side hustle, a slow month might not be a big deal because you can still count on the paycheck from your regular job. The situation changes drastically if you quit your job and focus entirely on your new project. Suddenly, you find yourself in a situation where a few bad months can prove devastating. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your side hustle produces a consistent income before making the switch.
When assessing your side hustle’s earning potential, don’t let a single good month cloud your judgment. You might have made tons of money over the past few weeks, but can you count on replicating these results on a regular basis? Keep an eye on your earnings, and make sure the income isn’t dependent entirely on seasonal or circumstantial factors. Once you’ve confirmed that the earnings are steady, you can consider turning your side project into a full-time gig.
You Can Afford to Take a Risk
There’s always a certain amount of risk involved when you commit to a new project. Something as common as an unforeseen competitor or as unexpected as a massive pandemic can always come along to derail your plans. Even without major disruptions, building a business requires patience. You might not see the immediate income you were expecting, and developing a new project is often expensive.
With all that being said, you shouldn’t be scared to take a chance. After all, building a career always involves risk, and many bold decisions pay off in the long run. The key is to make sure you can afford the worst-case scenario before jumping in. Analyze your personal finances, and only take the plunge if you’ve got the leeway to survive some growing pains.
Your Side Gig Brings You More Happiness Than Your Full-Time Job
The most important consideration of all revolves around your personal happiness. Life is much more fulfilling when you truly enjoy what you do. There’s no sense wasting away in a job that leaves you cold, especially when you’ve already developed an alternative career on the side. If you’re lucky enough to have found an exciting way to earn serious money, then you should grab the opportunity with all your strength.
While it’s dangerous to commit to a side business on a whim, don’t hesitate to pursue a project with genuine potential. You never know where your current side hustle could take you. Often, extra time is all a gig needs to become a full-fledged career.
About the Author: Ben Clabault is a freelance writer from Sandwich, Massachusetts. He has spent much of his adult life traveling through Latin America, and he currently lives with his fiance in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. His areas of expertise include travel, marketing, SaaS, and global cultures. You can find his work on Copyfolio and reach out to him on LinkedIn.