Quitting your full-time day job in favor of your side hustle is a daunting endeavor. Careful planning and hours of weighing the pros and cons are necessary before pulling the plug on your current gig. Turning your side hustle into a business is the ultimate leap of faith – but there are a few key signs you can look for that will tell you that you’re ready.
10 Signs You’re Ready to Turn Your Side Hustle Into a Full-Time Gig
1. You have the financing capabilities
Some small business owners will tell you that they drained a significant portion of their life savings in order to kickstart their business. We recommend trying to steer clear of this tactic if you can in favor of being more financially prepared. Set up a meeting with your bank and discuss with them your intentions of starting a business. They will be able to run a credit assessment as well as provide you information regarding taking out a loan. You will also want at least 12 months worth of funds you can allocate to your new startup; these will be used to cover any marketing expenses, rent and utility costs, renovation costs, additional employee salaries, and transportation (if applicable). Keep in mind that 82% of businesses fail due to cash flow issues.
2. You are turning down customers at your side gig
While it’s nice to be able to tell family and friends that your side hustle is so popular that you’re turning away customers at the door, the reality is that you are sending potential cash away to local area competitors. If you find that you’re turning away work because your side hustle has become so popular or because your full-time job is getting in the way, then it’s time to make a decision regarding which job you’re more dedicated to. It’s essential to have a healthy work-life balance, so if your full-time job and side gig leave you with no time to relax at the end of the day, it’s time to make a change.
3. You have a unique business idea that fills a missing niche
If your business idea, product, or services fulfill that much-needed niche in your community, then chances are your side hustle will be welcomed with open arms once you officially open your doors. Think about what makes your side hustle unique or different. Perhaps you are an expert in baking gluten-free treats, or maybe you brew mead, or perhaps you design e-commerce websites. While these industries might be larger, there are small subsets and niches of each that you can use to market your side hustle and fill that void in your community.
4. Your side hustle is taking over your 9-5
If you spend more time improving your side hustle than you spend dedicating yourself to your 9-5, then perhaps you should turn the tables. Ask your employer if you can start contracting for the company, or work part-time in an effort to turn your side gig into a full-time job. While not all employers would be thrilled to hear this, it’s worth asking. If you can prove to your employer that you are a valuable asset to the business, then they will take steps to accommodate your request. You can even ask to work remotely (if you are in the marketing or tech field) so you can cut down on commute time and meetings during the week that can otherwise be allocated to your flourishing new business.
5. Revenue is steadily increasing
There’s nothing more exciting than finally feeling like your side hustle is picking up steam. It may take a couple of years for revenue to take on a snowball effect, so make sure you’re patient and don’t leave your full-time job until you see consistent increases in revenue. If you experience YoY growth or quarterly growth, then it’s time to put in your two weeks at your day job and set out on your own. Always make sure to crunch numbers to see if you are really increasing revenue and it’s not just a result of inflation. Don’t forget to conduct some industry research to see how much your industry is expected to grow in the next fiscal year, as this will dictate supply and demand.
6. You have no problems working on your own
The best part about being an employee is that you have coworkers and can collaborate with others on long-term and short-term projects. When you dedicate yourself to your side gig, it’s important to understand that you will no longer be answering to anyone and you will most likely be running things solo for the first few months or even the first few years before you can budget in a few extra hands. Always make sure that you can stay organized and have your business operating tasks written out. You will no longer have a boss or manager to remind you of these tasks, so it could take some time to get adjusted. Starting a small business can also be lonely if you don’t routinely seek out trade shows and small business association meetups.
7. You have a solid understanding of business operations
Just because you have a great business idea doesn’t mean customers will be lining up at the doorstep as soon as you have your grand opening. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes effort that goes into starting a business and keeping it running. If you have an understanding of how to start a business, bookkeeping, and business operations, then you are already ahead of the pack. Immerse yourself in books about economics and startups, learn how to talk to vendors, and don’t forget to have a mentor. Talking to other business owners will also give you more knowledge about basic business operations. You will also acquire some additional tips, such as how to design a logo, where to order promotional products, and when to incorporate, trademark, or copyright your work.
8. You have a knack for marketing and promoting
Always keep in mind that your side-hustle-turned-startup is a business – and all businesses need constant promoting, advertising, and marketing. While you can certainly pay others to do this job for you, we recommend having at least some say in how your business is promoted to the public. Make sure your new business has an online presence by making a mobile-friendly website, adding your business to online directories, and creating social media profiles (creating a Facebook Business page is easy and free!). Don’t forget that the most important promotional aspect of your business is your company logo; this unique image is what will help customers identify your new startup.
9. You’re known more for your side hustle
Perhaps you’re known to family and friends as the “computer doctor” because you’re so great with IT-related services, or maybe local residents continue to ask you to draw them a design for their wedding invitations or to fix their car. Whatever your specialty is, tune in to how often others come to you for assistance related to your side hustle. If your community identifies you more for your side gig, then it’s time to turn it into a startup.
10. You have the motivation, charisma, and guts
Sometimes all it takes to make your side hustle a startup is a bit of internal motivation, unwavering charisma, and sheer guts. Ask any entrepreneur or small business owner what personality aspects you need to start a business, and we bet most of them would say a combination of these three characteristics. An estimated 543,000 new businesses are started each month. You can be one of these courageous individuals as long as you are motivated and willing to fare the ups and downs. So go ahead and take that leap of faith!
Are you ready to turn your side hustle into a business? Check out our step-by-step branding process that will ensure your startup is looking polished and professional.