Like many things in life, timing is everything. Including one’s decision about when to make the shift and have your side hustle become your full-time endeavor. But rarely is there going to be a “perfect” time to do so.
That said, there are moments that are more ideal than others. And although I don’t possess a crystal ball, I do believe there’s a litmus test of sorts that can serve a similar purpose. You can use it to boost your confidence about when might be “the right time” to choose to make the leap.
Let’s say you find yourself turning business away, not because the new opportunities aren’t a good fit but because your capacity is tapped. So you say “no,” when you’d love nothing more than to be able to say “yes.” Add to this: the law of diminishing returns. They start to creep into your full-time job, such that you are measuring the benefit of it almost exclusively through the lens of it just being your financial “investor.”
When one of the above starts happening, that’s definitely a tap on your shoulder. When both are happening simultaneously and continuously, and you find yourself being more and more distracted at your full-time job, that’s a clarion call to start putting a plan into place…one that has an exit date (from your full-time job) and start date (to your full-time endeavor) attached to it.
But, not so fast…
Before You Make the Leap
Now that you are seriously considering making the leap, here are five other signs to help you assess if now is the “right and perfect” time for you to make the move. Plus, these will also help to boost your confidence as you manage the transition:
Take a hard look at the numbers
When you review your side hustle earnings, has it reached or is it now exceeding what you earn in your full time job? Have you done your side hustle long enough to experience at least two seasons of ups and downs? (If your numbers haven’t been “tested” by a dip, you may want to add even more to your reserves.)
But if your numbers are rocking, you’ve weathered a dip, and you feel the momentum you have can sustain your lifestyle and personal and business expenses – now may be the time.
Take a look at your systems, processes and tools
How you manage your time and energy when you’re wearing two hats will need to be adjusted once you make the shift to your side hustle being a full-time endeavor. Take stock of what/how you do everything whilst you’re straddling both worlds, so you can ensure you have the best possible systems, processes and tools in place as you transition and once the shift is complete.
One way to tackle the unknown here is to design your ideal day and week – on paper. Consider the systems, processes and tools you’ll need to feel as efficient as possible, in light of this ideal. When you have the ideal structure that helps to manage the balance between efficiency and minimal stress, now may be the “right” time.
Take a look at your community
As you’ve been building your side hustle business, your family and friends have undoubtedly been very supportive. Likewise, you’ve probably been doing more than your fair share of networking. Support from these avenues is necessary, but not enough – even if they are energizing and encouraging.
Your community also needs to include fellow entrepreneurs with whom you can mastermind about running, operating and growing a business. People with whom you can candidly share your challenges and celebrate your wins, and who understands the power of your experiences as only a fellow entrepreneur can. If you have a hand full of these type of people in your posse now may be the “right” time.
Take a look at your fears and must-haves
Write down your fears. Along-side the excitement that is accompanying the likelihood of going full-time, sits one or two (if not more) fears, right? After all, you’re thinking about making a significant transition!
But if you know how I feel about fears, you won’t be surprised to know that I don’t view having them as a bad thing. I also believe there’s power in writing them down. Doing so will help you to determine what actions you’ll need to take to quiet your fears. Plus, how you intend to address them can become a part of your transition plan.
Create a list of must-haves like…
- the active number of clients you need to have, along with the number you need in your pipeline;
- the monthly revenue you need and the amount you want;
- amount you’ve set aside in personal and business savings, etc.
Ask yourself if you start with just 75-80% of what’s on you must-have list, will you feel safe making the leap? If not, what else do you need to do to make now a good time.
(Side note: If you need/want any new tech devices or software that involves a considerable outlay, you may want to wait until you’ve paid for these items before you leave your full-time job.)
All of the above can serve as your litmus test of sorts to help you determine when is the right time to make the leap. But here’s one more really important thing:
Remember that making the shift from side hustle to full-time isn’t simply about changing where and how you work. It is also about adjusting and updating your vision, strategy and mindset.
Because what helped you build and grow a successful side hustle will need to expand in order to grow and sustain it as a full-time endeavor. Keep this perspective top of mind since it will greatly influence when and how you make the leap from side hustle to full-time. It is also what will enable you to make the leap feeling as safe and confident as possible!