Business Finance

Transitioning from Side Hustle to Full-Time: Can You Do It?  

Transitioning from Side Hustle to Full-Time

For most people, a side hustle is something you do in between your 9–5 job at the office. It creates a cushion for your finances, boosting your budget with some extra cash on top of your typical paycheck. But for some entrepreneurial few, a side hustle is an opportunity to pursue their real passion — whether that’s writing, baking, or photography. 

Eventually, you might start to wish your side gig is your “real” job, but making the transition can be daunting. Are you ready? Here’s what you need to consider before making a side hustle into a full-time job. 

Recognize What You Stand to Lose without a Salary

The overwhelming number of side hustlers keep their full-time jobs because of the security they provide. Most salaried positions come with dependable pay and benefits, like healthcare spending, paid vacation, and maternity leave.

If you quit to work on your side gig, you’ll have to give up these employer-given safety nets and replace them with your own. You will become your boss once you go full-time with your side hustle, so you must account for healthcare spending, unexpected expenses, and time off. 

Without these safety nets, the unexpected has the power to cause a lot of problems. Something as minor as an unexpected prescription can throw you for a loop. Worse yet, you can struggle to keep your business afloat if you have to take unexpected time off, losing your income for as long as you’re away. 

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What You Need to Shore up Your Finances

An emergency fund stands out as the number one thing you need to build before you go fulltime. This savings account can bail you out of minor emergencies, giving your budget a boost to take on unexpected repairs and medical expenses. 

Some cautious entrepreneurs also consider establishing credit as a backup to their backup. You can research personal installment loans and lines of credit, keeping in mind fast online borrowing options for personal emergency expenses. You should also consider business credit cards to fill in for your professional safety net. 

Next, investigate health insurance policies geared toward self-employed people like you. These health plans create a more robust safety net for more significant unexpected medical expenses, accidents, and ongoing healthcare costs. 

You should also consider how you organize your time. There may come a day when you need to take time off — creative block, an illness, or a sick family member — so you should build flex time into your month, every month. This gives you a buffer to deal with unexpected issues without going over time or disappointing clients. 

Additional Considerations Before Making the Transition 

Beyond the safety nets outlined above, you should also think about how successful your side hustle will be as a full-time job. Work through these additional thoughts to figure out if you’re ready to transition:

  • Evaluate the consistency of your side hustle income. If it doesn’t already generate enough money to cover your bills, you need to be confident you can grow this business into a job that will. 
  • Conduct market research regarding your business to determine if there’s a demand for your services. 
  • Consider how easily your business can scale, adjust to markets, or expand to meet growing demand.
  • Be honest about your personal commitment to grow your brand. Being self-employed can take a lot of work, and you may face an increased workload, potential setbacks, and more stress. 

Given what you know now, are you ready to take your side hustle into a full-time job? Good luck!

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About the author

Judy Lewis

Senior Business Development and Program executive experienced in building and mentoring high-performance teams that drive revenue across the Aerospace and Defense market. I have built a reputation as an innovative team player who is able to collaborate effectively across functions, cultures, and geographies and work strategically at the Board level as well as with executives and teams at any level. I have a strong track record in business development winning competitive bids and driving growth across complex sensors, EW, and weapon systems, and managing portfolios up to $2B+ in annual sales.