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6 Things To Do Before Turning Your Side Business Into Your Full-Time Job

6 Things To Do Before Turning Your Side Business Into Your Full-Time Job

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6 Things To Do Before Turning Your Side Business Into Your Full-Time Job

Turn Your Side Hustle Into A Full-Time Job

The only thing more exciting than starting a side hustle is turning that side hustle into a full-time job. 

Still, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to suddenly quit your day job on a whim and decide to go all in. 

As I’ve learned from experience, the transition from a part-time business to a full-time one is paved with obstacles that make proper planning and preparation a key priority. 

Below, I’ll share the six things that helped me the most when transforming my side business into a full-time gig. 

Follow these steps to give yourself the best possible chance of success with your new full-time venture. 

6 Things to Do Before Turning Your Side Business into a Full-Time Job

1. Create a Financial Safety Net

Consider how long it took for your side hustle to reach its current profitability level. 

Sure, things are going to be a little easier now that you’re established and have the benefit of experience on your side, but the chances are you’re not going to replace 100% of your day job income overnight. 

So, to avoid placing you and your family in unnecessary financial hardship, build a financial safety net by saving enough money to cover your living costs while you work on growing your business. 

The easiest way to do this is to take stock of those expenses and how much they cost each month. I used Mint to track my monthly expenditures accurately to get a handle on how much I spent each month.

Whether it’s an app, spreadsheet, or pen and paper, ensure your list includes at least all of the following: 

  • Mortgage or rent payments
  • Utility bills (water, electric, etc.)
  • Internet and cell phone bills 
  • Groceries and household costs
  • Car payments
  • Insurance
  • Medical bills/medication
  • Leisure costs you’re not willing to sacrifice, such as streaming media services or a gym membership. 

Add the cost of each item to determine your total monthly living costs. 

Next, decide how many months you want your safety net to cover you for. 

As a bare minimum, I’d recommend having at least three months’ worth of living expenses saved up before taking the plunge into running your own business full-time, though you might decide to create a safety net that covers you for as many as six months. 

In either scenario, you simply multiply your monthly living total by the number of months you decide to determine the total amount you’ll need to save.

Example A. 

Safety Net

Sarah works out that her living expenses are $2,000 each month. She wants the peace of mind of knowing she can confidently cover those expenses for the next three months while she transitions her side gig into a full-time business. 

$2,000 x 3 = $6,000. 

So, Sarah needs to set aside $6,000 before quitting her job. 

Example B. 

Monthly Spending

Jonathan contributes $1,500 to his family’s bills and living costs. Because he has a wife and child to consider, he wants to be sure he can cover his costs for six months, giving him plenty of time to replace his day job income.

$1,500 x 6 = $9,000.

Jonathan needs to save $9,000 before his business can become a full-time deal.

2. Set Manageable Goals and Milestones

If you’re like many side hustlers, your original goal may have been to make some extra money. 

Once you reach that stage, your next objective may have been to get yourself to a position where you’re ready to start taking things to a whole new, full-time level. 

Now that you’ve reached that stage, it’s time to set some new goals and assign them an achievable, manageable deadline. 

Think about: 

  • How much money do you want to earn from your small business? Consider living expenses plus business expenses plus profit.

  •  By what date do you plan to generate that much income on a consistent basis? If you created your financial safety net, you might set your goal to generate your desired amount by the end of the period it covers. So, if you saved up six months of living expenses, your goal could be to be earning a set amount in six months’ time.

  • What are the biggest obstacles and hurdles standing in your way? While the last two questions helped you define a long-term goal, Identifying these challenges will help you understand your short-term goals, too. For example, if your biggest obstacle right now is that you don’t have the budget to buy a certain piece of equipment that will help you expand your business, your first short-term goal might be to get a business loan. 

3. Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses 

If there’s one lesson I learned the hard way, it’s that running a full-time operation in which 100% of your income is dependent on your own success as a business owner is much more demanding than making a little extra income on the side for fun. It was a far cry from the days when I was earning a little on the side as the stakes became higher, but the benefit was that it pushed me to be more disciplined, focused, and innovative.

Unless you’re a time management superstar with amazing skills in every aspect of running a business, trying to take on the multitude of tasks that come with a full-time business can prove to be a recipe for disaster. 

At best, you’ll simply struggle to give every task the energy and attention it deserves, which could result in mistakes or poor-quality work. At worst, important jobs may soon begin to slip through the cracks. 

This is why it’s so important to get honest about the parts of your business you’re best at and those for which you could use a little help. 

In my journey, I realized the importance of acknowledging both my strengths and areas where I needed assistance. It was a learning curve, understanding which tasks to delegate and which to hold onto. 

I explored various avenues – from hiring part-time assistants on Upwork to utilizing Asana for project management. It not only streamlined operations but allowed me to focus on areas where I excelled. It’s a strategy that worked for me, though your journey may be different.

SWOT Analysis

One of the best ways to approach this is to create a thorough SWOT analysis, which has the added advantage of not only showing you what your strengths and weaknesses are but also discovering opportunities to play to the latter and overcome the former. 

Related: Side hustle ideas you can start from home

4. Create an Action Plan 

One word separates successful entrepreneurs from those who flounder: 


The last three steps may have been essential in laying the groundwork for your transition from a side job to a successful business, but now it’s time to do the work and make things happen. 

To do that successfully, it pays to create an action plan. 

If you followed my advice earlier and set goals, this step involves breaking those goals into manageable, actionable steps. 

For example, if you started a graphic design business that you’re now taking to the next level, your first step might be to update your portfolio.

Hiring on Upwork

Alternatively, if may be that you need to begin by exploring sites like Upwork and Fiverr in search of talented freelancers and virtual assistants who can help you take on the extra workload you plan to generate.

Social Media Automation

Or maybe it’s upping your marketing game to help you make a living as a full-time artist and Etsy seller, or perhaps it’s researching a good social media automation platform so that you can schedule your Facebook and Instagram posts in advance, freeing up your time to work on other important tasks. 

Remember to think strategically here, listing your steps in a naturally logical order in which every step builds upon the last, all while ensuring they’re fully aligned with your long-term objectives. 

If you are looking for more direction in creating an action plan, consider enrolling in a free business strategy workshop through your local Small Business Development Center or seek mentorship from a business owner.

5. Consider a Gradual Transition

Unless you’re absolutely desperate to escape your 9-5, you may find the transition to becoming a full-time business owner easier and less overwhelming if you can do it gradually rather than taking the leap all at once. 

To do this, you’d need to negotiate a new working arrangement with your employers, such as moving from full-time to part-time or dropping one or two shifts. 

That way, you have the best of both worlds: 

More time to grow your business with the added security of a regular paycheck. 

Then, when the time is right, completely replacing your job with your business won’t feel like such a huge change. 

Of course, I offer this tip with a word of caution, as it all depends on the kind of relationship you have with your employers. 

Related: Can a conflict of interest stop your side business?

While some bosses will hopefully be supportive and willing to accommodate you, others may take it as a sign that you’re no longer that interested in the job, which at best could result in an uncomfortable atmosphere and best lead to you being pushed before you’re ready to jump. 

So tread carefully on this one, and only proceed if you’re reasonably confident it’s not going to land you in a worse position. 

If it’s a move you think could work for you but you worry about how you’ll handle your current job on top of a growing business, read How to Start a Side Hustle With a Full-Time Job for some useful tips and suggestions. 

6. Consider How You’ll Replace Your Day Job Benefits

As rewarding and exhilarating as it can be to give up the 9-5 and become your own boss, it does mean giving up some of those handy employee benefits like health insurance and retirement plans. 

Insurance for Self Employed

Now that you’re out there on your own, you’ll need to consider how you’ll replace those benefits. 

After all, you’re probably going to want to retire at some point, right? 

And even if you don’t, you never know what kind of major disruptions to your work and personal life could arise as a result of an unexpected medical emergency. 

So, as part of the action plan you created earlier, be sure to set some time aside to research health insurance plans that best suit your needs and budget.

How to Turn Your Side Business into a Full-Time Job: A Final Word of Advice

The six steps above are the ones that made the biggest difference to me in my journey from side hustler to full-time small business owner, but if there’s only one more very useful tip I could leave you with, it’s this: 

Take care of yourself. 

Seriously, I mean it. 

Earning a little extra cash in your spare time can be a lot of fun, but when your financial security (not to mention the financial security of any employees you hire) is all dependent on how you manage your business, even the best side hustles have the potential to be stressful and tiring. 

With that in mind, I really do want to encourage you not to neglect your health and well-being. 

Remember to take breaks and find a comfortable work-life balance so that you don’t run the risk of burning out. 

After all, your small business is hardly going to thrive if the key decision maker (i.e., you) is so worn down and overwhelmed that they make mistakes or even struggle to make the right decisions in the first place.

6 Things To Do Before Turning Your Side Business Into Your Full-Time Job

6 Things To Do Before Turning Your Side Business Into Your Full-Time Job

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