7 Signs You Should Take Your Side Hustle Full Time

Jun 08, 2021
A photo of the author, created and edited by the author.


People want to know the exact moment I made the big decision to quit my job.

But there wasn’t a specific moment at all.

I’m not one of these supremely confident people who can make a snap decision and commit to it. I agonized for at least two months over my choice. There were some days where I was 100% sure I was going to do it. Then the next day I’d think I was crazy.

Lots of sleepless nights, mini-panic attacks, and food binges.

It’s normal if you’re struggling with the decision or wondering how you’ll know the time is right. Luckily for you, I’ve had a million conversations in my head about this and can share some of the key signs.


You aren’t trying to escape

What’s the first reason to come to your mind when you think of why to take your side hustle full time?

If it’s something negative about your current job then you need to have a rethink.

Being your own boss isn’t easy and you need to be running toward it not away from something else. Leave your job if it’s making you unhappy but your side hustle might not be the answer. Maybe it just tides you over until your next job.

There’s no shame in this at all.

You might find yourself far happier at another company with all the benefits of being an employee and it’s something you should at least consider.

I enjoyed my day job and worked with fantastic people. I’m not becoming an online entrepreneur as a way to escape but because I’m excited by the new adventure.


You’re burning out

The trigger point for me to hand in my notice was the easing of lockdown in London.

The return of my social life ate into my side hustle time. I found myself becoming anxious when with friends and family about all the tasks I would need to squeeze in when I got back home.

I had a 3-way battle between work, side hustles, and social life and only two could survive. Managing all three would burn me out sooner rather than later.

Work lost because I valued the other two more.

Some people can juggle everything for years and congratulations to them. I’m a mere human and had to cut something for my own sanity.

If you’re burning out, figure out what you want to keep the least. If the answer is work then you know what to do.


Exciting opportunities are being turned down

What you say “no” to defines what matters to you.

I had to say the word a lot because of time clashes between my job and my side hustles. I’d feel too guilty if I ever underperformed for my company because of something I was doing for myself.

Yet as my online presence grew, I found myself saying “no” to too many things I deep down wanted to do. I started to feel bitter because I had to sacrifice the ideas that made my eyes light up.

This meant when I quit I knew how I could spend all my additional time and had proof there was the demand for what I wanted to do.

If you’re struggling to find the motivation to work on your side hustle then taking it full time isn’t the right idea. You want to be overloaded with things you can do with your newfound freedom.


The people you trust believe in you

Demanding “good vibes only” is an easy way to doom your business to fail.

You might be obsessed with your side hustle but blind to the bigger picture. Of course, you love what you do so why wouldn’t everyone else.

I went to my most cynical friends with my ideas. The people who love me enough to stop me from going down the wrong path if they think I’m doing something stupid.

Everybody needs a trustworthy pessimist sometimes.

They raised valid points I hadn’t considered and forced me to explain my enthusiasm. This was tough but forced me to adapt my strategy to become more realistic. Having their support for the updated plans meant I didn’t feel so alone as I started my new journey.

The Elon Musk-style “prove everyone wrong” mentality might work for some people but don’t underestimate the wisdom of those around you.

Get the opinions of those you care about. It’s in their interest to be honest if they want you to be happy.


You can earn nothing for a while

Some solopreneurs scream jobs aren’t safe because you can lose them at any time. Yet it’s misleading to compare the small chance of being fired with the constant flux of being your own boss.

Giving up your guaranteed monthly income is a big deal.

If you give it up, there is the possibility your new business earns nothing at all. Can you survive if this happens?

You might be lucky and live with someone who can cover the costs for you whether that’s your parents, your partner, or your billionaire mate. This reduces the pressure on you to earn money in the short run.

Otherwise, you need savings to avoid taking desperate gigs. It’s not freedom if you need to do something you hate to pay your bills.

How much you need depends on your spending habits and your responsibilities. When people are dependent on you then you should be thinking cautiously. There are no awards for being a bad parent to chase your dream.

Be honest with yourself and work out a precise figure that makes you comfortable enough to go all in.


You have a backup plan

You have no divine right to make an income from your side hustle.

People need to care about what you’re doing and unfortunately sometimes not enough do for you to go full time.

I can easily slip back into the consulting world if my online entrepreneur adventure doesn’t work out. I have a great relationship with my former boss and was careful not to burn any bridges.

Alternatively, I’m confident I can find another role through the people I’ve connected with over the years. I have skills and experience I know the market wants.

The biggest risk I’m taking with going full time is potential damage to my own ego.

Many other entrepreneurs have the same situation even if they don’t advertise it. It’s trendy to seem like a rebel but it’s smart to be sensible.


The income is consistently good

I’ve purposely left the amount you’re earning until last.

My income swings by thousands each month. My best month for a year might be followed by my worst. It’s stressful and unpredictable.

Don’t quit your job based on one good month. It’s better to find out your income is unsustainable before you quit than after.

How much you need to be earning before you quit depends on you. Niki Mahon had a benchmark of 2/3rds of her income. My benchmark was 100%. Some people earn 5 times their salaried income but still don’t trust it enough to quit their job.

If you’ve met the other criteria then this isn’t about dealing with failure anymore, it’s about your wants. I earn more than I spend because I want to increase my investments to bring myself to financial independence.

Never feel pressured to go full-time before you feel ready to impress strangers on the internet. Your life is way more important than that.

If you see all the signs here then it might be the right time for you and if you go for it, I hope it brings you the happiness you deserve.

Amar's Letter

Real talk on driving impact as an imperfect human.