“I’m tired of all of these side hustles being on the side. I want to do my own thing full-time now.”
Note from Eric: This is a guest post from my very good friend Martin Dasko of Studenomics, where he covers topics ranging from finding the best renter’s insurance to making money with Airbnb Experiences. Martin brings the experience of a seasoned side hustler who has worked for himself full-time for quite a few years. I know I enjoyed reading his thoughts on taking a side hustle full time, and I’m sure you will too!
Martin takes it from here:
After chasing side hustles you’re eventually going to want to do your own thing. You’re going to want to quit your job so that you can be the boss. I can relate to that. It’s a struggle when you’re stuck at a job you hate and so desperately want to quit to be working on something that’s actually yours where you make the majority of the money. Let’s look at how you can turn your side hustle into your main hustle. Don’t worry I won’t be selling you the dream here. This is a practical guide for how to quit your job to focus on your side business. Let’s go all in…
Disclaimed: Quitting your job isn’t easy. It’s tough to replace that income. It took you many years of college/training to earn your current position and salary. You had to work your way up. You had to hustle and put the time in. It’s not that easy to just call it quits. This means that you shouldn’t expect to go full-time with your side hustle after one profitable weekend. You shouldn’t expect to make a full-time income from a new business idea right away. Too many people sell the dream on social media when it comes to starting a profitable business. You know what I’m talking about…
- “Make passive income from the beach.”
- “Start a business and never work a day in your life.”
- “See how this young couple lives in a van and makes ten million dollars a day.”
You get the point. It’s annoying. It’s frustrating. It makes you feel like giving up before you even start because you’ll never live up to that hype. I want you to forget about all of the success stories for now. I want you to only think about yourself. This is your story. You can’t expect to start the next Facebook. You can however quit your job to work on your own business.
What do you need for a side hustle to become your main gig?
MONEY. You need money if you want to quit your job. Your business has to be bringing in money. You need to have savings in the bank and an income from your side hustle with a plan to make even more money to replace your current income.
Here’s a list of things that you don’t need to quit your job:
- Crappy motivational quotes.
- A course on courses.
- Another Gary Vee podcast loaded up.
- Another dozen books on entrepreneurship to read.
Here’s a list of what you actually need to quit your job:
- Money coming in from your side hustle.
- Money saved up in the bank to cover your expenses just in case.
- A plan to bring in more money so that you replace your income.
- A reduction in expenses so that you can survive lean times.
How much money do you need to quit your job? You have to save money so that you can cover your expenses for at least 6 months. When you work for yourself anything can happen. You can go through some lean times. You need to have savings to help you get through this. You need money in the bank to survive the issues that can happen as an entrepreneur (losing a client overnight or Google wiping out your traffic with one update). There will be times where you go months without bringing any money in. Then there will be periods where you feel rich because you have money coming in from all angles. This then leads us to an important question.
What if your side hustle isn’t making any real money yet?
“But Martin, I have such a good idea. I just need to quit my job so that I can focus on it.” I get this all of the time. It feels like your day job is holding you back so you want to quit so that you can finally get rich with that new side business you’ve been working on. Here are two important aspects to keep in mind about going full-time with a side hustle…
1. You have to earn your freedom. There’s no other way around this. You can’t just quit your job because you hate your boss or because you want to call yourself the CEO in your social media profiles. You have to earn that freedom. You have to start making money with your side hustle. You have to take care of your finances.
2. You have to wait until your side hustle makes more money to be 100% on your own. You can find part-time work/freelance work. Quitting your job won’t be glamorous for the first little while. You’re going to have to serve drinks or work a part-time gig on the weekends. You’re going to have to do something to bring some cash in.
“A good plan, violently executed now is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.” — George Patton
How do you make the transition to full-time?
The goal is to ease into your transition of going from employee to being self-employed. You don’t want to jump all in and then become frustrated when you have to go looking for work again in 4 months.
You have to try to test the waters as you work on your business ventures.
Have you tried to work on your own full-time? It’s not easy. More free time doesn’t mean that you’re going to get more work done. I urge you to use a week of vacation to see what it’s really like to work for yourself. You may even discover that you don’t mind keeping your side business on the side.
Find ways to make more money.
You have to look into ways to make more money. There’s no way around this. Here are ways to make more money:
- Add a product.
- Consider expanding your side hustle.
- Look for more clients.
- Switch up your offering.
- Upgrade your skills so that you can charge more money.
You have to be thinking of ways to make more money.
Save every penny that you can.
It’s a huge privilege to be able to quit a job so that you can do what you love. You have to cut back on everything that you don’t need as you’re trying to quit your job. The more money that you save, the more money that you have to put towards debt and savings so that you can become free from your job. You’re going to have to save like mad and get a little creative so that you have a financial cushion.
You set a deadline.
The late nights and early mornings will eventually get to you. It’s important that you set a deadline for when you want to quit your job. What’s your deadline? Set it and write it done everywhere. Announce it publicly to hold yourself accountable.
Be merciless about making this happen.
It’s easy to find excuses or to let distractions get in the way. You can’t let that happen. You have to be 100% ruthless. What does this mean?
- Saying no to weekend plans.
- Turning off the game to work on that proposal.
- Spend some money on investing into your business.
- Save, save, and then save some more.
Yes, I know that this doesn’t sound like fun. I’m not here to lecture you. I just want you to know that quitting your job to do something that you love can be the most rewarding thing ever.
“To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.” — Steve Jobs
Can’t I just quit my job like they do in the movies?
Sure. You can quit your job without a plan… If you want to be broke and miserable. However, telling someone to quit a job without an income is a recipe for disaster. Money is never an object in the movies. In real life, you have bills. I don’t want you to have to move back with your parents or to have no money. Working for yourself is supposed to be fun, not something that stresses you out and ruins your life.
The final words on quitting your job…
The idea of quitting your job is something that I’ve been writing about for years. I’ve helped readers quit their jobs and I’ve seen friends go all-in with their business ventures. If you’re in the trenches right now, then keep on going. Here are a few final practical tips for how to quit your job to focus on your side hustle:
- Study those who have done it already. You don’t have to guess. There are hundreds of entrepreneurs sharing their journeys on social media.
- Pay for coaching if you have to. You don’t have to do this alone.
- Find a practical business model that has a proven track record of bringing money in. No pyramid schemes and no selling teas.
For some quick motivation, see how Eric quit his job to become a freelance writer. Eric shares practical advice for how he quit his corporate gig to be the boss.
“Having a vision for what you want is not enough. Vision without execution is hallucination.” — Thomas A. Edison