The side hustle has become a popular pastime in recent years as full-time employees take advantage of technological advancements making it easier to pick up part-time gigs for extra income. From driving with Uber or delivering meals with GrubHub to writing articles or running Facebook ads for local businesses, there are countless ways to make money online or offline with relatively low barriers to entry.
The appeal of the side hustle is clear — flexible work schedule, freedom to work remotely (digital side hustles), and extra money. While you might be tempted to leave your regular 9-5 to pursue your side hustle full-time, there are a few things you should consider first.
As someone who had to eventually make the jump from a full-time digital marketing job to an affiliate marketing side hustle, I know the gamble of this decision first-hand. Here are a few considerations and tips for taking the leap and turning your side hustle into your main hustle.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job… Yet
Side hustles, by definition, involve working a full-time job while also pulling part-time work. Deciding to forgo the stability of a full-time job to pursue your side hustle is often risky — especially if you have not worked on your side hustle for that long.
I always advise side hustlers to avoid quitting their full-time job until they are relatively secure in their side hustle. The best part about freelancing is that you can work as much as you are willing to put in. This means that you can slowly ramp up your side hustle to a more full-time while continuing to work your main job.
Instead of rushing to quit your full-time job, start setting some financial goals for your freelancing. Once you begin hitting these benchmarks, you can put yourself in a position to step away from the stability of a full-time job.
For example, maybe you want to set a goal of making $1,000 a month from your side hustle. Once you reach that, you can bump it up to $1,500 or $2,000. After you’ve reached a steady floor from your side hustle, you can consider making the switch away from your full-time job.
Understand Freelance Work Has Ebbs and Flows
Freelance work can be a very reliable source of income for many people — but, it’s not without its highs and lows. Because you’re not a full-time employee for most side hustles, you are somewhat expendable.
In a lot of cases, when budgets get cut or financial times get hard, the freelance work is sometimes the first to go. In short, freelancing isn’t always consistent.
You may have times when you’re overwhelmed with work and others when you can’t seem to land a project. When turning your side hustle into your full-time job, you will want to start by developing a healthy floor of repeat clients.
One of the best ways to grow your client base is to deliver quality work before deadlines. Clients may remember freelancers who deliver good work on-time, but if you’re able to deliver the same quality of work before it’s due — they’re almost certain to remember you.
Not only should you focus on timelines and quality, but consider offering your clients more than they ask for. If you have extra time, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for more work. If you have additional skills beyond what you’re currently doing for that client, make sure to communicate that in case they have a need for that service, too.
Start Valuing Your Work Correctly
One of the most difficult aspects of freelancing is learning how to value your skills or services. If you are trying to transition your side hustle to a full-time job, you will need to take time to make sure you are valuing your work correctly.
I have worked with a lot of freelancers throughout my career, and many of them offer exceptional work at comparable quality — but, the range of how they value themselves varies drastically. I’ve found great writers who charge $.04-$.06 per-word and others that charge $.20+ per-word. Without taking the time to understand and measure your value appropriately, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.
When you start valuing your side hustle service, you should look at your competition. These rates can provide a healthy benchmark on which to build your own rates. Building your rates also requires understanding opportunity costs. If you take on a client, that may mean sacrificing another or giving up other resources such as time or attention. Keep these in mind, and price yourself accordingly.
Turning your side hustle into your main source of income will take hard work and you will likely come with growing pains. Growing your side hustle to a full-time job should feel like growing a hobby or passion. Take time to learn as much as you can about it, nurture the skills associated with that job, and begin scaling the side business while mitigating as much risk as you can. Eventually, if done correctly, you may be able to take this fun, passion project and build it into a thriving business.