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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Hardcastle

The 4 Things You Should Do Before You Take Your Side Hustle Full-Time

So you've started a side hustle, and it's taken off. Go you! That means the thought has probably crossed your mind -- what would it be like to make it your full-time job? Could it pay the bills? Is it worth the risk? Those are all valid questions, and as someone who has taken the leap, I'm excited to dig in to them.

There are 4 key steps you should take before seriously considering leaving your day job for your side gig.

  1. Start saving It may not be surprising, but it's true... you should have a safety net. Depending how much you're making from your side hustle, and what your expenses are, you could aim to save all of that money you're making for this financial cushion. Knowing that you have money saved makes it easier to feel confident in your choice to leave your job and can support you while you're ramping up your business. Financial experts typically recommend having at least 6 months worth of savings that would cover your daily expenses. It may sound like a lot, but remember -- you have a job, you have time.

  2. Put out feelers I would highly recommend reaching out to your existing clients first and seeing if they potentially have more work that they could pull you in on. This was huge for me -- often my clients wanted to give me more work, but I had to turn it down because I was already slammed with my full-time role and side work. But letting them know that you're considering making the move will put you top of mind for the next time they have a project that would be perfect for you. You can also network with people you've worked with in the past and let them know, discreetly, that you're open to work now and in the future.

  3. Get your tools in order When you're your own boss, there isn't someone providing you with equipment, software or project management systems. I outline some of my favorite tools on my Instagram, but do your research to find what works for you. You'll want a project management system, an invoicing system and possibly a customer relationship manager (CRM). This will vary depending on your industry, but you don't want to be scrambling when you're ready... you want to be able to hit the ground running.

  4. Build your team For me, the first step was getting an accountant. Freelancer taxes are NOT straightforward, and taxes are not my wheelhouse to begin with. You'll need to be paying quarterly estimates, paying contractors and tracking your expenses. Trust me, it's worth outsourcing this. If you're local to the DMV, I'd be happy to refer you to mine. Your team may also include a lawyer, a coach or a virtual assistant. Delegation is your friend, and the last thing you need is a lawsuit or to let things slip through the cracks. Word of mouth referrals are a great source for these, or ask on your LinkedIn feed. People love to give advice and recommendations so they should come flooding in.

Hopefully this has given you a good place to start, or at least get the wheels turning. Entrepreneurship is fun, scary, fulfilling and hard, all rolled into one crazy ball. But for me, the rewards have outweighed the risks, and I'm betting they may for you too. Happy hustling!


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