If you're currently working a side hustle, you're part of a thriving trend. As of late last year, 44 million Americans were holding down a second gig on top of a primary job. But while you may have initially started that side hustle to bring in some extra money or pay off some bills, if you're enjoying it more than your regular job, it may be time to think about doing it on a full-time basis. Here's how to successfully make that transition and become your own boss -- permanently.
1. Grow your customer base
If you want to grow your side hustle into a full-time role, you'll need to make sure there's ample demand for your services. So start by developing a marketing strategy designed to reach a broader audience, and aggressively network with potential clients and associates who might use your services or recommend them to others. See if there are local meetups for small business owners and make a point to attend them and mingle. If there aren't, start a social media group and get the ball rolling. Putting in the time to market your business while expanding your network will help your efforts to scale.
2. Learn to effectively manage your time
Working for yourself on a full-time basis requires solid time management skills. Remember, you won't have a boss breathing down your neck telling you when to work. Rather, that boss will be you. So get used to mapping out your schedule in advance, and figure out an efficient way to get all of your work-related tasks done without falling behind on life's other responsibilities.
3. Build solid savings
While working for yourself at a business you love is a great way to improve your quality of life, it may not improve your financial circumstances right away. In fact, there's a good chance your income will be pretty volatile for quite some time as you take your side hustle from a 10-hour-a-week gig to a 40-hour-a-week one. Therefore, you'll need some solid savings before you make that leap to ensure that you're able to cover your bills as you ramp up. For most people, an emergency fund with three to six months' worth of living costs is adequate, but if you're going from salaried to self-employed, you may want to wait until you've amassed closer to a year's worth of savings prior to leaving your full-time job behind.
4. Invest in the tools or help you need to be successful
Running a full-time business takes time, dedication, and resources, so don't be shocked to learn that you simply can't do it all yourself. Continuously assess your business needs to determine what tools you need to keep up with customer demand and, hopefully, a steady uptick in volume. Maybe you need better equipment, or a part-time worker to share some of the load. If you're going all in, be sure to invest in whatever it takes to increase your chances of success.
Turning your side hustle into a full-time job can make for a rewarding career path. Follow these tips, and with any luck, you'll soon start reaping the benefits of calling your own shots.