3 Moves to Make Before Taking Your Side Hustle Full-Time

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page. APY = Annual Percentage Yield. APYs are subject to change at any time without notice.

Want to make your side job your main job? Do these things first.

Want to make your side job your main job? Do these things first. 

Maybe you started out working a side hustle because you needed money to cover a few unplanned bills. Or maybe you took on that second gig because you wanted to boost your savings account, sock away some money to buy a home, or take a dream vacation.

There are plenty of good reasons to get a side hustle, and in some cases, you may find that the work you do on the side is not only lucrative, but fulfilling. In fact, you may reach a point when you start to think about quitting your main job so you can focus on taking your side hustle full-time. Doing so could make for a more satisfying career, but before you give up your primary source of income and take a chance on your side gig, here are a few important moves to make.

1. Have a hefty emergency fund 

No matter your job, you should always aim to have at least three months of living expenses on hand for emergencies. But if you're planning to take your side hustle full-time, it pays to boost your cash reserves even more. Giving up a steady paycheck is a risky move, and the more money you have in the bank, the easier it will be to grapple with periods when work dries up or clients pay late.

Our Picks for the Best High-Yield Savings Accounts of 2024

APY
up to 4.60%
Rate info Circle with letter I in it. You can earn the maximum APY by having Direct Deposit (no minimum amount required) or by making $5,000 or more in Qualifying Deposits every 30 days. See SoFi Checking and Savings rate sheet at: https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.
Min. to earn
$0
APY
5.00%
Rate info Circle with letter I in it. 5.00% APY for balances of $5,000 or more; otherwise, 0.25% APY
Min. to earn
$5,000
APY
4.25%
Rate info Circle with letter I in it. See Capital One website for most up-to-date rates. Advertised Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is variable and accurate as of April 11, 2024. Rates are subject to change at any time before or after account opening.
Min. to earn
$0

How much should you have in your emergency fund in this scenario? There's no single correct answer, but a solid six months of living expenses is a good start. And if you're not sure whether you'll be able to match your former paycheck by doing your side gig full-time, you may want to sock away enough for more like nine months of bills, especially if you own a home or have dependents who count on you financially. 

2. Secure health insurance, or figure out where it'll come from 

One benefit of having a full-time job is often having access to a group health plan (this may not be a given, but it's a common workplace benefit that salaried employees are privy to). On the other hand, once you venture out independently, you'll need new health coverage, and that could get expensive. 

Before leaving your job, research health insurance costs through HealthCare.gov and see what you can expect to pay. Or explore other options that may be available to you, such as getting on a spouse's plan. Keep in mind that while you may be eligible to retain your former health plan through COBRA for up to 18 months after you leave your job, that option could end up being prohibitively expensive -- and more costly than buying a new plan. 

3. Rework your budget 

Chances are, the income you earn by doing your side hustle full-time will either be lower than what you're used to earning from your main job (at least initially) or inconsistent. To account for that, comb through your budget and prepare to cut back on some non-essential expenses, like dining out and leisure. At the same time, make sure you expect to make at least enough from your soon-to-be-full-time side hustle to keep a roof over your head and food on the table. If you're not confident it is, wait a bit longer, save more, and then dive in.

If you're thrilled with your side hustle, doing it on a full-time basis could be a rewarding experience. Just make sure you've prepared financially before taking that leap.

These savings accounts are FDIC insured and could earn you 11x your bank

Many people are missing out on guaranteed returns as their money languishes in a big bank savings account earning next to no interest. Our picks of the best online savings accounts could earn you 11x the national average savings account rate. Click here to uncover the best-in-class accounts that landed a spot on our short list of the best savings accounts for 2024.

Two of our top online savings account picks:

Rates as of Jun 21, 2024 Ratings Methodology
Advertisement
SoFi Checking and Savings Capital One 360 Performance Savings
Member FDIC. Member FDIC.
Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor

APY: up to 4.60%

APY: 4.25%

Min. to earn APY: $0

Min. to earn APY: $0

Our Research Expert

Related Articles

View All Articles Learn More Link Arrow