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Whether you’ve been side hustling for a long time or just a few months, it’s natural to wonder whether or not you should move your side endeavor to a full-time venture. There are a few different things to keep in mind as you decide whether or not it’s the right fit for you. Here’s what to keep in mind and ask yourself as you think about whether now is the time to put in your notice and work for yourself as a full-time freelancer.
Related: 50 Ideas for a Lucrative Side Hustle
You’re getting close to a fully booked schedule
If all your free time is going towards your freelance business, this is a clear indication that you have the potential to scale. Once your business starts to grow, you’ll have a harder time balancing your ability to do both your day job and also stay up to date with the deadlines in your freelance business.
The more you feel as though your bandwidth is limited, you’re having to get up earlier or log more weekend hours, these are factors to keep in mind when trying to decide if quitting is the right option for you.
Turning down business that you otherwise would have liked to take on but can’t because of your 10- or 20-hour a week limited work periods is a sure sign that you’re doing well with your freelance business and are at a critical decision point about what road to pursue. If you’re set on staying with your full-time job, you can get more selective with the kinds of freelance clients you take on in your business.
You love what you’re doing
It doesn’t make any sense to trade one thing you don’t love for another. If you’re most passionate about delivering a good experience to your freelance clients and find yourself in the zone working on their projects, you might enjoy doing more of it.
But if you view your side hustle as a means to an end of earning more money, you’ll get tired from doing it and end up frustrated with your business. Some people are perfectly pleased managing a side hustle part-time and there’s nothing wrong with that.
You have a plan for health insurance or other benefits
One of the advantages of having a full-time job is that you might have access to benefits like health insurance, a life insurance policy, disability insurance and paid time off. When you go to work for yourself, short of setting up a company like an S corporation that provides these to you as an employee, you’ll need a plan in place to make sure that you’re covered.
When I first went full-time as a freelancer, health insurance was ridiculously expensive, so I went without it. Of course, this exposes you to the risk of serious medical bills from an unexpected issue like a vehicle accident, sudden diagnosis or, in my case, an emergency appendectomy.
If you have a spouse who has health insurance coverage, this is one option. Otherwise, do your research before making the leap so you know what your options are so you can enroll in another health insurance plan if needed.
Have some savings in place
While you can certainly make the jump to full-time freelance without savings, having some savings in place is a good idea to make you feel more confident about this transition. Regardless of how you feel about your day job, the comfort of seeing a paycheck dropped in your bank account every few weeks can make it really hard to trade that in for the uncertainty of being an entrepreneur where you are responsible for generating your own paycheck.
If you have two to three months of expenses already socked away, you’re in a good position to make a choice if and when you want to about leaving your day job. Options are some of the most powerful things to have, and savings in the bank can make you feel better about your decision to leave your day job while having a runway to generate more revenue with your business during those few months, if needed.
Your day job is driving you crazy
Towards the end of my tenure at the day job I had before going full-time with my freelance business, I noticed things that weren’t really that big of a deal were beginning to drive me nuts — the coworker chomping gum the next cubicle over or the other coworker listening to the same song on repeat nine hours a day.
But I also noticed that even regular requests for meetings or new projects got on my nerves more than ever, a clear sign that I was over my day job. Ultimately, I wasn’t bringing my best self to either my freelance business or my day job, so something had to go.
The good news about going full-time freelance after you’ve already spent some time building it up is that you know how to market, you have materials to scale further, and you already have a good base to work from once you’re focused on your business 30 or more hours per week.