Have I ever told you how much I love side hustles? Okay, maybe I’ve said it a few times.
In all honesty, though, side hustles are the place where extra income, flexibility, scalability, and financial freedom meet. I can speak to this truth all day long because that’s my real life.
If you’re new here, my side hustle to full-time job story went something like this: worked as a band teacher for a few years, started writing blog posts on M$M as a way to unwind and share my story, and after earning $3 from a Google ad, I quit my job to pursue M$M full time.
Yes… you read that right… $3.
My story from teacher to online entrepreneur isn’t typical, and I don’t recommend quitting your day job as early as I did. Seriously, please don’t do that.
It was a HARD hustle to turn M$M into an actual full-time income, which is very different from full-time work.
I worked, and still do sometimes, more than a typical 40 hour work week, and full-time will never feel like an adequate way to describe how hard and rewarding it’s been. Those long hours weren’t the only struggle… I’ve had some very low points… but this has all allowed me to pay off some serious student loan debt, $40,000 in two years.
What is that side hustle to full-time thing doing for me now? Have you seen my most recent income report?… AKA, I’m hustling to reach financial freedom.
I can tell you more about my story, it’s been awesome and, at times, scary as hell, but I’m really ready to help you turn your side hustle into a full-time job. Don’t have a side hustle yet? No problem, you can jump in at any time… like right now, today.
My favorite is running Facebook ads for local business. Facebook ads are how I’ve been able to grow Millennial Money Man, and I even created a course to get you started. Many of my students are earning $1,000 in their first month, and I have some now making over $5,000 a month. Interested? Learn more about my Facebook Ads Course here.
I believe with all of my soul that anyone can do it, but you have to be ready to work hard and stay motivated as hell.
Here are the steps to take your side hustle to a full-time income:
Have an emergency fund
Most people think it’s insane that I quit my band director job after earning $3, and they are absolutely right to feel that way, but the reason I was able to do so was because I had a solid emergency fund to help us out.
The typical rule with an emergency fund is that it should be able to cover 3-6 months worth of living expenses, but if you’re about to make the leap from part-time side hustle to full-time income, you may want to try and put away an amount that’s on the upper end of that range. We actually saved around $50,000 before I made that leap of faith.
Read more at How I Prepared to Leave My Job for this Site.
Your side hustle will ideally be earning you more than $3 when you go full time with it. Even so, it’s a necessity for budding entrepreneurs to have a cushion. There are also a lot of side hustles that are basically freelance work, and that means there is no guarantee that you’ll be earning a regular income once you do go full time.
Your emergency fund is how you’ll get through the tough weeks and months ahead of you, when you’re putting in 60 hours a week and seeing no real financial gains.
Also, if you are quitting a job to go all in with your side hustle, you might be giving up some obvious benefits, like health insurance. Make sure you account for the complete total that you are giving up, not just your monthly paycheck.
Be honest with yourself about when you’ll be taking your side hustle full time
When I get emails from readers and students in my Facebook Ads Course, a lot of them are asking if I think it’s the right time for them to leave their day jobs for their side hustle. There’s no one quick or easy answer to this question.
You might have a good month or two, but you can just as easily have several bad ones. You also might have a lot of motivation in the beginning, but can you sustain that positivity when you’re working really freaking hard and seeing very little returns?
Before you take your side hustle full time, here are a few questions to ask yourself, and be honest.
- Do I have a clear business plan?
- Do I have enough in the bank to cover that leap?
- What am I giving up?
- Do I actually love my side hustle that much?
- Am I prepared for the real business end of my side hustle?
If your answers to those questions don’t immediately point to “yes, I am ready to do this full time,” that’s completely okay. Were you to dive in without feeling secure in your side hustle you could really end up hurting your finances.
Don’t let that make you feel that you have to completely give up on your dream of taking your side hustle full time. Look at why you weren’t ready and make a plan for how to get there. Set some goals, maybe even give yourself a deadline to reassess, and then ask those questions again.
Work on doing more than just content creation
This one really answers the last question you asked yourself when figuring out if you’re ready to take your side hustle full time, but it’s also what will carry you from just a little side hustle to full-time income generator.
Say you started a blog and were just posting whenever you got inspired or fired up about something, kind of what I did. In the beginning, you probably didn’t know about SEO or affiliate marketing, have a posting schedule, a social media presence, a plan for driving traffic to your blog, or any products to sell.
While that’s completely normal when you’re starting out, you’ll need to get organized and have some goals.
This might not be the funniest aspect of taking your side hustle full time, but not paying attention to this side of things will probably be the #1 thing that holds you back from actually making a decent living.
I’ll talk more about Laptop Empires in a minute, but my buddy Mike and I are churning out a steady stream of podcasts that offer advice for novice to advance level side hustlers, like:
- How To Do Affiliate Marketing The Ethical Way
- How To Grow A Facebook Group
- Do I Need An LLC For My Online Business?
There’s also the financial end of owning a business, and this should not be neglected when you are going from side hustle to full-time job. I’m not just talking about making money, I’m talking about paying the man… you know, those dreaded taxes.
To keep your business 100% legit, which it should be, you’ll need to get comfortable with setting money aside for taxes, and having some type of accounting software will make this easier. You can definitely do this on your own, but once you begin to diversify and grow even larger, hiring a professional can make this a little less time-consuming.
There are so many different pieces of technology, apps and software, that you can use to organize your side hustle. I use a bunch of them, from Asana to schedule posts, Slack to talk with my team, and Google Drive to store and share my work.
Even if you don’t have a team, you have to find a way to stay organized, and if you’re quitting your full-time job, then you’ll have to make a plan for how you’ll use that time to work on your side hustle. I keep a running list of all the business related tasks I need to accomplish, and then I set specific days and times to work on them.
I can be super distracted sometimes by things happening in my FB community, I seriously love you guys, so my list keeps me focused.
Surround yourself with people who have similar goals
I’ve talked here before about my mentor Mike, and he is legitimately the reason why I saw the real potential in my business. Well, it actually started because he told me I was never going to have the life I wanted if I kept going without making a change.
I never would have taken my blog from side hustle to full-time business if it weren’t for his sage advice: “You’ll never be able to afford a house like that. You’re a teacher with $40,000 of student loan debt.”
Brutal honesty hurts, but being told I can’t achieve something is the fastest way for me to make something happen.
It was a huge risk to leave my job… $3 guys… but the successful people you surround yourself with know all about taking and managing risks. Use them for inspiration and motivation, you’ll need it as you go from side hustle to full-time online business owner.
Also, don’t fall for all the people out there on the internet claiming to be “gurus.” You’ve seen them, trying to sell you their secrets with books, webinars, and tiered systems to success. If you’re buying any of this stuff, STOP IT NOW!
I bet there are at least a couple of people you already know who would be willing to share their experiences in a much more relatable way. Buy them a coffee, a beer, or a nice bottle of wine and get ready to talk. You’re likely going to hear some brutal honesty like I did, but that’s part of the game.
I was also super fortunate enough to find that a friend of mine from high school was hustling just as hard as I was, and he taught me everything I needed to know about online marketing. Mike and I’ve been a team for a minute now, and we combined our knowledge and resources to build that other business I mentioned earlier, Laptop Empires.
Then there is my Facebook Community, I know I’ve referenced them already, but my interactions with that community are some of the most motivating parts of my day. They are people just like me who are working their way towards financial freedom. Some of them are doing the side hustle to a full-time thing, others are super savvy investors, and some are just hustling to get by.
Most importantly, they shower me in GIFs when I need a pick-me-up. They are my people… I LOVE YOU GUYS.
Go hard with it
When you turn in your day job and start taking your side hustle full time, you learn a pretty valuable lesson– time is money. I’m not the first guy to tell you this, but it’s worth reiterating.
When you work for yourself, your success is directly tied to the amount of time and energy you are willing to put into your side hustle. I find myself time and time again sitting back and saying, “That’s the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life.”
When you start looking at your returns, you’re probably going to say the same thing, and that’s why I publish my income reports– they let me see my progress and help me realize that all of that time and energy are paying off.
Once you go from part-time side hustle to full-time job you’ll probably find yourself paying even more attention to those sorts of things. Like, thing A will take X number of hours and only have an ROI of Y, but thing B will take a few more hours and yield and even greater return.
Taking the easiest route isn’t going to get you anywhere online, and that’s because there are too many people doing the bare minimum in the online world.
To stand out, you will have to work harder than the rest of them.
Work towards diversification
I’ll say this about starting an online business, after doing it once, it gets easier and easier. You may have just taken your side hustle to full time, but you should already be looking at ways to diversify your current business, and you should be considering new business opportunities as well.
What’s making you money right now might not hold true in the future, plus stagnation is the kiss of death for any type of business.
The needs of your readers, customers, and clients are going to change as time passes, and you can’t just sit on your hands hoping your original business model will hold up.
M$M has seen some serious diversification in the past year or so, from starting Laptop Empires to creating more courses. I’d honestly be pretty happy to do Millennial Money Man for the rest of my life, but you guys might get tired of me, haha!
I’ve learned some new skills as I’ve built this blog, marketing being one of them, so I leveraged that to create my Facebook Ads for Bloggers course, the same step-by-step plan I used to bring in more traffic.
Use what you’re learning to build something new. Diversification comes with risks, but those risks are what will ultimately lead to longevity.