When I graduated from journalism school, I didn’t get a “real” job. I immediately began freelancing. Conditions were right. My then-husband was in school and we had his student loans to live on. We relocated to an area with a low cost of living. I was able to devote the time and energy to making it work as a freelancer.

I’m one of the fortunate ones. Not everyone can start from scratch and build up. Many would-be entrepreneurs and solopreneurs have “real” jobs and obligations that reduce their ability to take risks. The good news, though, is that if you are really determined, you can turn a side gig into a full-time business. Here’s how to make it work:

Figure Out How Much You Need to Make at Your Side Gig to Quit

The step is determining how much you need to make with your side gig before you can quit your day job. Maintaining a solid financial foundation is essential if you want to make this work.

Decide how much monthly income you need from your side gig. As you build your side gig up, you can put earnings into a bank account designed to be available to you if there’s an emergency.

The focus on maintaining financial solvency can also help your business succeed. According to a recent study from the Academy of Management, businesses that start as side gigs and scale up in stages are more likely to succeed than those that launch full-time.

Be Prepared to Work

One of the realities of starting any business is that you have to be ready to work. When you start a side gig with the intent to turn it into a full-time venture, you have to work even harder. This is because you still have your day job, but will also be working on your side hustle.

Be ready to put in long hours and extra effort to make it happen. You might be surprised at what you can accomplish, but it’s also a lot of work. I spent the first few years of my own business working as much as I could to build up a client base and establish a reputation. When you are turning your side gig into a full-time business, it takes a lot of time and work.

Avoid Burnout

You will find that one of the most difficult aspects of turning your side gig into a full-time business is burnout. It’s hard to avoid burnout when you’re working a day job and then coming home to work on your side gig.

However, being exhausted all the time won’t help you or your business. Try to relax a little each day, and take time for your family. Also, try to spend at least half of one weekend day recharging. You’ll be more productive in the long run, and you’ll be able to maintain your passion as you set up your side gig.

Once your business is up and running, and you feel stable enough to quit your day job, you can get into your business full-time. You’ll be able to scale back how much you work, and begin living the life you want.


I'm Miranda and I'm a freelance financial journalist and money expert. My specialties are investing, small business/entrepreneurship and personal finance. The journey to business success and financial freedom is best undertaken with fellow travelers.

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