Side hustles are gaining a lot of momentum with people who have the entrepreneurial spirit but can't or don't want to quit their day job. Bills, student loans and other responsibilities often are the cause for not going all in. And that's okay. Despite what investors may think, mitigating risk to test out the waters of the startup world is often a prudent strategy.
That said, it is grueling. As someone that has a full-time job at a tech firm and working on my startup, my life as a side hustler isn't easy. Two full-time jobs can is a big commitment and must be approached thoughtfully, especially if you're hoping to transition your side project into a full-time business.
Before taking the plunge, ask yourself these five questions.
1. Do you have enough time?
A side hustle goes far beyond having another job. Depending on the nature of your side hustle, you can find yourself working an additional 15 to 20 hours a week or even more. And these hours aren't spent doing mundane tasks that could come with working a part-time job. Rather, your brain is working hard thinking about strategy, vision, execution and being scrappy.
You need to be honest with yourself on how much additional hours you can make available to your side hustle. To do this, I recommend calculating how much time you need at your full-time job, with your family and any extracurriculars. This will give you a good benchmark to understand how much free time you can commit to yourself and your business partner. From there, block out time on your calendar for you to work on your side hustle. Be mindful and intentional with this time. It isn't how much time you have, it is how well you use it.
2. Can you afford to start a business?
All startups have costs, including side hustles. Based on 2012 Census data 31.6% percent of entrepreneurs who acquired or started a business reported using less than $5,000 in startup capital. Having a job gives you the ability to build your business while having a steady source of income -- and not worrying about draining your entire savings account.
Also, the side hustle affords you the opportunity to make mistakes without the fear of running out of funds. (This advice is for the 99 percent of companies that don't get funding from investors.) You have an amazing opportunity to take risks, pivot and figure out your business before you make the leap.
So. before you begin your side hustle, you need to understand how much money it will take to bootstrap your business and then look at your disposable income to see how much money you can invest in your business.
3. Are you prepared for failure?
The foreboding figure that has lasted the test of time is 9 out of 10 startups fail. The good news is having a side hustle could set you up for success. Indeed, businesses that are launched while the founder is employed and only later become that founder's full-time focus are one-third less likely to fail than those that began as full-time ventures, according to a study by the Academy of Management.
That said, failure is a possibility for any startup, and you need to ask yourself if you could handle it happening. If not, a side hustle may not be for you.
4. What is your level of commitment?
Without passion, it is almost impossible to stay committed to any job let alone the grit and grind of a side hustle. Often times you will come home from a exhausting full day of work and then have to find the energy to start your second job.
To get through these trying times, you have to really want it. When tired, remember the long-term goal, vision, impact you want to make and possible payout.
Also, take your time to find the right purpose or problem to solve that makes you energized and excited to build. WIthout enthusiasm about what you're building, it is almost impossible to have the fortitude to be successful.
5. What is your plan to transition to full time?
The easiest way to build your side hustle into a full-time job is to generate enough revenue to support yourself, and possibly salaried employees. To determine when you reach that threshold, build a financial model of your business and use it as a guideline to understand how and when salaries can come into play.
Another way you can transition is more akin to the standard Silicon Valley startup, seeking angel or venture capital investment. This can jumpstart a side hustle and allow you to grow at a faster rate than bootstrapping your business. By working on your business part-time you can create your MVP, minimal viable product, test it on customers and possibly even generate revenue before pitching it to investors.
It is important to weigh your priorities and interests before starting a side hustle. It can be quite grueling but it is well worth the sacrifice to create something that is your own.