It is no easy feat running two enterprises at once, be it a job and a side-hustle, or a small business and a family, or school and work. Especially taking an idea, executing it, making a profit, and then keeping it going takes a lot of mental, emotional, physical, and financial bandwidth.

It demands total commitment.

Indeed, the fact is, if you can't give your side-hustle the attention it deserves, because of family, another job, or whatever, while it may not be fatal (it is a side hustle after all), it is not ideal either. The nature of a small business is that the sooner you can give it 100 percent attention, the better, because that is, frankly, how you stand the best chance of success.

But this caveat is also important: The timing has to be right. If you started a business with the coffers flush, bully for you, you get to pass Go and collect $200. But the question everyone eventually finds themselves asking is the same question you are asking: When I can I make this my full-time gig?

Good question.

Are there signposts that indicate the time is right? You bet. Here are the top 5 signs that you can quit your day job:

5. You are headed in the right direction.

Starting a business at home, at night or on weekends, requires not only that you keep up with your regular job, and your home or family commitments, but also that you dedicate most the remaining time to the business. According to Freelancers Union, 1 in 3 workers (roughly 50 million) had some sort of side gig in the past year.

Tough to do, that. 

The fact is, it will take a while to get left-off, gain altitude, and fly in the right direction. But once you get past that startup phase, once you have a tailwind and are headed in the right direction, you know you are on the verge of being able to let go of the safety net that is your day job.

4. You know what you are doing:

A corollary to No. 5 is that you are past the novice stage and actually know what the heck you are doing.

Sure, you can fly earlier, but if you don't really know what works and what does not, you will more likely fall than soar with the eagles. (OK, no more; I think I have beat that metaphor to death!)

3. You have reliable customers:

Notice I did not just say that you have customers, but that you have reliable customers. That's not always easy to create, but they are critical. That same Freelancers Union survey indicates that only about one in five freelancers has more than one source of income. 

Reliable customers give you both the confidence and the financial wherewithal to do without the safety of the regular paycheck, benefits, and healthcare.

2. You make enough money to (almost) live on:

Notice "almost." If your side-hustle gives you enough income that you believe you can do even better if you go full time, you are probably right. Freelancers Union says that the average freelance income is about $40,000 per year. The key to going full-time is to be able to make enough to live on, and more.

And quitting will definitely hit your wallet, as will ramping up, as will buying your own insurance and more. Until you quit, the money you make in your extra endeavor should also provide a nest egg for the full-time version.

And the No. 1 sign you are ready to quit your day job . . .

1. You can't not do it:

When you get to the point that the business is going so well, when opportunities are presenting themselves, when it's so fun and profitable that you miss it and think about it when you are not doing it, when not doing it more costs you money, then you are ready to do fly like the wind, my friend. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself.)

And when that time comes, the only left to say is . . . cleared for takeoff!

Published on: Dec 28, 2017