If you have a side hustle bringing in extra money each month, you aren’t alone. Almost four out of every 10 Americans moonlight, making an average of $686 each month (about $8,200 per year), according to a 2018 Bankrate survey.
Side hustles are a great way to use your skills to supplement your income while satisfying you creatively. But working a 9–5 and a 5–9 can be exhausting. Eventually, you (hopefully) hit a tipping point when you have enough clients to confidently quit your job in order to freelance full-time. But before you give your two weeks’ notice, consider these five signs that you are ready to be your own boss.
1. You can meet—or exceed—your monthly income goal.
Step one: figure out your finances. One of the perks of working two jobs is that you have two incomes coming into your bank account each month, so make sure that you will be able to make enough from just your freelancing business to pay your expenses. Your freelancing income might not be as high as your full-time job income yet because you’ve only been working on it part-time, but determine if it is feasible that you will meet or exceed your goals when you have more time to devote to your business. Keep track of your income and expenses with careful bookkeeping and, when you are determining your budget, remember that you’ll be paying taxes quarterly as a freelancer.
2. You have incorporated your business.
There are a number of reasons why it’s beneficial to incorporate your business. When you form a business your personal assets will be protected, you can file for tax deductions like office space and supplies, you’ll have more credibility, and your business can continue even if you leave the company. View yourself as a business owner and entrepreneur even if you don’t have a product or additional employees and can work from home in your pajamas – you’ll take your business more seriously and clients will as well.
3. You have a marketing plan in place.
Create a marketing plan so you can be strategic about how you find new clients. The goal is to truly understand who your client is so you can provide the services they want, know how to reach them, and impress them enough that they become a repeat customer. Use market research to define your target customer, mission statement, products and services, how people will buy from you, and how you’ll generate buzz. Instead of throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks, you’ll save time and energy by being intentional.
4. You are great at self-promotion.
Freelancing full time might not be for you if you hate attention and are nervous about bragging about yourself and your business. You can’t sit back, relax, and hope that new clients will somehow find you. You have to be proactive about making sure that people discover your business. In 2018, it’s optimal (and some would say essential) for freelancers to have active social media profiles, a website that clearly explains their services and story, and publicity. Potential clients want to work with someone they trust, so let them know your background, mission, and accomplishments.
5. You are self-disciplined and driven.
Running a business is hard work, and you have to hustle to find clients and make money. You are suddenly your own boss and have to be self-motivated, organized, and willing to take on all of the tasks necessary to manage a company. When you are a full-time freelancer, you have to deal with responsibilities that someone else may have done at your old job like accounting, scheduling, and email marketing. You must be willing to learn new skills or hire another freelancer who can help so you can focus on the higher-level strategy that will move the business forward.
When did you know it was time to make the leap to full-time freelancing? Tell us in the comments below!