When to Take Your Side Hustle Full-Time

Got big plans for your own photography business, but your “real” job keeps getting in the way? I’ve been there!

Trust me, I know exactly how it feels to be stuck between two jobs – and two worlds, really! In your heart, you’re so ready to be an entrepreneur and get your Photography business up and running… but quitting your other job, the one that might include a salary and benefits, is pretty scary. Is there ever a right time to turn that side hustle into your full-time job? Here’s my quick checklist of the three MUST-HAVES you need before you take the leap: 


Passion

One of the biggest giveaways that it’s time to take your side hustle full-time is when you can’t stop dreaming/thinking/strategizing about it! If doing your regular gig is a chore and your daily routine is feeling like something you’re forcing yourself to do, it’s probably time to move on. Trust your gut on this one. When you start doing what you LOVE, you’ll see some BIG changes in your work ethic, your enthusiasm, and your attitude towards working!

Money

Sometimes you do need to take a leap of faith, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be smart about it! 20% of businesses fail in the first year, and by year five, that number is 50%. When I took my photography business full-time, I DEFINITELY had no plans to shut my doors in one, five, or even ten years! I wanted to build something that would last, and financial stability was a huge part of that. 

There are two MAJOR considerations to making sure you’re financially ready to bring your side-hustle full time: income and savings. Income is simple – are you now making enough in your new gig to sustain your living and business expenses? If you can reasonably live on your side-gig income (and are willing to make a few sacrifices when it comes to spending, like renting that lens instead of buying one outright), then you’re in a good place to grow your business. 

It’s also important to have a little something extra saved in case an unexpected business expense comes up. Just like you have some savings set aside for a medical expense or car troubles, make sure you have something set aside to cover whatever life throws at your new biz, like equipment failure or the sudden need for lots of storage space.

Demand

They say you should be working the equivalent of two full-time jobs before you quit one… and that’s a pretty good standard! This is no longer a fun weekend project, or a way to relieve some stress – it’s WORK. That’s why it’s so important for you to put in the hours and get an idea of how life would be if this was your full-time job – after all, this is how you’ll be supporting yourself financially now.

As a photographer, you’ll know you’re hitting your demand goals if you could easily fill every spare moments with shoots. Are you spending every night and all your weekends taking pictures or editing? Are you getting requests for weekdays? Are your Saturdays booked so far out that you’re turning down clients or scrambling to fit them in? Is your actual job suffering because you’re exhausted from your photo sessions? Congrats – you’re an in-demand photographer! To get all that work done, it might be time to let go of your other work commitments and go full-time in photography. Plus, imagine how much more you could accomplish if you devoted all of your working hours into your passion?

It’s never easy to know when to give up the comfort and stability of your current job to dive into something new and unknown. But if you’ve got that nagging feeling that it’s time to take the plunge, start by checking these three must-haves off your list and see where life takes you. You may just end up starting the business of your dreams!


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