How to Transition Your Side Hustle Into a Full-Time Consulting Business

April 29, 2022 Jamie Johnson

You may have started your consulting business for a variety of reasons—personal fulfillment, extra money, or something to do on the side. But as your business starts to grow, you may start to think about taking it full-time.

But how do you know when you’re ready to quit your job and go from side hustle to full-time consulting? And what are the steps you can take to maximize your odds of success?

3 Signs You’re Ready to Take a Side Hustle Full-Time

Side hustles have become increasingly popular over the years, and 34% of Americans currently have some sort of side hustle. Of those who have a side hustle, 67% started it in the last three years.

A side hustle is a great way to explore new opportunities and bring in a little extra income. But how do you know when it’s time to take your side hustle full-time? Here are three signs you may be ready.

You’re having trouble managing both

As your consulting business continues to grow, you may find yourself stretched for time. You’re waking up early and working late hours to manage your side hustle alongside your full-time job.

At some point, it may start to feel like you’re working two full-time jobs! You may be able to sustain this for a little while, but eventually, your business or your job performance will start to suffer. So if your business continues to ramp up, it may be time to take it full-time.

You’re consistently out-earning your full-time job

With a full-time job, you receive a consistent paycheck every month and have additional benefits like health insurance or retirement savings. In comparison, income from a side hustle can be very inconsistent from month to month.

If you reach a point where the income from your side hustle is consistently exceeding what you earn at your full-time job, this could be the tipping point. However, the critical word is consistent—if you only do it one time, it could be a fluke.

Your true passion lies with your side hustle

The final factor you should consider is where your true passion lies. Are you more passionate about your consulting business than your full-time job? If you’re passionate about your consulting business, you’ll be more motivated to put in the work to make it financially successful.

6 Steps to Take Your Consulting Business Full-Time

1. Come up with a plan

The first place to start is to develop a strategic plan for how you’ll take your side hustle full-time. How many hours will you need to work each week in your consulting business? How many clients do you need to have, and how much do you need to charge per project?

When you’re creating your plan, it’s important to think long-term. Come up with a three- to five-year plan for your business based on your goals and desired lifestyle.

2. Figure out how much you need to live on

Next, you need to figure out what is the absolute minimum you need to live on. In addition to your regular monthly expenses, you’ll need to consider items your employer usually covers, such as health insurance, taxes, and retirement contributions.

Plus, you’ll probably want to take the occasional vacation. Since there’s no paid time off when you’re self-employed, you’ll need to have the funds to cover this yourself.

Of course, the goal is to earn much more than this eventually, but it could take you time to get to that point. Knowing the minimum amount you need to live on will give you a baseline to strive for.

3. Create processes and streamline your work

Many people assume that if they work twice as much on their business, they’ll see double the returns. But that isn’t necessarily the case. You need to put systems and processes in place that allow your business to scale.

As the demand for your services increases, it may become harder to manage it all. So start by outlining your process for how you work with clients. Look for ways to automate things like accounting, social media, and marketing. You can also consider bringing on a virtual assistant to help out.

4. Build up a six-month emergency fund

Cash flow is the number one problem most business owners encounter. It’s normal to experience some financial uncertainty in your business, but when you’re counting on that business to pay your bills, this can feel incredibly stressful.

The best way to navigate this is by having a six-month emergency fund on hand. Knowing you have the savings to cover six months of expenses will give you peace of mind. This can help you avoid overreacting to problems that come up in your business.

5. Build your network

As an independent consultant, you’re going to need a solid base of customers and leads to ensure you have money coming in every month. The best way to do this is by focusing on networking.

By networking, you’ll start to build relationships with other business owners, which can be a good source of referrals. You’ll also begin to build your reputation as the go-to person in your industry.

6. Don’t wait for the perfect time

Giving up the security of a full-time job can be scary, and you want to go into it with a plan. But don’t make the mistake of waiting for the “perfect time” to go all-in on your consulting business because it may never come.

The best way to avoid dragging your feet or waiting too long is to give yourself a deadline. A deadline will hold you accountable while still giving yourself time to get all the pieces in place.

The Bottom Line

Taking a side hustle and turning it into a full-time consulting business isn’t easy, but it’s worth the effort. Just make sure you have a solid plan, savings, and processes in place to sustain your business going forward. And if you’re looking for additional ways to build your client base, consider joining BTG’s network of on-demand talent to start getting matched with exciting project opportunities at leading companies.

JOIN THE TALENT REVOLUTION

Skilled professionals are becoming independent consultants to capitalize on their strengths, gain ownership over how they work, and select projects that interest and excite them. You can too! Become an independent consultant today!

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About the Author

Jamie Johnson

Jamie Johnson is a freelance writer who teaches others how to start their own freelance writing careers. She covers topics related to small business, entrepreneurship, and personal finance. She currently writes for clients like Business Insider, Bankrate, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Quicken Loans.

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