5 questions to ask yourself before becoming a full-time business owner
by Christie Browning
I had THAT conversation with my husband the other day….
“When can I quit my day-job and do this thing full-time?” I have been chomping at the bit to get the running room to really focus on my business. I mean…imagine what my business could be if I could put the same time and energy into it as I do into my full-time job?!?!?! He pushed me on about 5 questions to ask yourself before becoming a full-time business owner.
When your hobby or side hustle starts growing, you might start thinking about taking it full time. It’s exciting that what once started as something small is now growing and financially providing each month! Being your own boss sounds like a great idea, but how do you know when it’s time to quit your day job and take on your business full time?
I believe you can do it. You believe you can do it. But… the reality is it does take more than just wishful dreaming and believing to make the green dough you need to keep things going. In fact, I really love the growing slow method — staying away from debt, avoiding big leaps that can harm you financially, and working to sustain a steady growth - not just an overnight windfall.
Did you know that Henry Ford started his automobile company while he was still employed by the Edison Illuminating Company. Steve Wozniak continued working for Hewlett-Packard even after cofounding Apple with Steve Jobs. If they are happy to juggle both a side-hustle and a full-time gig, can’t I do the same? That’s the challenge my husband made and one I am offering to you!
Christy Wright, founder of Business Boutique, wrote “A study conducted by The Academy of Management Journal confirms that businesses grown gradually on the side while the business owner is still employed full-time at another company are 30% less likely to fail. I like those odds!”
Before making the leap to a full-time focus on your business, you need to have some real facts to help you make the choice. Consider the finances you need to not only keep your business running, but also keep your household budget going too! Remember, we want to be making some money here! Also, there are some emotional choices to make as well.
To get the conversation going, consider these 5 questions to ask your self before becoming a full-time business owner:
#1: What do you want and are you sure of it?
You can’t turn a side business into a full-time business without expecting some growth to happen. While most of us think, “YES! I want growth,” some might be a bit concerned by what they may mean. It can be intimidating to rent a storefront, hire employees, worry about taxes and so on. That’s OK! If you are happy just making your side-hustle a really profitable side-hustle than stay there! No one says you have to be a full-time boss babe to make it all happen. Do what makes YOU happy and fulfills your version of success.
#2: Am I working two full-time jobs?
If it feels like you’re working two full-time jobs right now, that’s a good sign—because you kind of are! You can absolutely juggle both for a season; in fact, I teach that things will be crazy busy when you’re ramping up your business. It will be stressful at times, but if you’re passionate about what you’re doing, then the late nights, early mornings and working weekends will eventually pay off! If you’re turning down work because your plate is overflowing, you’ve got a hot business on your hands. It may be time to take it to the next level!
#3: Can you make a living on what you are making now?
Sometimes the math doesn’t add up. Sometimes more effort and more time does NOT equal more money. Therefore, it is important for you to look at the dollars you are earning now….is that enough for you to pay the bills? Is what you are making now cut the mustard? If so, great! If not, keep pushing. While you may not need to totally replace your full-time income, you do need to know you can live on what your business can make. If you’re married, talk with your spouse about it. Maybe you can make some cuts and live within a smaller budget because running your own business full time is worth it to you!
#4: Do you have extra money for your business?
Some business expenses aren’t set in stone. Some things come as surprises or emergencies. That’s why have a little savings for your business is a good idea. You don’t want to be a full-time business owner who is burdening the business with debt, and you surely don’t want to be tapping into your personal budget to cover broken computers, busted cellphones, and other business emergencies.
#5: How can I work efficiently?
Processes and systems can be the saving grace your business needs whether you are still in the side-gig mode or the full-time mode. Using business systems such as automating mailers, social media posts and creating processes such as only dealing with orders on Monday, Wednesday and Friday…these things help you keep your sanity no matter what stage of the game you’re in. And…it’s better to get those in place now rather than wait until you “big enough” to bother.
So…are you ready to give it a go?
The other emotional component to this whole question is are you ready for this the side business to become a have-to business? Once you go full-time you are committed to the business on a whole new level. It becomes a must-do, not a might-do type of business. So, do a little internal check to be sure you are ready for the long-haul. I know you want to achieve goals and be successful, but just be smart about it. Above all, be sure you are chasing YOUR dream and building a life YOU love!