Are you running a business alongside your day job? This guide outlines how to make the leap and turn your side hustle into a full-time job.
Side hustles are increasingly popular in the UK. According to research by Simply Business, more than a third of Brits run a company on the side, with 55% of them set up during the pandemic.
Side hustles are a great way to earn extra income from a hobby or interest. You might be a crafter and selling your handmade products on Etsy or perhaps you enjoy graphic design and take on freelance work during your spare time.
With the safety net of a job and a regular salary, side hustles are a less risky way to become an entrepreneur than dedicating all of your time to a new venture.
For many people, your side business may always be just that, but at some point you might decide to turn your side hustle into a full-time job. Signs that you’re ready to go full-time include:
- You’re turning down work because you don’t have time to do it
- You’re making more money through your side hustle than your day job
- Your work/life balance is negatively impacted due to the hours you’re working
There’s no perfect time to go full-time. It all depends on your personal circumstances and you should make the change when you feel ready.
It’s scary to quit being an employee and become your own boss so it’s good to be prepared. This guide outlines the steps for turning your side hustle into a successful full-time business.
Go part-time first
Before going full-time, you might want to firstly reduce your hours in your day job to dedicate more time to your side hustle.
Be transparent with your boss about your long term objectives. Many managers are very open to having entrepreneurial employees due to the transferable skills that can benefit their day job.
However, be wary of running a side hustle that directly competes with your day job. That could get you into trouble, or could even be a breach of your contract.
Research and planning
You might be making a nice amount of money to top up your income but if you’re going to dedicate all of your time to a business, you need to know the market is big enough for your product or service.
That’s where a business plan comes in. Create one that outlines areas including your objectives, target customers, competitors, sales and marketing plans, organisational structure, team and advisers.
Survey your existing customers to assess their level of capacity to spend more money with you, and conduct market research using services like the British Library Business & IP Centres in libraries across the UK.
You should also research any legal requirements associated with running a business.
Understand your finances
Finances also need to be part of your plan.
Not having enough money is one of the most common reasons new ventures fail, so it’s important to get your finances in order before going full-time with your company.
You need to work out if you have enough personal savings to cover your costs, or whether you need to find external startup funding.
Calculate your monthly living expenses and estimate how much money you’ll need to run the business and how much you think you’ll make from sales.
Alongside your business plan, create a cashflow forecast that covers all potential sources of revenue and likely business expenses. This will help you decide if you have enough money to run your business full-time and achieve your goals.
Assess your personal life
Running a business can be all consuming so it’s important that your personal circumstances are appropriate for being an entrepreneur.
Questions to consider include:
- If you have children, will you be able to balance family life with running a business?
- If you have a partner, are they supportive of your plans?
- Do you have health issues that could be exacerbated by the pressures of full-time entrepreneurship?
Find an inspiring workspace
Running a side business alongside a day job means you still see other people in a work environment, but operating as a full-time entrepreneur can be lonely.
Finding a workspace to spend some time in can be the solution. A change of scene can boost your productivity, enhance your creativity and give you access to other people in the same situation with whom you can discuss ideas and challenges. A workspace is also useful for holding meetings in a professional environment.
You don’t need to sign up to a full-time office as just a few hours a week in an inspiring workspace can be very beneficial.
The Central Research Laboratory Hot Desk and Dedicated Desk memberships provide access to desks and communal break out areas, as well as the specialist prototyping workshops. You can drop-in whenever it works for you. Or, if you’d prefer your own dedicated workspace, we have plenty of options to suit you as your business grows.
Building a network of useful contacts can help to grow your new venture.
If you’re a service provider and you already have clients for your side hustle, let them know that you’re going full-time. They might have more work to give you or know other people who could be interested in your service.
You could also sign up to an accelerator programme to meet experts, form collaborations and access training. Plus X has several programmes including:
- Better World Collective: Industry-focused Innovation Summits that connect corporates with innovative startups and scaleups to solve sustainable material innovation challenges.
- BOOST at Central Research Laboratory: A flexible support programme to help early-stage startups and SMEs through short workshops, mentoring, and in-depth consultations.
- BRITE: A series of programmes to help businesses in Greater Brighton collaborate, explore new markets, and generate new customers, including Pioneers, Product Foundry, and Access to Expertise.
- CRL Accelerator at Central Research Laboratory: A six month structured programme to help hardware pioneers and product makers build their skills and take their product to the next stage.
Through our innovation programmes and workspaces, Plus X provides knowledge, guidance, connections and structure to unlock the potential of a great idea. Find out more about innovation at Plus X.