How to Turn Your Side Hustle Into a Full-Time Job
It was a few years into his job as an accountant when Logan Allec felt the lifestyle taking a toll. The hours were long, especially in the first four months of the year, and all-nighters were making it difficult to maintain a balanced life and routine outside of work. He did some writing as part of his job, and enjoyed related tasks, so, as a ploy to distract him from his 90-minute one-way-train-commute into his office in Los Angeles, he started researching how to make a living as a personal finance blogger.
That curiosity led Allec to launch a blog in mid-2017. While he enjoyed the writing aspects, he was also intrigued by the concept of affiliate marketing, or using links to other sites for commissions.
“A lot of people think you have you have a following to land partnerships with brands, but that simply is not true," says Allec. “For me, it was a matter of Googling affiliate programs for various companies, and contacting marketing managers. I started spending a lot of time building those partnerships."
The time paid off. Within a few months, Allec was making thousands of dollars from his blog. When revenues from his blog, titled Money Done Right, started topping $10,000 per month, he decided to cut the chord, going off on his own in early 2018.
“Leaving my job, with benefits and security, was exhilarating and extremely frightening, but my wife was helpful in encouraging me to quit," he says. “We'd just gotten married, and between my full-time job, my side hustle with the blog and my commute, we had no time together."
Allec started hiring outside writers and focused on building more affiliate partnerships. His revenue skyrocketed through 2018. These days, he is focused on scaling his operation, and recently hired his first full-time employee to help with SEO and public relations.
“Being an entrepreneur is quite a ride," he says, “but I'm so glad I took the leap of faith."
Are you an entrepreneur looking to take the same leap of faith? If so, here are a few ideas to get you started:
Test the Market
Melissa Scott is another person who has turned her side hustle into a full-time gig. She is the founder of MODEFYwear, a fashion company that sells athletic wear for religious women. Back in 2012, she was traveling in the Middle East as part of her executive job with the Olympics, when she fashioned a hijab in her hotel room that would allow space for her hearing aids. She also made sure the hijab had a pocket. Sales poured in. By 2014, Scott knew she had a business on her hands, and by late 2016, she decided to go for it and quit her job.
"I think it is important to see if your idea is viable in the marketplace before you quit a full-time role," says Scott. "For me, I had to see if people really wanted my products. Once I started receiving several orders, I knew I had something real on my hands."
Treat Your Side Hustle Like a Business From Day One
“A hobby is something you give money to and do for fun — while you can have fun running a business, that business ultimately needs to provide for you," says Jen Naye Herrmann, a Chicago-based small business consultant, influencer and blogger at Girl Meets Party, who left her marketing job and now makes full-time income running her business. “When I started my blog, I took my $10,000 bonus from my full-time job and opened a business checking account. I've used that as seed money and always paid it back. It is still whole, three years after launching."
Take a Hard Look at Your Cash Flow
Allec recommends saving six months worth of living expenses before quitting a full-time job, and trying to make a side hustle financially viable before leaving. “And be honest with your life situation," he advises. “If you are a caregiver, or have people relying on you, think hard before taking a risk."
Herrmann recommends testing if your side hustle is financially viable enough.
“I took my full-time salary and put it directly into savings while I still had a job," she says. “I then lived off the money I was making from Girl Meets Party to see if it was enough. It was a helpful exercise in seeing if I could make it work."
Every month, Allec reaches out to a fellow finance blogger to chat over Skype. He has found the energy of collaboration and learning from one another to be hugely helpful to his business.
"I've learned so much from other bloggers, like how to create content and understand audiences," he says. "At the end of the day, I think we can all be successes together. It doesn't need to be about competition. It can be about helping each other."
Hire a Business Coach
While it may seem like an unnecessary expense to some people, Naye Herrmann recommends every entrepreneur hire a business coach to help them stay on track.
"A coach can unlock so much potential inside of you," she says. "Hiring someone like that has an incredibly strong ROI."