If you’re ready to trade in your full time 9-5 for your photography side hustle, buckle up butter cup, because this post is for YOU!
I’ve been there, friend. I was a juvenile probation officer for 3 years before I decided to walk away and trade it all in for my photography career. It was a really tough decision for me – especially since I went to college & studied Criminal Justice to work in law enforcement. All that hard work, all those years of studying… how could I just walk away? I remember telling my family about my feelings and eagerness to quit and while they all freaked out, they were open to the opportunity and gave me some really sage advice. I’m the kind of person to jump all in the second I feel I’m ready, but they helped me come up with a plan to quit my full time job that was a lot more planned out rather than just diving in head first.
There are SEVERAL FACTORS to make sure that you transition jobs with success and I consider the following the most important ones, as they were the exact steps that made me feel confident to cut the cord:
1. Dive deep into your monthly personal expenses. That’s right… get up close and personal with every single dollar and figure out where it goes. If you don’t know your personal expenses, then how do you know what you need to make to cover it all? Find out exactly how much it costs for you and your family to survive every month and understand your contribution towards that amount. You’ll need to make AT LEAST that amount in your business every month plus the cost of running a business, income tax, cost of goods, etc.
2. Now that you know what you need to make for your personal expenses, it’s time to build up your emergency fund before you quit your day job. What’s an emergency fund? A savings account that houses 3-6 months of your personal expenses (or what you need to contribute to your family every month). Once you have that saved, throw in an EXTRA two to three months of expenses into your EF just in case the transition isn’t as easy as you thought it would be. BONUS if you keep it all in a high yield savings account (earn extra income in the form of interest). Having a fully funded emergency fund will ensure that if everything doesn’t work out, you can still pay for all of your expenses without having to go into debt as well as any pressure to make quick career decisions due to lack of income.
3. Along those same financial factors, be able to replace your full time income with your side hustle income for at least three months straight. Oh yes… I said it. Listen, I know you want to get out of that job asap, but you need to do it in a financially responsible manner. And guess what?! Being able to do this can also help you out with step #2 because you can take all the extra from your main job and throw it at your emergency fund! BOOM! That’s all kinds of fast tracking your plan to GET OUT!
4. Consider the “extras.” If your job is paying for your health insurance or matching your 401K contributions, all of this needs to be taken into account when walking away. You need to be able to continue health insurance and retirement contributions when you transition so add these to your “personal expense” categories to make sure it happens. And friends, please please please don’t put this off. Just one year of monthly retirement contributions could mean tens of thousands of dollars lost when it comes to retirement time.
5. Complete an hours to hours analysis. This one may be tough, but it needs to be done. Find out exactly how much you’re making per hour in BOTH jobs. If you’re making $20 an hour at your current full time job, but only $15 an hour with your side hustle, then understand that you may have to put in extra hours when you transition. But always remember… working for yourself means that you can give yourself a raise whenever you’re ready and you don’t have to ask permission for it!
Are you on the journey to making your side hustle your full time job?
With this list of factors to consider, you’re going to make an incredibly well informed decision. You will be primed for the perfect exit when it comes time to quit your day job!