As you read in a previous blog post, I ran Bar Magnolia as a side hustle for 18 months before going full time. There were many benefits of doing it that way, but there were a couple drawbacks too, which I outlined here. If you are running your business as a side hustle, here’s how to know when to jump ship:
1. The money is coming in consistently
Ideally you’ll have set a sales number that you’d be comfortable reaching before leaving your job. This number should account for overhead, staffing expenses, and leave you enough “meat” to take an owners draw (or salary if you’re going to be a W-2) while also re-investing in the business. Consistently hitting that number is the key.
It’s hard to determine “consistency” given the ebbs and flows of the event seasons in most areas, which is why I really think 18 months was our magic number. I had one full year of sales records already, and I could see in the final 6 months how we were doing over the previous year, plus what the ongoing trend was for the current year. We were killing every single sales goal we had and we hadn’t even hit our major event months yet. All signs were pointing in the right direction that sales would continue.
2. You’re losing money because you can’t be available all the time
This was the main thing I can point to as why my main competitor was killing me in the local market. I worked all day, had two kids at home, and my husband was in law school and traveling 30 percent of the time. I didn’t have the capacity to go and meet people or network. I tried hiring people to do it (hint: that failed miserably), but ultimately, I just needed to be able to make appointments with vendors, hit up some happy hours, have coffee with potential collaborators, etc.
Note: I don’t think this piece alone is worth quitting your day job for. Bar Magnolia was hitting six figure annual sales by 18 months, even with my minimal ability to network. There are alternative ways of getting your name out there and should be weighed carefully when deciding to leave a guaranteed paycheck.
One Reason NOT to leave your day job:
You’re too busy. Busy is not a good reason to leave your day job, because all “busy” means is that you have a lot of things that you could do for your business. Busy doesn’t indicate that any of these things would have a valuable ROI, or will help you increase your sales or profits. I could be designing a new brochure for wedding shows, but there may not be anything inherently wrong with the old ones. I could be alphabetizing the event folders from last year, but there is not real return on investment for doing so. When running a business, there will always be an endless to-do list. If your inability to get through it, leads to #2 above AND you have #1 going for you, then yes, being too busy is reason to leave your day job.