With the rise in the ‘gig’ economy, and the COVID-19 pandemic pushing many into reduced salaries, the side-hustle is very familiar to many South Africans. In fact, according to Old Mutual’s 2020 internal Consumer Insight survey, “23% of individuals in South Africa are already active in the gig economy and building second streams of income.”

While in some countries, the side-hustle is a choice to pursue as a passion project or second love, in South Africa, it’s mostly a choice in order to make ends meet or accrue some kind of savings. Unfortunately, further research by Old Mutual has found that 40% of the South Africans they surveyed revealed that if they lost their jobs, they’d only be able to survive for one month, possibly even less. 

Side-hustles play a big part in reducing debt, making ends meet or saving up to make a future investment. If your side business has taken you through all those stages, and you’re starting to think whether you could turn it into your full-time focus, here are a few ways to tell it’s time to make the move.

It’s financially viable

Possibly the most important thing to consider, is the financial aspect of the move. Are you making a profit from your side business, that can tie you over every month, as well as some reserve money to get you through the first few months?

If you’ve run all the numbers — or asked a mathematically inclined friend to run them for you — and the answer is yes, then you’re ready to take the plunge and quit your day job, or at least reduce your hours significantly. Remember to account for any perks you were getting as part of your cost to the company, including medical aid and pension fund benefits.

You’re far happier when you work on your side business

Aside from the financial aspect, your side business must give you enough joy and pleasure to really want to take it on full-time. Do you spend your days planning, strategising or just daydreaming of all the things you could be doing on your side business while you’re at work? Do you dread the morning and afternoon rush through traffic and sitting at a desk from 9-5? Then it’s time to seriously consider how the move will improve your happiness and wellbeing in the long run.

You’re struggling to focus on both

Do you find yourself torn between both jobs, unable to focus 100% on either of them as they pull you in two different directions? While some people can manage two busy schedules at once, it’s not a skill everyone possesses. 

Aside from spreading yourself too thin, you will also run out of time during each day, and potentially burn yourself out. If you’re starting to notice yourself slip up, or just not able to cope with both responsibilities, now’s the time to seriously think about taking the side business on full-time.

There are growth opportunities for your side business

While it’s all well saying you’ve got the cash-flow now, and you’re excited to take your personal business to the next level, there has to be room for growth to show that it’s sustainable in the long term. Can you see your customer base growing, and do you see your products or services expanding if you were able to give it 100%? Is there opportunity and demand to take it online and start an e-commerce website?

If you know that with all your time dedicated to it, your business has the potential to grow to a point where it not only sustains you but gives you some room to expand and reap the financial rewards, then you’re ready to seriously consider the move. 

Whether you’ve come to the conclusion that your side business is ready to take on full-time or not, you can still take on an additional revenue stream simply by having a website. 

Below are a number of ways to make extra money by creating a website. Once it’s up and running you can look into:

  • Affiliate marketing: Promote a product or service via your website. Each time a visitor to your site makes a purchase through the promotion on your website you earn commission
  • Banner adverts: Allow relevant adverts on your website and the network you sign up with will compensate you every time someone clicks on the advert
  • Sponsored posts: Publish articles on your website on behalf of reputable and relevant brands. You can charge a fee for each article published according to your website statistics, including the amount of visitors your website receives monthly.

It will always be a risk taking your side hustle on full-time. But if you now feel you are ready and you’ve done your due diligence, the risk can come with great reward.