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From side hustle to full-time business – how some did it

"When nothing goes right, go left."
From side hustle to full-time business – how some did it Posted on September 17, 2019
"When nothing goes right, go left."

So, you have been working a full-time job, slogging away day after day, your hair is turning white and you are certain that the secret dream you have – of starting your own small business – has drifted too far from the horizon. 

Well, fear not. You may not be too late to still chase after that yearning in your heart. 

What you may need is a side hustle, while holding on to your full-time day job. Not possible? Too much work, commitment? Not enough time?

According to a survey of 400 small businesses in the states by Hiscox USA, a leading specialist insurance company with origins dating back to 1901, the majority of entrepreneurs (54%) were driven by the ideal of owning their own businesses. And some 30% of them started their side hustle in a completely different industry from the one in which they are engaged in full-time (ie, their day job). 

Graphics: Hiscox report

But what is a side hustle?

“A side hustle is any activity undertaken to make money in addition to someone’s main job,” the Hiscox report explains. “It’s not the same as a second job; rather, it represents a form of self‑employment where the hours worked and decisions made are determined by the individual.”

It adds that the motivation to pursue a side hustle may be to earn extra money, to pursue a personal passion, or to test the waters of full‑time self‑employment.

Sounds good? 

Before you jump in and rush to put your hard-earned savings at risk, the survey also found that these entrepreneurs worked an average of 20 hours per week on their side hustle – above and beyond their full-time job. That means they put in 60 hours or more in total every week, which can be a strain on other aspects of their personal life, especially if they have families.

So it takes tenacity and determination to succeed. 

And how long does it take to succeed? 

1 year and 7 months on average for their part-time endeavour to become a full-time business. Notably, it took them an average of 3 years before he or she was earning the same, or higher, as their last full-time job.

Graphics: Hiscox report

It is clear that you need not only passion and a dream, but also a somewhat hard-nosed approach – hard work, sacrifice, unrelenting perseverance – if you want to last the long haul before you see the light at the end of the side hustle.

“The average side hustle takes up to 20 hours a week of an entrepreneur’s time,” the Hiscox report says. “Because most (80%) don’t work on their side hustle during work hours, that means they’re putting in at least 60 hours a week total, including their full‑time job. That doesn’t leave much time for other things. Weekends are the most popular time for respondents to work on their side hustle, with 72% saying that’s when they put in the time.”

Yes, hard work, but read this: “Nearly half (49%) of respondents said they’ve started a new side hustle since turning their previous one into a full‑time business.”

“Whether it’s the first day or two years in, there comes a point when the idea of turning the side hustle into a full‑time business appears possible,” Hiscox says. “That point is different for everyone, but entrepreneurs had a good idea of how much money they needed to leave their day job and enter the world of the self‑employed. The average amount that respondents said they needed to transition their side hustle to a full‑time business was $43,862.”

Once they made the transition to a full‑time business, these entrepreneurs ran lean and mean. 

“Three quarters paid themselves less than $50,000 in salary in their first year, and 42%

took a net salary of less than $25,000. On average, it took three years for entrepreneurs to earn as much income from their side‑hustle‑turned‑small‑business as they had from their last full‑time employer.”

The goal beyond the rainbow is achievable, but with commitment, dogged determination, and making wise choices along the way.

“Part of starting a business is learning as you go, but you can also learn from those who’ve done it,” the Hiscox report advises. “These tips [graphics below] can give you a head start on that learning curve.” 

Graphics: Hiscox report

*You can read the full Hiscox report here.

* is not associated to Hiscox USA in any way.

**Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not and ought not be relied on as advice for legal, business or any other purposes.

"When nothing goes right, go left."