Some people have a side hustle to make extra money or make ends meet. But others are doing it to test out a business idea, hoping to turn a side hustle into a business. If that’s you, a new study can give you an idea of what to expect.
The newly released 2019 Hiscox Side Hustle to Small Business survey asked 400 small business owners, whose businesses started as side hustles, to see what motivated them; how long it took to go from side hustle to business; and what risks they took along the way. The results:
The typical respondent spent 20 hours per week on a side hustle while still working at a full-time job. Three-quarters of the business owners surveyed said their current business developed out of that side hustle. But it typically took 19 months of doing both jobs before the business owner was able to quit the day job to focus on his or her new enterprise.
Turn a side hustle into a business x 2
Almost half of those who turn a side hustle into a business have started a second side hustle. And 56 percent have had two or more side hustles during the course of their career.
Money is not everything
Most said they couldn’t leave the day job until their side hustles earned at least a minimum amount. Millennials were willing to scrape by with the least. They were willing to leave turn a side hustle into their full-time business once it generated slightly less than $30,000 in annual income, according to the survey.
But nearly one in five respondents said they couldn’t leave their full-time job until and unless they were able to generate at least $50,000 in annual income. On average, respondents were willing to ditch the day job once the side hustle generated $43,862 annually.
The struggle wasn’t over at that point, though. It took the typical respondent three years to earn as much at their new business as they did at their last full-time job. Indeed, some 42% paid themselves less than $25,000 in their first year. The vast majority of paid themselves less than $50,000 annually, the survey said.
Tips for making it work?
You are likely to be better in sync with your target market if you’re pursuing a business that meshes with your passions. It’s also less difficult to work long hours when you love what you’re doing. Since the typical business owner works at least 60 hours a week in the early years, you need to love what you do.
Create a business plan
If you start out knowing where you want to take the business and what it will require to get it there, you’ll have the ability to gradually find advisors, marshall your resources and refine the plan before you risk everything.
The great thing about working full-time while participating in a side hustle, is that you should be able to save a good portion of your earnings. That’s important because set-backs can hit both the business and your family. When you lose your corporate safety-net — subsidized health insurance, paid time off, etc — you need to create a safety net of your own.
Build your brand
Successful side hustlers like Dan Simms, who has turned dog-watching into a lucrative full-time job, start building their personal brand even while it’s just a side hustle. Get business cards; establish a social media presence; ask for reviews and referrals. Building your brand organically can save a small fortune on paid advertising, which also is never quite as effective as word-of-mouth.
If your business is the main source of income for both you and your family, you will want to protect that income with life, disability and, possibly, business interuption insurance. If you use your home as an office, or use other personal assets for work, you may need other types of insurance as well.
To figure out how much and what types of insurance you might need, think through how you’ll handle worst-case scenarios, such as medical emergencies or the loss of a major client. Problems that are too costly to cover with savings and other personal safety-nets (such as a spouse’s job), may require some type of insurance coverage.