- Many founders start their businesses as side workers until they can make it their only priority.
- There are a few signs that indicate it’s time to leave your 9 to 5 and commit to your business.
- Set milestones and a timeline to make sure you’re making the right decision.
While some side businesses can generate six-figure incomes, most founders will eventually have to decide whether to take their business full-time in order to grow.
Harley Finkelstein, president of e-commerce company Shopify, said quitting your day job is a crucial step in turning your passion into your life’s work. “Having a side hustle in perpetuity is actually not in an entrepreneur’s best interest,” he previously told Insider.
He recommended that every founder set their timeline for leaving a full-time job based on their risk tolerance. For example, some might feel comfortable quitting their 9-to-5 once they hit $50,000 in annual sales, while others might not want to give up a stable salary until their business generates $100,000 a month.
“If you’re very clear about it from the start, then it becomes very easy to plan your trip as you go along,” he said.
Insider spoke with founders who started their businesses as artisans and have since generated six-figure sales. Here are three signs to know it’s time to quit your 9 to 5 and commit to your business full-time.
1. You demonstrated the proof of concept
Before you consider quitting your job to scale, your business needs to have a clear proof of concept.
Ed Cornell and Pat Griffith founded new ice cream brand Milk Cult in 2013 and worked full-time and part-time for six years as they developed their recipes and business. Whole Foods began selling its products in 2015, and the founders knew they had something special on their hands when grocers demanded more.
“As soon as we were on a shelf in one store, another store in that neighborhood or someone else would call,” Cornell said.
2. You have reached a financial milestone
The founders recommend starting your side hustle with a financial milestone in mind, like monthly sales or annual revenue, so you’re not working endlessly on a passion project.
Husband and wife duo Tori and Chris Gerbig launched their online clothing business, Pink Lily, in 2011 as an eBay to pay off student loans while they worked at the business. But running the business on top of his day-to-day duties wasn’t a viable long-term plan, said Chris, who was also a student at the time.
“We would sit in the evening, look at the finances that the business was generating and say, ‘If we continue to receive so many orders a day, it will overtake our business work and we can quit,’” he added. .
After three years, they launched an e-commerce site with the goal of reaching $50,000 in sales by the end of the year. They achieved that goal in four months, and the couple quit their jobs, moved their dining operations to a warehouse, and hit $4 million in sales by the end of the year, they previously said. to Insider.
3. Your business already takes more time and energy than your job
For some entrepreneurs, the transition from side hustler to full-time founder is a more natural progression than a sudden decision.
In 2019, Courtney McWilliams opened her dog daycare, MaryMac’s Doggie Retreat, while also being employed as a social worker and driving for carpool apps. She had wanted to quit her job for a few years but was too afraid to take the plunge, she said.
But as McWilliams focused more on her business, she unknowingly reduced her work schedule to 10 hours a week. She didn’t realize it until her manager brought it up.
“I can clearly tell you don’t want to work here anymore because you don’t even work the same hours,” McWilliams recalled his manager. “Time to take that leap.”
Inspired by America’s first black woman and vice president, McWilliams handed in her resignation letter the day Kamala Harris was sworn in.