Most small businesses begin as a side hustle and grow into a thriving full-time gig with a steady stream of income. The transition from side hustle to full time can be a confusing and overwhelming leap, so I’m here to help you decide if you’re ready and prepared to take the plunge!
Success is not universal, nor is it a straight path. Success looks different to everyone and is defined differently. One business owner may define it as making six figures, one may define it as being able to quit their 9-5, and another may define it as being able to stay home with their kids. All of these are beautiful, wonderful success stories!
No matter what your goal is, here are four main things you need to consider before jumping into full-time:
What are your financial goals?
As much as we’d love to say that the only reason we’re photographers is because we LOVE it, finances are an important part of business ownership.
Whatever your financial goal is for your business, you need to make sure that leaving your day job and being a full-time photographer will help support your financial goals.
When you calculate your potential revenue, make sure you’re also calculating the cost of saving up in case of a drop in bookings (*cough cough* like a pandemic), your cost of doing business, saving for income tax, those fun quarterly HST returns, and of course, paying yourself a salary.
How is your calendar looking?
Branching off of what I talked about in the finances section, in order to be successful full time, you should have a steady stream of bookings, inquiries, and payments coming in.
I’m putting an emphasis on that last one, and here’s why: let’s say for example that your 2022 season is CRAZY busy, and you’re busy right now keeping organized and nurturing those clients. That’s amazing! HOWEVER… you will not get paid for those bookings until 2022. This means, in 2021, you are not technically being paid for those. At all. Even if those clients have put down a non-refundable retainer and have made payments on their balance, that money is NOT considered income until the session is complete according to the Canada Revenue Agency.
If you’re in a situation like this, consider keeping your job until you have consistent payments, and can pay yourself properly.
How’s your mental health?
If your day job is a toxic environment and is causing a considerable amount of stress, you may want to think about going full-time sooner rather than later. As long as your financial goals allow you to!
Are you burnt out?
Nearly every business owner goes through burnout at some point in their business, whether or not they’re full-time.
When you have outsourced everything you can, have solid workflows, automations, are making a profit, and feel exhausted and overwhelmed, you probably need more in your day to work on your business! No more balancing two jobs; this is your sign to go full time!