Crucial Questions to Ask Before Taking Your Side Hustle Full-Time Crucial Questions to Ask Before Taking Your Side Hustle Full-Time Shares Out-of-the-ordinary ways of earning an income are on the up and up. More and more, we’re renting out spare rooms on Airbnb, selling crafts on Etsy or moonlighting as Uber drivers to earn extra cash. But what do you do if eventually you want that side hustle to become your main gig? If you have a side hustle you’re passionate about – and one with genuine potential for financial success – it may be worth exploring. Start with these basic questions before ditching your day job to pursue your dreams full-time. Am I financially ready? The last thing you want to do is take a leap of faith and quit your job only to realize you’ve jumped into the financial deep end. Do you have a financial plan in place? Have you saved enough to cover your monthly budget for six months if needed? Do you know how much you’ll need in your retirement, and are you tracking to your goal? Are there start-up costs to fund your entrepreneurial dreams, and do you have those in savings? It’s important to estimate whether the income from your side hustle will be enough to keep you on track with all of your financial goals and sustain you long-term. Map out a prediction of your side hustle income along with your monthly expenses. Try creating a budget using Northwestern Mutual’s 20/60/20 breakdown: 20 percent of income should go toward saving and investing, 60 percent for essential expenses and 20 percent for discretionary spending. Online tools can be a lifesaver when it comes to revamping your spending and saving limits, and using budgeting apps can keep splurging on guilty pleasures to a minimum while you’re trying to save. If you don’t already have a financial plan in place, you’ll need one now more than ever. Before making your move, meet with a financial professional who can advise you on the best approach and create a tailored plan to help maximize your chances of future success. Have I set boundaries? Once you’re actively running your business full-time, the temptation can be to prioritize the financial needs of your business over your personal financial needs. It’s important to define boundaries along with your personal definition of success. Realistically, how much money do you hope to make in the first year of your business? The first five years? How much of your own money are you planning to invest at the ground level? And perhaps most importantly, will you at least break even? Ask yourself the tough questions now to help reduce financial stress down the road. Start off on the right foot by meeting with a financial professional who can help you chart out a plan as you build your business. What will help me achieve success? Have a clear vision of what success looks like to you. Whether your goal is based on financial success or simply having more work-life balance, there are plenty of online resources to help your business succeed: online accounting software for balancing business finances, sites for building your online and social media presence, and even online business consultation. Online tools can help you test out options that will make the most sense with your business plan. Online forums for having conversations with other entrepreneurs can also be extremely helpful – after all, these people have already faced some of the same challenges you’ll likely experience. Despite the prevalence of online resources, don’t underestimate the value of meeting face-to-face with a financial professional who can give the personal attention you’ll want when considering this important life change. The financial responsibility of becoming an entrepreneur can be a unique challenge. But, by considering these important issues beforehand, you can build a more solid foundation for your start-up and be on your way to making your passion a success. Allison Engel Allison Engel is director of women’s market strategy at Northwestern Mutual. She has more than 15 years of experience empowering women worldwide in the fields of media, technology, entrepreneurship and finance.