Knowing when your creative side hustle can become your main gig

Knowing when your creative side hustle can become your main gig Alex Robertson June 24, 2024

If you’ve got a creative passion that fills your weekends (and you’re a little bored with the day job), then the temptation will always be there to switch to dedicating yourself to the music, acting or writing that really moves you.

But how can you spot the tell-tale signs that your creative side hustle is ready to become your main career.

The first thing to work out is whether it will pay the bills, so you need to assess the financial viability. There are some key indicators 

  • Consistent Income: Are you seeing a steady stream of income from sales, commissions, or client fees? This consistent revenue demonstrates customer demand for your work.
  • Growth Trajectory: Is your income trending upwards? This growth suggests a sustainable business model that can support you full-time.
  • Profit Margin: Once you factor in your expenses (materials, marketing, software), are you making a profit? A healthy profit margin ensures you can cover your living costs when switching to full-time hustle.

The other key indicator is whether you are building a loyal customer base – are you being offered acting roles, is your writing selling, are people buying your music? Consistent revenue is key here, but also feedback – do you get great reviews and feedback? Getting people talking about you can indicate the likelihood of you growing this as a career – social media is a good indicator of that too. An increasing number of enthusiastic followers is a healthy sign.

The other key signs concern you, rather than your audience or readership: 

  • Time Investment: Are you already dedicating a significant amount of time to your side hustle? This demonstrates both passion and the ability to manage a demanding workload.
  • Prioritisation Skills: Can you juggle your side hustle with other commitments like a full-time job or family responsibilities? Strong time management skills will be essential for managing a full-time creative business.
  • Self-Motivation: Do you thrive on independent work, setting your own deadlines, and finding your own clients? Being self-motivated is crucial when you’re no longer answerable to a boss.
  • Enjoyment Factor: Do you still find your creative work exhilarating, or are you starting to feel burnt out? Enjoyment is key to long-term success.
  • Learning and Growth: Are you constantly seeking to learn new skills and improve your creative work? A growth mindset will help you adapt and evolve in a competitive market.
  • Resilience: Can you handle rejection, criticism, and the inevitable challenges faced by any business owner? Resilience is vital for navigating the ups and downs of a creative career.

If you’ve genuinely If these signs point towards a career change, don’t rush headlong into quitting your day job just yet. Here are some crucial steps:

  • Create a Business Plan: Outline your target market – whether that be gig venues, readers or casting directors and work out how you can reach them, whether you need a marketing strategy, and what your financial projections, and long-term goals might be. Having a roadmap will increase your chances of success.
  • Build a Safety Net: Save enough money to cover your living expenses for several months to a year. Financial security allows you to focus on building your business without immediate financial pressure.
  • Seek Professional Advice: Chat with us to work out the key details on issues such as taxation, financial reporting and what you can claim back on tax. We can help you build a business.

Remember, the transition from side hustle to full-time creative career is a journey, not a leap. By carefully evaluating these factors, taking calculated steps, and nurturing your passion, you can turn your creative side hustle into a thriving, fulfilling career. 

Get in touch and let us help you to your dream career.