With inflation and all the things that have driven the high cost of living in the last couple of years, almost everyone has a ‘side hustle’, as the new generation prefers to call it. A side hustle refers to a situation where you keep your day job but run a side business to supplement your income. Majority of people employed somewhere have a side business or consultancy, regardless of how much you earn at your day job. This could be known by your employer or not- it doesn’t matter. For many, the side hustle is not enough to quit your job or you need your job to invest in the side business. Besides, the job comes with benefits such as medical insurance, access to bank loans, etc. Whether you are just starting out or established, career experts say quitting your job to focus on your personal business or consultancy should only happen if you are 100 percent sure that you are now fully established and sustainable. Anne Marie Mutesi, a human resource specialist says that in 2019 she quit her well-paying job to focus on her poultry business which was really picking up and supplementing her other farming businesses. “When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, everything came to a standstill. All the hotels I was supplying cancelled the contracts and I was stuck with produce I didn’t know what to do with,” Mutesi recalls. At that point, she could not go back to her old job and that is when it dawned on her that she could have kept her job and at the same time focus on her side businesses. So, while your side hustle could be flourishing and promising, think twice before you tender in your one-month notice. Below are some expert tips on what you need to do before you fully transition into being your own boss. Consider the timing Before you tender in that resignation, weigh the many options available to you and assess the timing. Is this the right time or season to do it? Are the conditions ripe for you to quit? Many people tend to dive in head-on before going through these crucial steps. New businesses or ideas take time to flourish. That time can be short too depending on the idea but in most cases, it takes patience and a bit of caution before you invest everything you have in it. Start with baby steps and grow. If your gut and business trends say ‘it is about time’, get going. Trust the process. Most people will want to drive things in a hurry or have high expectations, sometimes putting in everything, including their lives, working many hours and exhausting themselves. By the time you quit your job, make sure your new idea is not one that will wear you out completely. Don't burn bridges It is common for employees to begin losing focus when the side hustle is picking up. Absenteeism, poor performance and disregarding orders are some of the common traits. However, even though your own business or consultancy is doing well, you still have certain obligations with your current employer. You still have to be at work every day on time, and complete all of your assignments in a timely manner. Avoid using company resources for your own business. Even as you plan to leave, it is important to keep your professional integrity intact. Your former employer could give you your biggest tender or contract since they already know your abilities. Observe the trends Before you make that bold move to quit, observe market trends to see if the service you are going to provide is sustainable. You could have validated your business idea and done all the research but purchasing power, demand and supply trends keep changing. Test your business ideas continually to make them stronger, better and sustainable. Consult your friends, accomplices and family members as well as people you consider your potential customers before taking that leap of faith. Set realistic goals, find a co-founder Before you take that leap of faith to go into self-employment, set yourself realistic goals which you think you can achieve in a certain period. When the bulb of ideas switches on, sometimes we see unrealistic visions and dreams. When we go down to the ground, the reality sometimes turns out different. This may result in frustration and feeling disappointed in oneself because we set unrealistic goals for ourselves. Start off by giving yourself small targets you can tick off from your to-do-list, like ‘how many customers did I deliver to today?’, ‘how many items I sold in a week’ and not ‘how many millions did I make this month?’ Small wins such as satisfying the few customers you have and timely service will indirectly help you achieve the big goals. Rather than focusing on many customers you can’t serve well, focus on a few you will give an excellent service. Ideally, get yourself a co-founder and business partner with whom you can share the rigours of starting out the journey together.