April 30, 2019

Has anyone turned your side hustle into a full time job


I'm not sure how much people are willing to share, but I am curious the scale of the side project that you managed to turn into a full time job. Did you manage to bootstrap the thing or did you take VC money? I'm trying to decide if taking a year off to devote full-time to my side hustle is worth the risk or if people have managed to do it working alongside a day job. Thanks for any help.

(I tried searching for side hustle and didn't find a general thread like this in the first set of results I looked at, but I'm sorry if this is a repost of a popular thread)

  1. 3

    Hi @coderunner - it's worth having a look/scan through the interviews some of the podcasts are relevant too.

    I turned my business into a full time job, it now has 10 staff and me trying (almost there!) to remove myself from the day to day stuff.

    1. 1

      Hi, just wanted to say thanks for the links! I'll check them out.

    2. 1

      Really like your product.

  2. 1

    I've went full time twice now on side projects with full intention of doing it again in the future. Never took funding and left 6-figure engineering jobs to do so.

    First time I was sitting at ~6k MRR and growing and decided to roll the dice and quit my job. Ended up growing revenue to ~15k MRR before taking a fall. Project was a niche social network (grown into a network of social networks), revenue was generated via AdSense. Was full time for about 2 years. Best year was ~115k in revenue, subsequent year was ~80k. Solo founder, ended up taking a job because... life, family, etc.

    Second time was a few years back. My partner and I were working on a project and applied to YC. We got an in-person interview and did not get in but decided that rolling the dice on it again. We were at zero revenue when we went full time. We were full time for about a year and just couldn't gain the traction we needed. Burned some savings, learned a ton, no regrets. At the tail end of things, we both started to do contract work to make ends.

    I'm currently a FTE and maintain my personal blog, write for another blog, run a DaaS platform and still run the aforementioned social network. It's tough and sometimes I wish I could be full time again, but the reality is, I probably won't roll the dice again until I'm sitting at 20-30k MRR.

    Keeping a job and doing stuff on the side can easily be looked at as a time constraint that will ultimately help keep you focused on doing things that matter instead of doing all the things.

    1. 2

      Thanks for replying! That's a good idea to change the perspective. I have a tendency to over research things before starting so that would probably help a lot.

  3. 1

    Good question @coderunner. I've had the chance to talk to multiple digital nomads who took the same path as I did.
    I worked as a full-time software developer for ten years and during that time I started hobby projects to learn and then from those projects people started reaching out to help build their product/service which I did as a side hustle for a while. Then one project became a full time freelance position plus I still was working on a couple of other side projects for companies.
    When the full time freelance project covered my expenses then I quit my job. Luckily, you find a few more clients and then you continue building your portfolio. Next step for us is to move from client work to products/services. Which we're trying to do with our first product AdvisorBob.

    1. 1

      Thanks for the answer! It's encouraging to hear that you were able to work on side hustles until one turned into a viable full time thing instead of having to take the plunge without any dependable revenue already established.

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