Why Most Side Hustles Never Turn Into a Full-Time Business

George J. Ziogas


Image: Viktoriia/Adobe Stock

Side hustles are an attractive prospect. The idea of a secondary income and indulging a passion sounds like a win-win, doesn’t it? The problem is that the majority of people embark on a side hustle with the idea of turning it into a full-time business. Yet, so few side hustles evolve into the full-time business that most people picture when they start the journey. Why?

There are a lot of reasons. While a side hustle may show you just how much you hate your day-job and desire your own business, it isn’t quite as simple as that. You might have the desire to pull in extra income, but the extra commitment is difficult.

You already work a 9–5 (or some variation thereof), and as passionate as you are about this side hustle, it’s exhausting. You’re exhausted! Which brings us to the first reason why most side hustles never turn into a full-time business.

The Commitment Struggle

You cannot continue living on the fence. If you have a side hustle and you want to take it full-time, then you can’t have one foot in while you also have one foot out. It’s just not going to work. As difficult as it might be, you have to let go of the old and fully embrace the new. If you want to go all-in, then you have to go all-in!

Think about it like this. If you go swimming, do you jump in and do laps? Or do you ease yourself in and keep a hand gripped on the ledge? You could try the latter, but it’s not going to get you very far, is it? Like swimming, in turning a side hustle into a full-time gig, you have to let go and trust yourself. It all comes down to this, your capacity to believe in your ability and trust yourself to make it happen.

The reality of transforming your side hustle into a full-time gig is this — you have to wear all of the hats, all of the responsibility is on your shoulders, and it can be as stressful as it is challenging. But it can also be just as rewarding when you pull it off. It just depends on how committed you are to making it a reality.

Fear Management

Or perhaps, a lack thereof. Fear comes in many flavors, whether you’re unconsciously afraid of success or you’re very consciously terrified of failure. There are a lot of different fears you may experience as you look at how you can take your side hustle full-time. Your mind is capable of great things, but it’s also capable of keeping you trapped exactly where you are.

Your mind can convince you that change is too dangerous. It wants you to be safe, so it makes you avoid risk. Look, the reality of the matter is this, at every step of this journey, you will experience fear. Fear is a natural response, but it’s how you deal with that fear that matters. If you don’t manage it, it will manage you.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest reasons that people don’t take that step to move their side hustle to a full-time business is that fear manages them. When you feel fear, you have to act in the face of it, not retreat. It doesn’t matter whether the fear is warranted or not. If you want to succeed, you have to find a way around it. It’s as simple as that.


You have spent weeks, months, even years picturing your business, you have spoken about it at length. You know every detail, every aspect, and you’re going to do it! That’s a great plan but plans rarely go as expected.

The reality of side hustles is they unfold in a variety of different ways, and inevitably, yours will, too. And, when things don’t go as we plan, we tend to hold on a little bit tighter than we did before. It’s this idea that the tighter we hold, the more control we have of the outcome. That’s not accurate, and it’s more likely that you will hold on so tight that it will blow up in your face.

You’re on a journey, and the steps you have to take to transform a side hustle into a full-time business might be wildly different than the plans you made in your head. Unfortunately, a lot of people can’t handle that and break instead of learning to adapt. It’s the inflexibility and micromanagement that ruin it. In terms of micromanagement, there is a point at which you do have to do everything.

The problem is that it’s unsustainable. You can’t continue on as the driver, the horse, and the carriage. The only way to move a side hustle into a full-time business is to take the steps to do that, which involves scaling your business and delegating.

You have to learn to trust other people. You’re never going to get anywhere with your side hustle unless you take intentional steps to make it bigger than a side hustle.

The Mind Game

When you reach the moment where it’s time to move from side hustle to full-time, it can be overwhelming. When you overthink it and start to procrastinate, it chips away at your desire to change and your motivation. When you get in your head, it becomes easier to settle. The longer you stay in your head, the less likely you are to move to the next step.

If you are at this point right now, it isn’t too late. There is no quick fix to overcome it, but you have to recognize that you’ve stalled, and fixing your momentum will take some time. It begins with influencing your mindset and changing your thought process.

You Don’t Ride The Wave

Often, when people do take the leap to go full-time, they miss the wave of momentum. They miss the growth and stop working as hard as they did when it was a side hustle. You can’t go full-time and sit back expecting it to move as it was. You have to keep working. You have to ride the wave of momentum! It takes commitment, and it takes consistency! You have to go all-in and keep at it.

Things won’t pay off immediately, and that’s where a lot of people lose focus. There’s one big difference between a side hustle and a full-time business. In the former, you’re working on generating additional income each month.

But, with a full-time business, you have to work on tasks that generate short-term revenue, as well as momentum for the long-term. A lot of people give up when it gets too difficult.

Final Thoughts

There is absolutely nothing wrong with building a side hustle and keeping it as a side hustle. However, there is something wrong with settling for a side hustle when you have dreams of building a thriving, successful business.

Are you happy with a side hustle, or do you want to take it big? If it’s the latter, then what are you going to do about it? It doesn’t matter how great your idea is or how successful you think it will be if you aren’t prepared to take action to make it happen. What are you waiting for?

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Freelance writer delivering content with the reader’s interests in mind.

New York, NY

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