It happened about a year ago. You had an idea for a great app or service, and made it happen. It’s your side gig – a passion project you update and tinker with. How do you know when it’s time to quit your job and make your side project a full-time endeavor?
Quitting a job is never easy, and it’s especially tough when you’re not jumping ship to another company. But there are some tell-tale signs it’s time.
Your day-to-day work at your day job may not excite you anymore. It’s probably why you end up daydreaming about bug fixes for your side project during meetings.
This is an indicator you’re far more interested in your side project than the work you’re supposed to be doing. And that’s not wrong! Being passionate about your work is important, and your interest in something that isn’t your full-time gig proves you’re probably ready to move on.
If you find yourself in this spot, it’s time to have that talk with yourself about transitioning from the daily grind.
Your App is a Time Vacuum
Those bug fixes or feature additions you’re contemplating while in work meetings will take days or working nights to implement. Maybe weeks. And you can’t devote all of your time to that app you’re maintaining; you have to give some weekends and evenings over to other stuff.
This is when you know it’s time to make more time for your passion project. When the drudgery of work becomes the down-time from nights and weekends working on your app, you’ve already made your choice. Your interest and allegiance lies elsewhere, and that’s just not fair to your current employer.
The Money’s There
It’s one thing to maintain an app or service you created because it helped you (and others get something from it as well). Those projects probably don’t bring in any money. In fact, what you earn from your day job helps pay for the costs associated with running that app or service.
But when your passion project is actually earning revenue, things change. If it pays for itself, that’s awesome. When it starts creating meaningful income, it’s a turning point for you, professionally.
Some would simply let the income keep flowing and stay working, and that’s a sound strategy. There’s more to it, though; instead of contributing a ‘zombie’ app to the ecosystem, yours can stand out in the crowd… provided you keep working on it. And that might take a huge chunk of your time.
The Ideas Keep Coming
Monetization of an app is great, and it’s amazing when the income means you may be able to pay all your bills. Chances are, a desire to make the side job your full-time endeavor means you’re taking a slight leap of faith, even if you’re not totally replacing your old salary.
If you think the stretch is worth the risk, we say go for it. Just remember the life of an app or service is typically a bell curve, and the income is not sustainable if you leave the app alone for too long.
Your daydreams might be monetizable, though. Does augmented reality work for your game? Is machine learning going to improve cognition for your service? Could your
//todo list be packaged into a subscription upgrade?
More critically, do you have ideas for other apps or services you want to make happen? Is there potential for income there, as well?
A single app is typically not a good business venture, but a suite of them might make you a decent living. So long as you’ve got a solid service and a business plan that makes sense to users, there’s opportunity to be your own boss.
Users Love Your Stuff
There are all sorts of selfish reasons to quit your job, but the end user should always take priority. When you’ve got a hungry community of users who want more of what you’re offering, it’s a good indicator your apps or services might be sustainable.
This crowd might even subscribe to your app, or be among the first to pay for a new app. They may also eagerly beta test what’s coming!
Loyal, excited users also tell others about your apps and services. They’ll also be excited you’ve decided to leave your job to focus on stuff they love and use daily. This is your base, and they want you to build atop them.
You Can Turn Back
When we think of quitting to freelance, it’s often binary. It’s seen as a leap into the ether, a point of no return.
But that’s just not true. You can always go back to the grind. In fact, having robust freelance apps or services can help you land jobs. It shows you’re adept at project management, a self-starter, and have a discernible skill set.
Quitting your job to work full-time on your side project is never an easy decision. And failure is not always losing; sometimes, apps or suites reach their end-of-life, and the well of ideas runs dry. If that happens to you, the job opportunities in tech are robust enough to welcome you back anytime.
Just try to find a job where you can work from home. We promise you’ll miss that experience.