If you have been selling online for a while now, or even if you have only just begun and are making good progress, you may be starting to think about making the decision as to when is the right moment to expand and work full-time on your business.

If you are currently in full-time employment I do understand that taking the bold step of actually handing in your notice is daunting and I certainly wouldn’t suggest you do that unless you are absolutely certain that you are ready.

But, to find out, you will need to think carefully and ask yourself some important questions.

How much profit are you making right now?

It would be wonderful if we could all do what we love for a living without having to worry about money, but unfortunately the financial aspect of work is something that requires a huge consideration.

Before making the decision about taking your business full-time it is important to calculate how much you are actually profiting from your products already. Once you are aware of these figures you will be able to compare your regular salary with your online income to see if a full-time online business is viable.

You should already be organised when it comes to your finances, with a record of income and expenditure since you started your online business. Even if this is a part-time income you will still need to complete a tax return so if you aren’t on top of your records, now is the time to create a simple spreadsheet showing every penny that you have generated from your products, and every penny that you have spent on stock, packaging materials, postage costs and any other expenses.

The reason I suggest a spreadsheet is because it will be easy to see your expenditure and your income; the figure you are left with is the profit that you have made.

You may wish to calculate your monthly income from your online sales, or you could work out a yearly estimate, or even an approximate hourly rate to allow you to easily compare this with your current earnings.

Remember that you will be in a position to potentially increase your earnings once you are working full-time because you will be able to dedicate more time to efficiently and effectively researching and sourcing products, creating your product descriptions and so on.

What sacrifices will you make?

A regular salary isn’t the only thing that you might benefit from in your current work. You may have a pension scheme, health insurance, life cover and other bonuses that you won’t have once you are your own boss, but of course all of these extras can be arranged on an individual basis for you and your family if necessary.

There is also no such thing as sick pay when you are working for yourself! Come down with the flu and your boss won’t give you a week off – because you are the boss.

You will have to work through it, but strangely enough, when it’s your own income at stake you kind of become invincible! Likewise, you won’t receive a standard holiday allowance in which you will still be paid, so you will need to plan for any time off.

Think carefully as to whether you are prepared to give up these benefits or if you would prefer to remain, for the time being, in a position where they are provided.

Can you work from home?

Obviously, you already work from home part-time if you have established your online business; however it is quite different running things in your spare time compared to doing it all day every day for a living. You will need to be self-motivated to ensure things get done. It is also vitally important to be organised as your own boss. You will need to keep a close track of financial records, stay on top of orders as your sales increase and deliver excellent customer service.

Above all, you’ll need a quiet corner where you can work without distractions! It doesn’t have to be a room designated as an office – the kitchen table is fine – but make sure it is a suitable place for you to work pro-actively.

What happens in the hard times?

It’s great being your own boss when you have products that sell successfully every day, generating a very respectable income, but what happens if your sources for these goods dry up?

What happens if your customers simply stop buying from you for a month for one reason or another?

Will you have the money to survive through a temporary slump?

Planning is important and by improving your organisation skills and putting some money aside during the peak months you will be able to sustain yourself through any difficult times.

Now here’s the biggie!

Do you actually want to go full-time?

It’s great if you have the finances and the organisation to make a full-time living online, but the most important question that you need to ask yourself is whether you actually want to.

Are you ready?

If you want to work for yourself, then you will be successful and you will be motivated. If you want to achieve success then you will stay on top of your organisation and the research of new products should the market change. Your mind is a powerful influence on how successful you will be, so now ask yourself this question:

What do I want?

Then you’ll have your answer.

2019 will be here in just over two weeks. I’m going to be making some big decisions! Are you?