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Crucial Questions to Ask Before Taking Your Side Hustle Full-Time

Career

Out-of-the-ordinary ways of earning an income are on the up and up. More and more, we’re renting out spare rooms on Airbnb, selling crafts on Etsy or moonlighting as Uber drivers to earn extra cash. But what do you do if eventually you want that side hustle to become your main gig?


If you have a side hustle you’re passionate about – and one with genuine potential for financial success – it may be worth exploring. Start with these basic questions before ditching your day job to pursue your dreams full-time.

Am I financially ready?

The last thing you want to do is take a leap of faith and quit your job only to realize you’ve jumped into the financial deep end. Do you have a financial plan in place? Have you saved enough to cover your monthly budget for six months if needed? Do you know how much you’ll need in your retirement, and are you tracking to your goal? Are there start-up costs to fund your entrepreneurial dreams, and do you have those in savings? It’s important to estimate whether the income from your side hustle will be enough to keep you on track with all of your financial goals and sustain you long-term.

Map out a prediction of your side hustle income along with your monthly expenses. Try creating a budget using Northwestern Mutual’s 20/60/20 breakdown: 20 percent of income should go toward saving and investing, 60 percent for essential expenses and 20 percent for discretionary spending. Online tools can be a lifesaver when it comes to revamping your spending and saving limits, and using budgeting apps can keep splurging on guilty pleasures to a minimum while you’re trying to save.

If you don’t already have a financial plan in place, you’ll need one now more than ever. Before making your move, meet with a financial professional who can advise you on the best approach and create a tailored plan to help maximize your chances of future success.

Have I set boundaries?

Once you’re actively running your business full-time, the temptation can be to prioritize the financial needs of your business over your personal financial needs.

It’s important to define boundaries along with your personal definition of success. Realistically, how much money do you hope to make in the first year of your business? The first five years? How much of your own money are you planning to invest at the ground level? And perhaps most importantly, will you at least break even?

Ask yourself the tough questions now to help reduce financial stress down the road. Start off on the right foot by meeting with a financial professional who can help you chart out a plan as you build your business.

What will help me achieve success?

Have a clear vision of what success looks like to you. Whether your goal is based on financial success or simply having more work-life balance, there are plenty of online resources to help your business succeed: online accounting software for balancing business finances, sites for building your online and social media presence, and even online business consultation.

Online tools can help you test out options that will make the most sense with your business plan. Online forums for having conversations with other entrepreneurs can also be extremely helpful – after all, these people have already faced some of the same challenges you’ll likely experience.

Despite the prevalence of online resources, don’t underestimate the value of meeting face-to-face with a financial professional who can give the personal attention you’ll want when considering this important life change.

The financial responsibility of becoming an entrepreneur can be a unique challenge. But, by considering these important issues beforehand, you can build a more solid foundation for your start-up and be on your way to making your passion a success.

7min read
Culture

The Middle East And North Africa Are Brimming With Untapped Female Potential

Women of the Middle East have made significant strides in the past decade in a number of sectors, but huge gaps remain within the labor market, especially in leadership roles.


A huge number of institutions have researched and quantified trends of and obstacles to the full utilization of females in the marketplace. Gabriela Ramos, is the Chief-of-Staff to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an alliance of thirty-six governments seeking to improve economic growth and world trade. The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.

To realize the possibilities, attention needs to be directed toward the most significantly underutilized resource: the women of MENA—the Middle East and North African countries. Educating the men of MENA on the importance of women working and holding leadership roles will improve the economies of those nations and lead to both national and global rewards, such as dissolving cultural stereotypes.

The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.

In order to put this issue in perspective, the MENA region has the second highest unemployment rate in the world. According to the World Bank, more women than men go to universities, but for many in this region the journey ends with a degree. After graduating, women tend to stay at home due to social and cultural pressures. In 2017, the OECD estimated that unemployment among women is costing some $575 billion annually.

Forbes and Arabian Business have each published lists of the 100 most powerful Arab businesswomen, yet most female entrepreneurs in the Middle East run family businesses. When it comes to managerial positions, the MENA region ranks last with only 13 percent women among the total number of CEOs according to the Swiss-based International Labor Organization (ILO.org publication "Women Business Management – Gaining Momentum in the Middle East and Africa.")

The lopsided tendency that keeps women in family business—remaining tethered to the home even if they are prepared and capable of moving "into the world"—is noted in a report prepared by OECD. The survey provides factual support for the intuitive concern of cultural and political imbalance impeding the progression of women into the workplace who are otherwise fully capable. The nations of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Jordan and Egypt all prohibit gender discrimination and legislate equal pay for men and women, but the progressive-sounding checklist of their rights fails to impact on "hiring, wages or women's labor force participation." In fact, the report continues, "Women in the six countries receive inferior wages for equal work… and in the private sector women rarely hold management positions or sit on the boards of companies."

This is more than a feminist mantra; MENA's males must learn that they, too, will benefit from accelerating the entry of women into the workforce on all levels. Some projections of value lost because women are unable to work; or conversely the amount of potential revenue are significant.

Elissa Freiha, founder of Womena, the leading empowerment platform in the Middle East, emphasizes the financial benefit of having women in high positions when communicating with men's groups. From a business perspective it has been proven through the market Index provider MSCI.com that companies with more women on their boards deliver 36% better equity than those lacking board diversity.

She challenges companies with the knowledge that, "From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies."

Freiha agrees that educating MENA's men will turn the tide. "It is difficult to argue culturally that a woman can disconnect herself from the household and community." Her own father, a United Arab Emirates native of Lebanese descent, preferred she get a job in the government, but after one month she quit and went on to create Womena. The fact that this win-lose situation was supported by an open-minded father, further propelled Freiha to start her own business.

"From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies." - Elissa Frei

While not all men share the open-mindedness of Freiha's dad, a striking number of MENA's women have convincingly demonstrated that the talent pool is skilled, capable and all-around impressive. One such woman is the prominent Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al-Qasimi, who is currently serving as a cabinet minister in the United Arab Emirates and previously headed a successful IT strategy company.

Al-Qasimi exemplifies the potential for MENA women in leadership, but how can one example become a cultural norm? Marcello Bonatto, who runs Re: Coded, a program that teaches young people in Turkey, Iraq and Yemen to become technology leaders, believes that multigenerational education is the key. He believes in the importance of educating the parent along with their offspring, "particularly when it comes to women." Bonatto notes the number of conflict-affected youth who have succeeded through his program—a boot camp training in technology.

The United Nations Women alongside Promundo—a Brazil-based NGO that promotes gender-equality and non-violence—sponsored a study titled, "International Men and Gender Equality Survey of the Middle East and North Africa in 2017."

This study surveyed ten thousand men and women between the ages of 18 and 59 across both rural and urban areas in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian Authority. It reports that, "Men expected to control their wives' personal freedoms from what they wear to when the couple has sex." Additionally, a mere one-tenth to one-third of men reported having recently carried out a more conventionally "female task" in their home.

Although the MENA region is steeped in historical tribal culture, the current conflict of gender roles is at a crucial turning point. Masculine power structures still play a huge role in these countries, and despite this obstacle, women are on the rise. But without the support of their nations' men this will continue to be an uphill battle. And if change won't come from the culture, maybe it can come from money. By educating MENA's men about these issues, the estimated $27 trillion that women could bring to their economies might not be a dream. Women have been empowering themselves for years, but it's time for MENA's men to empower its women.