You’ve been thinking about starting a side hustle, and you’re wondering if now—during a pandemic—is a good time to go for it. Maybe it’s something you’ve wanted to do for a long time, or maybe you’ve had some changes in your full-time job that make it necessary to bring in some extra income, or maybe a little bit of both.

So, what’s the short answer to this question? Yes and no.

It is kind of a loaded question.

And to help you get the answer to this loaded question, here are three major things to think about when deciding if starting a side hustle at this time is a good choice for you.

1. WHY do I want to start this business?

Before doing anything, it’s important to be honest with yourself about WHY you want to start this side hustle. So, to help you discover your WHY, here are some things to think about. See if any apply to you:

  • I’ve wanted to start a business for a long time even before COVID-19 hit the world.
  • Even before the pandemic, I saw a need that wasn’t being satisfied in the marketplace.
  • I’ve discovered a new need I know how to provide.
  • I feel like I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and I really need to pursue this passion.
  • I need the extra income to make ends meet.
  • I need the extra income for other reasons.
  • I believe this business can serve others.

2. Can I realistically start this side hustle?

Once you’ve got your WHY figured out, it’s time to look at the reality of actually starting and then sustaining this business. See how you would answer the following questions:

  • Do I honestly have the time needed to make this business successful now and into the future? Remember that eventually, life will go back to some semblance of “normal,” which could affect the time you can devote to this side hustle.
  • Do I have the funds available to start this business? Or will I have to go into debt to get things going? And if it’s the latter, can I really afford that debt?
  • Do I understand all of the expenses—both start up and reoccurring—involved in this side hustle? Those expenses can be numerous and costly. For an extensive list + some tips to help manage your business-related finances, click here.

3. Is this business sustainable long-term?

It might sound fun and fulfilling to be the CEO, but starting and running a business—even if it’s a side hustle and not your full-time gig—can be hard work now and for years to come. So, when thinking about the sustainability of that side hustle, here are some things to contemplate:

  • Is my business model one that can realistically survive now and into the future? Or will it be like dozens of others already in the marketplace?
  • Will my side hustle thrive even after the world goes back to “normal”? Or will it be negatively affected when pandemic-related issues are a thing of the past?
  • Do I have the time and energy—amidst all my other priorities—to make this business another priority for the long haul?
  • Will this brand new “I’m a CEO” feeling be one that will last years into the future, or could it potentially be more temporary?
  • What if I decide I really don’t want to run my own business at some point in the future?

Once you’ve worked through these three things, you should have a clearer picture of what your answer to this question should be. Starting that side hustle you’ve been thinking about can be a dream come true, or it could be a nightmare—pandemic or not. But with the added elements of COVID-19, smart decision making is more important than ever. Especially when it comes to your financial future.