This is a discussion on When to move up in stake within the online poker forums, in the Learning Poker section; When do you move up in stake how many bb/100 or what other metrics can you use to find out if your ready to move
If you're playing for fun it doesn't matter what stakes you play as long as it isn't hurting you financially.
If you want to beat each level and progress through the stakes, move up after beating a stake for a positive winrate for a decent sample. If your winrate is very high you can move up sooner. Alternatively if you're beating a stake you can just move up as soon as you have the bankroll to do so. Shot taking, and moving back down when your shot fails, is the best way to minimise time spent progressing through the stakes while also not being so aggresive that the risk of busting is very high.
You can reasonably consider with proper bankroll management going up in stakes once you have 30 tournament (or cash NL or PL) buy-ins. Or if you play limit cash games and want to look at the betting limits then 500 big bets. So if you play 20/40 to 50/100 (me for example) I want to make sure I have the upper end of that range (about 500x100 or 50K) in my poker bankroll. If I have that amount then I don't want to play any tourneys that are more than about $1500. If I were to build that bankroll then I can take money out (to pay for life expenses or invest) and maintain those stakes or keep money in the poker bankroll and play higher. For me, most of my games are spread at those levels so I just take money/winnings out.
The problem with this whole idea of "being ready to move up" is, that we are always shooting at a moving target. We never quite know, what our real luck adjusted winrate at the current stake is, we dont know, how much tougher (if at all) the next stake is, games change over time, and we also change over time.
So for me the best solution is to simply use some form of bankroll management and let that decide. Like for instance taking your total bankroll and deviding by 30 or 50 or whatever number, you decide, and then thats the highest stakes you can play. You can play lower, if you like, but never higher.
So using 30 as an example, if you have 657$ and play on a site, which offer 10NL and 20NL, then you are good to go to the 20NL tables, but you can also still continue to play 10NL or mix it up. If you drop below 600$ though, now its back to 10NL and rebuild. The bankroll dont need to be sitting in the cashier of a particular poker site, but it is easier to manage that way especially in the beginning.
Of course this does not apply, if you have a million dollar and decide, that this is now your poker bankroll, even though you have never played high stakes before. I am talking about depositing an amount of money, which is enough for the micros, and then go from there. Like 100-500$, so that you start in fairly soft games and force yourself to build up from there.
One can approach this in quantitative way, Adequate Bankroll for moving up is the first step. Determining our edge is also important, so play less tables when you move up in stakes.
One should also consider qualitative factors like comfort and mental setup to deal with variance at high stakes.
Bankroll management as fundiver199 mentions, but also how good you view your game to your opponents (skill edge). You won't really know the next level skill gap until you get in there a bit, but you don't have to go in at once, you can slowly transition stakes too.
You can stick with your regular stakes and then if a "good game" ("soft game") seems to be going on at one level higher, then try those stakes and see how it goes if your bankroll permits it. It is sort of like getting your feet wet, before diving in head first - this way you can experience those stakes for a while before fully transitioning to them. Even after the transition, you should still be willing to move back down if your bankroll isn't doing so well, or you recognize those stakes (skill gap) are above your level.
It sounds like a process of constantly feeling out where you are at and striving for the next level, while dropping back down when needed.
p.s. Important disclaimer that I'm only parroting what I've heard from players/sources I respect. I myself only ever played cardschat freerolls (and League games etc.) and small stuff like that although with great success in those. I wanted to try micros (and eventually work my way up as you are wanting to do), but couldn't because of the Covid pandemic. Due to this, I'm using freeroll winnings online to build a bankroll to work with and eventually use in part for live games; all I have so far are online cardschat events and super small live homegames (although been doing well in both).
Good luck and let us know how it goes
1st place finish at CardsChat 30 Day Course Freeroll (May 31, 2020). As my first ever CardsChat event, this one will always be special for me.
You can stick with your regular stakes and then if a "good game" ("soft game") seems to be going on at one level higher, then try those stakes and see how it goes if your bankroll permits it.
This is a very good point. Table and game selection is key to success in poker, and you are going to have a higher EV playing at a soft table at a higher limit than a tough table at a lower limit. So when trying to move up look for good tables to dip your foot in and take a shot. And if you dont find good tables, then stay at the lower limit or dont play at all. Because of the high rake even a limit as low as 5NL is next to impossible to beat, if the entire table is full of nits and tags.