There are two ways of looking at this and I’ll have to stand on both sides of the fence with this one. You’ll get what I mean a few paragraphs down.
This post solely focuses on creating a side hustle. It looks at those that have become successful in the entrepreneurial sense by not going the traditional route of “all in” in regards to starting a business.
That being said, what comes to your mind when someone tells you “follow your passions and make it a business”? You most likely think – “I’d love too but I am not in a financial position to do so”.
Well, today my advice for you is to create a side hustle. Especially in this post-Covid-19 world where digitization and gig economy has significantly grown, the opportunities to execute on a side hustle easily have exponentially grown with it.
You see an entrepreneur, the way we label them today, is typically someone who we envision taking a huge leap and is willing to jump into the cold water, risking all or nothing. It’s someone who eats ramen noodles all day, sleeps on their parent’s couch and perhaps even gives up a 9-5 in order to be fully committed to their vision of starting their business. There is no plan B. It’s all or nothing.
Now, that may be true to a certain extent and as I previously mentioned you could argue either way, however, that is not always the case and often far from the image we have of an entrepreneur these days. Go to silicon valley, Berlin, Tel-Aviv, and all the other tech hot spots and you’ll notice that this image is often far from reality.
In a book, I read a while back by organizational psychologist Adam Grant called “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World“, he argues that entrepreneurs that are successful are usually not the high-risk takers we make them out to be. They are typically more conservative than we think, and usually, they move on two grounds.
You may have heard of this Steve, the counterpart to this Steve. He was co-founder to Jobs that helped start Apple, Inc. What you may not know is that even a full year after he started Apple, “The Woz” as he is nicknamed was still working at Hewlett-Packard and that he offered the Apple I design to HP on several occasions, but they rejected him every time. What a side hustle!
Swoosh! Ring a bell? The (co)founder of Nike worth nearly $38 billion actually started Nike as a side hustle in many regards while still working as a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and distributing Tiger brand shoes at the time. He did this for several years until Nike was fully in the grind and he left his CPA job.
She is known for her Spanx business. Don’t know what it is? Look it up! She was the youngest self-made billionaire in America with her brand. However, prior to that, she sold fax machines on a door-to-door basis for years while being rejected by every manufacturing company with her idea of a footless pantyhose.
The list continues with figures like musician John Legend, to cartoonist Scott Adams to writer T.S. Eliot. These success stories were all built on a side hustle.
Make it happen
Now, in today’s society, we commonly believe that successful entrepreneurs are those that give everything up for what they believe will bring in billions and change the world, however, the names above show that the opposite is true as well. These entrepreneurs were eased into the process of building their brands and companies. I’m sure they all had moments, similar to myself, in regards to the frustration of not being “all in,” of not being able to fully commit one’s time, sweat, and tears into something you believe your heart with full passion, however, you need to look at it from a different angle. Having a 40 hour a week job will put pressure on you and spread you thin, but will teach you valuable lessons along the way.
On top of that, it gives you time to approach your business with thought and unpressured intuition, without cutting any corners and the need to have a positive cash flow from the get-go. Keep in mind, no matter how much of a passion your side hustle may be – note that there is potential for failure.
80% of startups fail. Keep that in mind.
Starting a side hustle gives you space and room to be more flexible and the ability to stay afloat. It allows you the opportunity to also fail. Airbnb is a great example. It failed in various versions before it found its billion-dollar valuation.
So keeping your day job while creating and building your side hustle is a smart decision. It gives you time and resources to validate what you are doing, find your customer base and turn your business into a sustainable source of income.
My advice to anyone in the workforce, even if you believe to not be an entrepreneur – start a side hustle, build a roadmap and utilize your growth mindset to progress and create the lifestyle you want. No more excuses that a day job keeps you from doing what you want to do. Let go of the negativity and find ways to dedicate yourself to building your side hustle, then reap the benefits and rewards and who knows, one day you may be on this list of people valued at Billions with that small idea that started while you worked at company X. And if that is not your goal, a side hustle is always a nice supplemental income to pay for the small things in life you may enjoy.
That being said, write down things you are good at – from MS Excel to designing, to programming or cooking, and utilize your skills to teach others, train others, educate others, and/or build a solid business as a product or service creator.