Starting a side business is one of the best ways to get into entrepreneurship. It allows you to explore various ways to make an income without taking too much risk. But there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to make it work…
In the following interview Nick Loper share what they are and gives you a few tips for starting a successful side business.
1) Could you introduce yourself and talk about your story?
Hey hey, Nick Loper here. What’s my deal? I got bit hard by the entrepreneurial bug while I was in college. I took this “internship” with a painting company, where the premise was they’d assign me a territory and set me loose to see how many houses I could paint. A bunch of 19 year-olds with paint sprayers — what could go wrong?
The appeal of the gig was I’d learn a ton of hands-on skills like marketing, selling, customer service, hiring, firing, training, etc. Plus if my “branch” was profitable, I’d earn a lot more money than I would working some other summer job.
Turns out I’m not the best painter in the world, nor the best salesman, but this was one of most challenging and rewarding “jobs” I’ve ever had. And it opened my eyes to the possibilities of working for profit and not wages, being in charge of my own success or failure, and being forced to take action if I wanted to get paid.
After graduation, I got a real job at a Fortune 100 company, but had already started dabbling in online business. I’d learned about affiliate marketing, SEO, Google AdWords, and ecommerce at another internship, and that experience translated into my first side hustle: a comparison shopping site for footwear.
The site earned money on a performance basis from online shoe retailers like Zappos and Amazon. This was the vehicle that eventually let me quit my job in 2008, and I ran the business until 2014.
2) What’s Side Hustle Nation and why did you start it?
I started Side Hustle Nation after some soul searching on what I was really excited about. It wasn’t shoes! But the idea of helping people earn extra money outside of their day jobs really appealed to me as a lower risk brand of entrepreneurship.
So in 2013 I started the blog and The Side Hustle Show podcast. It’s been an absolute blast sharing my own experiments in a ton of different side hustle businesses (chasing at least 8 income streams at any given time), plus sharing the incredible stories of other successful side hustlers and entrepreneurs.
The site covers topics like freelancing, blogging and content marketing, self-publishing, online courses, investing, ecommerce, and more.
3) If you had to start all over again online, what would you do?
One mistake I made was ramping up the shoe business very slowly. I naively thought the business would last much longer than it did (although nearly 10 years is a pretty good run!), but looking back I certainly would have brought on help sooner to help me take full advantage while the opportunities were there.
If the slate was wiped clean today, I’d focus on the podcast channel since that’s been my biggest growth driver. I’d aim to start some sort of service business to pay the bills, while creating content that could eventually build an audience or turn into a passive income asset.
4) What are the various side hustles that people can start?
Here’s a giant list of side hustle ideas.
5) Do you recommend side hustlers to work a certain number of hours per week?
There’s no set minimum or limit, but the people I see having the most success are the ones that are dedicating 10-20 hours a week to their business. I think the bigger key is to get in the habit of making daily (or at the very least, weekly) progress toward your goals. Starting is easy; staying started is hard. It’s critical to keep that momentum going.
6) What should side hustlers always keep in mind?
You’re at a distinct advantage over most other people in the world. You’ve already got a job that’s (hopefully) covering your monthly expenses, and you have the freedom to explore entrepreneurship on the side. That’s awesome! Having that job as a cushion allows you to explore opportunities that excite you and even to invest in your business with your paycheck in a way that most bootstrapped or “startup” businesses can’t.
7) Anything you’d like to add?
Whatever side hustle you start, I like to look at each project as an experiment. That reduces the sting when I fail and gives me permission to try something out without life-or-death pressure. But ultimately you’ll need a good answer to “why” you want to side hustle. That’s what will keep you going and keep you motivated!
Watch Nick’s TED talk
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