As I start to claw deeper into the world of side gigs, the more I have an appreciation for the “safety net” of a side hustle.”
The floodgates are open
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, I’m sure you’ve noticed the insane uptick in so-called “rags to riches” entrepreneurial stories. You know the ones.
The YouTuber turned millionaire who posted a few viral videos in 2017 and is now an affiliate marketing genius. The photographer turned marketing guru that consistently sells out online courses about growing your Instagram tribe. The wedding planner turned domestic diva that scores book deals and high end brand partnerships due to her flawlessly executed social media strategy.
Gone are the days when you needed to wait “to be established” to get recognition. Gone are the days when you had wait to “get access.”
In contrast to the early 2000’s, the way that we think about work and how we make a living, I believe, has changed forever. And, as I’ve come to find out, a big part of this has to do with the explosion of the side gig economy.
Risk? What risk?
I’m all about taking out as much risk as possible when it comes to starting a new entrepreneurial venture. I never borrow money to start a new venture (it’s always 100% self funded) and I always start small to iron out the wrinkles in the business model. Because yea, there are always unforeseen obstacles that can turn your entire idea upside down and sideways in 5 seconds flat. To avoid rude awakenings like this, I realized early on in my career that entrepreneurship is a bootstrap game. Always has been, always will be.
Which is why I’m all about testing (and re-testing in perpetuity) a business idea in the form of a side gig first.
Side gigs give you an amazing advantage. Almost like training wheels on your bike. They allow you to nimbly avoid risk, (a.k.a not break your neck) while you’re still earning your main income that you’ll use to… ya know, SURVIVE and PAY BILLS.
You’re not relying on your side gig as your main source of income and yes, sure, you’re going to mistakes, but since you’ve minimized your risk factor, these mistakes will not disrupt your entire life. The whole point of a side gig is that you’re learning AND you’re setting the foundation for something that could one day potentially become your main gig.
But first you have to do the work. (Yes, WERK. Like Ms. Spears says).
Does your side gig “speak to the pain?”
Okay, so let’s say you’re head over heels in love with your side gig. We’re talkin’ can’t think about anything else, completely passionate, borderline obsessive about it. If you’re reading this and you’re nodding your head in agreement you’ve probably had the following conversation with yourself.
“GOSH!” Why can’t I just do my side gig all day long and forget about this 9-5 main gig? I can make it work if I work really hard!”
Well, yes. Yes, you could. But at what cost? Your sanity? Your financial well-being? Your self esteem?
This is the part where I IMPLORE you to resist the temptation to fling yourself head first into premature entrepreneurship and instead ask yourself these questions.
Does my side gig speak to the “pain” of the end user customer? Does my side gig solve a need in the marketplace that does not already exist? Can I deliver my solution faster, cheaper, more conveniently to the customer? What does the competitive landscape look like in my category?
If you can answer all of these questions confidently, keep testing. YES, keep testing.
It’s the only way you’ll know for sure that your side gig is a viable business opportunity without ending up with an entrepreneurial hangover.
The tango you’re dancing right now with your side gig and full time gig will absolutely set you up for success, IF and only if, you are patient with your side gig and allow it to teach you the lessons you must learn. Why am I so confident? Well, it’s simply because I’ve lived it. During the past 10 years, I’ve gone through multiple variations of the side gig to full time gig transition three times in my life. And each time I managed to build a profitable business.
As a result, I continue to be endlessly fascinated by side gigs and geez, what an exciting time to reinvent yourself and start something new. And in the spirit of sharing best practices for your side gig and unlocking ways for it to actually make it PAY, I started the Side Gig Central Podcast.
Ironically, this podcast IS my side gig, which is what gets me excited to wake up in the morning and start chipping away at a new dream, little by little. My hope is that both my podcast guests (and I) can help you see all that a side gig has to offer, and most importantly, get you to take action fearlessly.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Send me a comment below!