There are two ways of looking at this and I stand with both. However, this post 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 do you think of when someone tells you “follow your passion and make it a business”? You most likely think – “I’d love too but I am not in a financial position to do so”.
Is that what comes to your mind? Well, guess what. Today my advice is to create a side hustle. An entrepreneur the way we label them today is typically someone who we envision takes a huge leap and jumps 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 recently began reading 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 usually 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 the rejected him every time. What a side hustle!
Swoosh! Ring a bell? The (co)founder of Nike worth nearly $30 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 in with passion, however, you need to look at it from a different angle. Having a 40 hour a week job will put the 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 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 is to 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