The Side Hustle Blueprint: Take-off
The side hustle series will cover everything from types of figuring out where to start, detailed lists of the best gigs, most reliable platforms, suggestions on how much to charge & how to grow your hustle into a money printing machine.
Right now, you have something worth paying for, it just hasn't been defined. Let's kill some of the common misconceptions upfront:
"There's so many people out there who are more qualified than me"
If spending years in investment banking has taught me anything, there's tons of really mediocre people out there getting paid an obscene amount for not doing much. We tend to associate strengths solely with qualifications & advanced technical proficiencies but that's not always what's marketable. For instance, great academics aren't always the best teachers. The best guitar teachers (& rockstars) have never been to a formal music school. The ability to transfer knowledge is independent to the ability to accumulate knowledge.
"I will start when the time is right"
Accept the first blog/ podcast/ YouTube video/ interview you build will be a wreck - it actually doesn't actually matter. Think of building a house, you can start by building the most magnificent bathroom with incredible d'ecor but you don't have a kitchen, bedroom or lounge... so you end up sleeping in the bathtub. It's much better to get the basics of each room done first then spend time on finishing touches. We get far too carried away on finishing touches & excessive planning. You can spend your entire life practicing for the perfect moment, except perfect moments don't exist. Start now and fail quickly.
"Why would someone pay for this....?"
Understanding your worth is a prerequisite before you're able to convince anyone else. You are the product. You have experiences, skills, energy, a set of passions & time. Things we take for granted are extremely valuable to an entire community of people, it just needs to be packaged properly. We're sometimes guilty of linking value to a tangible product but that's a very old-school & rigid way of approaching a hustle, especially in 2020. Airbnb don't own houses, Uber doesn't own any cars, Instagram doesn't take photos - they're just platforms... platforms with billion dollar valuations.
Oftentimes value lies in being the catalyst for knowledge exchange through encouraging conversations & experiences. Remember the time you decided to backpack through Asia? Right now there's someone willing to read about your journey, find out what to pack, know which places are safe for women travelers, they want to hear your story. You're probably reading this thinking, hey, even I would actually pay for an insightful Asian backpacking guide. Congrats! You just made a sale in 20 seconds.
Time & energy are both finite, figuring out your best side hustle will have to work within your existing constraints. It's very different if you're working long hours at a corporate vs. being a student on a semester break. Although side hustles always have the potential to become fully fledged gigs, initially you want it to support your existing income base.
Here's the BankerX Side Hustle Matrix:
SENSEI is someone who is rich in experiences but poor on time. These type of hustles allow for scalability without always being present. Content needs to be easily understandable given the limited physical presence. Products can tend to be lower margin & rely on higher volumes.
(+) Passive income stream
(+) Allows for global reach and multiple sales
(-) Have to invest time in ensuring content is unique to existing offerings
(-) Earnings can be lumpy depending on the content
BODYGUARD is anyone who has the time to convert their rich experiences and insights into personalized sessions. These are usually much higher margin but require bespoke, unique and highly specialized plans. Think custom training programs, routines and ongoing support.
(+) Able to be paid for both your time and value you add
(+) Can convert a loyal client list into regulars
(-) Can soak up time depending on your schedule
(-) Upside cap to earnings depending on your hourly rate (time is finite)
FIXER is anyone who has a bit of time and a set of skills that help make life easier. Think mounting a TV, delivering items, house sitting, taking care of a pet, etc. Each job doesn't require a huge amount of effort and it depends on doing a number of them to start racking up earnings.
(+) Versatile and you control your own schedule
(+) Can switch between types of fixer roles
(-) Soaks up plenty of time
(-) Can be more tedious than other side hustle categories
PERFORMER is anyone who is short on time with a great set of skills which require some degree of interaction. Think of them as Sensei's with more personal engagement. This can be teaching an art class, yoga, an instrument, a Youtube channel, etc. Requires less effort than structuring a fully developed curriculum or writing a book and allows for a flexible schedule.
(+) Ability to migrate towards a SENSEI role and create a fully passive income stream
(+) Real time engagement with your community
(-) Ceiling to income potential
(-) Earnings can be lumpy depending on class demand
Many side hustles will overlap one (or more) of these categories at some point. There's also cross-matrix progression. For instance you might start off repairing TVs (FIXER) then progress to writing a series on electronics repairs (SENSEI). Alternatively, you could start with teaching yoga to a class (PERFORMER) and end up as a personal yoga trainer (BODYGUARD). The Side Hustle Matrix a fantastic tool as a base for deciding the trade-offs and the type of gigs that lend themselves to each category.
As mentioned upfront, you don't need to be the absolute best TV mounting person in the world but if every single one of your TVs falls off the wall, it's probably worth looking at another hustle. Where a basic level of competence overlaps with something you're passionate about - that's the best space to be in. It also means you're less likely to find your side hustle tedious and you will actually enjoy the journey. Passion is what distinguishes jobs to lifelong callings. Getting paid to do what you love is a privilege very few people will ever get to experience.
Practically, we suggest dividing a page in half and writing everything you're great at on the left and everything you love on the right - then highlight stuff that overlaps. If there is no overlap, focus on the passion column. It's more satisfying to build a side hustle around something you love.
Chances are you have been underpaid your entire life - especially if you have ever worked in a corporate. This is difficult to type as it is to read. The benefits of your labour are disproportionately accrued to people more senior in the pyramid and your worth is constantly being undersold. With a side hustle it gives you the ability to unlock a greater share of your actual value.
Not everyone is in the position to quit their jobs to start up a new gig and not everyone has the desire to be a full-time entrepreneur. Not to mention side hustles take time to cultivate into a machine. Having a full time job and creating a passive income stream not only protects you from an income perspective but also encourages the emotional aspect of realizing your true worth.
Your worth extends beyond any corporate tag.
Your time is now.