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The Importance of Starting a Side Hustle and How to Succeed

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Work From Home Side Hustle, Laptop, and Money

Starting a side hustle can seem intimidating and it can require a lot of work especially in the beginning. But the benefits are worth the effort.

There are lots of benefits to having a side hustle. You get the opportunity to develop your skills and help make a difference in the lives of others as you create extra income for yourself.

A side hustle can help you achieve any of your financial goals much faster. Whether you’re building up your emergency fund, trying to retire early, or you just want to have some extra cash for spending, starting a side business can help you make the progress you want.

We’re going to cover a few things here:

Earning More Money vs Spending Less

One big reason to start a side hustle is that, after a certain point, it’s easier to increase your income than it is to reduce your expenses. You can only budget so much before your quality of life is diminished.

Once you realize that earning more is better than spending less, the only rational response is to ask, “How do I increase my income?”

And a reasonable response is: build something that can earn you money, whether you call it a startup, a side hustle, or a microbusiness.

Spending less has its place in achieving financial freedom. Reducing your expenses while consistently increasing your income is the fastest way to become financially independent.

Side Hustle Goals

When people think about beginning a side hustle, microbusiness, or a startup, they’re usually thinking about the end goals of making money or maybe even achieving a bit of fame.

But I’d argue that money isn’t the real goal. I think the real goal, at least for me, is freedom.

Freedom of time. Freedom of location. Freedom to design your days and spend your life as you want.

When we think about having enough money, we usually imagine having the freedom to buy something when we want it or go out and have a nice meal without worrying about whether we can order a bottle of wine and still pay our bills. We’re looking for freedom of choice.

Having your own business can help you reach a point where you think more about how you want to spend your time and money than how you’ll pay your bills.

So our primary goal is freedom. And beginning your own venture is a great first step.

How a Side Hustle Creates Freedom

Freedom of time. Freedom of location. The freedom to choose how we spend our days and our money. That sounds great, but how do we actually create that freedom?

We stop thinking of ourselves and our own goals, and we focus on others. We think of ourselves and our skills only in relation to how we can help others.

What do other people want? What do they need? What do they value?

When you provide value to other people with a product — a physical good, a service, information, or education — and you help them achieve their own goals, you will earn money.

It doesn’t matter if you’re helping people achieve their goals of feeling good about their physical appearance, gaining financial peace of mind, mastering a skill that helps them get a raise or start a new career, or just getting safely and efficiently from point A to point B.

Helping others helps you. There’s no other way to have a sustainable business.

The best part? You likely already have all the skills you need to start your own side hustle or microbusiness.

Expert Tips for Starting a Side Hustle

How can you start a business with the skills you already have?

This question was answered for me in a book I read a few months ago. It’s called The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau. It’s filled with so many good ideas that I took notes and I’m reading it again. I’ve given this book to a few people because I believe it provides a mindset shift that’s necessary to help you turn your existing skills and passions into a valuable product or service.

In The $100 Startup, Chris shares stories about regular people who became entrepreneurs. In his own words, he attempts to share their successes “without exaggerating their skills.” Very few of the people he talked to went to business school, and a small majority had no previous business experience.

I want to share just a small bit from the first chapter — actually just 3 pages — that I think are extremely useful for getting started with your own side gig or small business.

Chris explains that three lessons appear repeatedly throughout the book. He calls these the “three lessons of micro-entrepreneurship”. These lessons are:

  1. Convergence
  2. Skill Transformation
  3. The Magic Formula

Convergence

“Convergence represents the intersection between something you especially like to do or are good at doing (preferably both) and what other people are also interested in.” – Chris Guillebeau, The $100 Startup

You can visualize two circles. The first circle contains your skills, your interests, and your passions. The second circle contains what other people care about and what they’re willing to pay for.

Diagram of Two Circles Overlapping Showing Your Skills in One Circle and Other's Interests in the Other

My take on Chris Guillebeau’s $100 Startup Convergence Diagram

There is a cross-section created by the overlap between these two circles that will guide where you focus your efforts to create a side hustle that creates value for others and creates freedom for you.

Skill Transformation

Skill transformation is about how what we think of as a skill — like teaching — is actually a collection of many skills. Using teaching as an example, Chris says that the “teaching” skillset is really made up of skills like communication, adaptability, crowd control, lesson planning, and coordinating between different groups of people.

No matter your career or what you consider your primary skill, you have several skills that you’re good at which help you achieve success in what is thought of as your main skill.

Once you realize how many skills you already employ with competence, you’ll realize that you have more options for adding value to others than you may believe at first glance.

“…success in entrepreneurship isn’t necessarily related to being the best at any particular activity… it helps to think carefully about all the skills you have that could be helpful to others and particularly about the combination of those skills.” – Chris Guillebeau, The $100 Startup

The Magic Formula

The magic formula combines the earlier concepts of Convergence and Skill Transformation. Chris says the recipe for business success is:

Passion or skill + usefulness = success

By providing a useful product to others — a product which is based on your passions and your skills — you can achieve financial success.

The $100 Startup offers a lot more ideas on how this works in practice along with tons of examples of people with ordinary skillsets who created enough value within their field of interest that they turned a side hustle into a thriving business.

The Importance of Starting a Side Hustle and How to Succeed

A side hustle can help you reach your financial goals much faster, whether you’re building up an emergency fund, saving up for a down payment, or trying to destroy your debt.

The goal of a side hustle is freedom — freedom of time and freedom to decide how you spend your life and your money.

Creating your own side hustle or microbusiness may seem overwhelming, but by following a few simple guidelines you’ll be on your way to success.

The path to freedom is through providing value to others in the form of a useful product, service, information, or education that solves a real problem and make their life better in a real way.

To find an opportunity for earning more money and creating a thriving business, you need to look at the skills that you already have and see where those skills converge with what other people care about and value enough to pay for.

Remember the magic formula from The $100 Startup:

Passion or skill + usefulness = success

For more side hustle ideas, check out How to Find Side Hustles That Work For You. And be sure to avoid these Side Hustle Myths.

And if you’re interested in finding a side hustle that aligns with your skills and interests, get the free guide to your perfect side hustle.

 

You can learn more about Chris Guillebeau at his site.

 

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Lyle

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