Why Side Hustling Works

Earlier today I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw a post from someone I know where she shared a post from this other guy. This guy is now having some success in his online business and he posted about what his basic philosophy was when he turned the corner.

In simple terms, he said to himself, “Failure isn’t an option.  If I fail, I go bum.”

When I read the line, “I go bum”, I laughed out loud.

Admittedly even when I write it now, that phrase makes me laugh.  There’s just something about the absurdity of the language and how it’s used in that sentence that’s jarring, brutal and awkward which makes it funny.

Now, let me just say, people who are willing to work that hard and make that level of commitment rarely ever become homeless unless they just aren’t very bright or they’re making really, REALLY stupid and risky decisions.

Slight tangent here for a second.

If you’ve spent any time at all looking at internet marketing type products or ran across one of the plethora of “gurus” in that space, it is inevitable that you will have heard the occasional story about rising from outright homelessness or at the very least living in their car to being a seven-figure business owner in a short period of time.

It’s part of the guru trope – their “woe to win” story makes them human and relatable.  The idea is that you sit there thinking, “Geez, if this guy could be dumpster diving a few years ago and now he’s this rich, imagine what he could teach me.”

The story often has elements of gross stupidity in it, “I was trying to be successful while borrowing money on one credit card to pay off another and eventually, I just ran out of funds, so I stopped paying rent, moved into my car and decided to keep pushing on my business from a Starbucks.”

That’s dumb.

You should never take advice from someone dumb as dogshit like that about how to run a business – there’s no special feel-good element to making yourself homeless while pursuing an online business.

Which leads me back to the make crux of this post…

When someone says, “If I fail, I go bum”, there’s a better than average chance that if that person is being truthful, they’re going to be living rough.

Why?  Because most businesses fail or take a long time to have even a modicum of success.

This came up in the Casual Marketer Academy Facebook Group in an exchange I was having with Ben Palczynski yesterday.  Ben is in the learning face of his journey, has a full-time job and lamented about the difficulty of finding the time to learn everything he needs to know as well as execute.

To me, this is EXACTLY why a side hustle business, especially online, is such a great idea.  You get to take care of the things you need to stay on top of: family, career, financial situation, paying bills, making your rent or mortgage payment and at the same time, devoting some of your free time to doing that “extra” thing.

Adam Grant, a Wharton Business School Professor and author of the amazing book, “The Originals” says that building a business with the safety of having a job increases your chances of success.

How could it not?

You aren’t sitting there thinking, “If this doesn’t work, I’m going bum along with my wife and three kids.”

Now, let’s be fully transparent here, I not really aware of any “side hustle” projects from non-tech startups that have become billion dollar businesses, so if your goal is to make enough bank to compete with Elon and Bezos in the space race, well, that might be a bit unrealistic.

But I can name a half dozen people that I know personally who have gone from building an online business as a side hustle in the evenings and weekends to pulling in healthy six and even seven figure incomes that end up outstripping their career incomes many times over.

The limiting factor is your time management and determination.

Before I end this post, let me wander off down another small rabbit hole.

I’m guilty of saying this, but other people say it way more than me and frankly, it’s absolute rubbish – “You have to want to be successful.”

Seriously?  Is there a more stupid thing you can say to someone?

Does anyone sit there thinking, “Yeah, I’m pretty good with mediocrity and I’d even accept partial failure, success seems like a pretty high hurdle to have to jump over, I’m comfortable with less”?

Nobody thinks like that, so it’s trite to say that “you have to want to be successful” because presumably, everyone does.

In fact, I knocked back a potential coaching client a couple months back because during our initial conversation he said that he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, he just wanted to be more successful.

That’s not a direction, that’s trying to fill a gap in your personality.

So getting back on track, to be successful with a side hustle online business you have to be determined and know what the outcome you’re looking to achieve is.

If you lack the personal discipline, time management and determination, you will fail, but at least you won’t become homeless because you still have your job.

That’s the big takeaway here, you can have it all, you just need to be willing to consistently put the work in over a long period of time and that includes being a good part of your family, doing well at your job and pouring sweat equity into your side hustle online business as much as you can.

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