The way of the hustle: the side hustle journey

4 min read
Chris Guillebeau

When a British man who managed a construction company wrote a series of fish tank reviews for an obscure website, he included links to several Amazon product listings at the end of the reviews. He knew he’d earn a small commission if visitors clicked through from the reviews and made a purchase, but he was so busy with his day job that after he posted the reviews, he promptly forgot about the whole thing. A few weeks later, a check arrived in the mail . . . for $350. His partner didn’t believe it was real money until he took her out to a nice dinner with the proceeds.

At the time, he had no idea that this small project, created in a weekend, would go on to make hundreds of dollars. He also didn’t know that several years later those same reviews would still be earning him an average of $700 a month, without any further work on his part. It wasn’t retirement money, but it sure was nice.

Similarly, when a San Diego government employee offered to photograph a friend’s wedding, he didn’t know it would lead to an extra $3,500 every month. This employee didn’t want to be a full-time wedding photographer, but the option to shoot an occasional wedding whenever he wants provides him with security and savings. He takes the jobs that accommodate his schedule and turns down the ones that don’t, all while continuing to receive a steady paycheck from his “real” job.

When a Pennsylvania oil and gas sales rep started posting images on Pinterest, she wasn’t a celebrity and didn’t have a “revenue model.” In addition to the day job, she was also a mom and a yoga teacher and active in her local community. Within a month, she had earned more than $1,000— much to her shock and happy surprise. After three years, she’d taken in more than $40,000, all while uploading photos whenever she had a break from her busy day.

The way of the side hustle

These stories, all true, represent the way of the side hustle: defined as a moneymaking project you start on the side, usually while still working a day job. In other words, it’s a way to create additional income without taking on the risks of going full throttle into the world of working for yourself.

Sure, for some people the thought of quitting their day job and striking out on their own is exhilarating. For many others, how-ever, it can be terrifying. After all, whether or not you have a family to support or a mortgage to pay, a job that produces a steady income and provides health insurance is difficult, if not impossible, to give up.

But what if you could get a profitable idea off the ground with just a minimal investment of time, money, and effort— and you could make that happen alongside your stable and steady job?

I’ve been starting and operating side hustles my entire adult life. In fact, it’s the only occupational path I’ve ever known. For more than twenty years, I’ve made a good living doing everything from importing coffee to building websites. Somewhere in that time, I also spent several years as an aid worker in West Africa, then pursued (and finished) a quest to visit every country in the world. If you asked me how to be a better employee, I wouldn’t know what to tell you. But I do know how to create an asset which will generate income, and have created a guide which will help others to do so in only 27 days.

But a side hustle isn’t just about putting extra cash in your pocket. In today’s environment, where the idea of a business having any sense of loyalty to its workers has all but disappeared, the side hustle is the new job security. It affords you the ability to decide. When you receive multiple paychecks from different sources, you are no longer dependent on the whims of a single employer.

More income means more options. More options mean more freedom.

You can learn the way of the hustle. Once you acquire the skill of idea generation, you’ll have no problem coming up with ideas whenever you need. Then, when you master the skill of making ideas happen, you’ll be able to convert those ideas into income- producing assets.

It’s like alchemy, except it’s not magical. It’s practical.

Side Hustle: Build a side business and make extra money - without quitting your day job by Chris Guillebeau is out now, published by Macmillan.

Want more info? See How to pursue your passion and launch a Side Hustle.