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Build a Tiny Side Hustle Empire from Home. Work on It for 12 Months. Change Your Life.

Tiny Side Hustle Empire

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash


What you do in your bedroom after hours is underrated.

A side hustle is a bedroom activity you can work on from home. It lets you off the hook. It doesn’t require you to be fancy. In fact, side hustles are for us unprofessionals who have no idea what we’re doing, which is secretly everyone if we go deep enough.

If it weren’t for side hustles, I’d be stuck in a call center on minimum wage, hating life. They changed my life.

The 3-step formula you can copy — start, work on it for 12 months, change your life. I am going to guide you through it with help from some of the most successful creators on the internet. Here we go.


1. Start a sneaky side hustle

The side hustle economy changed the model of the world forever

Overachiever 10 years ago: got into Harvard at 17 and works at Goldman Sachs.

Overachiever now: skipped college to make millions off of a YouTube account, writes a substack and owns real estate across the country.

Oh, and they’re only 17 — Austin Rief

The internet allowed remote work. Coroni-macaroni allowed permanent work from home. I haven’t shared this before, but during 2020 I used the global health crisis to cheat on my boss.

I worked on my side hustle during my 9–5 job hours. There’s now no excuse not to have at least one potential side hustle. There are three ways to become financially free:

  1. Invest heavily in financial assets.
  2. Get a high-paying job and become a Chief Nobody Officer.
  3. Start a side hustle.

The first option can help speed up the process. But most of us don’t have the financial education and can’t stomach the risk to go all-in on investing and build financial freedom in a short amount of time.

Option two is the dream sold to us by HR puppets and corporate marketing departments.

You’ll have to grind hard after hours and on the weekend to have any chance of getting one of those high-paying jobs that allows you to get the golden handshake in a year or two and walk away with F-You money. So for most of us it makes sense to start with a side hustle.

A side hustle is just a tiny one-person business in the making. Let’s not get romantic about it and attach a complex label that scares the pants off us.

“My skills don’t have value”

Why don’t we start a side hustle? We think our skills suck. You’re wrong.

Your skills have value. Your skills have value. Your skills have value.

If you think you have no skills then fine. I’ll make it dead simple for you. Use the same skills from your 9-5 job to create a side hustle from. Boom.

“Everything that you think is obvious is worth money to someone else”

Online creator Justin Welsh said this. It’s so damn true.

We think our skills suck or we can’t build a side hustle from home because our experiences seem obvious to us.

Can’t everybody do this?

Technically, yes. In reality, no.

We’re in the distraction age. We waste our time so easily. We’re drowning in information so the obvious side hustles are buried under mountains of crap.

Yes, people could learn what you know. But they don’t know where to start. They don’t have the time to sift through decades of useless content that fills billions of websites.

Your side hustle is a shortcut for someone else. That’s worth money.

Begin a side hustle you like to do

Money likes people who like what they do — Ayodeji Awosika

I see it with the side hustle of writing all the time. People become content creators and write online. They do it for all the wrong reasons. Deep down they hate writing. So what happens?

Their content sucks. It puts people to sleep. So, they follow the sheep. The sheep say it’s too hard. They run around in circles and drive themselves insane. It’s nobody’s fault. They just don’t love writing. Fine.

Be smart. Choose a side hustle you’re happy to do for free after hours.

It doesn’t need money to start

– Social media is free
– Sending an email is free
– Putting in the work is free

You don’t need a lot of money to make a lot of money. 

— Josh George

Side hustles are the one thing that don’t require money to start.

It’s free.

What’s not free is the effort. Effort spends the currency of your life: time.

The “hustle” part of side hustle is often misunderstood. It doesn’t mean work until you burnout. Hustle means you have to take a free strategy — social media, email, work effort — and put it into action.

It’s the ability to take something from nothing, that’s free, and transform it into a new creation.

A side hustle is a disguise for another superpower

Best way to build a startup: Build a side project  — Tibo

A side hustle is something you like doing online that can later help you earn money. We’re called builders or creators when we do it.

It’s not that different to entrepreneurship. It’s just less serious, and more unprofessional — and therefore, more reachable for normal people like us.

If you’ve read lots of investing books like I have you’ll no one common truth.

The best investment isn’t in stocks, bonds, crypto, gold, or real estate. It’s in yourself. A side hustle is an investment in yourself.

The second best investment you’ll hear about in finance books is a business. They call it cashflow or cash money. That’s what a side hustle can become. A side hustle is a baby startup.

The difference with a startup is it usually ends up having employees. A side hustle has no employees. It’s designed to be a one-person pursuit. The design of a side hustle can change though. Many side hustles do become startups. That’s up to you.

For me, I’m not interested in owning a startup again. It takes too much time to manage humans. I’d rather have zero drama and maximum time to goof off and do whatever I want. You do you.


2. Work on it for 12 months

“All those questions you have about entrepreneurship get answered when you just start”

Another killer bit of advice from Justin Welsh.

As you work on your side hustle the path will form. Experience is the great educator when it comes to side hustles. We all work on our after hours passion and have no clue where it will lead. That’s part of the brilliance.

Not knowing where the journey will take you sparks your curiosity and lights a fire under your imagination. Embrace it.

Don’t overthink it

Image Credit: Janis Ozolins via Twitter

As you go your progress may stop. It’s often overthinking. How many ideas have you had with your side hustle? How many did you start and follow through on?

Finish ideas you start.

Be willing to fail as you go. People respect it.

Image Credit: Mark Leuchter via Twitter

Mark Leuchter went viral with this side hustle attempt. I freaking love it. He demonstrates the spirit of a side hustle beautifully. By sharing his failed experiment he earned the respect of millions. At least he had a go.

It’s better to be in the game than on the sidelines with the critics. Critics pay their bills by telling you to quit your dreams. It’s a harsh business, far worse than an innocent side hustle.

And being a critic is technically a side hustle. LOL.

Nobody is laughing at Mark’s side hustle now. They won’t laugh at yours either if you keep going.

Fail in public as you go. Those who respect you will open hidden doors full of opportunities for you.

“Discipline sounds painful when it’s the complete opposite”

Pain happens with side hustles when you think short term. Creator Dan Koe says, “Discipline is the conscious decision to avoid long term pain.”

Discipline is how you keep going with your side hustle.

Once a side hustle becomes a habit the results become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you put in the work you’ll get the outcome. You’ll find a way. If you stop then we’ll never know your potential.

The hidden power of a $0 strategy

Giving away your work for free is like compressing a spring that releases when you finally put something up for sale.

The longer you do it, the more energy is released. Steve and I compressed the Refactoring UI spring for over two years. It made $1,000,000 in the first month — Adam Wathan

I love me some good success p*rn. Adam’s story describes how to think about money as you progress with your side hustle. The longer you don’t charge money for your side hustle the more stored energy you build up.

When you finally do launch a paid model of your side hustle, the people who’ve been part of the journey won’t be able to support you, financially, fast enough.

My side hustle of writing is a good example. I wrote for years for free. Eventually I had so many people asking me to make an online course that I finally did it. When I launched the course it became an overwhelming success. This is no accident.

The longer you can starve the more money you can make from your side hustle later on (if money is a goal for you).

Chase proof of work to the edges of greatness

The point of working on a side hustle for 12 months is it creates proof of work. When you want to pitch for opportunities, your pitches will get ignored by everybody if you’ve got no results to show.

People who can open doors for your side hustle want to see effort. They want to see some skill. They want to see that you’re not asking for something you haven’t earned.

Too many people with side hustles waste time on meetings. You can get serendipitous with meetings. But you’re better off chipping away at “proof of work.” In other words, build instead of doing meetings.

What you build in the first year will win you opportunities in the second year.

Get happy-go-lucky

Entrepreneur Naval Ravikant destroys the romantic model of luck.

  • Type one luck: blind luck
  • Type two luck: hustle luck
  • Type three luck: your reputation from proof of work gets you opportunities.

Proof of work leads to a reputation (not an inflated ego a.k.a personal brand). A reputation is what adds to the proof of work. People get used to you doing a certain thing. You can point to it.

“Here it is. It’s over here in this corner of the internet. Want to take a look?”

Let your reputation from proof of work make you seem lucky.

Being pleasant and having a good attitude is a simple way to become luckier.

Opportunities come through people, and people are more likely to bring opportunities to people they like.

— James Clear, (OG of side hustles)


The painful alternative to side hustles

Retirement age is 65.

Life expectancy is 78.

Work 50 years to enjoy life for a few years?

We have to shift this mindset ASAP.

— Brennan Schlagbaum

Side hustles are an internet endeavor. The internet gives your side hustle leverage. When you start to monetize, over time, the leverage will increase the amount of money you can make. This leads you to buy back your time sooner, instead of waiting until 65 years old to finally enjoy life.

Side hustles can enable multiple mini-retirements throughout your life — instead of one big retirement at the end before you cark it and end up in a wooden box under a tree in a lifeless cemetery.

3. Change your life

It’s not what you build online. It’s who you become in the process.

That’s how a side hustle can change your life. Except you won’t know what you’re starting or where it will lead. You just have to trust the process.


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Tim Denning
I am an Aussie Blogger with 500M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship. You may have seen my work on Medium, LinkedIn, Bitclout, or Twitter.

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