You don’t want to be a billionaire who causes society to be your peasant.
I get it. You have a heart.
A side hustle that leads you to be financially free won’t make you a billionaire or a Bentley driving snob. That’s not the point. Anthony Pompliano explains beautifully what the point of financial freedom is:
I used to be impressed by people who had a lot of money, but now I’m impressed by people who have a lot of free time. Time is the ultimate measure of wealth.
Here’s the plan.
Stay at your 9-5 job
A guy I know had a cushy middle management job at an airline. The airline went bankrupt. Instead of getting another job, he went all-in on his side hustle. He literally had no idea. He thought making money from a side hustle was the same as warming an office chair and doing two-tenths of bugger all.
The side hustle he loved was leadership coaching. He spent his days and nights going to startup events. At these events he’d hand out cardboard business cards that startup bros in hoodies would chuck straight into the bin when he looked the other way. The leadership coaching side hustle failed. Things went bad. He could no longer pay his mortgage. The career gap plus his age made recruiters easily dismiss him. He got back on his feet but it was a nightmare.
Don’t jump into a side hustle without clocking up enough hours.
A job may feel like slavery. But a job pays the bills when your side hustle can’t. There’s a lot to learn. There’s a lot of mistakes you have to make. Don’t do it and risk your family or your own wellbeing. Take it easy. Let a job help you breathe. Work on your side hustle project after hours.
Remember this: You can run a tiny empire from your phone.
Trial different side hustles
A side hustle is like dating. Until you’ve spent time together you won’t know whether you like each other and want to fall in love. That’s normal. Writing startup press releases was my first real side hustle.
After a few months, I hated it. Startup founders can be real d*cks. They can think a capital raise or a stellar valuation is the equivalent of winning the Super Bowl. It put me to sleep.
I tried a few different side hustles as a writer. I eventually fell into writing about personal development and entrepreneurship. As a failed entrepreneur, this result is the last thing I could ever have predicted. But there you go. Here we are.
Remember that a side hustle differs from a hobby. The plan is to find a way to earn passive income from what you do after hours. Find one you like. Add it to your schedule. Keep your boss at your job happy until what I call The Big Quit.
Debt limits what you can do with a side hustle.
If I made the decision as a 20-something to buy an overpriced home, like all my friends, and add a debt boss (aka bank) to my list of phone contacts, I’d never have had the ability to work on my side hustle. I would have had to try harder at my job, walk over my colleagues’ warm bodies to get the bonuses, and pretend to love “corporate innovation.”
Without the distraction of debt, I could focus on my craft. I could deploy that money towards education from people who had done what I wanted to do.
Build an emergency fund
Some say have six months of savings. I say have an emergency fund that is right for you. I chose to save one year’s worth of salary as a buffer because I tend to make more mistakes in business than most. You do you.
Invest the leftovers
This one is subjective. If you have a family then the money that’s leftover may not be much. In my case, I rapidly decreased my expenses. I looked at subscriptions like knives been put into my chest. I scrutinized the purpose of each of them. That allowed me to have leftover money.
I took that money and invested it into assets such as crypto and stocks. Those assets produced a return. I reinvested that return back into buying more. The compound effect is the stuff of Houdini. Einstein said it best: “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.”
Invest enough time and be patient enough for the alchemy to occur
A side hustle takes time to figure it out. It doesn’t happen in 30 days.
You also have to be patient. If you can stick at it for a year you’ll do well. If you can do it for five years then you’ll likely become a millionaire who can buy their time back, as opposed to buy a Lambo. Most side hustlers fail in the first year so don’t be in that category. Give your side hustle at least a year.
You may have to stack side hustles. I added teaching in my last year as a corporate servant to increase my chances of success, and do something I love along with writing. The fusion of both of them ended up being the vehicle for me to pull the parachute cord and say farewell to my boss.
The trick isn’t to have a magic formula for a side hustle. It’s to have a plan. Oh, and it’s to have a genuine intention. If you want a side hustle to become your entire life, it can be.
Once your mind knows what you want, oddly, it works in your favor to pay attention to the tiny details that make your side hustle a reality. Just make sure you know what you want. Intentionally experiment with side hustles after hours. Have fun with it. Then quit your job when you’ve stacked up enough income to match or come close to your salary.
From there, don’t worry about a life of luxury. Build a life where you’re financially free and own your time.
It looks like this: can you goof off for a few months and research some esoteric topic that sparks your curiosity? If yes, congrats, you’re financially free. That’s the power of side hustles.