Author Chris Guillebeau stopped in Toronto last week to promote his new book, Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days. He’s on a 100-city tour, so we recommend going to see him if he’s headed your way!
Guillebeau packed plenty of inspiring stories and ideas into his talk — here are a few lessons that stood out:
1. “A side hustle should be an asset that works for you.”
Side hustles aren’t part-time jobs, Guillebeau explained, and they’re not about participating in the gig economy (think: renting a room on Airbnb or driving for Uber). Instead, side hustles are something you do to create more options and freedom for yourself — for example, they can help you generate passive income to travel or pay off debt.
2. “Create additional sources of income using the skills you already have.”
Guillebeau pointed out that side hustles should make use of your existing skills. He referenced a woman who teaches sourdough bread-making classes on Udemy, and a copywriter who runs a blog to answer common questions about vacationing on cruise ships. Both stories illustrated how simple, focused ideas can lead to big bucks.
3. “It’s not about being an entrepreneur or taking on a lot of risk.”
Throughout his talk, Guillebeau stated that a side hustle isn’t about giving up your only source of income. Instead, he recommended pursuing an idea that doesn’t require significant investment to start up. If your project grows into something that could become a full-time job, then that’s “a good problem to have.”
4. “Side hustles don’t have to be sustainable.”
Many people delay starting a side hustle because they think they’re committing to something long-term. But Guillebeau said part of the freedom of side hustles is that you don’t have to do them forever. He gave the example of Alex Tew, who started The Million Dollar Homepage as an experiment in 2005, reached his goal, and then stopped working on the project.
5. “Doing something that matters to you is often hard. The struggle is part of the journey.”
What if you start a side hustle and don’t see traction? After fielding a question from an audience member who wasn’t getting the blog traffic she hoped for, Guillebeau explained that people who succeed keep going; however, they look for ways to change their strategy if the path they’re on isn’t working.
6. “Commit to an idea.”
Another audience member talked about how he had a lot of ideas but never took action to start a side hustle. Guillebeau’s advice? Remove the pressure that your idea has to be “the one” and instead pick something to work on for a set period. If that idea doesn’t work out, try one of your other options. In other words, don’t overthink it.
7. “Show don’t tell.”
Guillebeau said a good way to prevent people from discouraging you is to show them your idea instead of just talking about it. They’re more likely to get on board if it looks like a product or service that you’ve put work in to. (His response to people worried about employers finding out about their side hustles: “Does your employer own 24 hours of your day?”)
8. “Inspiration is good, but inspiration with action is better.”
If you listen to Guillebeau’s daily podcast, Side Hustle School, you’ll recognize this quote because he ends every episode with it. And it’s worth repeating because if you have an idea, there’s no time like the present to pursue it.
Go get ’em! You can also check out our side hustle infographic for more inspiration.