The best way to begin a six-figure aspect job
38-year-old Nick Loper turned his side job into a six-figure business. Even during a global pandemic, he says, you can start a six-figure hype.
Loper started his career selling auto parts. He quit this job when his first sideline – selling shoes online – became profitable enough to pay his bills. Now the founder of Side Hustle Nation is talking to fellow entrepreneurs about how they made a Side Hustle a success. After eight years and hundreds of interviews, Loper has plenty of advice to share.
There’s a simple key to starting a six-figure side business, he says. It’s about paying attention to “pain points”.
“When you’ve had a problem that you’ve overcome, the solution can be the foundation of a business,” he says.
For example, a woman who recently interviewed Loper has opened a pooper-scooper store. Why? Everyone hates reaching for their animals. She told him in January that her Michigan business was making $ 1,000 a week after other people’s pets were picked up – and issued an update in September that said it had grown significantly from there.
“It’s not sexy. It’s not glamorous, ”says Loper. “But that’s the kind of model I’m really optimistic about right now.”
While the pandemic is devastating for some industries, it also offers a wealth of opportunity.
“When you were traveling or in entertainment, you were treated with nuclear weapons overnight,” says Loper. “But if you’ve been into e-commerce, or delivery, or some of those local services, you’re probably doing well.”
Online tutoring and education platforms have become gangbusters and are still hiring thousands of workers, largely because COVID-19 has forced schools to close. Some online music schools also get a rush of customers.
Grubhub, DoorDash, Instacart, Postmates, Dumpling, and dozens of other delivery platforms have struggled to find enough drivers to keep up with demand.
People who can help local businesses build an online presence do good business too.
Choose a path
When figuring out which hustle and bustle is on the right side for you, consider your personal situation. Do you have the time and personality to market your new business, or would you prefer to have an online platform that does the marketing for you?
You can potentially make more money – and find a sideline that suits your skills specifically – by starting your own business. This is the market that Loper is teaching with his podcast. His show shows how different entrepreneurs have chosen their business and what are the keys to the success of these companies.
For those who aren’t sure what to do, Loper has a six step process.
Make a diagram
Start with a three-column diagram. Label the columns “Skills,” “Interests,” and “Contacts,” he suggests.
Can you design and build a website, edit books, translate or cook? Can you design the perfect workout, train non-trainable dogs, or assemble complicated machines or furniture? In the first column, list what you can do better than most of the others.
Since you plan to do this work in your precious free time, enjoy it too. In the second column, write down your interests, hobbies, and passions. Do you love baseball? Collect stamps (or coins or dolls)? Do you like to do handicrafts on the stock exchange or read about the history of European monarchs? Put your favorite things on the list.
Now look at how columns 1 and 2 could overlap. For example, if you think you might be able to edit a book, it should possibly be a book about one of the passions you listed in column 2. The more you are able to combine skills with passions, the more likely you are to have a viable sideline, says Loper.
Column 3, “Contacts,” lists people who may be able to help. We’ll come back to that.
Find the pain points
Now think about the problems people in your field have that you could solve. With so many people pressed for time, good cooks can make groceries for delivery or collection. Groomers may offer to pick up pets and bring them home clean.
Given that gyms are subject to COVID safety restrictions, training gurus could find a way to offer outdoor services. Construction experts can provide individual assistance via Zoom.
With so many people trying to work and learn online, tech support is also vital. If you are tech savvy, you can potentially build a booming technology troubleshooting business.
To find the right deal, you need to balance your skills and interests with a problem that needs solving in the real world.
You might be tempted to keep your page as general as possible in an attempt to grow your potential customer base – for example, if you describe yourself as an editor rather than an editor of personal finance books. But that’s a mistake, says Loper. You should focus on what you can do better than anyone. Your niche should bring together your skills and passions.
“If someone can do it, everyone will, and that will bring the price down,” he says. “It’s the same with Uber. Driving is not a unique skill so they keep lowering prices. But I had a man on my show who would teach people to play the piano in 21 days. This is unique. If you can be the point of contact in a particular market, you can get higher rates. “
Once you have identified what problems you can uniquely solve for others, start mining your contacts. Look for friends, relatives, and professions who will either buy your service or introduce you to someone else who would. You can find these names in column 3 of your diagram.
“You don’t need a business card or website to start a business, you need a client,” says Loper. “You might get these other things at some point, but focus on getting someone to pay you to solve a problem for them.”
Loper, for example, was always a good student of English, so he thought he might be able to edit books. But he wasn’t interested in vampire novels. He was interested in business and personal finance. In order to market his services, he reached out to members of a group he had joined with these self-published business books.
“It’s amazing how quickly word of mouth is spreading in these communities,” he says.
If you have a full-time job, a family, or both, finding enough time to start a side business is a legitimate challenge. But even if you can’t block a lot of time, you need to block some time every day to keep your business moving, Loper says.
“Chip gone – half an hour a day, an hour a day,” says Loper. “Find a time – maybe before you go to work or before you go to bed – to just devote yourself to your sideline.”
Even a few minutes a day can make a difference, he says. Waiting until you have a large block of time to begin is just an excuse to hesitate, and hesitation won’t do anything.
Do regular reviews
After six months or a year of doing it, it’s time to look at the hours you are spending, the progress you are making, and whether it is worth the effort.
“If you don’t see the results you want – or if you’re scared of work – it’s time to move on,” he says.
Kristof is the editor of SideHusl.com, an independent website that reviews hundreds of ways to make money in the gig economy.