In today’s episode, Allan welcomes Nick Loper. Nick is an author, online entrepreneur, and host of the award-winning Side Hustle Show podcast, which features new part-time business ideas each week. As Chief Side Hustler at SideHustleNation.com, he loves deconstructing the tactics and strategies behind building extra income streams. Nick and Allan discuss why working on your side hustle or starting a business will not only improve your unique skills, but it will also create more value both personally and professionally. When you have a side hustle, you take on many day-to-day challenges and responsibilities of a business owner.
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Hey Everyone, welcome to The Business Growth Pod. I’m Allan Draper, I’m your host. Before we get started, awesome guest today, awesome guest, this is going to help you. If you’re trying to figure out the right way to pull the trigger on your business idea. Before we get to that, make sure that you go to my website, www.Allandraper.com. If you have a business idea, I want you to pitch me, www.Allandraper.com. I have a Calendly link there, schedule a 15 minute pitch session with me, I want to hear about your business. As you guys know, I’m an angel investor. I personally start between three and five businesses a year. But I invest in much more than that. So I want to hear your ideas. And I want to know how I can help you get your business off the ground.
Today, I would like to welcome to the show, Nick Loper. Check this out, Nick helps people earn money outside of their day job. And I feel like I speak to a lot of entrepreneurs that are in that position. He’s an author, online entrepreneur. And he’s the host of an award-winning podcast, The Side Hustle Show, and that podcast features new part time business ideas each week, something to check out. And he also is the founder of Side Hustle Nation.com. And we’re gonna get into that a little bit, we’re going to talk about what a side hustle is, and how you can kind of parlay that into your own business. So welcome to the show, Nick. Glad to have you,
Allan. Thanks for having me. Happy to be here.
I mean, it sounds like you’ve got a lot going on. I talked to a lot of entrepreneurs, I console anywhere from 150 to 200 businesses. And there’s a lot of people that are they’re trying to take the leap, I talked to a lot of young folks in terms of entrepreneurial experience young folks, not necessarily age, who are trying to bridge the gap between a day job trying to keep up with their financial responsibilities, but also take some hedged risk. It sounds like you’re an expert in that field. What are you seeing right now with the economy and with when you’re consulting with people, and you’re giving advice about kind of side hustles? What is it that you’re seeing out there that can help people make that transition?
Expert is probably generous, but definitely a student of the game haven’t been a part of the community for a lot of years, it’s been a ton of fun. So what’s going on right now it’s an interesting time, right? Because at the same time, we see super low unemployment numbers, like people who want jobs can have jobs. But at the same time, we see this rising tide of interest really over the last 5-10 years in side hustles, and particularly online side hustles, but offline as well. And it’s a response to inflation. It’s a response to the rising cost of some big ticket expenses in people’s lives, housing, health care, education. And it’s also in response to just the world of possibility that’s out there. We see people’s highlight reels on social media and you see what other people are doing. You consume podcasts like yours, like how you know, it gets the gears turning a little bit. And we see people tackling it really from that reactive side. Look, I need to make extra money to make ends meet. I gotta make rent next month, all the way up to I got a good job. I’ve got a little bit of financial stability. But there’s got to be something more. Am I really staring down the barrel of another 30 years of this cubicle life? I want a way out?
Yeah. 30 years in a cubicle. There are a few things that scare me more than that. I was recording the show yesterday and speaking with a guest and he asked me what is it to this idea that everybody should be an entrepreneur? And I definitely don’t agree with that. I don’t think everybody has the risk tolerance. I don’t think everybody has the drive. I don’t think everybody has the personality. There is this idea that you can kind of take this side hustle and turn it into a full time business. Are you seeing that at all? Or the people that you’re working with more? Hey, I’m just trying to fill the gaps financially with where I am in my life.
Yeah, we see it from both sides, some people are totally happy with an extra 500 bucks a month extra 1000 bucks a month. And a another segment of the audience is looking for that way out. Like, I don’t want to climb the corporate ladder, I’d rather build my own. I’m looking for something that I have more control over my financial future, more control over how I spend my time. And those are the ones who are building it up to take it full time. And sometimes it gets to the point where, you know, I’ll ask people will when do when did you feel comfortable quitting your job. And they say, when it was costing me money to go to work, I was making more with my side business like a that’s a fantastic position to be in. But for a lot of people, it’s getting to the point where maybe it’s not fully replacing your day job salary, but it is to the point where it’s at least covering your expenses. And that’s where it was, for me when I quit my corporate job to run my first side hustle, which was a comparison shopping site for shoes back in the day, totally random niche, but had a lot of fun in that business. And it wasn’t to the point of replacing the day job. But I saw with an extra 40-50 hours a week, I was confident I could get it there and beyond.
Are you seeing as an employer, it makes me wonder if when people start a side hustle, is that affecting their day job? And if so, what are what are some things people can do to make sure that they’re still providing the same the same level of work or work product to their employer, as they’re pursuing other interests?
I love this topic. Because it’s, you know, there’s one school of thought, like, look, I, my employer hired me, I owe them eight hours of my best effort. Fine. What I do the other 16 hours a day shouldn’t be any of their business, whether I’m running marathons, or whether I’m running a business in my spare time doesn’t matter, right? But that’s an interesting perspective. Like, what if my employees have a side business? Like, are they really 100% committed? And I’ll just give my perspective, because I think running the footwear business, I think that made me a better employee. I don’t know if my boss necessarily agreed with that. But like, by nights and weekends, I was playing CEO, I was in charge of product and marketing and sales and customer support, like, and everything. And so back during the day job and the nine to five, like it gave me even though I was at the bottom rung of fortune 500 company, it gave me this new big picture perspective about how all the different pieces fit together. And how do you know I was in a sales role and going in and talking to car dealer owners and general managers like, you know, they’re managing pretty good sized operations. But even though I had like this tiny little business experience on the side, I don’t know, it felt like it made me a better employee. Plus, it developed some of the essential entrepreneurial skills of just showing up in this executive function of nobody else is telling me what to do now. So having the internal drive and motivation to go out and get work done, even though and this is the downside is like, yeah, my mind was on eventually, hopefully, this is going to be the thing that gets me out of this job.
Yeah, I think you bring up a few really good points. And as an employer, I’m definitely on the side of when people aren’t working. And I have a lot of remote workers, I have a lot of contractors that I work with, I have quite a few salaried employees that work weird hours, and then I have nine to five ish type of workers also that work for my companies. And so there’s a decent mix. And it’s always been my opinion that when they’re not, regardless of their schedule, but when they’re not working for one of my companies, when they’re not, quote, unquote, on the clock, even though some of them don’t have a clock at all. Yeah, I don’t care what they do. I 100%. And I make an extreme effort to show that to reinforce it. And I’m not going to get into specifics, especially like political specifics, but there’s been pressures on businesses to encourage people to make certain health decisions. I stayed as far away from that as possible. Because that’s not my business. My business is when they’re on the clock when they’re working. And when they’re not what they do in their spare time. What they do with their families, what they do with their relationships, socially, doesn’t affect me. Now, if I had an employee that had a substance abuse issue, years ago, this was right when I started my first business. And that took a toll on their work. Like he wouldn’t show up for like three days straight things like that. Yeah, which is completely different. But I have quite a few employees that engage recreationally in different practices, that it doesn’t affect their work, they’re able to shut it off, and some of my best employees, so I am 100% in this category of I do not own you around the clock. I don’t own you period, but especially during these quote unquote free hours. So I guess the question is, I’m gonna be honest with you. So I used to be an attorney. And as I was preparing my first business, I was still working. Yeah, and I I
think I did a pretty good job, Nick, of like separation of church and state. You mean,
exactly. I think it did a pretty good job. And so I think for me, it’s really important that for the entrepreneurs listening, that you kind of approach this the way that once you have your business up and running, and you have employees or contractors or whatever, that you would like them to approach it, because you are 100%. right in saying that, it will make them more well rounded, it will make them a better employee in terms of skill set. Yeah, I don’t think Nick, I do not think that starting a business or having a side hustle. I don’t think there’s anything that helps us grow more personally and professionally. I really don’t, I think that it adds so much. One of the best things I think it adds, like you gave your example of while you were kind of Moonlighting, or you were side hustling, the online shoe operation, that you developed all these skills. I think one of the best things, Nick, is that it allows people to view something from an owners perspective. Yeah, which I never did as an employee, have you found that to be the case,
it’s such a valuable mindset shift versus, you know, we’re kind of trained throughout growing up and throughout school, go to school, get good grades, get a good job, get paid. And it’s like, it kind of teaches you to be reliant on other people. And so there’s this mindset shift of like, Yeah, can I really cut my own paycheck? Like, how’s this going to work? What are the practical steps that I need to get this done, and you mentioned something that’s worth bringing back up, it’s like, maybe not everybody set out to be an entrepreneur, it’s kind of interesting, because I do think it’s in our DNA, like, we zoom out 200 years, like pre industrial revolution, just about everybody was, to a certain extent, lots of people working in agriculture naturally, but people, you know, it’s the mom and pop shops who’s like, very localized small businesses. And that was, you know, everybody kind of had to make their own way. And then we got very used to the reliability of a steady paycheck. So somebody had a quote, the other day, it was like, There’s most dangerous things in life or, or most addicting things in life or cocaine and a steady paycheck or something. But it’s the skill of problem solving. And I imagine you have people reaching out to you as I do to me, and there’ll be asking, like, sometimes very basic question, something that Google could easily answer, like, if you spent three minutes researching this, and it’s like, I don’t know, if it’s gonna be, I don’t know, if it’s gonna work out for you, right? Like you have, instead of taking the initiative to figure this out and do your homework, you just logged, lobbed an email into the ether, or message, you know, on social media, just like some stranger, you know, for all intents and purposes on the internet, hoping to solve this problem for you. And it’s like, I’m like, in a way, I’m flattered by that, that I have the perceived expertise to be on the receiving end of that, but at the same time, it’s like, I don’t know, that’s what entrepreneurship is. It’s kind of, you know, bumping up against the next wall, figuring it out, but up against the next wall, okay. I don’t I’ve never been to this obstacle before, I gotta figure this out. And just keep plowing
through. Yeah, I think this idea of having a side hustle. Another thing that it adds is, I think people start to learn that they learn a little bit about what business owners go through, and they can sympathize with them. Not that business owners need a bunch of sympathy. But a lot of times, businesses and business owners just seem in the media and and sometimes it’s deserved. Granted, they seem like monsters, right? But when you have a side hustle, you’re like, dang, that actually, the pressure of when I hire somebody, and they quit without any notice, or, you know, that head actually does really suck. And they’re able to kind of go through this process. And in that way, it would also allow them to be better employees, and just be better at their job. Generally,
that’s a really interesting dichotomy, right? It’s like, small business owners, like, really strong, you know, his community perception, like, Oh, these are the pillars of our community. They’re creating jobs. They’re creating wealth, they’re providing this helpful service. And then once you like, reach the upper echelon, like the, you know, Bezos and musk level of wealth, and like gate, like, all of a sudden, you got a target on your back and you’re like, Well, who did you step on to get to where you are? And it’s, it’s kind of interesting. It’s like, you know, picture Zuckerberg like testifying in front of Congress. It’s like, Oh, he didn’t ask for this. He just wanted to start a website and meet girls. And all of a sudden, you know, somewhere along the way, things got out of hand. And just
it’s interesting, and I think, and I definitely have some deep rooted feelings about some of some of this big time celebrity CEOs out there. Some of them good, some of them bad. Some of them I look up to some of them. I really, really don’t. But I think you’re right, because if we look back at Zuckerberg, for example, it was a side hustle. Facebook was a site that he was a full time student. That’s kind of where it started. And being a business owner, a lot of times Like I’ll be, I’ll find myself complaining about something inflation is destroying, not destroying, it’s having an impact on some of my companies right now. And then I’ll you know, I’ll complain and kick and scream or whatever. And then I’m like, this is exactly what I signed up for. And then it kind of lessens that pressure, it relieves some of those feelings. But you look at big celebrity CEOs or founders, and they’re demonized. And sometimes sometimes it’s deserved. But at some point, that’s what they signed up for. And as a business owner, it’s really important, I think, and I wanted to get your thoughts about this, one of the seven habits of highly effective people is that they’re able to see the end from the beginning, which is really hard to do. When you’re starting a company, it’s hard to say, Okay, I know where we’re going to be. Nobody has a crystal ball. But it’s important in terms of just kind of mapping out giving yourself a vision. But early entrepreneurs, a lot of times they struggle with, Hey, I don’t have time to think about where we’re headed, I don’t have time to think about the why I don’t have time to think about core values, I don’t have time to think about what I’m trying to do morally with my company, because I’m just trying to keep the lights on. Yeah. But I’ve learned that the companies that are able to set aside some time early on before they have revenue to pay just the necessities, they end up doing better, because they have that purpose. Have you found that with folks that are going into a side hustle for one reason or another, just having them find that why and determine their purpose early on into that.
And I’ve totally been there in those moments where you’re, you know, you’re too busy chopping down trees to sharpen the saw. So as it were just like, you know, even when it comes to hiring and bringing on help, or it’s like, I know, in the long run, right, this is like, one step back, take a pause, you know, create the process, do the training, like, you know, go through this hiring process for two steps forward. But it’s still like, in the moment past, it’s so much faster, I do it myself. But to your point about finding that driving motivational why it’s so important, especially for a side hustle, especially when you’re doing it nights and weekends, and you’re sacrificing time away from your family potentially. And it’s like, okay, why am I doing this, and you gotta have a strong reason to do it. Especially if you have a decent job. And you’re like, you know, at least financially solvent, you’re comfortable. This stuff is hard, like if it were easy, everybody would be doing it. And if you don’t have that driving, why it’s so easy to just throw in the towel and quit. You know, at that first step. I was listening to another podcast with Omar zenhomes. The other day who runs the $100 NBA show, he’s been doing it for years got like 2000 episodes of this thing. And his point was, like my contemporaries, the people who I started podcasting with, in I think he started 2014 people, you know, washed up, they’ll quit, you know, it’s like, there’s an element to this game where it’s just persistence and longevity of staying with it. And I think that having that driving, why is probably gonna be a crucial ingredient to that.
Yeah. And speaking of that, on your website, side hustle nation.com There’s a picture of you holding this cardboard, right? This cardboard? Like, what is that? You know, a couple of weeks just cardboard sign right says we’ll work for food crossed out, money crossed out and then freedom in all caps. Yeah, that’s such an interesting concept, right of this, this journey, especially for entrepreneurs, are those the type of people that you’re after that are looking for that freedom? For me,
that was my hypothesis early on, that people would be like me, you know, I want to build a side hustle to be in control of my own time to break out of the rat race and just kept free of corporate America. And there’s definitely a a large segment of the audience that is in that vote, like, okay, freedom. And really, you know, I guess it was more recently thinking about this, like wealth being the combination of financial security and freedom and how you spend your days. Like, if you’re making half a million dollars a year, but you’re tied to that cubicle 80 hours a week, like, are you really are you really, are you really wealthy? Like, yeah, you’ve got a high salary, but what are you doing with it? So approaching it from that perspective, but then a lot of other people are in that other boat, like, I just, I’m looking for ways to make extra money, like, I just need an extra little little bit of breathing room in the budget. And that’s going to make all the difference for me and my family. And so I don’t know how well that sign resonates. Because I’ve had that like from the very early days of the website, that’s definitely speaking to the avatar, the customer reader listener avatar, as if it were me 10 years ago,
sometimes, especially earlier, young entrepreneurs have a hard time finding out why they want to start a business and a lot of times it’s it’s tied to money, and I get that I get that they want to be able to control how much they make. But I always say that money is just means to an end anyway. Right? People that are after money, they’re actually after something else, that money will give them you know, nine times out of 10. What that is, is freedom. People want to be able to control their time. They want to be able to not worry about where their next meal is going to come from. I’m or whatever putting food on the table, whatever it is. So tell me about side hustle nation. Tell me about what you guys are doing to help entrepreneurs to help people that are looking for a side hustle.
Absolutely. So this is primarily a content business. And what really took off quicker than the written side was the podcasts. And it was me pointing the mic at other Been there, done that side hustle entrepreneurs, and asking the question, like the zero to one questions like, How did you come up with that idea? How’d you get your focus first customers? What surprised you along the way like it? Was anybody else doing this? How do you validate this thing? And then the one to 10 questions? How do you scale this thing? How do you grow it and you hire and you think about systems and processes and XYZ. And that was fascinating in 2013. And it is still fascinating today, 500 Something episodes later, I just love that stuff. And number of interesting and creative business models that come across my desk on a weekly basis is just, it’s really inspiring to see what everybody is working on. And now with the reach that the show has, it’s almost a self fulfilling prophecy where people will listen, you know, sometimes even from episodes years ago, and then they’ll raise their hand in the community or, you know, over email and say, Hey, I took action on idea XYZ. And, you know, that’s, these are the results that I’m seeing. And so it’s been really, really cool to build that up. And that’s the primary, you can guess education channel is through the podcast, and then on the blog.
Yeah, I think that’s awesome i entrepreneurs seem to be, there seems to be no shortage of ideas, and good ideas make a big difference. I feel like action has quite a bit to say, in the success of entrepreneurs, who are trying to get to the next level trying to pull the trigger and start their business. What role do you see is like, action having for these people, and what resources are there to get somebody to take the leap? Because it can be so scary, especially early on,
I was gonna ask because at the top of the call, you say, Hey, call me up, pitch me your idea. And I was curious, like, do people take you up on that?
Yeah, so I get pitched probably six, seven times a week. And you know, what’s funny is that a lot of times, they’re really just looking for support. They’re looking for somebody that says, hey, it’s time to go for it. And that is me. 100%. Yeah, and this is true. A lot of times, regardless of the idea, if it’s a really terrible idea, I’ll let him know, hey, maybe you need to try something else. But I look at my role as one of optimism. And I honestly think and I’m writing a book right now, that is all about failure in business, and how there’s no real way to lose, you can lose everything financially in a business, and you’re going to struggle, and you’re going to go through those those processes. But at the end of the day, you’re going to be better because of it. Think of all the people that failed in business that are now succeeding, I look at you know, when people call me, that’s, that’s one of my main roles is, I’m the guy that you call, and I’m going to make you feel almost a little bad if you don’t do something.
Well, the reason I asked was because early on, I would be the person who would hold the ideas like very close to the vest, like, if anybody else gets a get an inkling of this idea, they’re gonna steal it, they’re gonna they’re gonna go out and bring it to market. And yeah, whatever else. It’s interesting is Derek Severs has, you know, his ideas versus action framework, which I think is in what’s his book, every year, but we can look it up, and we’ll put it in the show notes. But yeah, for sure, you know, world class idea, times, crappy execution, still not worth anything like mediocre idea, you know, mediocre execution, you know, that guarantees a business, and like, you know, mediocre idea times excellent execution, it’s like, hey, that could still be a million dollar business. And it just kind of like this, you know, ideas being relatively worthless, but the execution and the action being what counts. And sometimes, in my case, like, you know, some of the ideas that I had early on, were just too heavy for lift off in a lot of ways. And so maybe I should have been the person calling you up, or it’s like, my friend had, like, back in college had, you know, when you call them up, instead of hearing, you know, a ringtone, like, you know, the buzzing dial tone, or whatever, you know, he wouldn’t like had it programmed to play his favorite song. That’s like, that’s, yeah, that’s unique. That’s really cool. Like, it’s a way marketing grade starts going like, well, what if we could sign companies up to like, play ads instead? And then you could have your cell phone service, be free for the mind there, you know, but there’s like, I don’t know anybody in telecom, like, I didn’t know like, the first thing about how to get this off the ground. I didn’t know how to go out and sell advertising. But I was I was afraid of like, telling people this idea because like, Oh, this is gonna be the million dollar business.
I don’t know. That’s awesome, man. I mean, I think you’re right, though. I think that the success really lies in into action. And a lot of it’s because when we have ideas for businesses, it’s rare that five years 10 years down the road, we’re still executing on those original ideas. What happened? as things evolve, and it changes, Amazon was a online bookstore. Right? Yeah. That’s what it was designed to be.
You seen the, like, the Netflix billboard is like, don’t worry, you know, we started with DVDs in the mail or something. Yeah, it’s like similar.
Yeah, exactly. But and then that’s exactly right. When you act on those ideas, then you’re able to pivot and evolve your business. And as the businesses that evolve and change, especially in what we’re facing right now, the economy and where it’s headed, the companies that are able to pivot, keep their, keep their core values, keep what they’re really good at, make sure that they’re still focused on that and making changes as they go. Well, Nick has been fantastic. Where can people go to learn more about what you can do to help them and all the great things you guys are doing? At side hustle? nation.com?
Yeah, of course, we’d love to have you tuned into the side hustle show, you can search side hustle in any podcast app, and it’ll show up with the green cover art with my mug on it. Side Hustle nation.com/ideas is a good place to start. If you are kind of on the entrepreneurial sidelines and see just a big list, no optic required something to get the creative juices flowing over there, which showcases a bunch of past guests as well like you hopefully, my goal is you have eight or 10 different browser tabs open by the time you scroll all the way down to the bottom there. And then I just looked this up. The Derek Severs book is anything you want, which is a fun, lesson 40 lessons from a new kind of entrepreneurs subtitle on that one.
Awesome. Yeah, we’ll make sure to include that in the show notes. been a real pleasure, Nick, I really enjoyed your perspective. And anybody that helps entrepreneurs is a friend of mine. So I appreciate all the all the good work you’re doing and keep fighting the good fight my man. Thank you sir.
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