Book Review – Side Hustle: Build A Side Business And Make Extra Money Without Quitting Your Day Job by Chris Guillebeau

Side hustleSide Hustle subtitled, Build A Side Business And Make Extra Money Without Quitting Your Day Job is written as a guide to help people create a side business to earn extra money while still working in a full time job. Recently the idea of having a side business to boost one’s income has risen to prominence. Chris Guillebeau, the author is no stranger to the concept of side hustles. He previously wrote a book called $100 Start Up which discusses a similar subject. But what makes this book unique is the fact that Guillebeau has laid out a 27-day plan, split across five weeks to launch a side hustle or side business from start to finish.

The book is split mainly in to five sections (there are other parts in the book) with each section shown as weeks having between 5 to 6 chapters represented as days all adding up to the 27-day launch time. Below I have reviewed very briefly what you should be expected to do in each of the weeks if you want to follow Guillebeau’s 27-day plan to launch your side hustle.

WEEK 1 – BUILD AN ARSENAL OF IDEAS

There are five days in this week with the following titles:

  • Day 1 – Predict the future
  • Day 2 – Learn how money grows on trees
  • Day 3 – Brainstorm, borrow or steal ideas
  • Day 4 – Weigh the obstacles and opportunities of each idea.
  • Day 5 – Forecast your profit on the back of a napkin.

In week 1 you are expected to generate ideas for your side hustle and this will involve you:

  • Defining the objective of starting a side hustle. What will it help you achieve?
  • Thinking about ideas that will actually make you money. You need to be honest whether the idea is feasible. In other words, will it make you money in a short period of time?
  • Generating actual ideas and list at least three of them that have potential.
  • Evaluating the ideas to identify the most feasible one.
  • Forecasting how much money your side hustle can potentially make and be sure it is a side hustle that has the potential to make money immediately you start it.

WEEK 2 – SELECT YOUR BEST IDEA

Week 2 builds on week 1 by helping you to select your best side hustle idea. It also has 5 days shown below:

  • Day 6 – Use the Side Hustle Selector to compare Ideas
  • Day 7 – Become a detective
  • Day 8 – Have imaginary coffee with your ideal customer
  • Day 9 – Transform your idea into an offer
  • Day 10 – Create your origins story

In week 2 you become more focused in choosing the idea you will work on. A tool provided to do that is the Side Hustle Selector which gives you criteria to rank your ideas. The criteria are:

  • Feasibility – can you launch the idea in the shortest period of time?
  • Profitability – can you make money from it in the shortest period of time?
  • Persuasion – is it a good idea now?
  • Efficiency – how quickly can the idea be executed?
  • Motivation – how excited are you about the idea?

Advice is also given on how to validate your idea by learning from what other people are doing similar to your idea and improving on it. You will also need to think about who your ideal customer will be. Ideas such as envisioning one customer that your product caters for, writing a letter to your ideal customer and going beyond basic demographics to identify who your true customer is are discussed.

Also, how to transform your idea into an actual product or service offering is covered in this week. To do this we are advised to think of three things:

  • The promise: how will your hustle change someone’s life?
  • The pitch: why people should purchase or sign up for your product or service.
  • The price: what it costs to purchase or sign up.

There is also some information on how to create urgency for your product and copy writing.

We are also advised to create a story that describes the origin of our product which can create an emotional connection to our side hustle.

WEEK 3 – PREPARE FOR LIFT OFF

This week focuses on quickly implementing your side hustle. There are six days in this week and here is what you will do on each one:

  • Day 11 – Assemble the nuts and bolts
  • Day 12 – Decide how to price your offer
  • Day 13 – Create a side hustle shopping list
  • Day 14 – Set up a way to get paid
  • Day 15 – Design your first workflow
  • Day 16 – Spend 10% more time on the most important tasks

The six key lessons for this week discussed in these chapters are:

  • How to get the resources you need to launch your side hustle in a cost-efficient way and some great advice on how to manage resources in a smart way too.
  • How to decide which price is best for your product or service. I like these five points:
    • Design your hustle to earn recurring revenue.
    • Offer pricing tiers where people can pay more to get more of a product or service.
    • Have a fair and fixed price (this doesn’t mean you can’t increase your price over time. At any point in time just have a fixed price that customers understand) for your hustle.
    • Don’t stray too far from market prices for your type of product or service.
  • Create a clear action plan that lists the exact steps you need to take to launch your hustle.
  • Set up how to get paid. Get a simple payment system in place and remember invoices and contracts.
  • Create a workflow that outlines how your products or service will reach your customer.
  • Identify the most important tasks necessary to make your side hustle successful and spend more time on them.

WEEK 4 – LAUNCH YOUR IDEA TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE

This is launch week and it’s another six days as follows:

  • Day 17: Publish your offer
  • Day 18: sell like a girl scout
  • Day 19: Ask ten people for help
  • Day 20: Test, test and test again
  • Day 21: Burn down the furniture store
  • Day 22: Frame your first dollar

Some of the advice offered here is pretty common sense, though we don’t always heed it. For instance, start your side hustle before you feel completely ready. Don’t wait till it’s perfect, launch as soon as you can because you will never fully know if your idea will be successful until customers start responding to it. Launch in beta.

After launch you need to sell and the suggestion to sell like a Girl Scout is quite interesting. This type of selling is supposed to be non-manipulative and it goes straight to the point and also helps people understand the benefits of the product.

In building our side hustle it is also important to ask for help. Don’t do it alone or as Guillebeau puts it, ‘don’t be an army of one’. The lesson here is, ask for help and be specific about what you need when you are asking.

In test, test and test again, we are reminded about the importance of continuing to test our product till we arrive at the right approach to make it successful. According to Guillebeau, “when you’re beginning a new hustle, you don’t actually know which approach will be the most effective. To find out, try different things and keep a record of results.” One thing that can help with this is doing an A/B test and we are shown how to do a simple A/B test here.

Burn down the furniture store”, is Guillebeau’s way of describing the use of deals, discounts and special offers to drive sales for a side hustle. He discusses how to use them and even provides some simple guidelines which include:

  • Announcing a sale in advance.
  • The deal must be simple to access and take advantage of.
  • The sale must provide substantial perceived savings for customers.
  • Make sure you provide an offer that customers can get excited about.
  • Test your systems to make sure everything reflects the right information.

And when you make your first sale, celebrate it. That’s the last lesson for this week.

 

WEEK 5 – REGROUP AND REFINE

By week 5 your side hustle has been launched, so what next? This week is about is about seeing what you can do to improve your side hustle.

It is the final week and has five days which are:

  • Day 23 – Track your progress and decide on next steps
  • Day 24 – Grow what works let go of what doesn’t
  • Day 25 – Look for money lying under a rock
  • Day 26 – Get it out of your head
  • Day 27 – Back to the future

It is important to track how your side hustle is doing to understand whether it is doing well. Also focus on tracking what matters, which is whether it’s making profits. Identify what is working that you can keep growing and let go of what isn’t working.

Furthermore, you can expand your side hustle by adapting the initial product to serve other customers. This is called ‘remixing’ your product.

It is at this stage when things are working that we can begin to put systems in place that documents the workflows of how we do what we do. With a side hustle, since it isn’t likely to be a big undertaking, we may try to keep all the operations and systems in our head. It’s best to document it all so it’s easier for us to repeat it easily, hence the title, “get it out of your head”.

And the last piece of advice is, decide what’s next. If you’ve been successful up to this point, then use what you’ve learnt to decide on what to do in the future with your side hustle.

Apart from the 27 days or chapters in this book, there are other helpful resources. There is an appendix that shows examples of side hustles we can all start, and they include:

  • Put your couch or spare bedroom on AIRBNB
  • Create a pop-up shop
  • Create and sell your knowledge

Overall, this is a book that will give you enough knowledge to work on and launch those side hustle ideas you’ve been ruminating on. Sometimes the arrangement of tasks on the 27-days feel out of sync and information is repeated on different days, but that does not belittle the practicality of this book. If you want to launch a side hustle, read it, you will get both inspiration and guidance to bring your side business to life.

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