Book Review – The Side Hustle by Nick Loper

Side hustle 1The Side Hustle by Nick Loper subtitled, How to Turn Your Spare Time into $1000 a Month or More, is for people who want to make some money on the side outside of their day job. In other words, start a side hustle or side business. The author Nick starts off telling us his own successful side business story before introducing what the book is about. As stated by the author, the book also has example of stories of people who’ve done successful side hustles.

Already in the book’s introduction there are lots of information about a side hustles such as:

What is a side hustle? Which is defined as anyway to make money outside of a traditional job.

Why side hustle? Nick gives us the following reasons:

  • To build new skills.
  • Build financial security
  • Build income
  • Build freedom

The main part of the book is structured into six main sections titled:

  1. The “Big 3” Business Models
  2. 7 Proven Frameworks for Generating Business Ideas
  3. Starting a Service Business
  4. Starting a Product Business
  5. Starting an Audience Business
  6. Your Next Move: 10 Questions to Consider.

Following is a brief review of each section.

THE “BIG 3” BUSINESS MODELS

In this section Nick introduces and describes in some detail the three business models for building a side hustle. He states that, ‘pretty much every business you can think of will fall under one (or more) of those categories’. The categories or business models are, selling a service, selling a product and selling an audience.

Selling a service is the easiest hustle to start because it just involves your time providing a service. Some of the examples given are:

  • Freelance writing
  • Flyer distribution
  • House cleaning

Advantages of this business model include, being able to start with skills you already have and little upfront investment. While the disadvantages are, you using your time physically to provide the service and make money.

A product business is simply selling a product and examples are:

  • Selling stuff on eBay
  • Building an ecommerce store
  • Developing software

Advantages of this business model are, it’s easier to scale because of another advantage, you’re not selling your personal time. The profit margins can also be quite high especially if you’re selling a digital product that you only need to produce once. Disadvantages are those of how to consistently source profitable inventory to sell if the hustle involves selling physical products, the cost of purchasing the inventory and the challenge of shipping. If the product is digital, then the main challenge is the time involved in producing it.

The third business model is selling an audience. This is the business that organisations like Google and Facebook have used to build large audiences which allow them to profitably sell advertising. Examples for side hustles are:

  • Blogs
  • YouTube channels
  • Podcasts

The advantages of this model are its ability to scale because you’re building assets that can scale and it’s flexible monetization options in that you can sell advertising and products. But it’s a highly speculative business model since its ability to generate income is dependent on an audience. It is also a slower path to making money because it can take a lot of effort and time to build an audience-attracting asset.

7 PROVEN FRAMEWORKS FOR GENERATING BUSINESS IDEAS

To build a successful side hustle you need an idea to start with. One thing Nick makes clear is that you don’t need a ground-breaking idea to build a successful side hustle. The seven ways he describes to generate side hustle ideas are:

The Rip, Pivot And Jam Method

  • Look at an existing business and copy what they are doing (Rip).
  • Apply to a new industry (Pivot).
  • Work hard to make it a successful (Jam)method.

The Sniper Method

The sniper method is about focusing on just selling a single product or focusing on a narrow niche. This is a good strategy for people just starting out.

The Shovels In The Gold Rush Method

A gold rush represents a current fad and the shovel are businesses built to support it. For example, there are businesses built just to support Amazon sellers. So, it’s about identifying something that is currently hot and building a product or service that can support it.

The Intersection Method

This is about creating a side hustle out of the intersection of your skills, interests and network. For example, a person, who can bake, loves cakes and is in Facebook baking groups sets up a cake baking side hustle.

The Scratch -Your-Own-Itch Method

Create a product or service out of solving your own problem since others probably have the same problem too.

The “Expert Enough” Method

What do you do well enough that you have confidence enough to support others with it? You can build a side hustle with that. For example, if you are good at styling your hair, then you can start a side hustle styling people’s hair.

The Probing For Pain Method

This involves identifying problems and solving them as a business.

STARTING A SERVICE BUSINESS

This is the first of the sections that concentrates on showing us how to start a side hustle. Here we are shown how to start a service business. The first question answered is, what service could you sell and then we are presented with 101 service business ideas, some of which are:

  • Accounting
  • Article writing
  • Childcare
  • Car repair
  • Data entry
  • Data mining
  • Dog walking
  • Event planning
  • House painting
  • Mystery shopper

Another way to get ideas for a service side hustle is to look at job marketplaces like Fiverr, Upwork and Craiglist. By looking at the advertisements on these places you may see services that you can provide.

Some of the lessons also discussed are:

  • What to do if you think you don’t have enough skill to start a service business.
  • How to attract clients.
  • How to scale a service business.

STARTING A PRODUCT BUSINESS

Three categories of products are discussed which are:

  • Physical products that you buy in a store.
  • Hybrid products which are physical products but ones you don’t touch.
  • Digital products such as eBooks.

Physical products

Nick discusses seven things to consider for physical products:

  1. What will you sell?
  2. How will source your inventory?
  3. Where will you store your inventory?
  4. Where will you sell?
  5. How will you collect payment?
  6. How will you handle shipping and logistics?
  7. How will you handle returns?

 

An example of how to start an Amazon business is described.

Hybrid Products

Under this section three hybrid product models are described which are:

  • Drop-shipping
  • Print-on-demand
  • Product licensing

Digital products

Under digital products you will learn about eBooks, online courses, digital guides and other digital product business models. Under each one of them Nick discusses how to start them, pricing and uses some success stories to illustrate how they work.

STARTING AN AUDIENCE BUSINESS

About audience businesses Nick states that:

“An audience business is the most flexible side hustle business model because once you have people’s attention, you can monetize it in several different ways.”

The three main components of an audience business are discussed which are:

  1. Creating the resource that’s worth paying attention to.
  2. Marketing to build an audience.
  3. Monetizing that audience.

To create a resource that’s worth paying attention to, you will read about:

  • How to decide what to create content about.
  • How to generate niche ideas.
  • How to evaluate the competitive landscape.
  • Coming up with content ideas.

 

Under building an audience you will read about the different actions you can take to get an audience using search tactics on Google, guesting which is when people connect to you after you’ve been a guest on other websites or podcasts, paid advertising and more.

Next the discussion goes on to focus on how to monetize audiences. Some of the strategies discussed are:

  • Through products and services
  • Through advertising and sponsors
  • Through affiliate income
  • Through memberships

The final section in the book is titled, ‘Your Next Move: 10 Questions to Consider’. The information here is mostly relevant to those who have numerous side hustle ideas and are trying to prioritize and decide which ones to focus on. We are presented with 10 questions to evaluate each each side hustle idea. The questions are:

  1. How excited are you about the idea?
  2. Is there a clear path to your first customers or sales?
  3. How much time will it realistically take to get off the ground?
  4. How much capital will it realistically take to get off the ground?
  5. What’s the potential revenue?
  6. How easy is it to operate?
  7. How easy is it to automate or delegate?
  8. How easy is it to scale?
  9. How easy is it to stop operations if it is not working?
  10. Is the business something I could sell down the road?

Summarily, this is a practical book that has lots of information on how to start side hustles. What’s really great about it are the numerous examples and how it describes the three different business models. This book feels like a bite-sized business education for side hustles.

And one last thing, Nick Loper the author is also the owner of Side Hustle Nation, a website with side hustle information including access to a podcast.

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