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How Anyone Can Easily Make Extra Money Using Side Hustles with Nick Loper

The BiggerPockets Money Podcast
58 min read
How Anyone Can Easily Make Extra Money Using Side Hustles with Nick Loper

Side hustle is a huge buzzword in the FI community. Make extra money on the side doing something fun, something you love, or even just something that pays really well.

Today we bring in Nick Loper, Founder of Side Hustle Nation, to share his expertise about side hustling: What they are, who they’re for, and how to implement one of your own. Nick also shares some of his favorite side hustles, including some surprisingly easy ways to make money.

Looking to increase your income? You MUST listen to this episode!

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Welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast show number 28.

How many taco places are you know are in your town? I was like I don’t know, you know 15-20. How many of those who have been in business longer than a year? Probably all of them. He’s like there’s a good sign if they’ve been in business longer than a year that they’re profitable. You know they’re making money and they have the same business model. Each one has the same business model. They’re servings tacos you know. It’s not anything crazy, innovative, and you know maybe they have their own secret recipe or their own unique spin on it, but don’t over complicate things.

It’s time for a new American dream. One that doesn’t involve working in a cubicle for 40 years, barely scraping by. Whether you’re looking to get your financial house in order, invest the money you already have or discover new paths for wealth creation. You’re in the right place. This show is for anyone who has money or wants more. This is the BiggerPockets Money Podcast.

Scott: How’s it going everybody I am Scott Trench. I’m here with my cohost Ms. Mindy Jensen. How are you doing today Mindy?

Mindy: I am doing fantastic today Scott. The sun is shining. I keep talking about how awesome the color and the weather is. The sun is shining like crazy for the last I don’t know six days and it’s just amazing to be alive. My husband and I are getting ready to go on a cruise next week to Key West and Cuba and I am really looking forward to that.

Scott: That sounds like fun, but it sounds like you’ll be missing work.

Mindy: Yes, I am going to totally ditch you from work. I am not going to call in. I am not going to check my email after Monday because I will be on a boat and I don’t know if you’ve ever taken a cruise, but they have zero Internet. They actually do have Internet, but it’s like 14.4 dial up from before you were born. How are things over in your neck of the woods?

Scott: They’re going good. I’m going to play some pickup basketball tonight and do a barbecue with some friends. I’m looking forward to that.

Mindy: Thanks for the invite.

Scott: Yes.

Mindy: That sounds like fun. Switching gears. Another thing that I am excited about is today’s guest. We have talked a lot on the show about cutting expenses and frugality, but we haven’t really touched too much on increasing your income yet.

Today we talk to Nick Loper, chief side hustler, at SideHustleNation.com and I did not just want to bring in any old schmuck to come in and talk about some side hustle they heard this one time. I wanted an expert and Nick certainly delivered. He drops a lot of names and links and websites in the show today and you can find all of those at the show notes which are located at BiggerPockets.com/MoneyShow28. Before we bring in Nick let’s hear from the sponsor of today’s show.

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Scott: All right big thanks to today’s show sponsor. Let’s bring in Nick. Nick, welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. How’s it going today?

Nick: Doing great how are you guys?

Mindy: Fantastic today is an awesome day. I don’t know about California. I don’t know if you guys get sun out there, but Colorado kind of invented sun and we’ve just got this beautiful beautiful day today.

Nick: No, it always rains in California. They never talk about that.

Mindy: Yes, they don’t have good weather there.

Scott: Yes so you know today we’re going to be talking about side hustles and how you know kind of ordinary people can earn extra income to advance you know their position for a number goals, but in this case specifically to help them move toward financial freedom. Can you kind of give us like I guess a little intro into what a side hustle is? Maybe we can maybe start there.

Nick: Well, you nailed it side hustle would just be anything you’re doing outside of your day job to earn extra money.

Scott: Awesome so what maybe can you give us a little background about how maybe you started your first side hustle and your journey and how you became an expert in this area.

Nick: Man, my first side hustle was a comparison shopping site for footwear. It earned a commission from Zappos, from Amazon, from all of these other online footwear retailers when people would buy shoes through the site and it actually, it was inspired by an internship that I had in college where you know this company, a brick-and-mortar shoe store in Seattle had this radical idea back in like 1996 to put some of their inventory online. By the time I came along of course the online side of their business had grown by leaps and bounds. That was really my first exposure to SEO, to you know Google ad words, to affiliate marketing, to e-commerce, to a lot of stuff and so I was, after that internship ended was when I was like—maybe I could do the same sort of thing as an affiliate for these guys.

Scott: Awesome so did you put up the site yourself? Like can you walk us through like how you went about doing it? You just kind of got a thing on WordPress and start writing about shoes or what was it?

Nick: Unfortunately this was pre-WordPress or at least pre me finding out about WordPress so this was not cheap to develop. I actually spent $10 grand on developing the site, but before I did that I did a really important thing to kind of validate it and that was just you know text ads on Google with my affiliate link as the destination URL. I was actually still in college at the time so I started out with a budget of like a dollar a day, which was the minimum budget you could have an AdWords. I was like that was I don’t know if you guys are you know good to great fan, but that was my way of kind of firing bullets before firing cannonballs and investing in the site development was the cannonball and say okay this is working and here this seems to be the logical next step to scale it up.

Scott: You literally took an affiliate link, advertised it on Google and sent traffic right to like Zappos or whatever and validated your concept with that.

Nick: Yes, which I don’t even know if that’s like allowed on Google anymore or maybe you have to have special permission from the advertiser to do it, but yes that was it. Hey, I’m going to find the best price for you know Nike model XYZ or New Balance model XYZ. New Balance was a good one for me because it had like very specific model numbers that people would type in and went to town with it.

Mindy: Where did that go after you, you said you first tested it with the text ads. Then where did you go after that? You wanted to, you built the site pre WordPress. WordPress for those of you listening and don’t know what it is it is the best way to build a website because you don’t have to know anything and you can still have a really amazing looking site.

Nick: Yes, I am definitely a WordPress fan boy at this point, but yes I found a developer on a site called Guru.com, which is kind of a global outsourcing or freelancing site. One of the bids that I got back was a guy who was just half an hour away from me in Northern Virginia at the time. I went over to his apartment and we kind of like hashed out this deal. I think once you learn that it was just this one 22-year-old dude he kind of cut me some slack, but it was just him and the rest of his development team was in India.

You know he ended up building the site and like any software project took way longer than they said it was going to, but thankfully they stuck to their fixed-price bid and got it built. Now that was I should add like that was during my like you know stint in corporate too so that was right after graduation where I didn’t have a thing that I thought could be a full-time business and so I was trying to build that on the side as hopefully my escape path.

Mindy: How successful were you?

Scott: It had a good run so it took three years so nights and weekends before you know I felt comfortable quitting my job and turning the side hustle into a full-time thing and then ran it you know for several more years after that with all of the entrepreneurial ups and downs. I think I had a naïve vision of you know four hour work week type of stuff in my head when I quit and it was anything but that, but you know ran the site actually until 2014 when it was kind of on a long slow decline and that was actually around the same time when the Side Hustle Nation stuff was ramping up. They kind of traded places in terms of mind share for me.

Mindy: Okay so you ran it until 2014. Are you now completely done with it? Did you sell it or just was down?

Nick: Yes, just shut it down. I wish I’d had the hindsight to sell it a few years earlier.

Scott: What was your corporate job that you were doing during this whole period?

Nick: I was working for Ford as a kind of a territory manager on the service and parts side of their business. Like interfacing with their dealerships.

Scott: Oh awesome so I take it that that wasn’t your dream job that you wanted to do forever, which is why you were starting all of these side hustles and.

Nick: I mean I love I love the car business. I think it’s a fascinating business, but it’s also you know this hundred year old industry that. It wasn’t the best cultural fit. I’ll put it that way. I love the people that I worked with, but it was you know had no desire to climb the ladder and do that for the next 30 years.

Scott: While you’re building up this shoe comparison website and then you’re you know it sounds like from what I’m gathering is you graduated college, you start up this shoe comparison site, maybe starting it a little bit in college. Ramp it up, you begin then shifting away towards the Side Hustle Nation stuff that you’re still currently working with at that time. Was there anything else going on with your personal financial position during this period that you were kind of moving you towards financial freedom or was it really all of the side hustles stuff that was replacing your income?

Nick: Yes, really I don’t know if the—I don’t even know if the shoe business had fully replaced my salary at the time that I at the time I you know turned in the keys to my company car and called it quits. It had been you know earning enough to cover my expenses, which thankfully was you know we were living below our means and had a track record of that so I felt comfortable giving my notice. The I don’t know we had you know a buffer of probably several months or maybe even a year worth of savings too so it kind of felt comfortable taking the lead. You know you may have heard that definition.

Oh an entrepreneur is somebody who jumps off the cliff and you know figures out how to build their parachute on the way down. Like that sounds, that sounds awful to me. Like that’s not the brand of entrepreneurship that I advocate and especially on Side Hustle Nation. You know start something small, start something low-risk and build that up as you can.

Mindy: Definitely a really good point.

Scott: You’re sort of covering your expenses with your side hustle and you have this built year or two a financial runway set you know. I think that’s such an important point to make or a lot of people who are thinking about taking the leap from their job to maybe pursue something down the road is you work doing this from position of risk and as I presume correct me if I’m wrong that you might’ve been able to go back to similar type of work prior to or if this thing didn’t work out your next venture is that correct?

Nick: It’s possible though this was summer of 2008 so everything was kind of imploding especially in the auto industry so it probably would’ve been a career change a little bit. The scary thing was on my first day of you know retirement I’ll call it Google decides to crawl my ads account for you know their quality metrics and all of the sudden they say you know your site no longer meets our guidelines. You know we’re shutting you down and I was like you got to be kidding me. You know you’ve had two years of track record with no issues at this point like I literally just quit my job to do this and 80% of the traffic is gone in an instant.

I was like what you know as you go through all of the you know the seven stages of anger and denial and all of this stuff. Three months, this was a really stressful summer. I had hair that summer I think. It was gone after that. Then finally they come back after you know a couple of months of development because they don’t tell you what you did wrong to offend them.

They said, “Oh it looks like we made an error. You know you’re good to go.” The floodgates opened again. That was a wake-up call that was like man you got to diversify your income streams. I thought and kind of what I’ll advocate on Side Hustle Nation is you know you if you’re relying on one source of income and for most people that’s your job like that’s an inherently risky position to be in, but I found myself on day one as an entrepreneur in the exact same boat and it was pretty uncomfortable.

Scott: I love what you just said there, how risky it is to just rely on one source of income particularly a job because if you relied on that job and you’re in big trouble. In your case, you were starting to rely, you had just left your job and were reliant on your side hustle, now I guess your primary hustle. I don’t know what the definition of—side hustle turned main hustle. It is maybe business, but like at least you had that and you probably had the option to sell your time for money in some capacity if not in that same industry as well. It’s a much less risky position for you than for other people because you had that built up and I don’t know, I just—I loved the fact that these side hustles are such a great way to kind of break into that additional income stream space.

Nick: Right, a friend of mine is a photographer and you know he quit his job as like a photo journalist for the newspaper and his coworkers were like, “Oh my gosh, you know what are you going to do? Isn’t that so risky?” He’s like, “Look we got 30 you know wedding clients lined up. If one person fires me, it’s not a big deal. If one person fires you, you know you’re out to the curb.”

Scott: Yes.

Mindy: That’s really really really important to just continue to go over the. You said that as soon as you stopped working, Google comes in and they’re like, “Sorry.” I actually know somebody else that happened to as well. It wasn’t Google. It was their affiliate company. They had on website it said I’m going to go. Website and then. Website. Similar, but different and their affiliates said, “I’m sorry we’re not giving you any money—to us.” Like he was making something like $3,500 a month from this affiliate that just all of the sudden.

Nick: Yes.

Mindy: Rug right out of him. You know he’s fine. He was fine. He pivoted and you know, but they wouldn’t even listen to his opinion. I’m really surprised that Google said, “Oops, sorry we made a mistake.” Because they’re Google.

Nick: Right.

Mindy: I don’t mean to trivialize your contributions to their bottom line, but they’re Google.

Nick: Yes. That’s what was the most.

Mindy: They’re like they’re really big.

Nick: Shocking thing is like you know as a Google shareholder like do you know what’s going on? They’re just turning off these accounts that are spending hundreds of dollars a day. It’s like it just it boggled my mind and I don’t know, but thankfully we ended up getting the result.

Mindy: I’m really surprised that they change their mind though. That’s really amazing that they did. Okay so you have said a couple of times you said we. Does this mean that that you’re married?

Nick: Yes.

Mindy: Or have a significant other in your life. I shouldn’t say married.

Nick: Yes.

Mindy: I don’t want to label.

Nick: I’m happily married to my high school sweetheart actually.

Mindy: Oh nice. Okay so does she have a job? Did she have a way to generate income during this time?

Nick: She does and she did.

Mindy: Okay.

Nick: Which probably lessened the financial burden, financial stress because it’s like okay well. You know at least we have one income coming in and we had our savings, which I used to. Oh you know I used kind of the previous months profits of the—from the business to invest in the development expense that we went through that summer. Yes, she’s a mechanical engineer and is the you know steady earner of the family.

Mindy: I’d like to talk about some side hustle ideas that anyone can do. There’s a lot of things that I have heard about side hustling that people can do that take very little money or very little startup time or very little commitment. I think one of the big things is the commitment that people are like, “Oh I don’t want to get a second job.” Let’s talk about first of all is a side hustle a second job? Does it have to be a second job? Then let’s talk about some things that other people can do.

Nick: Well it doesn’t have to be a second job. Although, I probably would consider a second job under the broader side hustle umbrella, but to me the side hustle has a connotation of being more entrepreneurial, With more upside, maybe a little bit more time leveraged. Although you know you could consider you know babysitting or dog watching or even like driving for Lyft. Like those all count as side hustles totally.

Scott: Yes, with the babysitting, dog watching, driving for Uber or Lyft, those types of things I think are great. I have done those in the past particularly when I was like kind of first getting started on my financial journey, but I think it’s important to understand that a lot of these are very low dollar per hour activities that are you know in that second job category and so what I like to think of if you’re going to go down that path is have an exit plan. I am trying to save up an extra $2-3 grand, maybe $5 over the course of a couple of months or a year for this particular investment, this particular financial milestone and then I’m going to transition to something that maybe fits more of what we here think of as a side hustle, which is something that has the potential to scale and produce a life-changing and more passive impact. Is that kind of a fair statement there in your opinion?

Nick: Yes, I like that because you know if it’s a skill that pretty much everybody has like driving a car there’s naturally a lot of downward pressure on you know how much you can earn.

Scott: Yes, it just seems like it’s not living to your fullest potential. It’s probably not what you’re kind of envisioning, you don’t want to replace your middle income, immediate income job I assume with a minimum wage job.

Nick: Right, although interestingly like the—what’s exciting about that stuff is like it’s so low barrier to entry, so easy to get started. I had a driver in Chicago who was just like when I want to make money, I turn on the app. For him, you know he was in between jobs and that was enough to kind of support him while he was you know on the job search. I met some of the most interesting Lyft drivers are the ones that have like the side, side hustle.

They’re like, “Well I’m really like an audio producer, engineer guy.” Just you know he’s starting conversations and some—he told me the story of like some client who was a music producer and like flew him out to Nashville for some event gig and he was just like you know you’re starting 50 different conversations a day and something good is going to come of that too.

Scott: Yes, I love that whenever I get an Uber I always talk with the driver and.

Nick: Yes.

Scott: I get a lot of those things too. Like oh I’m trying to become a real estate agent. I’m trying to do this or that and the other thing and they’re always. They’ve always got like an interesting story about what they’re trying to do to move forward. I think it’s very entrepreneurial and for many of them it is kind of that bridge for.

Nick: Yes.

Scott: Between gigs.

Mindy: Is there a frequent like a most frequent or a really common side hustle or you know I asked a question and then I asked like 12 other questions too. I’d like to get back to the whole side hustles that anybody can do, something that’s really easy or something that’s not. Most importantly not expensive to jump in with.

Nick: Yes, so I think the sharing economy that we kind of have been talking about, like these different peer to peer apps a great place to start the Air BNB’s of the world, the Lyft drivers of the world, the Rover.com like Pet Sitting gigs of the world. Uber Eats and InstaCart deliveries and stuff. Like super easy to get started with, no barrier to entry, but a ceiling on how much you can earn. Although like with the dog watching stuff, a friend of mine sent me a note. They’re like, “Dude we’re on pace to make $20 grand on Rover this year.”

I was like, “That is nuts.” You know, but they had a couple of dogs and so it was no big deal. You know let’s just add a couple of more to the mix. These sums can significant so I will say that. Like, but there’s some time investment too.

Tier two would be kind of like the freelancing realm. Freelancing, consulting realm so if you’ve had a job—if you’ve ever had a job right that was by definition some skill that somebody thought was worth paying for and so maybe you could take those skills to you know freelance on the open market. Maybe the third tier that you might consider is what I’ll call like the buy low, sell high hustle—this is I mean the same business model of Amazon and Walmart and every store in the country basically. Where I’ve had some fun with this myself it’s like while you’re out shopping you can download the Amazon seller app, which is free and you can create a free Amazon seller account and just stop by the clearance aisle while you’re out. I had some success at Walmart.

At Babies “R” Us we have a couple of kids, two and two months so you know we spent some time at Babies “R” Us and most recently they have a clearance section. Everybody is going out of business, but you can see what those items are selling for on Amazon and if there’s a big enough spread and the app will kind of estimate okay what are your fees and so what is your estimated profit on this, you can package that stuff up. Send it into Amazon and they’ll sell it on your behalf and send it out to customers so. Not a ton of extra time if you’re already out running the errands anyways. Like make a point to stop the clearance section at Home Depot or wherever you may be.

Scott: This is something I’ve never heard of before in the sense that you can actually just buy merchandise at a major store and then sell it on Amazon for a profit and you’re saying that you’re able to do this consistently at a significant volume to make it worthwhile?

Nick: Well for me wasn’t significant enough volume to continue to pursue it, but some people have built significant businesses doing that. It was a little side experiment for me. I ended up making you know $6-700 bucks over the course of the year doing that very part-time so if you dedicated more hours to it I could see how you would definitely turn into something.

Scott: What’s the app that you were using to estimate these costs again?

Nick: It was just the Amazon seller app.

Scott: Awesome so we’ll link—I guess you don’t need to link to that in the show notes. I’m sure you can find it in the app store on your phone, but that’s great.

Nick: I’ve even seen other people doing this with you know just even on Craigslist. I met a guy who makes a full-time living just buying and selling stuff on Craigslist. He was specializing in like washers and dryers. I was like can you imagine like a bulkier thing to try and be moving back and forth.

You know that was his his model and I think he had some expertise in like you know fixing these things up and cleaning them and he had a garage full of them. I met another guy actually he was at FinCon, the flea market flipper, Rob Stevenson who I just love his story. Makes a full-time income and supports his family of five I want to say just looking for weird stuff, you know locally at the flea market and flipping it usually on eBay and he told me the story of like finding a prosthetic leg one day for 30 or 40 bucks and turning around and selling it next day for a grand on eBay. I was like that’s an incredible return on investment.

Scott: Wow.

Mindy: I didn’t know he was at FinCon.

Nick: Yes, he and his wife were there.

Mindy: Oh man. FinCon is getting so big it’s hard to talk to every single person so I have had very very moderate success because I don’t know what’s cool because I’m not cool, but I have had very moderate success going to garage sales and thrift stores, finding things, listing them on eBay and selling them for more than I paid. If you know what hip and cool, if you know what’s trending. If you can just you know sometimes if you can just spot something really cool. Like I lived in Chicago for a while. There is a ton of thrift stores and there’s a lot of supercool stuff there.

Nick: Yes.

Mindy: Longmont, Colorado not really so much.

Scott: Yes I have a friend who does this with bicycles where he’ll look on Craigslist and look at bicycles for sale and a bicycle that’s missing parts or that’s you know hasn’t been used in a couple years, but might have a very expensive frame will sell for less than the cost of the parts. He’ll buy them. He’ll either sell the parts at a profit or he’ll reconstruct new bikes and sell those at a hefty profit. Like this is just—I think this tier 3 area is something where if you have an interest in or just a synergy in your life for some of these types of things you can come in and potentially make a profit at a significant degree depending on what you’re willing to put into it and what your interest is it sounds like.

Nick: I met another guy in Birmingham whose business was like pallet flipping. He had built over the course of 20 years this kind of database and I think for him it was just like in Excel of industrial companies byproducts. It’s like oh these people need pallets, these people get stuff in on pallets and don’t know what to do with them. If you would drive them you know and often times get his inventory for free you know drive them around the corner to the next industrial park and flip them for profit. I’d just work a couple of hours in the morning and you know service these customers. It’s like there’s a million ways to get it done, but I thought that was kind of an interesting one.

Mindy: That’s really awesome and yes, we work in a the industrial part of Denver. It’s turning residential, but there’s pallets everywhere and they always say free on them and there’s like they’re huge and they’re bulky and they’re heavy. Nobody wants them and there’s only so much Pinterest stuff you can do with a pallet and then.

Nick: Somebody wants them.

Mindy: Somebody wants them that’s a great job and yes what do you need? I mean you need a good pair of gloves so you don’t get splinters and a trailer and a truck and that’s kind of it.

Nick: Yes, I see them like all the time. After talking to them I see them all the time and I’m like pallet money.

Scott: I think you listed three tiers of side hustles so far. Tier one being that kind of like lower wage kind of easy, one off. Your own discretion type of thing, babysitting, and dog walking, driving for Lyft, Uber, handyman tasks, all of these different apps right so it’s pretty easy to break into that. We talked about tier three here, skipping one where you buy low and sell high and you know a wall, maybe a little bit trickier to break into and a little bit more research to kind of learn about.

I think that’s a pretty clear concept that we can understand there. When you talk about tier two with freelancing and consulting I get that concept. You know let’s say I’m a financial analyst and a company needs financial analyst consulting services I could go in and do some consulting or freelance work for them on a case-by-case basis. How exactly would I go about marketing my services in that area? It seems like it would be a little bit more difficult to find business in this area than just posting that for sale on Craigslist or putting your information into an app.

Nick: Yes so this is kind of the the marketing one on one. Right like how to get in front of target customers in their native habitat. Right how can I go where they already are and so they’re you know people maybe looking for this stuff on sites like Upwork, sites like Fiverr, sites like FreeeUp. I think it’s based in Denver. There might be some ways, but even in certain Facebook groups amongst entrepreneurs the cool hack that somebody shared with me is like using the search bar in certain Facebook groups for keywords like help or question or recommendation.

Right like people might be searching for the exact skills that you have and you can chime in on the comments on those threads. Lots of different ways to get it done and of course the other method that lots of online entrepreneurs have gone down the path of is creating content around that topic. Answering common questions if it’s a you know if there’s a specific software tool that people use or you know here at that 21 skills you need to know about X, Y, and Z. You kind of position yourself as an authority that way.

Scott: Those are some awesome tips that I’ve never thought of before. With the you know looking for things on Facebook and writing content there and that kind of thing. How could you give us an example of some people who have creatively been able to start freelancing while working a full-time job and what their story look like?

Nick: I’ll give you the example from you know my own recent past because I started a freelancing service for book editing. I had a couple of books that I had written under my belt at that time and you know it was like hey maybe I can throw this out as a service as an experiment to see you know what’s going to happen. I actually got my first clients on Fiverr. I said I will proofread your. I think I said I’ll proofread your business book or your nonfiction book for $5 bucks and the fine print was like that will get you 500 words worth. Because it’s like every book is a lot longer than that so I ended up actually generating you know some decent sized orders to that and it was pigeonholing myself and saying like I want to read your vampire romance.

Like that’s not in my wheelhouse, but if you have a business book, a nonfiction book like that’s what I like to read anyways and you know I think I can help you with that. You know over the couple of years of doing that so I got my first clients on Fiverr. You know a marketplace of buyers. Right very easy to post your buy button up for sale there.

I got clients through certain Facebook groups of authors. Similarly you know word-of-mouth. Starts to spread. Do you know a guy hey Nick does editing and then also through a friend of mine who teaches self-publishing just contacted him and said hey would you mind, would you have a preferred vendor list?

Could you add me to your Rolodex basically and so got some referrals through him as well. Actually my wife’s side hustle is as a wedding photographer and so they’ve done the same strategy with certain venues that they’ve shot at. Hey do you guys have a preferred vendor list? What does it take to get on there? That’s one way to kind of reach target customers in their you know native environment or get in front of them where they’re already doing business.

Mindy: That’s awesome. I’m going to type that out. Does it cost anything to list on Fiverr? I know I have looked at Fiverr. I think I may have even hired somebody one time, but what does it like what’s the process to say hey I want to try out this you know I’m a great proofreader. I’m going to put it up on Fiverr.

Nick: One time yes I’ve hired tons of stuff on Fiverr so no cost to put a gig up there and actually they’ve graduated you know well beyond you know the five dollar thing. You could do pricing packages and you know different tiers of service and all of these up sells and do custom quotes I think up to 10 grand, but the platform takes a 20% cut so that’s the cost to you as the freelancer.

Mindy: Okay.

Scott: For that book editing gig for example what do you estimate your dollar per hour wage was on that editing contract?

Nick: Probably between $20 and $35 bucks an hour.

Scott: Then did that increase as you kind of developed a reputation maybe started getting some referrals?

Nick: Yes, I was able to up my rates over time from you know around a penny a word. Like for that initial Fiverr gig or really $0.80 a word after their cut to you know 1.5 cents. Maybe two cents a word you know for certain clients. Truthfully some books were easier to read than others. You know some people have already gone through a round of internal edits and others oh it’s like okay this is very clearly you know an audio transcription that you tried to turn into a book. You’re like this is a pain in the butt to edit.

Scott: Got you.

Mindy: Like fun at all.

Scott: Do you have any other stories about other people who maybe have gone a similar path with this, with the kind of editing, or not editing, but like freelance skills like a marketing specialist or a financial analyst or an operations person or someone that has kind of a kind of more I guess a quote on quote normal corporate job being able to freelance their skills.

Nick: Well, I met a guy this is just a recent episode from the show so I don’t think this aligned with this corporate job. He was like selling shoes for minimum wage, but he ended up being a freelance writer and the way he got business the first thing that he tried to get business flopped horribly. You know he approached local companies that didn’t have a blog and tried to convince them to you know start one. Hey here’s why you need to start one and here’s why you need to hire me to run it.

Like that flopped horribly. Where he found some success was targeting the companies that did have a blog, but were kind of struggling to keep up with it. They already understood the importance of content marketing, of investing in this stuff, but you know just didn’t have the manpower to do it and so they hired him to do that. He actually found some interesting clients through guest posting and you know he would write these really in-depth articles and he’d have his bylines. Hey this was written by so and so. He’s available for hire and click here to contact him right and so because those posts you know got shared thousands of times on these pretty prolific sites he’d have people reaching out specifically, “Hey I don’t need a generic freelancer.” Right or I’m not going to Upwork. I’m not going to Fiverr. I’m going after this guy specifically because I like his work.

Scott: Awesome yes I think that’s great.

Mindy: Do you have any tips for someone who knows that they want to generate more income, but they aren’t exactly sure what they should be looking at. Like I was bit as a child by a dog so I’m not looking to walk any dogs and I am allergic to cats I’m not looking to pet sit at all, but you know I’d like to bring in more income what’s another really easy thing? You know maybe I don’t like kids. I do like kids, but I don’t want to babysit. You know what are some.

Nick: You’re scarred for life from the dog thing.

Mindy: I actually am it’s right here.

Nick: Well let’s go through some different kind of like business idea generating frameworks because this is really common. Like every year you know I survey the Side Hustle Nation audience and without fail 40% of the people say I’m still looking for my side hustle idea. I’m still looking for my business idea and I want to be like there’s 200 something episodes just go pick something. It doesn’t matter, but we can go through a couple of ways to kind of get that done.

Maybe the first myth I want to dispel is that your side hustle idea, your business idea needs to be some innovative, curve jumping technology like never been done before thing is actually Noah Kagan from Okay Dork and App Sumo who asked me this question. He’s like you know, it’s always tacos with Noah. How many taco places are you know are in your town? I was like I don’t know you know 15-20. How many of those have been in business longer than a year? Probably all of them.

He’s like there’s a good sign if they have been in business longer than a year that they’re profitable. You know they’re making money and they have the same business model. Each one has the same business model. They’re serving tacos. You know it’s not anything crazy, innovative, and you know maybe they have their own secret recipe or their own unique spin on it, but don’t over complicate things. Right so that’s the point I want to make before we get started, but we can talk about some different frameworks so the first one that I have is called the intersection method.

For this method you have three columns on a sheet of paper and I think my editing business is a good example of kind of an outcome of the intersection method. Column one is a list of your skills. You know stuff that you’ve, you know skills that you’ve developed whether or not you’ve gotten paid for them in the past. For me it was like I was a decent English student in school. You know like this guy can barely form a sentence.

I wouldn’t trust him with anything, but you know okay. I’ve written a couple of books myself so I had that kind of skill and then you know a bunch of other random stuff that wasn’t really applicable to that business. Column two is your interest, hobbies, outside of work stuff that you like to do. You know for me skiing, softball, but also hey I like reading self development, self improvement, nonfiction business books that kind of thing. Column three is your network or you know who you know and from the point of column three is where you could you get a foot in the door?

For me it was like well because I had written those books in column one it’s a part of these different author communities on Facebook and stuff and then also you can bypass column three through marketplaces like Fiverr, like Upwork if you want to go down that path too. Then once you have those three it’s like trying to find the intersection. Where could you know a potential service or even a potential product fit in within those columns so for me it was the editing business.

For other people it might the other business that I started or I thought about starting after my old job at Ford was like you know something to help service advisors sell more. Because like I had a network in the dealership community. I had experience working with those people in the past and you know was interested in the car business and interested in software and sales and optimization and all that stuff. I never ended up acting on that, but I think that will help get the gears turning.

Mindy: You never ended up acting on that yet.

Scott: Yet that’s the key. I love how you started this commentary with you know where you said, “Hey don’t over complicate things, don’t trying to necessarily reinvent the wheel. Financial freedom is something that has been repeated over and over again and over again and yes you can have the same business idea as somebody else and you can go and compete and effectively generate income with that. We have the same problem here on BiggerPockets with people that are trying to buy real estate right.

They’re like oh I need the best deal in town and I need all of this other stuff. Well no, lots of investment properties exist and because people are holding them for a long time there’s a good chance they’re making money too. I just love that that mentality of just hey don’t overcomplicate it. Think through something that’s pretty straightforward.

Mindy: Yes, that applies to a lot of places in life.

Nick Yes. Alright are you guys ready for framework number two?

Mindy: Framework number two.

Scott: Yes.

Nick: All right framework number two and I can’t take credit for this I didn’t invent this it’s called rip, pivot, and jam. It comes from the boys of the tropical MBA podcast, one of my all-time favorite shows, one of the first podcast that I started listening to and you know one of the reasons that the Side Hustle Show exists today. Rip, pivot, and jam is basically taking somebody else’s business model, pivoting it to a different industry, different vertical. Putting your own unique spin on it and then jam, just you know hustle going to work and doing the execution on that.

An example that comes to mind is Alex Kenin who was a guest on the show. She hosts urban hiking tours in San Francisco and so what she saw was Segway tours and biking tours and bus tours and walking tours and she was like you know what I really like hiking. Maybe there’s room in this market for a hiking tour and so she you know it ripped off that basic tour idea, pivot it in a slightly different direction and then went to work in selling it. When we spoke she had hosted like a thousand people on these hikes over the course of the last year at $50 bucks a pop. She has gotten a book deal out of it.

You know it was just crazy stuff. All on the side, I think she works full-time for some like Google subsidiary doing copywriting and stuff. I thought that was a crazy example of you know just doing something that she loved doing and she’s actually hired people to run the hikes for her so like it’s become a little bit more passive and time leveraged so very cool stuff.

Nick: That business requires so much equipment right? Urban hikes?

Mindy: Yes shoes, socks.

Scott: Lots of overhead involved.

Mindy: Possibly a website where you now have WordPress to make everything easy and beautiful.

Scott: So literally they just walk around the city of San Francisco up and down hills in the very hilly San Francisco area and that’s what she’s her business model is. Is that right?

Nick: Yes so she’s got I think you know when we spoke she had three different kind of preset hikes or tours that she would take people on. She studied the history you know the different landmarks and stuff that was going on to make it interesting and entertaining, but you know once you started to get some traction on trip advisor and some of these other platforms that people would be looking for that sort of thing and partnering actually with some of the companies in the city for like teambuilding events, things really started to take off.

Mindy: Wow.

Scott: That’s awesome.

Mindy: Although you did say it was work. She had to do research. What’s one that you can just jump into with nothing and don’t have to do any work.

Scott: Put it in jam.

Nick: There is one. I love this one too because you guys know Russ Perry from Design Pickle?

Mindy: No.

Scott: I do not.

Nick: Okay so Design Pickle is this unlimited graphic design service that you can buy on like a monthly subscription basis and Russ’s best line was like “I sucked at design.” First of all like where most freelancers fall into this trap of trading time for money. Like for him it was never about that. He was like I sucked at it.

It was all about playing matchmaker between designers on his outsourced team and customers. You know I first met him, he was dancing around like in a pickle costume at some conference and I didn’t know it was him at the time. You know it was attention-getting so he used the rip, pivot, and jam method too because he saw some other companies out there selling like website maintenance on a monthly subscription basis or you know article writing on a monthly subscription basis. He was like you know what if I could sell design on a monthly subscription basis? That was his pivot and then you know the jam was dancing around in a pickle costume until you know people gave him money.

Scott: This sounds like a huge dill, this business.

Mindy: I’m rolling my eyes.

Scott: Sorry I couldn’t resist.

Mindy: Yes and that’s what we do on the BiggerPockets money podcast is tell really bad jokes. It was awful.

Scott: I tried to use my column of hobbies outside of work. I guess they’re now inside of work which involved bad jokes to start a T-shirt business way back in the day that failed so.

Nick: There you go.

Scott: I didn’t put any effort into it, but it may have worked if I had put had been a little bit smarter and tried a little harder.

Mindy: You need a different name.

Nick: Speaking oh my gosh so speaking of bad jokes and T-shirts like so one of the hot side hustles right now is Merch by Amazon, which is Amazon’s like print on demand T-shirt platform. Upload your design, upload your bad joke, and you know a fun font or whatever and they print the T-shirt, they you know ship it to the customer, Prime eligible and there’s like no overhead at all. Like you uploaded some PNG file. Like it’s crazy.

I think so my wife has gotten into this in like in the last year. I think she made like $2 grand doing it last year with a handful of different designs. It’s like it’s not nothing. She you know spend spent some time making these designs, but it’s totally passive because you know somebody can search for it and find it on Amazon.

Scott: That’s great I love it.

Mindy: Connect with somebody on Fiverr to do the design for you if you really really really are terrible at design. Go to Design Pickle and have this guy create a bunch of T-shirts.

Nick: That’s right you keep them spinning.

Mindy: Yes, stack up last week we talked to Lee Huffman and we talked about stacking travel rewards or stack some side hustles on top of each other so you pay the design pickle guy and then you make a bunch of T-shirts on Merch by Amazon.

Nick: Nice.

Mindy: I could do that.

Nick: You know who’s going to be next in the bald guest streak?

Scott: Oh wow.

Mindy: Yes, Scott you need to shave your head too.

Scott: Yes will make that a rule. We’ll have a July will be the month of bald money guests. That’s what we need.

Nick: Yes, who else could that be oh I don’t know.

Mindy: Yes, we’ll have to, we’ll brainstorm after the show. Don’t want to give it away. Okay so you said you have three?

Nick: The third one I would talk about is called the sniper method, which is you know so if you consider Amazon for example is a shotgun business. They sell almost everything under the sun where as a company that sells wood framed sunglasses, that a sniper business. They’re going off after just a tiny sliver of Amazon’s business and you know that can work for physical products. I think it can work for services as well. If you work for websites as well too so I just talked to the guys from Choose FI.

Where it’s like okay we’re going after this sliver of the personal finance market in podcasting and they’ve done really well with that. Even my comparison shopping site for shoes was called a Shoe Sniper so no correlation really between the sniper method and the name of the site, but instead of being a comparison engine trying to have digital cameras and clothes and you know mattresses and all of this other random stuff it was like look I just want to snipe off a piece of that market in footwear and saying by doing so position myself as the expert in that space. Hopefully be able to deliver better, tighter, you know algorithm results for those products and maybe even negotiate some special deals with those advertisers because you know hey we’re the shoe guy versus everybody else. I think maybe we’ve had people just build e-commerce stores around I just sell dance clothing or I just well like Steve Chus store like I just sell like wedding linens. You know like hey and that’s enough to build I think a million-dollar business from. It’s crazy.

Mindy: Anything wedding related is a million-dollar business.

Nick: Yes.

Mindy: Billion-dollar business.

Nick: On the service side it could be something like oh instead of saying raising my hand and saying I’m an accountant it could be like okay I do bookkeeping for e-commerce sellers, Amazon FDA sellers. Something like where pigeonholing yourself in a way that makes it easy for people to recommend you and to immediately recognize you know what it is that you do.

Scott: Awesome let’s see if we can maybe move into like what are the most ridiculous or most interesting or weirdest side hustles that you’ve kind of come across in your time running your site.

Mindy: I’m going to throw in a caveat. I’m going to throw in a caveat—profitable.

Scott: Yes.

Nick: Weird yet profitable.

Scott: Yes.

Mindy: Yes, there’s a lot of weird ones that are never oh I made nothing. Wow what a surprise.

Nick: You know what we talked about the pallet flipping guy. We talked about the flea market flipper. Recently, I talked to a guy who you know wanted to get started in real estate investing said, “Okay I don’t have the capital to do that right now.” Went to his son’s friend’s birthday party and they had one of these like inflatable bounce houses and he was like the lightbulb goes off.

He’s like, “Somebody’s is making money renting that thing for this party.” He goes home, buys a used bouncy house for like $800 bucks on Craigslist. Turns around and starts renting it out for $130-$140 bucks a pop. He’s like man compared to the 1% rule in rental real estate this thing blows it out of the water.

He’s you know now hired a guy to you know set it up and take it down for him on the weekends. You know has a VA answering the phones for him to schedule these bookings. I was like man that’s a really cool side hustle. Dude works full-time in IT and I think he did $15 grand worth of bookings last year for his bounce house.

Mindy: Wow.

Scott: That sounds to me like the mobile home business.

Nick: Yes, very mobile.

Mindy: God Scott.

Scott: Sorry I couldn’t resist.

Mindy: I vowed to never laugh at your dumb jokes. That’s funny.

Nick: Other weird ones. Other weird—I met the guy he started a parking lot cleanup business. You know he started this like.

Mindy: That’s awesome! I love that one. I’m sorry.

Nick: Yes he started like 30 years ago. He started like in the early 80s. It was probably like 35 years ago I guess. You know time flies and now he’s since hired people to go out and do this work for him, but he’s built this into like a $600,000 a year business starting with like three parking lot contracts.

You know rolling up, talking to property managers and having them be like, “Yes actually we’re having a hard time finding somebody reliable to do this for us.” He was like, “Hey this is a perfect side hustle because you can’t do it when cars are there so you got to do it early mornings or late at night and I can kind of work this around my gig.” I was like I was blown away by that one. I was really impressed with you know that’s probably under the category of like doing things that other people wouldn’t really even think about.

Scott: Yes and chances are that guy is not competing in your home town if you’re listening to this so that’s probably one that anybody can really repeat. Now you got to do is get out there and go right?

Nick: Yes, hopefully.

Mindy: Yes.

Nick: Hopefully he’s not.

Scott: Global, that’s what I was asking about. Are you going to franchise this thing? Are you going global? I don’t know.

Mindy: That was one of my favorite episodes ever because that story is just like anybody can do this. Literally, anybody can go around a parking lot and pick up garbage.

Nick: Pick up garbage, pick up trash.

Mindy: Pick up trash, pick up you know and if you do it consistently there’s not that much to pick up. Like every single day people aren’t just dumping out their ashtrays in the parking lot every single day. You might get one jerk who does that, but you know there’s a wrapper or you know leaves or whatever you have to pick up, but if you do it all the time you’re keeping yourself really busy. Plus doesn’t he like walk around the whole parking lot so he’s getting exercise. He’s listening to music or podcast or something while he’s doing it. This is such a great college kid I got to get up early or I went to bed late kind of job?

Nick: Yes.

Mindy: Regular people could do it too, but.

Nick: Regular people could do it too so I really like that one as well. Just kind of in the realm of like almost no equipment necessary, no upfront investment and if you can walk you can do that one. Another one that’s come up recently it was actually really strong hourly rates and this was something I was kind of unaware of was a loan signing agent. Maybe you guys being kind of in the real estate world knew about this before, but when you’re closing on a home loan you know the escrow company or whoever is going to send somebody over to you know oversee you signing and walk you through that giant stack of loan documents.

People that I talked to said well you know that person is making $150 bucks for that hour long appointment. In most states the only requirement is that you have a notary license. In most states that’s as simple as like paying a filing fee. Like in most states there’s not even a test for it. I was like that’s nuts. A guy heard about that on the show last year and so he’s making now $1,500 to $2 grand a month doing that on the side of his full-time job, which was completely unrelated in tire sales I think so. He was super excited because for him it was a major lifestyle change from working a minimum wage moonlighting gig, a second job on the weekends to being like oh I can make that in just one or two appointments.

Mindy: Yes, that’s fantastic and you’re working after work hours anyway. For the most part people don’t want to take time off work to go buy a house.

Nick: Right.

Mindy: You go to their house. I’ve had mobile notaries and we actually did it in my real estate agent’s house because I hadn’t bought the house yet, but they come over and they help you sign all of the docs. Well, they don’t help you. They show you where to sign it then you sign. Wow, a $150 dollars an hour? I need a raise.

Nick: Yes, so he said between $75 and $200 bucks for these appointments and he’s like most of the time you know they take an hour or less. I was like dang dude. You know this is something. I’m like this close to like getting my notary thing just to like test this out and be like yes this is legit.

Mindy: Well and how much is the cost to be a notary? A couple of hundred bucks I mean you do to or three closings and now you’re a notary.

Nick: Yes—again almost no overhead and you know just kind of have to learn what that paperwork is. You can talk somebody through it.

Mindy: Yes.

Scott: Anything else that you want to cover here related to getting started on a side hustle, ideas for starting a side hustle or cool stories related to side hustles before we move into the famous four?

Nick: One thing that we haven’t really touched on and maybe we’ll call this tier four on the side hustle ladder is kind of this online authority business model where you know you’re we talked a little bit about creating content, but you know this could be selling digital products, selling online courses. Where there has been a couple of inspiring examples of that in niches outside of you know the make money online space where the joke is the only people making money online are the people telling other people how to make money online. You know we’ve seen from hundreds of episodes that’s definitely not the case so a couple of examples that come to mind is Jacques Hopkins from PianoIn21Days.com. He’ll teach you how to play the piano in 21 days and I guess modern songs like pop songs, not Mozart and stuff. When we spoke he did like $20 grand worth of this course you know that he put together in the last month and quit his job as an engineer to you know become the online piano teacher guy. I was like that’s really cool.

You kind of the sound bite that he left me with was like I’m not teaching piano lessons. I was like wait what? He’s like, “No I’m teaching people the skill that I’m teaching is like you know how to be the cool guy at the party to play you know whatever modern song that people want to hear.” Like be you know become the life of the party. He’s like all right this is a cool little you know flip of the switch there.

Scott: You’re like I can’t read music, but I can play this one song really well.

Nick: Right. I’m going to be a hit at the next thing or you know get on the dueling piano bar. The other one, this one is actually really inspiring so this is Teresa Greenway. She teaches bread baking classes. Actually, just specifically sourdough bread baking classes.

She is a mother of 10 including a child of autism. She is escaped kind of an abusive relationship so I was really inspired by her story where she was making $4 or $5 grand a month teaching you know these bread baking classes on you Udemy.com—UDEMY. That’s a peer to peer education platform where as Jacque was teaching the course on his own platform. With Teresa she kind of told me like the first course is you know a lot of close ups of my hands working the dough because I didn’t want to zoom out because this thing is being filmed in my like dingy garage.

I didn’t want to zoom out and have people see like the crappy background and the oil stains on the floor and stuff like that, but it’s like start with what you have when you have it and she’s built up this amazing baking group on Facebook, which had like 30,000 members when we spoke. That’s her tribe. They’re her fans and even though he she had like a dozen courses out on baking bread I was like are you worried about running out of contents? She was like, “Oh honey you know I’m just scratching the surface over here. I could do the breads of Spain. I could do.” I was like alright—alright fair enough. Shows my ignorance there.

Scott: Wow she’s making dough, teaching others to make dough. That’s awesome. Sorry I can’t help myself this episode. They keep coming out. I don’t know where they come from.

Mindy: Uh—if I was there I would stick them back in.

Scott: That side hustle is a bread winner.

Mindy: Oh, oh, oh God stop.

Scott: Move on. Alright.

Mindy: This is all the time. People will send us jokes now. Just terrible, terrible jokes and Scott’s like, “Oh love it. I love it. I love it.” I’m like I’m sure you do. I’m with Nick who is just smiling politely.

Nick: That was a good one.

Mindy: I’m looking up—oh okay. Yes, I love that she’s online showing people how to make bread. I mean would you?

Nick: Yes, it was nuts. I was blown away by that one and it kind of started as a challenge from one of her daughters. Like nobody can make perfect sourdough and so that was you know I think that’s the name of her Facebook Group—perfect sourdough or Northwest Sourdough and she took that as a personal challenge and was like well you know what? I’m going to do it.

Mindy: That’s awesome. She charges for classes?

Nick: Yes.

Mindy: It’s—do you know what she charges?

Nick: On Udemy most of the stuff is usually pretty heavily discounted. You know usually between probably $10 and $30 bucks would be my guess.

Mindy: Okay. Shall we move on then to the famous for Scott?

Scott: Yes, let’s do it. Anything else you want to add before we do that Nick?

Nick: No, I’m good let’s go.

Mindy: Okay so these are our famous four questions. It’s the same four really five questions that we ask every guest. We start off with what is your favorite finance book and they get harder from here.

Nick: Okay I’m going to go with the maybe the controversial of classic Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Say what you will about if rich dad ever existed, but for me this was one of the first nonfiction books that I read as an impressionable 19-year-old youth and in I guess I could summarize the book in one sentence. It’s like you know you are financially free when income from assets that you control exceeds your monthly expenses. I that was like my blown kind of thing and there are lots of different ways to get there. That was really important for me to read at an early age.

Scott: To follow up on that what’s the best book that someone could read if they’re interested in side hustle? I mean what about side hustle is it kind of continuing this thought process that we talked about today.

Nick: I mean 4-Hour Workweek is good. Chris Guillebeau has got a book called Side Hustle, which is good. I’ve got a book called Buy Button, which I think is good. It’s about you know tapping into the pre-existing marketplaces to make extra money.

Mindy: Awesome.

Scott: Awesome. We’ll link to all those in the show notes.

Mindy: Yes and you can find the show notes today at BiggerPockets.com/MoneyShow28. Say what you will about the rich dad like is it real? Is it fake? It’s a book why does it have to be real just because it’s teaching a concept doesn’t mean that it all has to be a 100% true so I didn’t understand that part.

Now I’m not going to stick up for him because I didn’t particularly like the book. I think I’m the one person who ever read it and was like meh, but every single person that I have ever talked to is like, “Yes that’s the best book ever.” On the BiggerPockets’s real estate podcast that is the number one favorite real estate book that anybody has ever nominated by far. It’s like we’ve got 287 episodes or something of BiggerPockets’s real estate podcast and 200 people said Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It’s just.

Nick: Now I feel bad for not coming up with something like cool and indie that nobody else has heard of.

Mindy: No, it’s not mentioned that much on our show.

Nick: Okay.

Mindy: He teaches good lessons I guess. It doesn’t matter that he made it up. He still talked. It doesn’t make the lesson fake just because he made up the story. When I read it I thought he had gay dads. I was like why does he have two dads? I was really confused about that so I should read it again because I really really did not understand it the first time I read it.

Scott: Yes, I just thought it was good book in terms of framing the mindset in the way that anybody can understand. There’s nothing in it that’s complex and they actually start it from a position of a child’s point of view. Oh this eight-year-old is getting it I get it too.

Mindy: Yes.

Scott: I thought that was kind of, but I think that’s part of the power behind it and helping people grasp the concept really well.

Nick: Have you ever played his clash flow boardgame?

Scott: Yes.

Mindy: No. I have not played it.

Nick: I like the board game too like this you know that was really cool to play too. I mean it’s the same concept as like trying to build passive income or business income to exceed your expenses and escape the rat race.

Scott: Yes, I love that game. All right moving on to the next question here what was your biggest money mistake?

Nick: I’ve got a two-parter that both rely—both revolve around one real estate deal. We bought a townhouse here in California in 2007—18 months later it was worth 40 percent of what we paid so that was a major source of just stress in my wife and I’s relationship and even in relationships with our friends who were kind of like two years behind us financially and now they were all buying houses for half-price and complaining about how crazy the market is. We finally got up the nerve to short sell the place to get out from under this underwater situation in 2012. Maybe early 2013 when the sale finally finalized and of course since then the market has rebounded you know above and beyond the point where it was so it was a mistake on the front end, buying, a mistake on the backend selling. Just kind of a painful expensive chapter in our lives.

Mindy: Yes, I think that it’s only slightly helpful to know that you’re not the only one who went through that during that time. That’s a big one and you know a lot of people went through that. What were the numbers again? You bought it for how much?

Nick: We bought it for about half a million and you know at the very bottom it was worth $200.

Scott: Oh man.

Nick: I mean it was depressing knowing that you can move next door for half-price, but you know we—but we like it. I mean we actually still live in the same neighborhood. I mean we like living here it was just it was an expensive mistake. We thought we just lost you know the hundred grand that we put into it, but now on the upside you know we figured out we lost way more than that so I don’t want anything about it.

Mindy: Yes, you know coming from a position 10 years later it seems like oh well gosh I should have known. Real estate never goes down. Pre 2007-2008 real estate never goes down. It might flatten out a little bit, but it always goes up. You’re buying houses thinking oh it’s a good thing I got in at $500 because next because it’s going to be $600. That’s why so many people were buying at these prices because real estate never goes down and now you know hindsight is always 20/20. Don’t beat yourself up. I lost out on the gains that I had predicted I was going to get when I sold my flip because I sold in 2012 at pretty much the bottom of the market. I kind of like I made a profit, but not even close to what I was predicting.

Nick: Yes.

Mindy: You know even just covering your cost is a I was thankful to do that. Okay I’m sorry. Moving on. What is your best piece of advice for people who are just starting out? Let’s say let’s caveat that with just starting out on the side hustle trip.

Nick: Just starting out on the side hustle trip my advice would be to do one proactive thing every day that moves you forward. What I mean by that is you probably, it probably makes sense to tackle that first thing in the morning just because you have hopefully the most control of your time either then or you know at the very end of the day, but before you dive into email or social media or you know you know hopefully you can get this done before your kid starts screaming. In my case I feel much better when I have even just 15 minutes or 30 minutes like before I’m woken up to that. It’s just doing that one thing or you know your highest priority task to move yourself forward. Like you get—it’s just at least in my case it puts me in such a better mood you know mentally and it’s like okay I did my thing today. If nothing else happens like at least I made a little bit of progress.

Scott: Love it. Daily consistent action. First thing in the morning moves you toward your goals. Very big secret here.

Nick: Yes, my brother calls it the should do’s before you have to do’s and I never really heard it framed that way, but I kind of like that because it’s like well you know if you have to do it you’re going to find a way to get it done so you know prioritize your should do’s. I was like okay I like that.

Scott: Yes if you’re looking for more info on that kind of concept The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a really good book for that and they have quadrants of these activities like they call it important and urgent. Important and urgent is not what you want to be doing. You want to be the not urgent, but important stuff first because that’s the stuff that’s really gets you ahead long term. It’s a great book as well. All right last question here for the famous four. What is your favorite joke to tell the parties because we haven’t heard enough at this episode?

Nick: All right yes what kind of cheesy eye rolling joke that we do?

Scott: Yes.

Nick: Actually and so this is an official joke, but it’s kind of like you know personal finance related. Somewhat Mr. Money Mustache inspired I was like you know I should be biking more. You know in the past couple of years have made an effort to take the bike out more. You know ride downtown instead of taking the car.

You know bike the kid to school, pick him up to school on a bike. What I like about that is you know it’s fresh air. Getting some exercise. What I dislike about that is it’s noticeably slower and so everybody is strapped for time and it’s especially in this town I feel like I’m always riding into a 50 mile an hour head wind and it’s just like so frustrating to be plodding along. I’m like well maybe the compromise is to get an E-bike.

You know again some electric pedal assist and I rented one of these through like the line bike thing in San Diego when I was down there for a conference. I was like this thing is incredible. Like I’m just powering up this hill like it’s nothing. I was like maybe the solution is to get an E-bike and I tell this to my dad. I’m like, “Hey I’m thinking about getting an E-bike.” Thinking he’s going to be like all on board with this like this is going to be you know you’re better for the environment and you know you’re taking cars off the road and all of this stuff. His first reaction—his only reaction really was what’s wrong with your legs?

Scott: No, I think that’s like definitely a conception with these like E-bikes that are going around. Like they’re very unpopular amongst like traditionalists cyclers, but they’re so fun and they’re so practical. Like I have never seen anybody riding and an E-bike even if it’s their hundredth time who doesn’t have a huge smile plastered all over their face because they’re going like fairly fast with no effort and they’re you know the sun is in their face. The wind is in their face. Just what a great experience.

Nick: Yes so that’s probably still in my shopping list. I haven’t acquired one yet, but that might be my splurge for this year.

Mindy: You can make one.

Nick: You’ve got an inside hook up on the conversion kits?

Mindy: I don’t have an inside hookup on the conversion kits, but my husband wrote an article for Mr. Money Mustache’s site on how to make your own E-bike.

Nick: Oh, I’m on board with that.

Mindy: Yes.

Scott: I’ve actually built that E-bike and that’s the one I have. It’s pretty great.

Mindy: Okay, okay shoot I’m going to check it out.

Scott: I realized by the way what I should have said in response to the what’s wrong with your legs punch line to that you should have said back to him, “I’m too tired.” Oh that come to me too late this time. I’m sorry everybody.

Mindy: I’m not. Sometimes Scott cracks himself up and nobody else. Yes, no it didn’t take very long to put the bike together and he’s got some links to places that you can get the supplies, but like they cost about the same if you’re going to do it like if you’re going to DIY it. They kind of cost the same everywhere. The motor is more expensive if you get more horsepower obviously.

Nick: Sure.

Mindy: Funny story about Mr. Money Mustache. I live halfway up a big hill and then he lives like past the end of the hill. I saw him riding his bike up the hill. I’m like it’s a tough hill. I mean it’s not a mountain, but it’s a really tough hill and everybody gets off their bike to walk it up or they’re like going really really slow and he’s flying up the hill. I’m like on my God! Carl was in the car with me. “I’m like oh my God do you see that? He is going so fast up the hill. I can’t believe what a great shape he’s in.” Carl said, “Well he is on his E-bike.” At the time I didn’t know he was on his E-bike. I didn’t know he had an E-bike at all. I felt really silly.

Nick: This is like super Pete yes.

Mindy: I was so impressed that he could ride so fast up this hill. It’s a really awful hill.

Nick: Yes, you’re like 5,000 feet elevation and all of this stuff.

Mindy: Yes. Okay so Scott lied. He said the other joke question was the last question, but it is not. The last question that we ask everybody is where can people find more about you?

Nick: More about me so we covered a lot of different side hustle ideas in this show. If you want even more to kind of get the creative juices flowing I would invite you to hit up SideHustleNation.com/Ideas and of course would love to have you tune into that Side Hustle Show Podcast available on iTunes and wherever fine podcasts are sold.

Mindy: Yes and you sent us over a link to an article called Make Extra Money. That is 250 plus side hustle ideas. It’s called 250 Plus Proven Ways to Make Extra Money in 2018 the Ultimate Guide. I was flipping through there. I’m like oh I could do that I could do that I could do that. There’s like four things I would don’t want to do and this is just amazing.

Nick: Well that’s good. I’ll take a link to that as well.

Mindy: That’s an awesome article and yes so we will include all of these links in the show notes at BiggerPockets.com/MoneyShow28. Nick, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate this and I am sure our listeners will appreciate it too.

Nick: You bet thanks for having me. I could geek out on this stuff for a long time.

Scott: Yes, thanks Nick this was awesome. We had so many ideas and so many frameworks from which to approach it. I think that anybody listening to the show should be able to come across—they come up and be like the only reason I’m not going to do a side hustle is because I simply won’t commit the time to do it or simply can’t commit any time at all to do it so thank you.

Mindy: Awesome okay. Bye.

Scott: All right that was Nick Loper from SideHustleNation.com. Man that guy is full of information. He has not only done the side hustling himself several times and in several different areas, but he has interviewed hundreds and hundreds of other people. Just kind of gave us some of the best anecdotes that he has come across.

Mindy: I love his podcast and I love the concept of the side hustle and I really like that he points out you don’t have to commit to a ton of time. You don’t have to commit to a ton of money. In fact you shouldn’t jump in with both feet, with a ton of money right off the bat. His two favorite side hustles are the sourdough lady and the pallet guy. I see those pallet guys all of the time. I always. I never want to drive behind them because I’m like, “Oh those are going to fall.” They’re stacked up in the back of the truck, but about wow what an amazing side hustle and it takes like no money.

Scott: Yes, I liked the parking lot one because well yes that would not be the most fun thing to do for the first while while you’re getting it ramped up. Think about how little competition there’s got to be in that market space right? Like once you have that systematized you can hire some folks to help you to do that for you and get them steady work. Man you’ve got a real business that can expand pretty rapidly there.

Mindy: Yes.

Scott: It’s really a good idea.

Mindy: The bouncy house thing. My neighbor has a fourth of July party every year. She always gets a bouncy house and they come in, they set it up. It’s like 20 minutes of set up, 20 minutes of takedown, and that’s it. That’s all they do is drive to your house. Put this big thing up and leave. It’s very heavy. Like it weighs more than me. It’s super super heavy, but you get a couple of big college guys hey how would you like to I’m sorry you get a couple of sturdy people. It does not have to be men and how would you like to make a lot of money just driving stuff around? Oh okay I think they have a box truck and you know they put two or three in the back of the box truck, drive them around, go get more. You can make a lot of money on those. You pay those off three-four-five rentals and you’re done.

Scott: Yes, love it there’s so many good ideas on how to do this. My personal approach to this kind of thing has been in the past has been to try a few, see if I can fail within a couple of months. You know I try to succeed of course, but if I’m going to fail I try to you know make that clear within the first couple of months and move onto the next one. You know this can be done in conjunction with spending very little money.

In conjunction with working hard at your career and in conjunction with your investment philosophy whether that’s stock market investing, real estate or something else. I mean why not take the opportunity to divert time away from something that’s not bringing you happiness. That’s wasting time or whatever and pick up yourself by the bootstraps and put that energy toward something that gives you the potential to have a some income generation.

Mindy: Yes I love it I love the idea and it doesn’t have to be a full-time thing. It doesn’t even have to be a consistent thing. You know, “Oh I’ve got 20 hours this week, but next week I only have four.” Well then I guess you’re only going to do for next week. You know just.

Scott: Yes.

Mindy: Keeping track of your schedule and planning your side hustle when you can fit it in is great especially when you’re just getting started.

Scott: Yes with these gigs you have to like literally plan ahead one week in advance. You know.

Mindy: Yes, sometimes.

Scott: Maybe.

Mindy: Maybe a little bit more.

Scott: That’s about it and if you can do that, you have a chance to make some extra income and then the more you’re willing to plan and be a little creative and take some chances the more potential scalable results that you can produce.

Mindy: Yes, you get in what you put into it. You get out of it what you put into it. You might need to plan ahead a little bit more with the bouncy house, but because people are making those plans ahead of time. Yes, so great okay Scott shall we get out of here today?

Scott: Let’s get out of here.

Mindy: From episode 28 of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast this is Mindy Jensen over and out.

Scott: I’m sorry about all the jokes guys.

Mindy: Yes, I’m so sorry about all the jokes. They’re terrible.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How Nick started his first side hustle
  • Working for Ford as a territory manager while hustling on the side
  • Nick’s personal position toward financial freedom
  • How Google shut down his website on the first day of his retirement
  • The risk of relying on your job as your only source of income
  • Side hustling as being entrepreneurial and more time leveraged
  • On having an exit plan
  • Side hustle ideas that anyone can do
  • Marketing services for freelancing and consulting
  • Hiring people on Fiverr
  • Tips for people who want to generate more income
  • Business idea-generating frameworks
  • The “intersection method”
  • The “rip, pivot, and jam” method
  • The sniper method
  • Weird and profitable side hustles
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “Start something small, start something low risk, and build that up as much as you can.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Don’t ever complicate things. Don’t try to necessarily reinvent the wheel.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Start with what you have when you have it.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Nick

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.