Richard’s question was a bit long for the headline of this post. Here’s the full question:
Suppose you have a tiny site, and you’re short of every resource: time, money, energy. What should you do to get some traction if you have basically no options? If it’s your side hustle or your own business and you spend all your time on client work?
This is a very common dilemma.
Time is every entrepreneurs worst enemy.
You need to pay your bills, but you want to really be working on another business altogether.
Well, there are a few ways to do this:
1. Get A Loan & Go All In
If you really believe in your side hustle, you should be confident enough to secure funding (such as a loan or a business line of credit from a bank) and jump in.
I know a lot of people get queasy at this thought. It’s scary to be on the hook for a big chunk of cash for something that might be a hair-brained business idea.
But this feeling is a good thing! Now you know you’re getting somewhere. Now it’s time to answer those tough questions:
Do you really want to do this business?
What’s wrong with just having a job?
Do you just want money? Because a job provides money and sometimes benefits, short hours and potentially less stress. Often, a good job is a smart investment.
Also, you might want to hear what Mark Cuban says about taking out a loan:
If you’re starting a business, and you take out a loan – you’re a moron.
But the real reason why I want people to think of getting a loan is that it really puts your confidence in perspective. If makes you question yourself, your ideas – it’s a great sanity check.
2. Keep Doing The 50/50 Split, But Become A Time Tyrant
I would say that it’s possible for a lot of people to ramp up their side hustle if they’re really smart about their business decisions and time.
A lot of this is about trying to ramp up the side business until the revenue is good enough to where you can leave the “day job” behind.
A great way to become tyrannical with your time is start by changing nothing at all.
Instead, spend a week tracking every minute of what you do during the day. And you have to do this for a whole week. This is really hard to do. But you have to do it.
The next week, you have to analyze what you did with all your time. How much time did you spend on social media? How much time did you spend showering? How much time did you spend watching Netflix? How much time did you spend on your jobby job? How much time did you spend on your side hustle? How much time did you spend answering emails for your side hustle? Be incredibly detailed.
Find out how much time you spend on every single little task during each day of the week.
We Have To Step Back A Minute
Before you analyze your time spent doing tasks. You have to make sure you set up your “goal navigator”. What I do is determine what big goal I want to accomplish for my business and break down the steps I need to get there. Then, I figure out what daily tasks I need to do in order to accomplish those big goals (and the numbers of times I might need to do something that day, like send out 5 outreach emails). I put all these tasks in a spreadsheet. Each row is a date. Each column is a task. Every day I religiously check off each task I need to accomplish.
Now, if after a while these tasks are not accomplishing my big goals, I have to either step up their frequency or try another path and adjust my spreadsheet. Another important thing is to keep a side tab where I discuss my goal hypothesis, ask why I may have deviated from my goals etc.
Now Go Back And Do Your Time Analysis
Now you know what daily tasks you need to do to knock out in order to accomplish your big goals. Do you have enough time to do all of your tasks considering you still have a day job? You’ll probably have to spend another week trying it all out and recording your time again :).
Finally, go back and see what stuff you do during your day you need to shorten or throw out altogether. As Tim Ferris says, “what can I subtract?“. Hopefully, what you find, is there’s a bunch of BS stuff you spend your time on that you can reduce, do differently or completely throw out.
This might be the only exercise you need to do completely self-fund your dream hustle. It’s really hard and tedious. It takes a tremendous amount of focus. But ain’t it worth not being on the hook for a bunch of money? Isn’t it worth your dream?
The real beauty of doing the 50/50 split and doing what I mentioned above is, you’re doing a lot of your early stage business stuff that you’d have to do if you got funding. You’re going to find out what works and what doesn’t. Some business activities are completely useless. But a lot of them are the assumptions that you initially think will make your business work. Usually all the assumptions you come in when you sign for a loan. “All I gotta do is this and we’ll be in business”. Not true! The only way to know is to work through your assumptions – which takes time. So why not do them while you still have a base income?
For The Best Chance Of Success, Focus On One Thing
This is another dilemma with this entire question. The greatest chance of success is most likely going to occur if you focus on one thing. Meaning your business. So doing the 50/50 split, lessens your chance of success.
Therefore, there will probably be a point where doing the 50/50 split will reach some sort of plateau. Hopefully you’ve seen some side-hustle growth, and hopefully that growth includes growing revenue. Then it’s up to you as the entrepreneur to make the call:
Is it time to jump all in?