Ep 340: Building Your Side Hustle with Nick Loper

AJV (00:02):
Hi everybody, This is AJ Vaden here, and welcome to another episode on the Influential of Personal Brand. I’ve got a new friend here today, and we’re gonna be talking about how to build and grow your side hustle. And before I formally introduce Nick Looper to the show, I want to tell you guys in advance why you need to stick away, stick around to the very, very end. So here’s why you wanna stick around. We’re gonna be talking about how to take that side hustle that maybe you’ve been working on and make it a recurring main hustle. So whatever you’ve been doing on the side, like how do you make enough money to make it your main hustle to do something that you really love, that gives you the lifestyle and the financial freedom that you want? That’s the first thing. The second thing is we know that a lot of you out there are aspiring speakers, authors, consultants, and we’re gonna talk about some different ideas of how do you really grow and leverage some pieces of your business that aren’t always time for money.
AJV (01:03):
And so we’re gonna talk about some different ideas with SAS products and how do you hit yourself to some of those so you’re not always trading time for money. And last but not least, we’re also gonna just talk about maybe if you’re one of those people who doesn’t have a side hustle, you don’t have differentiated income streams, but maybe you want some, what are some of the coolest, quickest, fastest things that you can be doing to build your side hustle right now? So without further ado, let me introduce you to Mr. Nick Loper and I’ll give you this formal introduction and then we’re gonna get started. So Nick Loper helps people earn money outside of their day job. He’s an author, he’s an online entrepreneur, and the host of the Award-Winning Side Hustle, Side Hustle Show podcast, that’s a tongue twister. And we’ll put a link to that in the show notes so that you can learn more about how to build and grow your side hustle. So Nick, welcome to the show.
NL (01:57):
Thanks for having me honored to be here. Yeah,
AJV (02:00):
No, we’re so excited and I’m really super excited to talk to you today because I actually, as I told you before we started, I’ve spent quite a bit of time doing some online stalking of trying to get some really good criteria and some good topics to share with our audience. And so I just wanna help them get to know you. And how did you get into teaching people how to build their side hustle? And what is the side hustle that you’ve been up to?
NL (02:29):
Yeah, this whole project started from this desire to build a more personally branded project, and it’s been, you know, probably the best decision that I’ve ever made. You know, starting with, you know, $50 mic corner of a living room, let’s see if anybody will tune into this stuff. And it’s been, you know, completely life changing from that little experiment back in 2013. Prior to that, the main side hustle for me was this comparison shopping site for footwear. That was the main business. That was the thing that let me quit my corporate job and start and I kind of un naively thought like, Look, I could just be the dude who sells shoes on the internet. Like that would be my thing. It had like a lot of businesses, a finite lifespan and was really grateful to have started several other side hustles on the side for that, including the blog and podcast, including lots of projects that didn’t work out. One of the other ones that did okay was a virtual assistant directory and review site started in 2011, a couple years before Side Hustle Nation and sold that one in 2020. But those are some of the projects that I’ve been working on and really grateful to be involved in the online space for quite a while and playing this personal brand game that we’re all we’re all working towards.
AJV (03:46):
Oh man, I love that. And so just briefly, what, what were you doing with this shoe comparison site? How on God’s green Earth did you come up with that idea and what made you wanna do it?
NL (04:01):
Oh, so this dates me a little bit. So, comparison shopping is not what it once was, but if your listeners are old enough to remember in the early days of the internet, you know, you would start your product searched on Google and instead of on Amazon and you would, you know, figure out where you could find the best price on whatever it was that you were looking for. And so there would be big sites like Price Grabber and NexTag and shopping.com in those days. And my idea was like, well, what if we really niched down and said, we’re just gonna do this for shoes? Cause I’d interned at a, you know, online footwear retailer in Seattle, like in college that started as, you know, a family owned single location, brick and mortar shoe store, that in the early days of the internet they had this cra you know, what, what would, what would happen if we put some of our inventory up online? Is anybody gonna buy this stuff? And by the time I came on board as their, you know, you know, low paid marketing intern, like of course the online side had blown up way more than their single location brick and mortar shop. And so that was my first exposure to affiliate marketing and pay click advertising and SEO and e-commerce, all this stuff that was really important. So taking what I learned there and then applying it to my own affiliate operation after the fact.
AJV (05:11):
Oh man, , I love that. And that’s actually a really great transition. And so there’s so many different things that we can talk about, and I have like a long list of things that I think would be really helpful to our particular audience. But you know, we kind of started with like talking about this concept of, you know, really leveraging your time for money and hitching yourself to some things that already exist. And so I wanna kinda just kinda get your ideas about, you know, software as a service and like, how is it that you can turn somebody else’s SAS product into your side hustle?
NL (05:50):
Yeah, a couple different ways to go about it. I mean, SAS is, is like the holy grail of business models, right? You know, create something once it’s all digital, it’s just ones and zeros out there on the internet and sell it over and over again, or get people paying you recurring for it. That’s like, that’s, you know, that’s it. You made it right. But super complicated, especially if it’s your first business to deal with the development and the validation and everything that goes into that and the support. So a couple different alternatives. One is white labeling that software or reselling that software. We had an episode on this in the spring that has actually done really well cause it was kind of eye opening, you know, over the course of 500 episodes. So it was one that we really hadn’t talked about before, but the, in this case, the guy was looking at some like reputation management software, how to help small businesses get more reviews for Yelp, for Google, for Facebook.
NL (06:45):
And, you know, he would go out and sell those to small businesses under his own brand. And, you know, he had to, you know, he’d buy like, you know, the wholesale rate you know, number of seats for this software. You go and resell it at a marked up price and add this layer of management and customer support in between. I was like, Oh, that’s really interesting. Like, he wasn’t the coder, he wasn’t the creator of this thing, but he just took what somebody else had and went out and sold it. And the other you know, software with a service method that we call it is kind of piggybacking on the popularity of a popular software tool and establishing yourself, establishing yourself as a go-to expert on that software. And we’ve seen people do this with QuickBooks, with Asana, with you know, certain WordPress plug-ins.
NL (07:34):
Even even like Squarespace, like some big, sometimes like big softwares. Maybe it’s like Tailwind for, you know, Pinterest. Maybe it’s there’s tons of different ones. Canva. One of my favorites was Paul Miners who was on the show years ago. And what he would do he did this specifically for Asana, and then he did it for pipe drive, and I wanna say Zapier as well. Like, he’s kind of like, Hey, look, I know all this stuff. But he started creating these YouTube videos where he’d, you know, introduce himself, Hey, I’m Paul, I’m an Asana consultant, and today we’re gonna cover how to do blank, blank, blank in Asana, right? Mm-Hmm. , like these like very specific keywords that somebody’s gonna be searching for in Google or YouTube. And by virtue of, you know, being relatively early in the space, and by virtue of producing this helpful content, he’d had all these companies reaching out and be like, Can you come in and train our team on, you know, just how to set up Asana and how to do this stuff? And so he went from working somebody’s full-time job for somebody else to be in his own like, location independent consultant on the back of this, you know, really just a helpful content marketing based approach.
AJV (08:39):
Yeah. You know, actually I really love that. Subtle but really important shift in what you said. It’s software as a service or software with a service. And I think that’s a really unique component. And I can think of legitimately like 10 of some of our most valued vendors. That’s truly what they are. It’s like we have lots of software products that we use at Brand Builders group, but it’s typically it’s working with someone who specializes in that, so we don’t have to learn it in house. And that could be done with any product that you really love yourself, become an expert at it, and then it’s like you can be reselling the, you know, the product and then offering in that layer of consultancy expertise, customer service, et cetera.
NL (09:26):
Yeah, totally.
AJV (09:27):
Yeah, No, it’s it’s interesting. I think we we are keep resellers ourselves and so we use the CRM keep and we resell it and it’s like, we get asked all the time, Well, hey, can you just set this up for us? Right? Yeah. It’s like, no, we don’t do that , but we, you know, we could, but we, we are choosing not to. But that’s a great example of anything that you become really well versed in. It’s like, why not offer your, you know, start with YouTube how-to videos and that could be a full blown business before you know it.
NL (09:59):
I love that. And that was I mean, you bring up Keep, you know, and we had people, you know, we’ll set up your funnel for you and keep slash Infusionsoft, or we’ll do it in active campaign or, you know, and after you do it, a handful of these you can kind of, you know, rinse and repeat the same basic templates too. Totally. So your hourly rate really starts to explode after that.
AJV (10:18):
Absolutely. It’s like, and that’s the thing, it’s like all of these software is, you really can create these templates. It’s like, if it’s this type of industry, here are the things you’re gonna wanna have. If you’re this type of business, these are the things you’re gonna have. And once you do it enough times, it’s like, you know what people need, and it is rinse and repeat and just a little bit of tailoring. That’s really fascinating. And I think there’s something kind of tied to that as well. And we talked a little bit about this before we started is how much affiliate marketing, marketing can also be a part of a pretty significant side hustle. And I’m curious to get your take on affiliate marketing and is it tied to e-commerce products, services? Like what do you see out there in terms of people making real money with affiliate marketing?
NL (11:05):
Yeah, so this has been my main source of income for, you know, probably 15 years, probably longer than 15 years. And it’s a, you know, it’s performance based marketing customer or rather, companies say, Hey, look, we could use some help selling our product or service. Here’s what we’re willing to pay. Here’s what we think a new customer is worth to us. And then they enlist affiliate affiliates like me to go out and help find those customers. It’s really a matter of creating content for that target customer and helping them make decisions. So one of the popular affiliate models that we’ve seen working lately, we call it the modern comparison shopping site, whereas like in my day, it was like very data you know, product catalog driven, you know, you know, very simple, not a lot of you know, insight or, you know, because there was hundreds of thousands of products, it was not a lot of like analysis and like, well, if you’re you, you have a narrow foot, you ought really, it’s like, there was none of that.
NL (12:02):
It was just like pulling in data and spitting back out prices. With the modern comparison shopping site, we seen some people doing really well with you know, very long tail search terms, like this product versus this product, this direct to consumer brand versus this direct to consumer brand. And creating the super in depth, you know, pros and cons, helping people make their decisions and guiding them towards like, Okay, based on your situation, this is the one that we think is best for you. The site that comes to mind is called fin versus fin.com, and they started reviewing FinTech products, and then they started reviewing like men’s health and wellness products. And then, you know, they’ve gotten even broader since then, but following that same basic template and what they’ve done that was kind of cool was like, you know, re almost like skating where the puck is going to say, Well, this company just received, you know, X million dollars in venture funding mm-hmm. . So we know in three to six months there’s gonna be, they’re gonna be spending money on customer acquisition, there’s gonna be some search volume surrounding that term. So we’re gonna go out and create that article in advance and kind of maybe the, maybe the SEO tools don’t say, it doesn’t say there’s any search volume today, but we’re confident that it’s gonna be coming based on what we’re seeing. And so they did a really good job with that.
AJV (13:18):
Interesting. So what makes you someone that companies want to partner with? Like generally speaking, you know, it’s like, what would you say makes a really good affiliate partner where you actually do make money?
NL (13:32):
Well, it’s trust in relationship with your audience, and then it’s the ability to convert. It’s the ability to, you know, find the traffic that’s qualified and then pass that along. For me, it was kind of a long time in realizing that the podcast audience that I had through the Side Hustle Show and the blog traffic were not necessarily the same. And I always had assumed like, Hey, you know, blog of Pocket, you know, follow, follow me because I’m so interesting as it relates to the web traffic, it was so much more transactional. It was, you know, Googling something, I need to find an answer to this specific question, you know, answer that, and they’re kind of off and, you know, Sure. Try and capture them as an email subscriber. Try and get them to, you know, subscribe to the site, try and get them to download an episode or two.
NL (14:20):
But largely is like, Okay, how can I solve this person’s problem here and now? And it was leading into that, that started to really ramp up some of the affiliate revenue. Like I’ll give you the example. Like the, the typical podcast listener for me is very entrepreneurial. They’re in it for the long haul. They’re kind of like, you know, really to like build something that’s their own. They’re not the type of person who’s probably that attracted to signing up for DoorDash or delivering for Instacart or something, but for the blog reader or the website visitor who’s googling ways to make extra money, like, Oh, that may be a viable option for them. Mm-Hmm.
AJV (14:55):
. Yeah, I think so. In, you know, in general, you know, translating this to everyone who’s listening, it’s like, first of all, you’ve gotta know your audience and you gotta know your audience on all platforms. And I think that’s maybe such an assumed given for most, but I think it’s amazing to me how often I find that people really don’t know who their audience is. And you can use any social media platform to get your own analytics on your audience. But I’m curious to get your feedback on like, what would you tell someone who’s going, All right, I’ve got this small side hustle and I wanna do the affiliate marketing route because, you know, I’ve got a small but trusted audience. How do I really leverage that versus, Oh, that sounds really interesting. I have all kinds of products I’d love to promote. What do I do? What would you say to both of those different people?
NL (15:47):
Yeah. If the audience is small and they are paying attention to you as the influencer, you as the personal brand, you might pick, you know, the five or 10 tools that you really love that you feel comfortable recommending and almost designing product launches around them. Like, you know, even maybe it’s a three or four email sequence, or three or four social post sequence, really hying this up and talking about why they need this in their life. And one, you know, strategy may be like, Let, let’s play the substitution game. You’re probably currently using tool X, Y, or Z. Or maybe you’re just, you know, maybe you’re doing it yourself in Excel. Here’s why this solution is better, faster, cheaper. Right? And so you kind of position it in different ways. Here’s the frequently asked questions format, here’s the testimonials format you know, email blast that goes out.
NL (16:41):
And I think you can find a very low risk way to get started. You’re not spending months creating your own product or program, and you’re just, now the, the downside is you’re, you’re getting a percentage of revenue instead of the whole piece. So different trade offs, you have less control over what happens to those customers after you’re kind of sending them off into somebody else’s world, somebody else’s ecosystem, but definitely an attractive way to make, make some commissions, make some money without having to create your own product. And you can kind of hit the ground running pretty quickly with that.
AJV (17:12):
Yeah. So what I hear you saying is like, regardless if it was your business or you’re promoting someone else’s products and services, you gotta have your marketing game plan, You gotta have a launch plan, right? You gotta have a strategy of knowing how are you gonna promote this and what different tools are you gonna use to get this to the point of conversion for whoever is following you,
NL (17:30):
AJV (17:31):
Yeah. it’s, it’s so interesting because I think there’s this big promise of a lot of people going, Yes, I’m gonna make all my money, or just, you know, doing affiliate marketing and influencer marketing, but it’s like you said, that’s been your primary source of income for the last 15 years. So you’ve clearly figured something out that maybe the ordinary person trying to do this has not. What do you think you do that’s different than someone else that’s been so successful?
NL (18:01):
Well, there’s a lot to learn on the traffic side, especially the SEO side. It can be really, I mean, you can go as deep into the weeds a as you want. Both the shoe business and the virtual assistant business really captured kind of you know, bottom of the funnel traffic, like mm-hmm. , you know, they’re looking for this product you know, maybe like this specific new balance model xyz in the case of the shoe site, it’s like, that’s a pretty high buyer intent keyword. And so they’re, you know, trying to find at that point probably who has it in stock, who’s got it for the best price, right? And so that was relatively easy to capture. And that was all paid traffic too. That was not a site, never got any love from the SEO gots with the virtual assistant site.
NL (18:45):
It would be, you know, this company versus this company or this virtual assistant company review. So they had already done a little bit of homework. They’re trying to figure out like, ah, are they legit? Can you, you know, can you point people in the right direction that way? But targeting in a lot of cases, some, you know, lower, lower in the funnel type of intent there mm-hmm. . And we targeted some higher ones too, like, you know, just virtual assistant companies or best virtual assistant companies. Like they’re still interested in it, but they haven’t quite narrowed it down yet. And so trying to capture people at different stages of their buying cycle. And then on the podcast it’s, you know, almost a byproduct or just building a relationship with people, you know, 40, 45 minutes, 50 minutes every week, week after week. Like, they kind of get to know, like, and trust you in a really special way.
AJV (19:33):
Yeah. No, I love that. And that’s actually a really great transition. Cause one of the topics I had on my list here are ideas on how to monetize a small podcast. Cuz I’m pretty sure at this point everyone and the brother and their sister has a podcast or wants to start I podcast. And it’s one of those things where so many people start it and not a lot of people continue with it because it’s a lot more work than you initially think to keep it going much less actually turn it into something that makes you money. So tips, ideas for how to monetize a small but mighty podcast.
NL (20:13):
Small but mighty. That’s the key. It doesn’t take a ton of listeners if they’re the right listeners. Right. And I’m still bullish on the future of podcasting just because I don’t know what the latest stats are. Like half the population doesn’t even listen to podcasts yet. It’s like, you mean you haven’t discovered the, the magic of OnDemand audio and whatever you wanna learn about, like, this is, this is so cool. So yes, lots of room still to grow in in the podcasting space. More competitive than ever, but also more money flowing into the space too. So monetizing a small podcast your best bets are not sponsorships, right? Where that’s very much a game of amplitude and frequency. How many people can you reach and how often you can reach them. And if you have a huge daily show, then yeah, it makes sense.
NL (20:57):
For a lot of people it’s going to be creating a, you know, private membership community to, you know, check that recurring revenue box. People want more, they want more of you in their life, but you, you know, you can’t realistically do one on one all the time. Like, here’s the private community. It could be the you know, higher ticket digital product. It could be the higher ticket you know, done for you consulting service. It could even be, you know, using the podcast as content-based networking to call up your ideal customer and just get ’em on the phone. Cuz we’ve had a couple friends of mine be like, Well what’s the first half an hour of any sales conversation anyway? It’s a lot like a podcast, you know, it’s like, well why don’t you just hit the record button and all of a sudden instead of a sales pitch you’re leading with now, hey, why don’t you come on my show? And as long as there’s value on both ends there, it’s only natural for that guest to turn around and be like, Oh wait. You know, What is it that you do again? Oh, you know, we could really use some help setting up our sales funnel or whatever it is that you do.
AJV (22:01):
Yeah, I think out of, you know, it’s like if I were to go back and look at all the different reasons that we’ve, we’ve had two different podcasts now, but all the different reasons that we initially said, why do we want a podcast? One of them truly was this truly natural relationship building and networking that occurs by just finding interesting people that you wanna get to know that you wanna learn about and inviting them on the show. Whereas I could have maybe reached out to a dozen of these people and maybe one of them would’ve taken a sales call or a coffee or a lunch, but at least 50% of them would accept a spot being interviewed on our podcast. And it’s, it is, it’s a strategic networking move. It’s a great way to just start that slow relationship build that may or may not, but may lead into a sale one day.
AJV (22:56):
But it’s that opening of, Hey, do you wanna grab coffee? Not really. You wanna be a guest on my show? Yeah, that sounds interesting. Tell me more about your show. But that, that alone is a really uniquely strategic angle, depending on right, what’s the, you know, what’s the benefit of them for coming on the show and everything. But I love that particular one. And then you, you mentioned the membership site and so any insights that you would share on what you think makes us successful membership site where you could convert a listener into a paying member? What do they want?
NL (23:35):
Yeah, so typically the membership site is content plus community and it’s often come for the content stay for the community. And so we’ve seen and depending on your niche, maybe you lean more heavily on one or the other. Like is this educational content that they’re after or is it community? So a couple guests recently, one was called On the Hard Days, it was a parenting podcast for neuro divergent kids or parents of neuro divergent kids. And that was the feedback that she got from her audience was like, I, I gotta know, other moms have to be in the same spot that I’m in. I just need some friends. I just need people to listen and vent to and get support and feedback. And the other one that was on the show recently was Jill from Sober Powered, which is a podcast about the science of addiction and, and trying to get and stay sober. And it was the same thing from her audience. It wasn’t like she was providing the educational content free through the podcast, but what her listeners wanted was more Jill, they wanted more her time, they wanted more community, and that’s what she ended up putting together with that and actually bring it on some guest experts once a month. And so that was kind of how she had hers structured.
AJV (24:50):
Yeah, I think just, it’s a great reminder to everyone who’s listening. It’s like, if you truly figure out who your audience is and then you serve them in a way that they need, they do want more of you, it’s like, you know, you, you become, like you said, it’s like you’re this trusted voice in their ear week after week. But to build any relationship, it takes consistency, it takes providing real value and it also make you gotta provide the real value to the right person. So it’s knowing who your audience is, which is where we started talking about this, even with seo, it’s like doesn’t really help unless you know exactly who you’re targeting. Same with paid media, but then also giving them what they want in an authentic way that only you can do it, right? That’s kind of the, the true equation of building a successful personal brand.
AJV (25:37):
It’s, you know, serving the right audience and doing it in a way that only you can do. So alright, so I’m tentatively watching the clock knowing that we only have about 10 minutes left. So I’m curious, one of the things that I just kinda had, you know, down here are two things that you said on our pre-call that I thought would be interesting and you said, you know, everyone always talks about a journey to a thousand clients or a thousand fans, but what about just making 10 true clients? And so I’d love to hear you just kind of like deep dive on, you know, it’s, it’s interesting cuz people often look at quantity as somehow this is the end all be all of what I’m trying to get to. And you made that comment of maybe it’s not a thousand fans or it’s just 10 really great true clients. So where’d that spare from? And I’d just love for you to share some insight on that.
NL (26:29):
You bet. So the Thousand True Fans is this essay from Kevin Kelly that is like now taken as internet business gospel that says, Hey look, you got a thousand true fans and true fans. He defines as somebody who supports your work to the tune of a hundred dollars a year. They, these are the people who like, you know, buy everything you put out, they, they come to your concerts, they spread the word about you, right? And, and that’s awesome to have that level of community and that level of support, but you know, only a, probably only a small percentage of the people following you are going to, you know, really check that true fan box. And so it’s like you gotta have, you gotta shoot for some pretty big numbers to get there. So what the guys from the Tropical NBA Podcast argue is like, well, what if you flip it? What if you say what if you aim for 10 true 10 true clients starting out, you get 10 true clients that each pay you a thousand bucks a month. Like you’re kind of in a similar revenue area as that thousand true fans and maybe more realistic to get to because now you can have one on one conversations. You can look people in the eye and say, Sign here. This is the service I’m gonna provide for you. And it’s just maybe more realistic for people starting out.
AJV (27:40):
Yeah, it’s so interesting that this came up. So literally over the weekend, my husband and I who are business partners were doing our annual business planning for 2023, which is unbelievable that it’s almost here. And one of our dear close friends, a former pastor of ours at our church had, you know, left ministry and is starting his own marriage counseling business with his wife, which has been their true passion for a really long time. And he had launched this course business selling these, you know, guide to a, you know, great marriage, whatever it was called, but for $39. And he was like, Nah, I just, I just gotta figure out how to sell it. Thousands of these. And we were like, Yeah, why, why do you need to sell thousands of these at $39 and how much work is that gonna take? Versus what if you just had 10 people paying you 500 bucks a month? And he was like, That’s a great question. But it is, you know, it’s, it is that, it’s that same thing that people always say, it’s like, I wanted, I want this product that just makes money while I sleep. And it’s like, Yeah, but you gotta sell a lot of product for that to stay consistently.
NL (28:53):
It really is. And you can think of it as a a value ladder or kind of like a different menu of service offerings. Like you can go buy, you know, Tony Robbins book for 10 bucks mm-hmm. , or you can go to his, you know, $10,000 five day get you pumped up, walk across the hot Kohl’s, you know, live workshop. And so, and there’s probably some different tiers in between there too. And so, you know, maybe you have down the road you introduce different price tiers where you know, this is the full, you know, done for you top of the line Cadillac of services all the way down. Like, well here’s my, you know, ebook workbook on how to do it yourself if you wanna fill in all the blanks, you know, and you have maybe some different levels in between.
AJV (29:33):
Absolutely. I think for everyone it’s I think there’s this overarching temptation to listen to everyone of going, Yeah, make money while you sleep, build a course and make a million dollars. And I was like, I dunno how many people who are making courses make a million dollars consistently. But that’s a great option, right? And what we call a collapsible offer it’s a piece of the puzzle that for that consistency. Yeah, you don’t have to sell a lot of those in order to make it work long term. Alright, so my last question for you is for those of, for those of us out there who are listening to this show who go, All right, all right, what, this is what I need to do to start, you know, adding some income streams. I wanna do some side hustle stuff. I wanna expand on how the, all the different ways I’m making money, what would you say are the best three ideas for someone who’s just getting started on a side hustle?
NL (30:29):
Oh my goodness. Oh, I think you gotta start with pains and problems, right? Like the typical advice, you know, to find the, the perfect side hustle ideas to look at these like concentric circles, like well put your skills in this, in this circle and put your you know, hobbies and interests in this circle and then put like, you know, things you’ve been paid to do in this circle. And like the magical sweet spot in the middle is like, well that’s your unique side hustle idea. And the problem is for a lot of people it’s like, well my skills are over here and my hobbies and interests are way over here and like what I’ve been paid to do, like doesn’t overlap any of that stuff. And that’s super frustrating. And so what you have to do instead is kind of put on your pessimist hat for a little bit, which I normally like to stay more optimistic, but bear with me on this one.
NL (31:13):
So you open up just a blank notes app on your phone. I call it my what sucks list. And for, you know, a day a week, you know, a couple weeks, it is your job to write down everything that sucks, everything that you find annoying in your life, everything that you wish there was an easier way, everything that your spouse or partner is complaining to you about that your coworkers or neighbors are just kind of griping about. Because on the other side of those pains and problems and annoyances, like there might be a business idea solution. And it’s usually gonna take one of three forms, product, service, or content. And like, we’ll give the example of like a dirty house, a common common problem for me cuz I look around this room so there are, I could go out and buy cleaning products to address this pain and problem. I could go hire a cleaning service to address this pain or problem. Or I can go binge watch, you know, all the decluttering shows on Netflix or YouTube like how to organize and you know, make my space clean and stay that way. And so entrepreneurs are tackling that same problem from three different ways. And so that’s how I kind of recommend people go about that initial idea searching phase. Does that make sense?
AJV (32:23):
Absolutely. Actually, I really love that cuz I think most of us naturally go, I wish this was better. You know, at the, as soon as you started talking, it made me think about this. I was recently traveling overseas and I don’t know, I can’t speak for the men cuz I can only speak for the lady’s bathroom, but it’s always so annoying to go, I have to like, walk underneath all the, all the stalls and look underneath like who has feet where other legs never can tell what’s open, especially these long airport bathrooms. But while I was traveling overseas, this was in Sydney, Australia, I walked in and above every single stall was a red light or a green light.
NL (33:01):
AJV (33:01):
And so as soon as you walked in, you just saw anything that was green was open, anything that was red was locked. And I was like, this is brilliant, this is so smart. It’s like created so much efficiency and it’s like, I can’t tell you for how many years, it’s like kind of just like looking underneath the stars, like totally creeping on people to go, well what’s, I don’t know, But same type of thing. It’s like, what a brilliant idea of going, duh, just put a red light in a green light over these stalls. So all the women coming in here can quickly and efficiently come in and out. But it’s like to the point that would’ve very much come from what do you wish was better? What sucks? Yeah, what are people always complaining about? What do you complain about? I think that’s awesome. I think that’s not pessimistic, that’s improvement oriented.
NL (33:49):
That’s a, that’s a more positive way to look at it. And really bonus points if you can reach out and have conversations with, you know, business owners who maybe you have some pre-existing relationship with and you know, what are you struggling with? And you can ask your audience the same thing. You know, what’s your, what’s the biggest challenge that you’re facing this month? And you know, you start to see some patterns in those you know, in those answers. And that’s kind of a hint that, or what if you created the solution to that. You may not know what it is at the beginning, but you kind of validate and maybe pre-sell and kind of, you know, even get people on the phone and try and get people’s feedback. Well hey, I’m thinking of creating this, you know, if I did, what would you like to see inside? What would that be? What would that be worth to you? And just trying to get, get some feedback on ideas before you go back to the cave and spend three months building this thing that you’re not sure if anybody wants.
AJV (34:41):
No, I love that. I think just really getting clear on what you said, it’s like what are your skills, what are your passions? What have you been paid to do? But then also it’s like, what needs improving that you could actually help with what, at the very least it’s maybe you found a tool or a resource that’s really awesome, right? Kinda getting behind that and going, I need to just tell every single person I know about this and maybe tag some services on top of it. Right? those are so helpful. Anything else that you would say for someone who’s just getting started?
NL (35:08):
Well, on those live, I know you have a lot of podcast podcasters tuning in. There’s this one cool tool, I’ll see if I can take it up that I just found somebody, a listeners sent it to me. It was called likeon phonic.com/graph and it creates you punch in the name of your podcast and it creates this like 3D matrix thing of all the related shows on similar topics that you talk about. And it’s really cool because these are like guest podcast targets, basically like, hey look, if my audience is into this, you know, my, maybe I could find some new listeners over here, or maybe these hosts would be open to some sort of joint webinar, you know, collaboration, partnership thing as like, I thought that was a really cool recent, recent tool new find for me.
AJV (35:57):
Yes. And I will go and find the link and I will put that in the show notes for every, for everybody. But again, it’s like, find the tools that you love and figure out do they have an affiliate program and promote the pants off of them, right? ? Yes.
NL (36:10):
I dunno.
AJV (36:12):
Nick, thank you so much for being on the show. I’ve got one last question for you. And this is totally not relevant to any sort of conversation we’ve had so far, but more of just helping our audience continually get to know you. What is your favorite side hustle that you’ve ever done? Or what is the side hustle that you’ve always wanted to do but you’ve never done?
NL (36:35):
Oh, I love it. So I’m like, I’m a sucker for these like, online businesses, right? Cuz there’s leverage and it’s like even the first few years you’re working for so far below minimum wage, it’s probably not even funny, but like over time it takes the same effort to produce a podcast that 10 people listen to or 10,000 people listen to or a hundred thousand people listen to. Same thing with, you know, written content, email content, YouTube content. So I love, like, I love all that stuff and that is ton of, that’s really fun. Like this combination of content production and analysis of what’s working, what’s not. Like I love that stuff. If I were to start a new business tomorrow, honestly I think it would be like a pressure washing business. I think it’s just so satisfying to go out there, do the work. I think it has the, you know, it would go like mini viral in the neighborhood. You stick your flag out there, you know, the neighbors walk by, they see you working hey, you wanna come by, gimme a quote. Like, I’m right across the street. What do you think you wanna come by and do my house next? I think that would be a ton of fun. I think that may be my retirement side hustle.
AJV (37:31):
Oh my gosh, I love this. We always talk about this like what are, what is the random chore that you secretly really like? and mine is power washing . Nice. There is great satisfaction. It’s so dirty now, it’s so clean. I love that. And this has been so helpful. So great. Thank you so much for being on the show. If people wanna connect with you where should they go?
NL (37:55):
You bet, of course, would love to have you tune into the Side Hustle Show. We cover new and creative business ideas every Thursday. Look for the you know, green cover art with my mug on it and Spotify Apple Podcast, wherever your favorite podcast app is. Side hustle nation.com/ideas. If you are in that idea seeking stage, this is just a long list of part-time business ideas, ways to make extra money, no opt-in required over there, just you know, hopefully get the creative juices flowing.
AJV (38:23):
Awesome. And I will put both of those links in our show notes. But again, check out his podcast, The Side Hustle Show podcast and your favorite listening tool. And then if you are in the ideation phase or maybe you just want more side hustles, you can go to side hustle nation.com/ideas. And you can stay in touch with Nick on both of those places. Nick, thank you so much. Everyone, thanks for listening in and we’ll catch you next time on the influential personal brand.