Side Hustles and Buy Buttons
Part of the overall brief of my blog and website here at MatthewsBack.com is to document my journey of recovery from my sore back, my come back and my side hustles. My logic is that many people have the same or similar issues with their lower backs, so if I document and diarise my recovery process then it might help others with theirs.
Lower back disc protrusions certainly suck rather heavily. The physical pain and subsequent resulting mental pain (and drop in IQ), combined with the inability to function properly on a daily basis are remarkably unpleasant experiences ! However, they do appear to get better, albeit over different time frames for different people.
Another part of my overall brief here is to document my “come back”.
I am trying to show and document my return to the real world – my journey from lying on the floor being unable to move to getting back to my former (vaguely) physically active, normal Dad self and regular participant of life.
These milestones include such monumentous occasions as going to the supermarket, mowing the lawn, sitting at a table at a restaurant with my wife, or picking up my teenage kids from their various activities. It also includes my physio and doctors visits, various exercise routines, plus successes and failures across all of these efforts.
See what I’ve done with the name of this website and blog ? Matthew‘s Back vs Matthews‘ Back <- note the apostrophes. Subtle differentiation, but probably lost on most because domain names cannot have apostrophes in them. I thought it was clever, but then again I’ve been taking lots of pain killers which have frazzled my brain a little….
Lying on the floor was an eye opening experience for me. Quite simply, life is too short to be stuck on the corporate treadmill or in the rat race. My theory is that most people, given the opportunity and more money, would probably rather be doing something else with their time.
The third main part of MatthewsBack.com is documenting and explaining my Side Hustles and hopefully inspiring you with yours.
I intend to provide some ideas, suggestions and resources for how you can launch your own side hustles. I will share my various efforts across several areas and hopefully you, dear reader, and I can grow together.
What is a Side Hustle ?
A “Side Hustle” is the attempt to generate another source of income away from your primary employment – usually from an entrepreneurial point of view.
Side Hustles are not necessarily a second job in the traditional sense, although they can be treated as such. A side hustle is essentially the starting, nurturing, growing and running of a small business.
The goal of your side hustles could be anything from trying to create an enormous start up company such as the next Facebook, eBay or Amazon, to simply generating an extra few $$$ per month to help pay the rent or to feed your ice cream addiction.
Or, quite often, the main goal of a side hustle could ultimately be to replace your current income via something more enjoyable than your current job. A variation of this could be to aim to work for yourself, rather than “working for the man”.
Side Hustles are usually worked on in your non-job time. Evenings, after work or on the weekends – in your spare time – is when side hustle magic more than likely will occur.
In this fast paced internet enabled world that we live in, it has never been easier to start a side hustle, or several side hustles. For a few dollars a month spent on website hosting and a few hours a week it can be achieved, albeit with a fair amount of effort.
At the risk of stating the obvious, if it was easy, then everyone would be doing it.
Having said that, it is actually quite easy to set up a website where you can sell something. If you need a hand, I can certainly help you.
” But, what should I sell ?!? ” I hear you cry.
That, my friends, is potentially the million dollar question.
You can sell your widgets, your creations, your art, your music, your gizmos.
What’s that ? You don’t feel that instantly you have any services, knowledge, expertise, widgets, gizmos, tangible or intangible “things” to sell ?
You can sell other people’s services, knowledge, physical or digital goods !
And the beauty of this is that there are often zero or very minimal costs involved with this.
The easiest way to get started with this is to decide on what your passions are.
What do you do in your spare time ? What gets you excited ? What hobbies do you have, what magazines or books or websites do you read ? What makes you unique ? What do you help your friends with when they inevitably come to you for a hand ?
Now that you stop to think about it, what patterns have been forming over the course of your life ?
Chances are extremely high that you are the go to girl / guy for something.
Where do you hang out ? Where do other people who also like what you like hang out, especially on the Internet ?
The reason I ask this question is because wherever that place is, it is the best place to find out what your fellow enthusiasts want, need and learn from each other.
If you have not heard of a gentleman by the name of Nick Loper, then I strongly suggest that you immediately ( in a few minutes after reading the rest of this post of course ) head on over to his website and blog at SideHustleNation.com
I also strongly suggest you seek out Nick’s Side Hustle Show podcast and devour every possible episode.
Nick’s site and podcast are full of practical yet simple advice and ideas for creating your own side hustles. He interviews people about their successes and learning experiences in their side hustle journeys.
His interview style is delightfully simplistic – he essentially takes it from the viewpoint of not having a clue about what the interviewee is talking about. Obviously Nick does know what the low down is, because the monthly income reports that he posts on his blog would suggest that he is a very clever man.
Once you’ve subscribed to Nick’s podcast, then the next step is to buy his Buy Buttons ebook.
The quickest and easiest way to “sell something on the Internet” is to go where the buyers are.
A longer term goal should be to have your own website and sell your stuff from there.
However, it is quicker and arguably easier to go where the buyers are already.
The analogy here is that you can set up your own hamburger stand in the middle of the desert, but because no one knows you are there, it’s unlikely that anyone will find you – even if you make the best burgers in the world in space. It is the same for your website (initially when you are just getting started)… Tumble weeds, plus the occasional dung beetle.
If, however, you set up your burger bar in the middle of the food court in the middle of the busiest shopping centre in the world in space, then you are much more likely to move a few units.
This is the underlying concept of Nicks Buy Buttons book.
In his book Nick Loper shares approximately 300 places and ideas where you can put YOUR buy button in front of people who are ready to purchase.
For example, if you’ve got a spare bedroom and like meeting people, perhaps you could make a listing on AirBnB. Maybe you are good at art and design and have an idea for some gift cards, so why not put a listing up on Etsy and test the market – if someone buys then you can print your gift cards and ship them to the buyer. Have you written a book ? Whack it up on the Amazon Kindle store and see what happens !
Chances are extremely high that you will find at least one idea in the Buy Buttons book that you can resonate with, or that will get the creative juices flowing.
Now, a great big caveat here.
As mentioned before, if it was that easy then everyone would do it.
However, in certain situations and with a bit of effort, it can be very simple to get enough eyeballs on your offer… and possibly to even make a few sales.
Here is the beauty of selling your stuff on the Internet. In these examples of you going to where your market is likely to be, it is actually quite easy to make a listing, put up your For Sale sign and test your market.
If you make a sale or two, THEN you can actually make/create/formulate your product.
Nicks Buy Buttons book also has many stories and examples within its pages, showing exactly how others have blazed this trail before you. Not only does he give hundreds of suggestions for markets that you can put your side hustle buy buttons on. He also describes others thought processes in how they initially started with their first listing, and how this often evolves into something bigger or slightly different.
Giving a market what they want is key here.
There is no point trying to sell cars to children who can’t drive. There is no point trying to sell high priced luxury items to struggling university students who are working seven jobs to put themselves through college. There is no point trying to sell ballet shoes to kick boxers, or cheese to the dairy intolerant.
Which comes back to you going to where your market is to put up your side hustle buy button – at least until you have tested that your product or service is something that your market actually wants and is prepared to pay for.
Further to testing your market, another theme touched on within the Buy Buttons book is the idea of Minimum Viable Product. It is also arguably a waste of time to spend months and months creating and refining your product or service BEFORE discovering that no one wants it.
Research first, find your market, come up with your ideas, put up your Buy Button, then create your minimum viable product. As time goes on and as your market tells you what they actually want, you can then refine your product/service once you know that it has a very good chance of selling.
It is very easy to start a side hustle of your own. If you are unhappy or perhaps not convinced that your current job is a good idea long term strategy, or if you are looking for another source of income, then a side hustle is a great idea.
Spending one hour a night researching, then actioning, launching and following through with a side hustle of your own is probably a better idea than watching television all evening and all weekend then complaining that you hate your job and don’t have enough time for anything else.
Side Hustles are relatively easy to start. Often there is zero cost, or perhaps only a few dollars per month, to begin.
So, just a reminder and a recap of what I’ve mentioned above already:
1. Decide what you are good at, what your passions are, what you like to do.
2. Can you use this to teach, to provide an answer to a common pain point, to help your market achieve their goals ? Research your market.
3. Where is your market ? Where are buyers in your market hanging out ?
4. Create a listing and put up your Buy Button in front of your market.
5. Share your listing link as much as you can – Facebook, Twitter, social media, friends, forums, etc.
6. Create a minimal viable product, based on the feedback your research and your market has provided.
7. Be prepared to evolve your product or pivot your service.
If you need a hand or some inspiration with generating some ideas, go and get yourself a copy of Buy Buttons : The Fast Track Strategy To Make Extra Money And Start A Business In Your Spare Time, by Nick Loper.
Another very handy post on Nicks blog at SideHustleNation.com is his epic post on making money online: http://www.sidehustlenation.com/sharing-economy-make-extra-money/
Again, I would strongly recommend that you subscribe or at least listen to Nick Lopers weekly Side Hustle Nation podcast.
P.S. Please feel free to share this post using the SHARE icons below. If you have found it useful, then probably others will too.
P.P.S. Job security in the western world is fast becoming non existent. Side Hustles are becoming more important for everyone.
P.P.S.S. Do you have a side hustle – either big or small ? Please share in the comments below how you generate an income on the side !