Note: Listen to this post instead using the audio player below, and consider subscribing on your favorite podcast player!
You’d never know it, but running my personal brand here is actually my side hustle.
It’s [11:30] PM as I write this blog post – I spent the day at my main company’s offices, managing my team of employees and coordinating the next big import of goods from China.
With only a few hours left before bed, I will get more done to build my personal brand than many people would if it was the only thing they were working on each day.
There’s nothing special about me, or the way I do things, however. I’ve simply learned over the course of nearly a decade running online businesses that there are certain ‘tricks of the trade’, allowing you to get so much more done each day, in less time.
In this article, I hope to share some of these with you.
1. It Starts With The Right Side Hustle
The brands I referred to earlier actually started out as my side hustle, before they became my main work.
It actually used to be flipped – with blogging being the main job, and selling products on the side.
I worked like crazy though, and things took off far too quickly. So, I took a break from blogging to focus on it full time.
During the early days, staying up until 2, 3 in the morning day in and day out wasn’t uncommon. I literally believed I worked every spare minute I had. There was no leisure, no relaxation, no breaks. If I was conscious, I was working. When I wasn’t actually doing a task, I was planning my next one.
This was only possible because I had found the right side hustle for me.
A side hustle that aligned with my purpose.
Shortly before all of this happened, I went through a series of life events in which I lost a child I was taking care of, and it really had an effect on me. I still believe it was the hardest thing I had ever gone through, and I knew then that I had to do something to work in the childcare market – something that could help bring families closer together.
This purpose was so strong within me that the long nights didn’t drain me, I never felt burnt out. I pushed harder with a type of relentlessness I hadn’t seen much in myself before.
You need to find a side hustle that resonates with you at your core. Every business is hard, and comes with challenges. This is the problem with trendy, get rich quick type business models. People jump on them with unrealistic expectations, and can’t stick with them even when they’re legitimate.
You don’t have to enjoy every moment of the work, but you should find a side hustle that’s proven, that’s scaleable, and is something you could see yourself doing even if you don’t see an immediate payoff.
The goal is to work on this until it’s making more than your full-time job, so you can quit and focus on this all of the time. In the short-term, it means you’re going to be working over-time day in, and day out.
If you want to last, it better be something you can handle.
2. Validate Your Business, And Prioritize Revenue
It’s important that you’re going to be working on something that will pay off, eventually.
Sadly, so many people sacrifice so much without any payoff. They give up time with their family, their mental health, and ultimately, their faith in entrepreneurship entirely – because they believed in an idea, without validating it as a business.
You need to have proven right away that people are willing to pay for whatever it is you’re going to be offering.
Not somebody saying they would buy it, but actually committing to their words and making a purchase.
Once you know that there’s actually a market for what you’re offering, it’s important you make revenue a priority from the get-go – and not something that will ‘come with time.’
Entrepreneurs who delay revenue for too long will eventually bleed out, and return to their safe, cozy day jobs that pay them every month.
Revenue is the lifeblood of every business, and you need it to grow. Without revenue, you are not any closer to leaving your job. Without revenue, you are not making any real progress. It doesn’t matter how many likes you get on Facebook if you aren’t making money at some point in the process – you will still always be dependent on your full-time job for survival.
3. Build Assets That Work For You Over Time
I am a huge fan of slow, but steady growth.
Growth you can depend on, because it’s fueled by an ever-increasing stack of assets, each moving you closer and closer to your goal.
These could be social followers, email subscribers, or evergreen pieces of content, for example.
As you accumulate more and more of these, your baseline grows – the lowest you can possibly go.
When I returned to blogging, I had little idea how it would turn out. After all, I had been gone for several years, without really keeping in touch with anyone at all. The only updates I sent out were to my students, when I’d update my courses.
Thankfully, jumping back in was easy – it was almost like I had never left. My website was still getting traffic, I still had an audience, and my sales picked up almost immediately after returning.
When you’re building a business as a side hustle, it’s important to invest in sure-fire things that will grow you steadily over time.
Every blog post, every YouTube video, they all act as another entrance door to your business and to your brand. These things will still be sending new people to you years into the future, and these people may never have found you otherwise.
Because of this, there is no rush and no pressure to scale your company. As long as you keep putting out more content, your business will grow over time – moving you closer and closer to the point where you can leave your full-time job.
Content marketing tends to yield exponential returns over time as well – it’s not linear. As more and more people begin to find you through your content, it will be distributed even further, through social shares, word-of-mouth, and higher search engine rankings.
Contrast this with a Facebook ad, for example. If it doesn’t yield you a return right away, it probably never will.
That’s not to say one is better than the other, but they serve different goals.
Invest the time in putting out content regularly, and you’re certain to move closer to your goals in time. If you want to accelerate this process, I highly recommend checking out my blogging course, which is designed to help you craft content that actually moves you closer to your business objectives.
4. Embrace Wide Distribution
Take advantage of every platform that you can.
Half of the reason I’m able to pull off this whole personal branding thing now, is because I distribute each piece of content I release as widely as possible – maximizing the return of the time I invest into every article.
The articles no longer live just here on my site. They are recorded for audio, and pushed out to every major podcast network. The main points are made into a SlideShare deck. The two are combined and put on YouTube. Snippets become social media graphics, and the main points become the basis for Quora answers.
If you’ve already put the time to create something for one platform, you may as well find a way to utilize it for all of the other platforms, right?
This isn’t just the case with personal brands, however.
When I was launching my baby product company, we sold products on our own site of course. We also began selling on Amazon, Etsy, eBay, straight to small retailers, and looked into other online marketplaces like Walmart.com and Jet. Each new platform brought eyeballs to our brand that we may have never reached otherwise, and ultimately put us in a much stronger position today because of it.
When we had to market our products, we primarily pushed buyers towards our own websites. However, we certainly made more sales on these other platforms, even without any additional work once the products were added.
Marketing your stuff is important – but if you can get someone else to do it for you, why wouldn’t you take advantage of that?
5. Try To Work In A Job That Makes All Of This Easier
As your side hustle grows, you start to gain a bit of leverage.
You can afford to work for less pay, even switching companies entirely if you needed to.
This may be a wise decision if you’re able to do so. Ideally, you want to be working a job that allows you to put resources towards your side hustle, at least partially.
For example, a workplace that allows you to do whatever you’d like if you get your tasks done early. Or, at the very least, a job in which you can listen to your own music while working. That way, you can use this time to listen to relevant books, podcasts, and courses, while getting paid to do so.
We only have so much time each day to get things done, and even if you are fired up, you’re not going to be productive all day long. Any time you can spend at work building your side hustle is well worth it, even if it means that you’re getting paid less in the short-term.
After all, you’re likely working your side hustle because you want more money and freedom anyway. It has the potential to become your future, and create the life you actually want for yourself, and for your family.
Career changes are always difficult, but so is being unhappy. Think about what your goals are long-term, and consider making the switch.
6. Get A Team ASAP
One of the biggest mistakes beginner entrepreneurs make is they fail to delegate, even when it makes financial sense to do so.
Calculate the hourly rate of your full-time job, and keep this number in your head. If you can outsource one of your business tasks for less than this number, do it. Even if it means that you have to work more hours at your regular job.
It doesn’t make any sense at all for you to spend several hours doing something you could outsource for a few dollars. That is just stupid.
The fact of the matter is, time is your most scarce resource early on. The more time you can put into the business, the faster it will grow. And while you’re working a regular job, every hour of your time has a numerical value – the hourly rate from your job.
You wouldn’t work at your job for a couple of dollars an hour, but if you’re wasting time doing things that could be easily outsourced, that’s basically what you’re doing. Working hours, to save a few dollars. It just doesn’t make sense.
Focus on building a team right away, so you can put both your time and their time into your company as early on as possible. At the very least, work to hire a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant from the Philippines will only run you $2-3 an hour, and they can handle nearly every small task you can throw at them, as long as it can be done remotely.
Assembling my team was one of the most important things I’ve ever done to scale the amount I’m able to get done each day, and I would not have been able to run my personal brand so effectively if I had waited longer to get a great team in place.
7. Skill Up
I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase ‘work smarter, not harder.’
I personally believe you should do both – but when you only have a few hours each day to work on your side hustle, it’s important you’re able to make those as effective as possible.
If you can learn how to get things done more quickly, or to do things in a more impactful way, you’re literally creating time for yourself. You can then redeploy this time to rapidly accelerate yourself towards your goals, avoiding setbacks and mistakes along the way.
It blows my mind that people will spend tens of thousands of dollars getting a degree for a job they hate, but hesitate to spend a couple of hundred dollars on books and courses that can literally save them years of trial and error.
If you can learn even one thing – just one thing that will help you avoid making a big mistake, or do something even a little bit more effectively, that time savings alone is worth the tiny amount you’d pay for that book or course.
I’ve already mentioned my blogging course earlier in this article, but if you’re looking for a different place to start, I’d highly recommend picking up my course on building a successful mindset. It contains everything I know about getting your head right – shaping the way you think, and putting you in a position to help you move towards your goals. Everything I’ve learned while studying the world’s most successful people, as well as the psychology of the world’s most brilliant minds.
It’s probably the most powerful product I sell, if I’m being completely honest. The right mindset affects absolutely everything in life, and I can’t stress its importance enough.
Running a side hustle while also working a full-time job can be extremely difficult, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.
It takes hard work and determination, absolutely – but it also takes the right tactics and strategy.
I’d love to hear more about your side hustle, and what you’re doing to balance it with your main job. What’s worked for you, and what hasn’t.
After all, self-improvement is never something you’re ever ‘done’ with – and I have a lot I can learn from you as well.
Finally, I’d love to know about how you’re going to apply some of these tactics to your own life, and improve your productivity going forward. As always, if there’s anything I can help you with, just let me know.
To your success,
– James McAllister
Review the main points of this article in the SlideShare below. Feel free to embed this on your site, use it in your organization, and share it with others! All I ask is that you give credit! (Download links are available from SlideShare’s website, which you can access by clicking the LinkedIn icon)