27 Part Journey to Starting a Side Hustle — Day Three

Photo by Juan Marin on Unsplash

Today starts off learning about an engineer that figured out a way to convert his strong technical skills into a very high paying hustle. There’s a small anecdote about stocks and how they compare to a side hustle.

Side hustle ideas are like a stock certificate. They hold the potential for real value, but only if you cash them in. If they remain in your head or scribbled on the pages of your journal, the value remains trapped in the world of potential.

This really resonated as I have 7 years worth of journals with ideas that I never acted on. This is even more important to me now since I’ve committed to see this thing through before the end of year.

The next part of the chapter goes into how to generate ideas. Since I already generated 3 (and I looked ahead and the chapter expects you to have 3), I’m going to take my ideas and validate them against the recommendations of the book for good ideas.

What are these people doing and what do they need

The book encourages you to look around and see what people are doing. What kind of services can you offer that they would be willing to pay for. Many of the examples of the book don’t really line up with my skillset, so I wont bother to post them. But let’s review my 3 ideas from yesterday. Do people need my ideas?

  • Cyber — Yes, people need to have safe experiences when interfacing with businesses.
  • STEM — Yes, I’ve gone to the Apple Store and seen dozens of kids participate in their coding challenges. Parents genuinely want their kids to be prepared for tomorrow’s job opportunities.
  • DIY — This one is more tricky. I’m not much of a seller (yet), but I gather that people like to buy weird things online. Not that I’d be making weird things (at least not to me), but I believe that if I build something, someone, somewhere is going to be interested in buying it.

Whenever you encounter a group of people, ask yourself: What do these people need or want?

This idea is very interesting to me. I’m going to explore it a little more as I enter the weekend and get exposure to society. I do after all spend 10–11 hours a day sitting in a conference room. But with that said, a thought came to me that I may be able to take my specific skill set I’m learning in my current role and expand it beyond just my current team. I could figure out ways to grow that skill and go to other businesses looking for the skill that I have to offer. I don’t want to get distracted for now since I really want to focus on the 3 ideas I’ve started with, but I’m really thinking that I may eliminate the DIY one and replace it with my “work” skill. The more I talk to my coworkers, the more I realize that other teams around the world could benefit from what I do at work. I’ll explore later. . . but will keep in the back of my mind for now.

Selling a product or providing a service

The first two ideas of mine are providing a service. The 3rd one is selling a product. My “new work idea” is providing a service. This is really making reconsider the selling a product one. But at the same time, since I don’t really have experience in selling, and it’s a skill I really want to learn, I think I’m going to still keep my idea #3 as it’s something I want to keep exploring.

There is a 3rd category that is about improving existing products/services. This is interesting to me because a lot of what I do at work is automate processes. I’ve been able to leapfrog my career because of creative ways I’ve developed to save money and improve efficiencies. I’m curious if I could take a similar approach and research existing services like mine, take what works, and then create a Frankenstein from all the best practices from existing services. Something else to consider. . . .

Starter vs Next-level

This part is super intriguing. It’s eye opening to think that maybe the ideas I’m coming up with are very starter level. Maybe I’m thinking too small? The example in the book is that a starter idea is driving for Uber. Next-level is coaching other on how to drive for Uber. I have almost a decade worth of knowledge and 100’s of books worth of knowledge up in my brain. Maybe I want to coach people? As opposed to actually going out and performing the service/product? Another thing to consider today as I go about my busy day.

Finally, to close today off, the author lists a dozen or so ideas that anyone can do to get started. My three ideas share similar characteristics of those ideas so I will continue with my what is now 3.5 ideas. All of them have been validated so far and based on what I’m reading, there isn’t anything that would convince me that I need to in a different direction. I am exploring swapping my 3rd idea with something more specific to my current work skill set, but I’m going to leave that in the back burner for now. What I do at work is very unique right now and not really sure how to grow it outside of my specific work I do today.

I’m an engineer working professionally in San Diego, CA. I’m trying to improve every day and use this space to document. Connect: apetech.me/social