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The Reverse Side Hustle: a Better Way to Chase Your Dreams

September 21, 2020
Entrepreneurship
Business
Motivation and Self Development
Startups and Entrepreneurship
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What if there is a better way to side hustle?

By this point, little remains to be said about side hustles — a quick Google search reveals, books, blogs, podcasts, courses and businesses all dedicated to helping people either supplement their income with side income, or make a slow and steady leap from employee to fully-fledged entrepreneur.

But one thing still remains to be said.

Side hustlers typically find themselves doing one of or both of the following:

  • Working on weekends
  • Working in the evening, after a day of working on a main gig

The problems with this approach are obvious:

  • Working 12+ hour days, or 7-day weeks is not sustainable
  • Personal relationships and health is compromised; and
  • We’re already exhausted by the time we get to actually ‘working’ on our side hustle

This final point is crucial.

We are up to five-times more productive when we get into what psychologists call the ‘flow state’, or in the zone. But every decision we make, or action we take, over the course of the day slowly wears us down, and by the time we settle in for a nightly slog on our side hustle, we’re running on fumes, and the flow state is an unlikely destination.

If we’re serious about turning our side gig into something legitimately profitable, or even a full-time endeavor, then running on cognitive scraps is either going to sacrifice these goals, or make the job an order of magnitude more difficult.

SO WHAT SHOULD WE DO INSTEAD?

Enter the reverse side hustle.

Reverse, because main gig becomes your side gig, and your side hustle becomes your primary focus.

SOUNDS GOOD. HOW?

If you’ve got experience, credentials, or both, in a particular domain, then you can position yourself for part-time contractor roles in numerous industries.

Such roles are beneficial because:

  • They pay considerably more per hour and day than a typical salaried role
  • They offer you the ability to make in 2 or 3 days what you might normally make in an entire week
  • They give you the freedom to spend 2 or 3 entire weekdays, and your best thinking and energy, into your idea, giving you a might higher chance of success

HOW I USED THE REVERSE SIDE HUSTLE

When I was building my corporate innovation consultancy, Collective Campus, I scored a 2-day a week contract role at KPMG, paying $750 a day, or $1,500 for the two (effectively equivalent to a $78,000 full-time salary). It meant that I could spend three weekdays exclusively on building Collective Campus.

I kept my gig at KPMG for as long as was required to start generating enough income at Collective Campus, which as it turned out, was a good six months. At this point, Collective Campus was a low six-figures business, and afforded me the financial runway required to double down on the business on a 5-day-a-week basis, eventually catapulting it to a seven-figure business that was featured in the Australian Financial Review’s Fast Starters 100 in 2018.

‍THERE IS ALWAYS A BETTER WAY

Of course, this approach is not for everyone. I was able to score a contractor role because of my qualifications, and the handful of years I had spent working for the likes of EY and Macquarie Bank.

But if you do have the credentials, or you do have the experience, then it’s likely that such opportunities are available to you as well, especially in this time of COVID-19 where employers are more likely to err on the side of caution and bring people on on a flexible contract basis.

In fact, a shift to more on-demand employment is inevitable, and is something that Tim O’Reilly eluded to in his book, What’s The Future, encapsulated in the business model he put forward below.

You could keep working from 9am to 9pm, investing sub-optimal cognitive reserves into your idea, whilst shutting out the time to invest into your health, your relationships or just having fun, or you could seek out a reverse side hustle opportunity like this, give your idea the best chance of success, and free up time to live your life.

There is always a better way.

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Steve Glaveski is the co-founder of Collective Campus, author of Time Rich, Employee to Entrepreneur and host of the Future Squared podcast. He’s a chronic autodidact, and he’s into everything from 80s metal and high-intensity workouts to attempting to surf and do standup comedy.

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