9 Steps To A Million Dollar Side Hustle

Anyone can go out and make a few hundred extra bucks a week on the side. You make extra money doing anything – mow lawns, walk dogs, shovel snow, babysit, code online, tutor, make deliveries, chauffer people, flip on eBay, sell a product on Amazon, participate in focus groups, or an infinite number of things.

But not all side hustles are created equal, and some can make you a lot more money than others. The best and worst thing about side hustling is you can literally make money doing anything.

A 12-year-old named Sam from Wisconsin reached out to me because he’s doing his 7th grade project on “How to make money side hustling” and wanted to profile someone who has had success side hustling. Sam’s got the right mindset – I wish I was asking these questions. Sam had recently found an article about me and how I made over $1 million side hustles, and reached out to interview me for his class project. While many journalists have shared my story, I gotta admit this request from Sam is definitely my favorite interview request I’ve received so far this year. Sam asked me a really practical question, “How can I actually launch a side hustle that will make me a lot of money?”

During our chat, he told he wanted to quit 7th grade and launch a business, which of course I advised against, but couldn’t help but laugh. I told him starting at 12 with what I was teaching him could set him up for life and to keep at it. We ended up chatting on Skype for over 45 minutes as I gave Sam a masterclass in making money – a class that he’d never take and will never take in school.

FYI, I am going to be hosting a Free 1 Hour Live Webinar This Week on Fast Tracking Financial Freedom where I’ll walk through the exact blueprint I used to reach financial independence at the age of 30. I’ll be covering a ton of topics including side hustling. I’ll also be doing a live Q&A so you can ask me any question you want about making more money.

It’s Never Been Easier in History To Make More Money

Back in the day you’d go to school, get a job, work at it for 30-40 years and the peace out into retirement if you made it that far. Your company took care of your with a lifetime pension (free money for the rest of your life!), but now we are left to fend for ourselves. Thankfully it’s never been easier in history to make more money. Either online or offline, it’s never been easier to get a raise, build a business, and the making money in your sleep investing.

Today there are now more tools, strategies, and blueprints for making money. You can learn skills insanely quickly on YouTube in less than a week, you can replicate someone else’s blueprint and map it to your own business, and you can join a community of other people who are working together to make money and build wealth. We are living in an awesome time to make money and I love teaching this stuff. I get so excited to see and help so many people make money faster than they ever thought possible. Below is what I told Sam and it’s a great starting point and blueprint for you to dive into making more money.

Don’t forget to sign up for the Free 1 Hour Live Webinar This Week on Fast Tracking Financial Freedom where I’ll be diving deeper into side hustling and other topics.

9 Steps to Start A Million Dollar Side Hustle

While there are many variables that impact how much money you make, here are the variables that I think matter most. They are what helped me save $1 million in five years and reach financial independence at the age of 30. Now I’m not saying it’s easy to make a lot more money, but it’s definitely getting easier. First, you need to shift your mindset.

1. Shift to a net-worth mindset and side hustle to invest, not spend

If you are going to side hustle, it’s not about how much money you make, it’s about how much money you keep and invest. You want $1 you make side hustling to be worth $5, $10, or $20 in the future. This is how you amplify your time. I see way too many people side hustle just to make a few extra hundred bucks a week to spend, but this significantly limits the potential of your side hustling.

While your income, your savings rate, your investment returns, your debt to income ratio, and all those other numbers are important when optimizing your money, the single most important metric that you should be tracking is your net-worth. Your net-worth measures how much money you are worth by subtracting your liabilities (debt/what you owe) from your assets (what you own that has value, your cash, and investments). It doesn’t matter how much money you make if you spend it all.

Start tracking your net-worth for Free (ASAP)

2. Side hustle for yourself, not someone else (actually be your own boss)

If you are side hustling for someone else, the money you can make will always be limited by the number of hours you have in the day. It’s really tough to get off your 9 to 5 job and hop in a Lyft to drive all night. Sure, people do it and it’s definitely a popular side hustle. While you might think you are working for yourself, you are actually working for Lyft. Sure, it gives you flexibility and freedom, but no matter how much you drive for Lyft or deliver for Postmates, you’ll always be limited to your own hours. You can’t scale Lyft driving because it’s limited to your own time.

So you need to think about side hustles that you can do and build a business. This doesn’t mean you have to hire your own employers, but you can probably make more money if you do. Profitable side hustling is all about the money/time tradeoff, so you will make a lot more money if you’re the person at the top. This is just one of the many reasons blogging is a great side hustle. To learn how to make money blogging check out my Free 7 Day Blogging Side Hustle Course.

3. Figure out how much time you can actually dedicate to side hustling

If you want to make money side hustling you’re going to have to put in the time. Before picking a side hustle, you need to evaluate how much time you are really willing to commit to it because how much time you have will determine the types of side hustles you can launch.

Some side hustles will take a lot more time to get off the ground than others – for example, if you have an amazing idea for a new mobile app, but you don’t know how to code, it’s going to take a lot of time to get that idea off the ground. But mowing lawns in the evenings or on the weekends doesn’t require anything more than the ability to mowing lawns.

This doesn’t mean that if you’re busy you can’t find time to side hustle, it just means that you should calibrate the difficulty of your side hustle based on the amount of time you have. I know many families who work side hustle at night after their kids go to bed and some who even bring their kids along on the weekend. They are able to do it, because they schedule their time well and they just really want it.

I had the opportunity to work personally with two Millennial Money readers, Rob and Melissa who have three kids and run their own side business flipping items they find at thrift stores and auctions. They also have a website called Flea Market Flipper where they teach others how to make money on the side flipping.

Since they have 3 little kids, time is incredibly limited, but they always spend a few hours each night working on their business after the kids go to sleep – since they are working on it together they still get to spend time together and make money. They also strategically divide up the tasks based on their own unique skill sets – Melissa handles the website, content writing, and technical side of the business, while Rob handles the selling and client engagement.

So sit down think about how much time per week do you reasonably have to launch a side hustle. Do you have time in the morning before work, maybe while you are commuting? What about after work or on the weekends?

Remember, side hustling is also about the time/money tradeoff, so it’s up to you to decide how much time you are willing to trade today to make more money to invest in the future.

4. Think about the profit potential before you start (most money for the least amount of time)

If you want to make as much money as possible side hustling then you need to think about how much money you can make with a potential side hustle before you start it. While you can make money doing an infinite number of things, you can only make so much by trading your own time, even if you are your own boss. Thinking about the scalable potential of a side hustle before starting will help you make as much money as you want from your side hustle. Here are a few examples.

While you can make money doing pretty much anything, it’s a lot easier to make money doing something you love or at least like – not only are you more likely to stick with it, but it also won’t feel like work. Sure, you can just have hobbies and do things for fun, but why not make money doing it? Think about what you really love to do and how profitable it can. Seriously, while you can make money doing almost anything, you can really make a  lot of money if you can find something that you love doing and has profit potential!

5. Do you have the skills and resources to make it happen?

Before launching into a side hustle, just you need to be realistic about the amount of time you have to dedicate to it, you also need to be realistic about whether or not you currently have the skills required to make money doing it. Or if you don’t have the skills how long it will take to develop the new skills AND resources required to make it happen and how realistic it is that you will take the time to actually do it.

For example, back to the mobile app idea – everyone these days has an idea for a new mobile app, but if you don’t have any experience coding, then it’s going to take you a lot more time to get it off the ground. Sure, you can learn how to code as part of your side hustle, but realize that it’s going to take you a lot more time to launch and a long time until you start making money. I recommend that you pick a side hustle idea that you can execute on quickly and that requires a manageable amount of resources. You definitely don’t want to sink a bunch of money or money you can’t afford into a side hustle idea.

6. What is the market demand and competition for your idea?

Analyzing and understanding market demand is the first place you should start before launching any business – because if people don’t want what you have to sell or too many other people are selling it, then you won’t make any money. There are essentially three ways to compete – based on price, value, or both. So you can either be cheaper than your competitor, offer more value for the same price, or be cheaper and offer more value.

The higher the market demand for your service or product, the more money you can charge and the more money you can make. Market demand is determined by supply and demand, or the number of people who want to buy something (customers) and the number of people selling it (competitors). If you really want to make as much money as possible side hustling then you need to research the market demand for your service or product idea. While you don’t have to spend a ton of time doing market demand research, the more you know about the market the easier it will be for you to develop and sell your product or service.

Three easy ways to analyze the market demand for a service or product is to ask your potential customers what they want through in-person discussions or online surveys and analyze Google search volume data using Google Keyword Planner.

If there is no one else offering what you want to offer, then the reason is that no one is willing to buy it, or you’ve stumbled on an insanely good side hustle idea and might have an early mover advantage. No matter what your side hustle idea is, the more you know about your competitors the easier it will be for you to market and sell your own services.

7. Get your first customer

So now you’ve got a great side hustle idea, how do you actually get clients? While this depends on the type of product or service you are selling, generally the easiest way is to sell into the same community (online or offline) you surveyed to analyze market demand. If people already know you, they are much more likely to buy from you and are the best place to start.

Focus on selling your first client or first product. Don’t stress or worry about selling to a lot of people at first. While you might launch the best product or service ever and you might have more sales than you can handle, it’s more likely it will be tough to sell your first few clients or product. This is normal and actually to your advantage since you will want to grow your side hustle at a pace you can handle. One of the worst thing for a young business is to oversell and not be able to handle demand.

While it can be tough to sell your first client or first product, if you do it correctly your first customers will be the most valuable customers you ever have. Here’s why. Selling slowly at first will help you do two essential things that can significantly increase the potential of your business having success.

First, you should always over deliver for your first clients – give them as much value as possible, go above and beyond to make them happy, even if it takes a ton of extra time because you will want/need your first client or purchasers to be your references. Having a great reference will make selling your second client or product so much easier.

8. Test, Test, Test & Execute, Execute, Execute

While I recommend you start with one side hustle at first so you don’t spread yourself too thin, because you are your own boss, you can test out a lot of different side hustles to find one you really love and/or that makes you the most money. That’s the beauty of side hustling – you aren’t stuck with an idea. It might take you a few before you find your most profitable idea. It wasn’t until I tested five other ideas before I found my first profitable side hustle – doing search engine optimization (SEO) for companies.

One thing to keep in mind as you explore new ways to make money – ideas are a dime a dozen. Good ideas are everywhere. I had the idea for Uber a full 4 years before the company launched, but why didn’t I become a billionaire? Because ideas don’t mean anything if you can’t execute on them. Seriously, making money is all about execution. So as you brainstorm side hustle ideas while walking through this chapter, think hard about what you can execute with your skills and time.

9. Figure out when it’s time to scale

If you want to make millions of dollars from an idea that started as a side hustle, then you should scale it by hiring other people to do some (if not most) of the work. The more you can distribute the work, the less you can work, and the faster you can grow your business.

You should consider scaling your side hustle if you have been able to consistently sell your service or product and have been making a profit for the past 6 months, or if the demand for your services or products have exploded quickly. If the demand for your services or product is higher than you can meet on your own, or if the demand is consistent and you don’t want to do the work, then you should consider hiring other people to do the work.

By hiring employees, you can focus on selling (connecting your supply with the demand) and running the business. And when I mean employees here it doesn’t mean you have to hire full-time employees, they could be part-time or contract employees. It’s better to start small, since the last thing you want is to hire too many people and not be able to make enough money to pay them. Once again this is why it’s so important for the demand for your side hustle to be consistent.

The better your team is at doing the work the more efficient they get, so you eventually charge your clients or customers more money, but your team is more efficient, so the time it takes to do the work goes down, resulting in an increased profit margin for you – which means more money. Over time if you manage the business well, you can make an absolutely insane amount of money.

Next Steps

1.Sign up for the Free 1 Hour Fast Track Financial Freedom Webinar to learn more about side hustling and making more money.

2. Start tracking your net-worth for Free

3. Sign up for the Free 7 Day Blogging Side Hustle Course

4. Sign up for alerts on when my upcoming book All The Money You’ll Ever Need: A Proven Plan to Fast Track Financial Freedom here.

Grant Sabatier

Creator of Millennial Money and Author of Financial Freedom (Penguin Random House). Dubbed "The Millennial Millionaire" by CNBC, Grant went from $2.26 to over $1 million in 5 years, reaching financial independence at age 30. Grant has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, NPR, Money Magazine and many others. He uses Personal Capital to manage his money in 10 minutes a month.

Latest posts by Grant Sabatier (see all)

Posted in: Side Hustles

    Lady Dividend
    Posted Apr 15 2018
    I like the chart about scaling your business. We always think side hustling is a solitary activity but we need to consider hiring people to grow the business. I have a few things on the go, so we’ll see which idea has staying power and can generate long term income.
    Posted Apr 15 2018
    Awesome post. It always kills me when I see people doing uber/lyft and they call it a business. Sure you can make some cash but you aren't building an asset. At the end of the day it's basically a job where you choose to your hours and you pay is directly correlated with the time you spend doing the work.
      Grant Sabatier
      Grant Sabatier
      Posted Apr 16 2018
      Thanks Jim. Totally agree.
    Troy Bombardia @ Bull Market
    Posted Apr 16 2018
    I wouldn't quite call it a side hustle if you're making a million dollars from it :) But overall good post. Ultimately the key to growing a successful business is hiring good team members. Only then can you achieve exponential growth
      Grant Sabatier
      Grant Sabatier
      Posted Apr 16 2018
      Thanks Troy
    Bernz JP
    Posted Apr 26 2018
    Sounds more like running a real business to me. I mean, I probably need more than 10 hours/day and possibly seven days/week to make that amount of money. Love the post. That kid will be successful one day for sure.
    Garth W.
    Posted May 06 2018
    Hey Grant! From my experiences, it seems to take someone who is truly motivated to be able to take a side hustle into a full-time business. Also, people tend to think that all they need is to gross as much as they were making at their 9-5 job. and not factor in all the expenses it takes to run a business/company. For example, budgeting a small percentage of attorney fees. If you get to that million dollar mark, you'll probably be spending some money on things you never planned for. Just my two cents. Cheers!
    Kylven Ross
    Posted May 10 2018
    Kind of a funny story, my neighbor has a 5 year old daughter and we share a driveway. She was at the end of her driveway selling lemonade one weekday morning with her grandmother. I passed by and asked, "How many customers do you expect to get being here?" She was cute and shy, but obviously too young to realize her market was 100 yards away on the main road. I bought a cup of course or I'd go to hell. I thought it strange that the grandmother didn't move her to a location nearby that would actually have a chance at some sales.
    Posted May 15 2018
    Yep, side hustle really works if you put in efforts and time. When I was 21, I started writing for a local magazine to start paying off my debt. People started reading my stuff and soon I started receiving emails with more job offers. Then I began using Freelancer.com and Elance to make more value out of my writing. I was able to pay off my debt of nearly $10000 while still studying with just writing stuff. Random stuff like web content, blog articles on topics as weird as sex dolls, etc. It was crazy, but now I;m 26 and I am both a good editor and a law person. It really helps.

Post A Comment