Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nick Loper, Founder of Side Hustle Nation, located in Sammamish, WA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Side Hustle Nation is the leading resource and community for aspiring entrepreneurs and people looking to make extra money and grow a business in their spare time. It's an online media brand focused on high-value articles and how-to guides, a popular and award-winning podcast (The Side Hustle Show), and a growing library of videos and courses.
Tell us about yourself
I've always had an entrepreneurial itch, going back to selling candy at summer camp and painting houses in college. But following graduation, I did what you're supposed to do: I got a job. Still, I never saw myself climbing the corporate ladder and was motivated to build myself a way out. That original side hustle was a comparison shopping site for footwear. It took 3 years of nights and weekends before I was comfortable calling it quits at the day job. After running that for several years full-time, despite the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, I wanted to somehow share the benefits and tactics of building a successful side hustle. In 2013, I started the blog and podcast, and it turned out that the podcast interviews with other successful side hustlers really resonated with people. I'm fascinated by all the creative ways people are making extra money and the marketing tactics that work to drive business. Uncovering and sharing those stories is really motivating because they give people the confidence and tools to take action themselves.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Reaching financial independence while helping other people and having fun!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
No one tells you what to do. I think that was a motivating factor early on: "I want to be my own boss and call the shots!" But you have to become very disciplined and focused on not only what projects and tasks to prioritize but also dedicating the time and effort to get them done. The other big challenge is letting go and delegating. It's something I still struggle with, but leveraging the time and skills of others is crucial if you want to grow personally and professionally.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Always be testing. I once read that at any given time, Amazon is testing 1000 different variables on their website, trying to eke out the next .001% improvement in profitability. You can take the same general idea to your business on a smaller scale: always have an experiment you're running. And the beauty of an experiment is it's just a test — if it fails, it's not a huge deal. You can always try something new next month.
- Don't wait for the perfect business idea. Most of the entrepreneurs I talk to are working on a different business than the one they started with, but the important thing is they took action and got off the sidelines.
- Seek out friends and mentors in your space. These don't have to be formal relationships, but I've found that by listening to podcast interviews or even simply just paying attention to what other online business owners are doing, it's made a huge impact on my bottom line. Being a business owner can be lonely, but you can take steps like attending conferences and joining mastermind groups that surround yourself with others on a similar journey.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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