Momentum Podcast: 461

The Side Hustle

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

A lot of the business advice that I give is unconventional. I give advice that's different, people think I'm different, and that's okay. Like other business coaches, I want you to achieve ultimate success but, I do not believe in any way that you should sacrifice yourself along the way. I want you to build your empire and live a life free from pressure and noise. 

There's this perception that if you want to grow a successful business that you have to throw everything in at the beginning, burn all your other bridges and take no other options in order to move forward. That's just not how it works. When you're trying to create those first few dollars or revenue, stability is going to help you a ton. 

If you're working at a job and you're doing it as a side hustle while you're trying to build your own business, that's a good thing. You have stability, you know your bills are paid and you're not in an emergency situation. Starting a business puts you under incredible amounts of pressure. Don't make it harder on yourself than it has to be. You make the rules, so make sure you can win. 

I want to help you build your business, get out of your job and pursue your full-time passion every single day.

Full Audio Transcript

In the entrepreneurial world today, there's this new belief system that in order to be successful, you have to put yourself out on a limb, take massive risks, burn the boats, burn the bridges, and not have any way to retreat in order to be successful. I completely disagree. I think if you want to be successful as an entrepreneur, you should lower the pressure and noise in your life and put yourself in the highest percentage chance of success, and that is rarely by putting all the pressure on yourself at once. If you're trying to start a business, don't quit your day job just yet.

Alex Charfen: I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast. Made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds, those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum, so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution, and we always will be.

Alex Charfen: If you've been listening to me for any period of time, you know that a lot of the business advice I give is unconventional. In fact, a lot of the business advice I give flies directly in the face of the advice most people give. The rest of the world says you need to set big, hairy audacious goals. Make them so big, they intimidate you. I tell you, pull the clock target closer. The rest of the world says, have a big vision, a vision that drives the business. I say, have a client centric mission and run your business around the human beings who you're going to serve. And another place that I run counter to most business culture is that I don't think putting yourself out on a limb, eliminating your options, increasing stress levels to their maximum extent and burning the bridges or setting the boats off to sea and lighting them on fire, is the best way to move forward.

Alex Charfen: And here's what I mean by that. I see this all the time. People want to create success so bad that they cut everything else off. And people will quit their jobs and put themselves out on a limb and create massive pressure and noise in their lives because they want to give themselves no other option but success. Well, I have news for you. You've also created a massive option of failure. And I think that one of the biggest issues today is that there's this impression out there that if you want to start a business, you have to make it as hard as you possibly can on yourself, or burn the bridges, or take no other options, or put yourself out there, so that it's the only thing you can do. And I want you to know, that's just not how it works. If you've listened to mine and Cadey's story about going bankrupt and rebuilding and becoming liquid millionaires within a year and being able to get back to where we were independently wealthy, I want you to know something.

Alex Charfen: We had a side hustle while we were doing that. When we created the Certified Distress Property Designation, Certified Distressed Property Expert Designation, we had a side hustle. Cadey and I were, I was still doing mortgages. Cadey and I were still selling real estate even though it was incredibly hard, and we were selling a fraction of what we had before. Cadey was still selling real estate. We cut our budget down to nearly nothing. And while we were going through bankruptcy court, we were able to save over $10,000 just from what we were doing. We stop spending any money. We made it easier on ourselves. We lowered the pressure and noise and we put money in the bank. And what I see too many entrepreneurs today doing is, they decide they're going to be an entrepreneur. They're in the ideation and figuring stuff out stage, and they go quit their job and stop the revenue coming in and decide that that's where they're going to do right now.

Alex Charfen: And to me, that increases the pressure and noise so high, that it is one of the hardest ways and one of the lowest percentage chances you will have of success. I get asked all the time, when do I go all in? When should I do this? Well, here's the reality. We may think that going all in is the ultimate commitment. That's how we show we're committed. That's how we make things happen. But the fact is there's a time where it makes sense and until then, it is only going to increase the pressure and noise in your life. So here's why this is important. When you're in the ideation and figuring stuff out stage of your business, I want you to know something, when you're figuring it out, when you first make the decision, when you're trying to figure out what market you're going to go after, when you're trying to create a product, when you're trying to create that first few dollars of revenue, stability is going to help you a ton.

Alex Charfen: Stability creates momentum. Stability will give you clarity. If you have a job, if you're working at a job and you're doing it as a side hustle, I want you to know something about that job. It's making it so that when you are working on your business, you actually have clarity. You have stability, you know your bills are paid. You're not in an emergency situation. Because here's one of the hardest things in entrepreneurship to do, is to go through the ideation and creation stage of a business without income. Because you are trying to create, you're trying to make something new. You're trying to solve a massive problem of starting the business under incredible amounts of pressure. Now, are there people in history who have done that? Of course there is. They're legendary stories. We hear about those legendary stories. They're told from stage of people who had nowhere to turn and there was no way out, and they're back was against a wall, and they made it all work.

Alex Charfen: But I want you to know something. There's a reason those stories are legendaries, because they barely ever happen. Side hustles actually work. There's a reason that it works. There's a reason that it works to have a job and try and start a business on the side and start actually creating those first few sales. That first few glimpse of momentum. When you start actually creating outcomes, stability creates the foundation. So when you have a side hustle of starting a business, and you have income that's coming in that creates stability, it's going to make it that much easier for you. And there's this phenomenon called Parkinson's law. If you've never heard of Parkinson's law, you have to look it up because it affects us on a day to day basis. Parkinson was a researcher who came to the conclusion that work will take the time that you give it.

Alex Charfen: Let me give you an example. Here's a Parkinson's law example. If you go to a store to buy a greeting card, and you have three minutes, you will go into a store, buy a greeting card, and come out with a greeting card in three minutes. If you're late to the party, and you run in, you run out, you have a greeting card, you've accomplished your task. Now, same scenario. If you have a half hour, you can go into a store, read greeting cards for a half hour and buy a greeting card and leave. Well, one of the challenges with quitting your job and cutting everything else off and giving yourself an abundance of time, is that you invoke Parkinson's law, but in the negative example. Instead of having focused side hustle time where you've done your job, you come back, you paid your bills, there's stability in your life, and you focus like crazy for a few hours. You've now made it so that all of your time is open and empty, and you're not driving any deadlines, and you will take longer to do things.

Alex Charfen: If you're in the ideation or creation stage and you give yourself nothing but time, that time will eat you alive. You actually need pressure, you need deadlines, you need the appropriate amount of constraint to actually grow your business. If you take all those deadlines, constraint away, it's only going to increase the pressure and noise. And then if you take your income away, and you put massive pressure on yourself, it's going to be really hard to get through this. So here's what I think you need to know. Keep your job through the ideation and figuring things out stage. Once you've started to create revenue, then start thinking about leaving that job. Let me tell you exactly what Cadey and I did.

Alex Charfen: Cadey and I, when we went bankrupt, we went bankrupt because the real estate market imploded on itself. We started making a fraction of what we had made before. There was no way we were going to be able to pay our bills. But we were still able to pay some bills. And when we started the CDP designation, we were still selling investment properties that we had. We were still flipping a couple of properties that we didn't put in the bankruptcy. We actually, I was still doing mortgages, although there were not as many as I had done and Cadey was still selling properties. In fact, we were eight months into the CDP. We had generated well over $300,000 in revenue and $150,000 in profit in that time. And then we decided that Cadey will leave her [inaudible 00:09:17], that she would transfer them to somebody else and get a referral fee.

Alex Charfen: So we quit post revenue, and we had a clear path to more. So if you want to know when you go all in, quit your day job post revenue where there's a clear path to more. And then here's what you should be able to answer for yourself. You should be able to say, if I quit my job, this is exactly where I'm going to put my time to get more money out of this business. Cadey and I could answer that exactly. Eight months in, I was doing a lot of the work in the business. Cadey was supporting me on the side. She was also still doing real estate. And then we just realized, you know what, there was too much going on. If Cadey could stop selling real estate, we would actually be more productive, and we would make more out of the business.

Alex Charfen: So by the time we actually quit our side hustles, when we quit the day jobs, it was because we were making enough money that we could quit. And we knew exactly where we would put the time in order to make more. And I want you to be careful about this because, don't make things harder on yourself. More time with massive pressure is actually a terrible combination. So if you quit your day job, and you don't have income coming in, you're going to have a lot more time, but a lot more pressure. And for people like us, time plus pressure equals massive constraint. It's confusing and overwhelming and frustrating. And the process of starting a business in and of itself is confusing and frustrating and overwhelming. You don't need to create another dynamic in your life that mirrors that dynamic and makes it that much harder.

Alex Charfen: So here's the results you will have if you keep the side hustle. And here's the results of your likely to have if you keep the side hustle, if you keep your job, and you make your business a side hustle until you have revenue, until you know exactly where you're going to put the time when you leave your job. You'll actually create more of a higher percentage chance of success. Am I telling you you will be successful? No, because not everybody who starts a business is successful, and it might take you a few tries. But I want you to create the highest percentage chance you'll succeed. And here's what that looks like. That looks like working for a few hours in bursts where you put a tremendous amount of focus into your business, and you figure things out. That looks like keeping your commitments and keeping money coming in so that you don't increase the pressure and noise in your life to the point where you can't be creative.

Alex Charfen: That looks like continuing to earn money until you know exactly how you're going to earn money in the business and then quitting the job, taking the time and turning it even into more money. And this will give you a consistent, highest possibility at actually creating the outcomes that you want. I know it's hard to keep working in a job that you don't love when you're starting a business that you're excited about. And I know it can be so tempting to listen to the people that say, quit your job, go all in, jump in, dive in headfirst. It's the only way that it really works well. I want to present an alternative opinion. I think when you're starting a business, it is one of the most difficult things any human being will commit to in their lifetimes. And when you're doing the most difficult thing or one of the most difficult things that any human being will commit to in their lifetimes, you owe it to yourself to make the battle easier for yourself, not more difficult.

Alex Charfen: And when you keep the job, and you make your business a side hustle, and you get to the point where you have revenue coming in, you increase your chances of success in a massive way. So when you're in ideation and creation, keep the money coming in. When you are creating revenue, and you have a clear path to more, that's when you quit the day job and go all in. Entrepreneurship is a game where we make up the rules so that we can win. You should make up the rules so that you don't put yourself at a disadvantage. Keep the job until you're actually ready to start making money in the business, and you can see the clear path to revenue. Everything will be easier for you.

Alex Charfen: If you're in the position right now where you're on your way to creating a business, and you want help. If you want clarity and to clear focus and to know where to put your time on a daily basis so that you can get maximum leverage and take advantage of the little time that you have, we have a product for you. Go to, momentum masterclass is our personal cadence product that will show you our personal planning system, our personal communication system, and all of the keystone habits you need to become a successful entrepreneur. I want to help you build your business, get out of that job, make it your full time passion every single day, but in a way that you'll actually get there.

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