The Death of a Side Hustle

Ideas from entrepreneurs can die miserable deaths.

Sometimes these business ideas go down in a blaze of glory, getting carried out on their shield. But most of the time biz ideas die due to inactivity and no sunlight.

Essentially they are smothered by the entrepreneur as more ideas are piled on top of the original lightbulb moment.

If you’re feeling guilty, then you have smothered more than your share of ideas. We all have.

I’m an idea serial killer. Lists of businesses I want to start sit in my dark desk drawer, untouched on Google Docs, and in the back row of my big brain. 99 percent of them are on life support since I have taken no action on them.

Over the past year, I have done better after getting familiar with lean startups. I began helping a podcast that focused on this business process, so I used some of the techniques to put my ideas into motion.

Don’t think lean startups are just for giant companies either. This process can be used for any side hustle too. A kid starting a mowing business can test ideas like offering a totally organic service versus old school mowing techniques. Or inventors, with no desire to leave their 9–5, can test products without ever building a prototype.

Why would the kid offer an environmentally friendly lawn service if no one in his neighborhood wanted that (no matter how altruistic).

And shouldn’t a part-time inventor care more about the desires of his target market, than the idea that came from his head (no matter how cool he believes it to be)?

I have spoken to over a 50 entrepreneurs to get their take on actions versus endless planning when it comes to business. My hope is that rookie business owners can use this wisdom to get their projects off the ground faster.

Here’s some of the quotes below.

“You don’t learn until you launch.”

“By nature I am a Type-A planner who likes to have all of her ducks in a row and always have a plan. But I have learned that sometimes it’s important to just take action, and then make course corrections instead of waiting for the perfect plan.”

- Julie DenOuden. Girl on the Move Blog

“Whenever I’m asked how to get started as a freelance writer, virtual assistant or online business in general, I reply that you just have to start.

Don’t read everything on the internet to “prepare,” but instead learn enough to set your foundation (by taking one of my courses, perhaps? ;-) and then do more than you read. You’ll learn far more by taking action, than you will by making endless plans.

Plus, plans change…”

-Gina Horkey. Horkey HandBook.

“Inspiration is good, but inspiration combined with action is so much better!”

-Chris Guillebeau. Side Hustle School

“When I launched RawVoice, which is the parent company of Blubrry, I went from concept to business launch in a few weeks. I knew in my heart I had a good idea.

As we built the company we had our fair share of failures, but the key was we knew when we needed to dump a project or pour on the coals.”

-Todd Cochrane. Geek News Central.

“I don’t know how else you get better at football. You get better at football by playing football. You can’t just talk about it or read about football and get better.”

  • Bill Belichick. GOAT NFL Coach when asked why he let Tom Brady play in a meaningless preseason game.

Ok, the evil genius above is not exactly an entrepreneur, but that Falcons fan crusher was spot on with his action quote.

To wrap all this up, there is nothing wrong with killing an idea.

Many…… check that. MOST ideas don’t deserve to live forever. Some need to die.

But no business idea deserves to just wither away. Ideas deserve the death of a Samurai. Trust me, this is a much better way for the seed of a business to go down. And it’s better for you, the entrepreneur.

Killing off old ideas quickly makes it easier for you to move on to projects that have a fighting chance.

If your head is cluttered with decade old biz ideas, how can you focus on one or two new ones that have a real chance to produce income for you?

I encourage you all to take stock of the ideas in your head. Write down ten that are always in the back of your mind.

Now cross off the ones you have taken no action on whatsoever.

This should leave you with one or two ideas left breathing on your list. Now is the hard part.

Do something! Run an experiment on one of the ideas.

  • Offer your new service on Fiverr.
  • Try to pimp the product on eBay or Etsy.
  • See if there is one iota of interest on Buy Button platforms before you waste your time actually creating your project.

Oh, and please don’t forget about testing in the real world. While you can run Facebook ads for 4 hours to do tiny testing, how about a simple table set up on a real sidewalk?

If you’re pondering if your sports drink will sell to yoga students, what better place to find out than right outside a yoga studio?

One last thing. The next time you wonder how this or that successful person made it big and you have yet to do so, consider taking more actions.

I see stupid-simple businesses pop up all the time and think, “I could have thought of that.”

That’s the key. Anyone could have “thought” of the business or side hustle.

But the successful entrepreneur behind the biz took action. One after another until his idea became a reality that took off.

Taking actions won’t guarantee success of course. Relying solely on ideas to help you level up does guarantee failure however.

Shane McLendon

Show Booker, Built in a Day Podcast