If You Want a Shot at Being Wealthy, You’re Gonna Need a Side Hustle
The statistics on wealth reveal a different story than the media
According to a study sponsored by Babson University, 27 million working-age Americans (nearly 14% of the working-age population) are running or starting business ventures. Never before have we seen this amount of people running or looking to start a business.
Why is this? Why are people hanging up their neckties, briefcases, and comfortable lives as nine-to-fivers for the tumultuous existence as an entrepreneur?
There are two big reasons for this shift: entrepreneurs have the potential to make more money and it’s easier to start a business in today’s economy.
A report from the Institute for the Study of Labor notes that, on average, an entrepreneur’s income is higher than their corporate counterparts.
With the advent of the internet, it’s easier than ever to highlight a market problem, offer a solution, and sell that solution (the basic formula for building a business).
Before you label me as Captain Obvious, let me explain.
Where Wealth Really Comes From
Most people are fighting the good fight as a nine-to-fiver — trading their time and efforts for a monetary exchange.
Now, of course, there’s ladder associated with this monetary exchange and a number of variables that impact how well you climb said ladder, such as:
- What family you were born into
- How you scored on standardized tests
- What schools you attended
- How much money your parents can pay to get you into an elite school if your grades don't qualify
- How well you play a political game with superiors and coworkers
- How well you push down the emotions that make you hate your job
Why do we put up with this? Why do we trade our valuable time — time being the most valuable thing we have in life — for a job and salary we hate?
We’ve been sold a false dream that getting good grades, going to college, and having a high-paying job will make us rich, happy, and healthy.
That dream couldn't be further from the truth.
The IRS Statistics of Income Division published 400 Individual Tax Returns Reporting the Largest Adjusted Gross Incomes Each Year, 1992–2009, which illustrates how wealth is truly generated.
This report highlights:
- Working for a salary can’t make you rich
- Only making safe income investments can't make you rich
- Investing only in stock of large companies can't make you rich
- Owning a business or businesses can not only build a solid foundation of wealth but generate a gigantic wealth explosion (and make you mega-rich!)
If you don't believe me or the IRS report, Google the richest people in the world and note that the highest-ranking people on this list are all entrepreneurs.
Although you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than be one of the Bezos, Benioffs, or Buffets of the world, this doesn't mean you can’t build more wealth than you give yourself credit for.
It doesn’t mean that you have to settle for a job that doesn't bring you peace of mind — you don't have to show up to work and perform for a boss that doesn't care.
You can build true wealth without copious amounts of capital, time, and overhead.
The Future Model for Building Wealth
The internet revolutionized how we interact, exchange, and do business.
Within seconds, I can send a message to either one individual or thousands of individuals (whether it gets received is another conversation).
Anyone with a computer and access to the internet has the ability to become an entrepreneur.
In the past, you needed a lot to start a business: an office, factory, or shop to conduct business in, widgets to create or license, services to perform in-person, capital, and distribution channels.
In today’s landscape, all you need is an idea (ideally one that helps solve a market problem). After you have an idea, a computer and the internet can help you do the rest:
- No more need for an office, just a desk will do
- You can create digital widgets (videos, ebooks, and ecommerce take away the need for widget creation in-house)
- No startup costs if you create the videos, ebooks, etc. yourself
- Your distribution channel is the internet
This may seem oversimplified. I assure you it’s not.
You don’t need much to start a business that can generate mega-wealth; however, this doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy.
First, you need to develop the art of a side hustle.
How Much Could You Accomplish in 16 Hours Each Week?
Although starting and growing a profitable business requires fewer resources than in the past, diving in head first and quitting your job may be too hasty a decision.
Gary Vee drives me up a wall sometimes but I agree with the notion of using your free time to help build a business, pursuit, or artistic endeavor.
Let’s map out an average day and see how much time we can allot to building our enterprise. We all have 24 hours in a day.
Say we sleep eight hours a day, lowering our balance to 16 hours. Our nine-to-five job is roughly an eight-hour commitment. We’re left with eight hours.
Subtract a few hours — say four — for routines like hygiene, eating, exercise, etc.
That leaves us with four hours each day.
At first glance, four hours may not seem like a lot of time — it’s 1,460 hours each year (4 hours/day x 365 days= 1,460 hours).
(I hear you — there’s no way you’re able to put in four hours every single day.)
Let’s make a more reasonable commitment of four hours, four days a week. This amounts to 832 hours. Put another way, this is 34 days — an entire month’s work of time devoted to our business.
What could you build with a whole month of work on your passion project?
It Doesn’t Have to Be the Next Big Thing
It’s unfortunate we live in a viral culture — thinking we have to be the next Justin Bieber to find success in life.
In his NYT Best Seller, The Road To Courage, David Brooks notes this shift in our society,
"…Along with this apparent rise in self-esteem, there has been a tremendous increase in the desire for fame. Fame used to rank low as a life's ambition for most people. In a 1976 survey that asked people to list their life goals, fame ranked fifteen out of sixteen. By 2007, 51 percent of young people reported that being famous was one of their top personal goals."
We think going viral is the only way to build wealth and prosperity, and that our content will catapult us into a galactic, stratospheric, upper-echelon network — from there we'll find our pot of gold.
We don't need to clamor for attention to gain our wealth and ultimately our freedom.
Kevin Kelly's groundbreaking article notes we only need 1,000 true fans in order to build a self-sustaining, 6-figure enterprise using the internet as our most valuable resource.
We too can generate mega-wealth without chasing the elusive rabbit that is virality.
Wealth Is a Choice
Becoming mega-wealthy doesn’t just happen for the lucky few.
The world is changing. In the near future, people are going to seek solutions to problems they don’t know exist yet.
This is your opportunity.
By using the internet to build a business that doesn’t require much investment (time, money, space, etc.) to grow, you expose yourself to a monumental opportunity.
This opportunity leads to the ability to throw away your soul-sucking, nine-to-five job.
By owning your own business, you have the ability to make money through the gifts you offer the world.
When you offer your gifts to the world, the world rewards you for those efforts.
When you are rewarded for those efforts, you are given the freedom you’ve been searching for.
After all, isn’t that what we all want?