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The Smart Passive Income Podcast

AP 1028: As a Side-Wantrepreneur, Where and How Should I Start?

AP 1028: As a Side-Wantrepreneur, Where and How Should I Start?

By Pat Flynn on

About This Episode

Today I’m talking with Jake. He works full-time as a project manager, but he’s not really feeling it anymore. He wants to start something new and he has a lot of passions, he just doesn’t know where to start. This is an awesome episode, especially if you’re just starting out in online business—it’s filled with takeaways and strategies that you can apply back to your own business journey. Make sure you stick around, because by the end of the call Jake lands on a solid direction going forward.

As we dive into the call, we address some of Jake’s fears around starting a side-hustle in entrepreneurship. I lead Jake through some thought experiments, as well as ways that he can validate his ideas while continuing to work his day job. Towards the end of the call, Jake reveals his business idea, I give him strategies and tactics for validating and launching it, and Jake commits to an action plan.

What You’ll Learn:
Discover methods and blueprints for starting a side hustle in entrepreneurship.

AskPat 1028 Episode Transcript

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Pat Flynn: Hey what’s up everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to AskPat 2.0, Episode 1028. Thank you so much for being here and hey, make sure you subscribe to the show if you haven’t already. We got a really great episode today, but if you aren’t familiar with AskPat 2.0, this is a show where I coach entrepreneurs like you. You have a problem, I’m here to help. You go to AskPat.com, you can apply right there and I read those applications. My awesome assistant Jessica and I, we go through them and we select a few and we reach out to you. We schedule a call and you’re listening to one of those calls today.

We’re going to be talking with Jake, who is a person who works full-time as a project manager, but he’s not really feeling that job anymore and he wants to start something new. He has a lot of passions but he has no idea where to start or what to do. Through this whole process—as I’m recording these intros ahead of time, I can tell you, we land on something by the end. So you got to stick around, especially if you’re just starting out, because I show you through this coaching session how I coach Jake through this process, and as a byproduct you will essentially be coached at the same time. Stick around.

Now, before we get started with Jake’s conversation here, I do want to thank today’s sponsor, which is FreshBooks.com, one of my favorite companies. They help us manage our businesses—actually, they help three million small business owners. Actually, I think it’s more than that. It was three million when I started working with them a couple years ago; it’s probably like five million now. I don’t know the exact number but it’s a lot of people. They help us keep stress-free by helping us manage our business finances in a more automated fashion. From income to expenses, to invoices.

You can actually keep track of your invoices, and in a really cool way. Not just people who still owe you money after you send them out, but even people who have yet to open those invoices so you can follow up properly. It’s just all thought out, great interface, great people, having met a lot of the team members there, and I recommend you check it out. If you want a software to help you keep track of your books, all you have to do is go to FreshBooks.com/askpat and you’ll get a thirty-day free trial. Just make sure you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section. All right, here is the coaching session with Jake. Let’s do this.

Hey Jake, thank you so much for coming on AskPat 2.0 today. How are you?

Jake Nelson: I’m fantastic. Thank you so much for this opportunity.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. Absolutely. Pleasure’s all mine. Why don’t we just dive right in and have you introduce yourself Jake, and what you do?

Jake Nelson: Sure. Yeah. My name’s Jake Nelson. I currently live in Pleasant Grove, Utah. I currently work full-time as a project manager at a software company, and I guess I’m a side-wantrepreneur, I guess is one of the definitions I kind of go by. I’ve got a lot of passions and things I want to delve into, and I think that the thing that I called about today is kind of my area of focus right now that I’m kind of working on part-time right now. Full-time, right now: Driving a desk.

Pat Flynn: Yes. Project manager, software company, a side-wantrepreneur. Does that mean that you want to have a side hustle and still continue to work your job, or what is your ultimate goal here? Would it be to remove yourself from the corporate world and do something full-time?

Jake Nelson: The latter, yeah. I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. I’ve always thought of ideas, to solutions to problems that I see, and ultimately I want to have my own job where I’m creating a product or service for people that I know they need or want.

Pat Flynn: What do you feel has been stopping you from getting to that point right now?

Jake Nelson: Oh, geez. That’s probably—I would say the most common answer that people have to that question is the fact that I have some great job security and I have an income doing something that I am good at. It’s a big leap to make that transition and I think that starting with a side hustle is a great wedge into making that big transition.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. No, I agree. I mean, you don’t have to, although—I don’t know how much you know about my story Jake, but I was in a very secure job, I thought, but then I got let go. That’s kind of when everything started to happen. I’m not suggesting that you quit today and start tomorrow, kind of thing. If I had known about this world, I would have started with a side hustle but yeah, you’re right, this is a very common thing that everybody goes through. “I’m good at this, it’s secure,” and sometimes that security makes people not do the things that they want to do. I want to ask you, what are you scared of? What are your fears related to this sort of transition for you?

Jake Nelson: Oh, not being able to provide for my family in a way that I am currently used to.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. That would be the same for me as well. Family is the most important thing. That security of being able to provide for them would be really important. This already tells us a little bit about kind of what we’re shooting for. You want to make as much money, if not more, than what you’re making now. For example, you want to make sure that it’s something that can be long-term and that you can see yourself doing, and it still allows for you to be with your family and support them. I know a lot of entrepreneurs that, for similar reasons, started something new and they actually were doing more business and less enjoyable as a result of trying something new. So we want to make sure, obviously, what you do is what you’re interested in, which is really important, obviously. Let me ask you, what are some of these interests that you have? You said you have multiple interests . . . in areas of potential expertise, or just things you want to dive into? What would those things be?

Jake Nelson: Well, I have a huge, broad spectrum. Early this year, I bought a journal and I started recording in it, some of my dreams. It’s basically a list of all the business or service or invention ideas that I have and it grows on a regular basis. I’m a father of three kids ranging between eight and three years old and so as a father, I’ve developed these, “Oh, I wish they had something for this,” which they don’t have, and so I’ve got a few inventions that would help parents, or service ideas that would help local businesses. I don’t know how specific you want me to get, but there’s a very broad spectrum. I feel like I have this inherent ability to think up resolutions instead of focusing on the problems. I don’t know if that answers your question.

Pat Flynn: No, it does. You don’t have to get specific with what those ideas are, but it’s encouraging that you are thinking like that, which is the first step. Number one, a lot of people who are comfortable in their jobs, they just settle, and to me, you’re not settling. You’re there but you want to do something different. That’s step number one. Most people don’t even know they should be trying something else and they’re kind of lowering their standard of happiness, so I’m encouraged that that’s not you.

Jake Nelson: I always have this feeling when I’m working at a job, working for somebody else—I’ve always had this feeling that I’m helping someone else build their dream. I’m helping someone else make money selling their product. I’m working with clients, with people that I wouldn’t personally choose to work with if it was up to me, and so there’s a lot of mismatch there as far as—you bring in the happiness part of it. I feel like I have an inherent desire to create things and provide very, very meaningful value for people. Sometimes I have to just kind of trudge through the mud and deal with the issues of building someone else’s dream. That’s kind of always on the back of my mind when I’m working for someone else.

Pat Flynn: Well thank you for that. I think a lot of people can definitely resonate with that and are in the same exact boat, so thank you for that.

Number two is the fact that, and I’m encouraged by the fact that you have all these ideas, because people get to that next step and they don’t want to be where they’re at, but they literally have no motivation or no ideas, and so you have this shoebox full of a ton of ideas, and here’s where we’re at now. It’s, what do we do with all of these ideas? Where do you start with all that? Where I would start is—I talk about this in my book, Will It Fly?—I would start with where you want to end up. Reverse engineer, if you will, your ideal day and what you would be doing, and then from there you can actually start to eliminate some of those ideas.

This was a big thing for me too, Jake. Once I started to find a little bit of success online, I had this idea of creating a hosting company for websites because all the ones that were out there weren’t to my standards in terms of customer service and stuff. I was like, “I could probably build one of these and I have a large enough audience to do that.” I actually started pursuing that idea a little bit, but then I started to think about my future and what I really wanted and how I wanted my day to be and I was like, “If I do this, in order to make it work I’d have to go into an office every day. I’d have to run these team meetings, and I’d be dealing with server issues and have all this infrastructure.” And then immediately I’m like, “All right, although this is a good idea and I could probably succeed, it’s not a good idea for me and where I want to go.” That would be step three. You’re at step one, at this point the thing for you to do would be to eliminate those ideas.

The hard thing about eliminating ideas is that’s an idea that could be something someday, so maybe you don’t eliminate it but you just put it in a different shoebox that’s for like, plan X, Y, and Z instead of A, B, and C. That should start to at least filter out some ideas for you, matched based on where you want to be, the kind of life you want to live, and I think that’s a really, really important step, so that’s what I would start with. Then you’re going to be left over with however many ideas from there. Then the recommended exercise would be to just, in your mind, select one and imagine all the things you’d have to do or the things that like, what would life be like if that were the one? Would you be comfortable with that? Some examples come in, and I’ve worked with students who have gone through this exercise, and they pick an idea and they go, “Okay, this idea, it would mean that I would have to be speaking a lot. I would probably be speaking a lot and I would probably be writing books and my face would likely be on the cover in order for it to work. That’s not me. I’m not comfortable being that person and I’m more of a behind the scenes kind of guy,” and so, boom, those ones now get filtered out because they’ve gone through a little bit of a thought experiment of what it would be like a year from now if that were to be successful.

That would be step four. Then, likely, you’ll still have some left over and then it’s literally, which one are you most interested in? Which one do you feel like you can get started with sooner? Which one just, that day, seems to be one that you have interest in? Then you have to select that one and then give it a chance and focus on it.

Now, these other ones that are still left over, those get pushed aside, but not too far off where you don’t ever see them again, but they’re there just in case. Because now we go through a validation period where you select one of those ideas and you actually start working on it, and you start researching that industry, you start seeing. And then you get to the point where—let’s say, for example, one of the things you want to do is help people structuring their . . .

Maybe it’s home organization—I’m just picking something at random. Minimalism and staying organized at home is a big trend right now, especially related to some books that came out, so maybe that’s something that you want to potentially do. Instead of just going, “Okay. I’m going to do this. I’m going to build the online course and I’m going to create a business. I’m going to get business cards. I’m going to do the whole thing.” No. Let’s shrink it down and let’s see if you can get one person in your neighborhood to pay you $20 or something, to just come in and offer suggestions on how they can be better organized and more efficient at home.

Although it might not seem like a lot of money and you’re like, “How is this helping me?” what it does is it forces you to see if you can actually get one client, because when you can get one, there’s potentially many. Also, the payment part of it’s important because now it’s like, people aren’t saying yes just because you’re doing it for free. There’s an actual transaction involved and that’s just almost like a vote like, “Yeah, this is actually something that’s worth spending money on.” Sometimes you go through this validation period and you get to that point where people spend money and it’s not an industry that wants to spend money, but there is a big pain with home organization and clutter and selling things off to remove things that you don’t need anymore.

What’s really cool about that is it also teaches you if that’s actually something you like doing. Because in your head you may like it, but when you actually do it maybe not, and that’s where a lot of people realize, “Wow, okay. I don’t want to be that person. It’s weird to go into people’s houses and I’m uncomfortable so why would I choose to move forward? Okay. I’m done with this idea. Let’s go back to these other two Post-It notes and see if I can get a first client for this, or see if I can have a conversation with somebody who wants some help with that.” Do you see the progression of how you can do this in a very safe way where you’re still working your job, you can validate these things as you go along? How does that structure feel for you?

Jake Nelson: It makes complete sense. Take a step back.

Pat Flynn: Sure.

Jake Nelson: I have this shoebox of ideas. I have already taken one of those ideas and thought, “Okay, this one I would like to focus on.” It’s an idea that right now, just for that one idea, I’ve got kind of—trying to figure out how to structure the launch because there’s a lot of logistics that are involved in starting a new business. I’ve already taken these other ideas and put them in another shoebox with the idea to focus on this individual one right now.

Pat Flynn: Great. That’s awesome. You say you’re about to launch this thing, right?

Jake Nelson: I’m almost ready, but there are a few things, a few, I believe preliminary logistics that I should probably tackle first but I’m kind of at odds as to how to go about doing it.

Pat Flynn: Are you comfortable sharing what kind of business it is? You don’t have to, though.

Jake Nelson: No. I’d love to.

Pat Flynn: Oh, okay.

Jake Nelson: I love to garden. Gardening is kind of one of my biggest passions. Every time the weather starts to warm up, I really get the itch to put some seeds in the ground. One of the most important aspects about gardening is creating good soil. Compost, composting, has been something I’ve been getting into the last few years. I try to compost all of my green waste from the kitchen instead of throwing it away in the garbage. Early this year, I thought of an idea of doing a green waste pickup company where I would go to houses in the area and pick up their green waste at their curbside on their garbage pickup day and take it to a location and create compost. Then I would give this compost back to my customers, or sell it to other people who just want to buy it in bulk or whatever.

Pat Flynn: I like that idea. It’s similar to people who manufacture things with wood and all those wood shavings come off. That turns into mulch or sawdust and stuff. Just initial impressions—I like that idea. Keep going.

Jake Nelson: Yeah. Where I live, the county seat is in Provo, it’s like twenty minutes south of where I live and all this—Provo has a green waste pick up service. They give you a bin, you put your green waste in it, they pick it up every week, and you pay them some money every month to do that. All of the towns north of Provo, Salt Lake County, which is about six or seven little cities, they don’t have that but they do have a green waste drop-off facility that’s always busy. There’s always a line. They always close before you’re done working for the day, so you have to take the day early to go and drop off or pick up compost, whatever.

To me, it is the epitome of sustainability and environmental responsibility. There are a lot of people who first, I think, need to be educated of the importance of utilizing their green waste to create and recycle into the soil and to help crops and plants and grass and things like that. The problem that I see is that it’s not as convenient as it should be.

Pat Flynn: That’s great. There’s a lot of things related to that that are good. The mission, the bigger mission. People being a part of the community. Just the fact that they’re getting something back in return from doing this if they wanted. There’s a lot of ways to structure that business model. Have you had conversations with people about this?

Jake Nelson: I have. There is a gentleman that started an identical business in my area that started within just a few weeks of this idea coming up in my mind. I’ve talked to him a little bit. He seems to be pretty successful in this and I have been listening to a lot of gardening shows and they talk about the importance of composting, and I talk to my family and friends and ask them, “How much would you pay for this type of service?” You get a lot of people who say they wouldn’t because they don’t really care. They just throw everything away in the garbage, but everyone that has the idea that green waste should be put back into the soil to make the ground rich for growing crops, they love the idea.

Pat Flynn: I would see if you could get one person to do this with you. Just one. That’ll give you—before you launch publicly, you can literally just have a conversation with somebody and say, “Hey, for the next week, collect all your food goods and put it into this bin that I’m going to give you and I’ll collect it and a week later, I’ll give you soil made out of that.” Maybe they don’t want that. Just the act of having this conversation, actually going through the motion with one person, is going to teach you so much and it’s going to help you understand what questions to answer, because you’re going to get these questions and you don’t know what questions people are going to ask until you just go with it.

This way, it’s controlled. If you imagine this experiment, it’s happening in a little, tiny Petri dish where if things go out of control and it’s just not good, well at least it only happened in that little Petri dish. Then you can try the experiment again somewhere else, and now you know things that you didn’t before. Like I was talking about earlier with the ideation process, with the execution process, take it step by step also, so that you can learn as you go and you can start to develop your own way to handle this. This is exactly how 1-800-JUNK got started. A guy is just like, “Hey, I’m just going to drive around and ask, ‘Do you have junk? I’ll haul it away in my truck.'” That truck then became two trucks and then a team and then now the world’s biggest junk collection agency, or company.

Jake Nelson: Yeah. I love that guy’s story.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. It could be the same thing. He only knew what to do when he did it. “Okay, I’ve got this junk, where do I put it now? Oh, I can get paid for that? I can recycle some of this.” That’s going to teach you more than anything.

Jake Nelson: Yeah. I like that idea of doing it in real time on a very micro basis.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. I would imagine for you especially, since that’s a passion, that would be really fun to do and just figure it out. Little by little, you’re going to start to make a dent in that space. It could turn into a company if you want it to. Maybe you go through the process a couple times with a couple people and you’re just like, “No. I’m glad I did this small because now I know I don’t want to do it.” Again, no matter what, you’re going to learn something from it.

Jake Nelson: Yeah.

Pat Flynn: How does that sound?

Jake Nelson: That’s great. I think that’s a really important step that I envision. My vision completely skipped that. What I envisioned was getting all the logistics done beforehand so that I can launch and then just wait for people to come in and join.

Pat Flynn: Right.

Jake Nelson: The Petri dish example is really important.

Pat Flynn: The field of dreams—sort of like, if you build it, they might come, or they will come, sort of thing. That’s not a good way to build business. The way you want to build a business is: Get people to come and then build the ballpark. I think that’ll work. The experiment should relieve a lot of the pressure. I think this is just a fact that traditionally, what you were talking about is how businesses are normally done. You file an LLC and then you get the brand name and then you design the logo and then you get the business cards and then you have this magical day. There’s like, a ribbon-cutting. The town celebrates and “Yay, now we can use the service.” That’s not common anymore.

What’s common is just things organically happening as a result of what people are doing. Use that junk guy as inspiration because I think that’s going to be your path if you want it to be.

Jake Nelson: Yeah.

Pat Flynn: Sound good?

Jake Nelson: I like that. Yeah, it sounds very reasonable.

Pat Flynn: Last question: What day are you going to do this?

Jake Nelson: What day am I going to get somebody to say, “Yes, I’ll do this with you?”

Pat Flynn: Yes, yes.

Jake Nelson: I’m going to try to get somebody, by Monday next week, to say, “Yes, we’ll do it.”

Pat Flynn: I love it, Jake. Cannot wait to hear the rest of this story. Do you mind if we reach back out to you in a few months, just to kind of check in with you and see how things are going?

Jake Nelson: That would be great. A little bit more motivation.

Pat Flynn: Awesome. Jake, you’re wonderful. You’re doing things that are helping the environment, which I’m all about as well, so keep up the great work and we’ll check in with you later.

Jake Nelson: Pat, thank you so much.

Pat Flynn: Thank you, Jake.

Jake! You rock, man. Thank you so much for just taking the time today and being open and being vulnerable but also landing on something specific that you can do from here, and I’m really looking forward to . . . I always say to every guest, “I look forward to seeing how you do,” but for you especially, I’m looking forward because you’re just starting from scratch and by the time this comes out you could have something in your neighborhood going on right now, just like we talked about. I look forward to that.

I know everybody’s going to be looking forward to that as well. We’ll keep track and we’ll reach out to you to see how you’re doing over time. All right, Jake? For those of you listening right now, thank you for sticking around. I appreciate you so much and as always, make sure you subscribe, of course, so you can get these shows automatically delivered to you over time. If you have a minute to leave a review for AskPat on iTunes, that would be fantastic.

Number three, one favor that you could do for me is—and I just randomly thought of this—just find somebody special around you and thank them today. Thank them for no matter how big or small it is, just give them big thanks. We need to give more thanks in this world. Go and do that. Pay it forward. Have a great day, and I look forward to serving you in the next episode of AskPat 2.0. Cheers.


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