Dr. Brad Miller’s guest on “The Beyond Adversity Podcast” is Nick Loper.
Nick is the Chief Side Hustler at Side Hustle Nation.
The Side Hustle Show is an award-winning podcast that highlights new part-time business ideas every week. As Chief Side Hustler at Side Hustle Nation, Nick enjoys examining the tactics and ideas of creating additional revenue streams.
In this episode, Nick talks about his side hustle experience, including the challenges, setbacks, and pain points that got him started!
Nick was once a corporate guy. He used to have a “real” job in a well-known company, has a consistent paycheck, and even a company car. But with his entrepreneurial mindset, Nick wanted out. He had no desire to advance up the corporate ladder and aspired to construct his own.
And like any other starting entrepreneur, Nick was involved in various projects and had his fair share of ups and downs, which he described as an “entrepreneurial rollercoaster.” Now, Nick is ready to share what he has learned along the way about business, and he hopes to inspire his fellow entrepreneurs to work hard to make their side hustle dreams a reality.
Nick’s journey to side hustling is transformative and persuasive to rethink about your nine to five job and pursue creating something you care about while generating revenue outside of your day job and increasing your financial freedom and security.
This episode is ideal for people ready to make career changes to pursue their passion and are looking for proven tactics, ideas, and resources that have helped many people build a side hustle while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
“The Beyond Adversity Podcast with Dr. Brad Miller is published weekly with the mission of helping people “Grow Through What They Go Through” as they navigate adversity and discover their promised life of peace, prosperity, and purpose.
Podcast: The Side Hustle Nation Show
Welcome to Beyond adversity, Nick Loper.Nick Loper:
Hey, thanks for having meDr. Brad Miller:
Appreciate you being here, Nick. I've been following you on your podcast and your your website, sidehustlenation.com for some time and find your work to be fascinating, and also an informative to some of the things I've been working on. Because what we would like to work on here is helping people to navigate some things where they get stuck in life and get through them and to navigate finances certainly been one of them. But I'm really interested, Nick, as we get into this, talk a little bit about your story, how you came into this world of the side, hustle nation, and particularly any challenges or adversities or some of the perhaps pain points that kind of led you to this. Tell us a little bit about your story.Nick Loper:
Yeah, that's it's an interesting one to reflect back on because it kind of was a low point, doing some soul searching and went to ‘what do you want to be known for? What you never get tired talking about?’ That kind of led me to creating the blog and podcast at Side Hustle Nation. It was during a time when I was running my original side hustle, which was a comparison shopping site for footwear, which operated on an affiliate model and bringing the catalogs from Zappos, and Amazon all these other stores, where you can find the best price on your next pair of shoes. That was a business that faced the entrepreneurial rollercoaster, in a lot of ways. In fact, it was on my first day of self employment, I called it my retirement like, Okay, I'm going to quit corporate, and I'm about to become a full-time online shoe salesman. This is the day, of all the days that Google decides, ‘you know what? We don't need your money anymore. You can't advertise this anymore.’ Like, well, there goes 80% of my traffic and revenue in an instant. Like Google has been doing this for like two or three years. Like you couldn't have said something before today.Dr. Brad Miller:
I just want to clarify it was every day, right, the exact same timeframe, when you launched, when that happened?Nick Loper:
The site had been running for a long time, the shoe site, they never had any problem with the ad account prior to then. I just turned in the keys to my company car, I'm like, alright, I'm going to be a full time entrepreneur. And then in an instant, like all of this, revenue that I was banking on kind of dried up. And so that was a very stressful summer trying to get back in their good graces.Dr. Brad Miller:
So what did you do? What were some of the actions that you took to deal with that? You came out of this corporate type of thing where you had something relatively said, and then you had this situation occu right when you're launching?Nick Loper:
Thankfully, we had some savings cushion, my wife was still working. So it wasn't like, we were going to be destitute and out on the streets. But it was a really stressful time, because they wouldn't tell you what they were looking for. They just said, Well, it doesn't meet our quality guidelines anymore. The sole purpose of your site is to drive traffic to other sites. It was a weird time. But what we ended up doing was reinvesting. So that was a difficult thing to do, not only we're not bringing in the revenue that we expected, we're now having to make additional investments in development, redo some of these pages to hopefully make them more appealing. And sure enough, three months later, I got an email says, Oh, looks like we made an error, you're good to go. And just like that, it was like we’re bacm on the business. But it was definitely a lesson in diversification. I thought I was reasonably diversified only got 20 or 30 different advertisers, different retail partners on the site. If any one of them goes belly up, somebody else would just come in and take their place. But to peel back one layer, obviously the share of the traffic was driven from from one source and that was Google ads. It was not as diversified as I believed it to be. So I've been on a mission since then, to build up some extra income streams and help other people do the same.Dr. Brad Miller:
Your mission is to help people build their own income streams, and to magnify that and amplify their earning power. That's awesome. So that's part of your story, then because lack of diversification that you had, had to diversify, because of this sudden event that happened. And for a lot of folks now, especially last couple years, people dealing with incredible changes because of COVID and the economy and all kinds of things happening, people have suddenly had to shift their thinking in many ways, sometimes by choice, but sometimes by beyond their choice. What did you learn out of your experience, then how's that applying to some of the people that you're working with in terms of helping them to deal with some of this shifting ground that the world economy is on?Nick Loper:
That's what's been kind of troubling over the last year and a half. It has shown how interconnected a lot of things are where it's like. I feel like I'm reasonably sheltered from this, but nobody was left untouched in some ways. And we had people who did what they were supposed to do like they built up their side hustle, but we find that just strike of luck, it happened to be in the travel industry, or we happen to focus on, giving in person tours, a marketing agency, but our primary clients were hotels, or we did, like my wife's side hustle was wedding photography, and all of a sudden, like, everything that was booked was just cancelled. It was really a challenging time to figure out what was immune to this. And some of the online stuff like a lot of the E commerce stuff did well. We saw early on in the pandemic, just a huge boom in the delivery gigs. It's like the plug and play, sharing economy gig economy type of apps, like DoorDash, Instacart. I think Instacart on boarded something like a quarter million new drivers last spring. So there was opportunity out there. But if you were laid off from a six figure salary, and now you're just delivering groceries, it’s probably not the equivalent there.Dr. Brad Miller:
Shock to the system, all kinds of things happen. And it changes as hard for everybody, no matter what your situation. But if somebody has been in some sort of an established career, whatever it is, for some time, then things have have shifted. You mentioned your wife had who had some savings built up and your wife kept kept her job. But let's talk a little bit about how in this world of the side hustle, in this world of developing your own thing, sometimes the tendency, I think when we talk about going out our own, we think it's we're out, we're really isolated. Is there any sensitivity about how we can partner with other people or look to connect with like minded people or get support from like minded people that can be helpful to us, for people who are making this shift in their thinking, from whatever their established source of income was, to whatever the new thing is? Is there any partnership type of thing going on here?Nick Loper:
I think doing so is almost essential, like it's hard enough, like starting something from scratch is hard enough to do. So you almost need to have some sort of support, network, accountability system built in, and I hear from a lot of people like, well, my spouse isn't really on board with this, my friends and family, think I'm crazy. And it's like, sadly, the reality that a lot of us face. And so there's one thing that's been beneficial to me is having a network. And in I was guilty of this for a lot of years kind of heads down and doing my own thing. Not really talking a lot of people like I could go the whole day without speaking and like that was pretty normal, I just kind of heads down do my own thing. What's been helpful recently is just having a community even if it's not necessarily local, but an online community of people who are working on similar challenges, similar problems, similar projects, where you can bounce ideas off of you can hold each other accountable. Whether or not that's a formal mastermind group, or peer accountability group, doesn't necessarily have to be but just being in the room, where people kind of get you. I get a lot of positive ideas and energy from that. Because I don't necessarily have that in my day to day peer interactions locally. I'm really grateful for from my lovely bride, even going back to when we're still dating, I was thinking of starting this like painting business or painting internship in college. And I'm like, I don't know, is this a scam? Is this a pyramid scheme? Like, what's going on? It's just like, what's the worst thing that happens? Which I thought was a good reframe? Like, realistically, this is three months of your life. If it sucks, it sucks, but it's three months, like what's the worst thing that happens? And so I think having that reframe has been helpful and just kind of been there every step of the way. Okay, you'll you'll figure this out, everything is figured out. We'll get through this and we'll do it as a teamDr. Brad Miller:
Love a couple of phrases use their the reframe phraseology, and everything is figured out, double is another thing as well. Because some folks feel like they are so ingrained or kind of been this track that they've been on. And I know you've dealt with a lot of people with entrepreneurial type mindset and that type of thing. But other folks who've been on this track in their life, whatever their career path was or their company was, for a long time, it's really hard to break out of that. So it's so important to have those those life giving relationships I take that maybe you've even created some of that community within the talks that you've given and your writing and your podcasts and so on. Have you found that to be helpful in terms of connecting up with like minded people as well,Nick Loper:
It really has. It's probably been the number one like surprise benefit of hosting the podcast is even being able to have interesting conversations week in and week out. Your network kind of slowly builds as a result of that on the guest side, but also on the listener side. So whenever I show up at events, which is really helpful for an introvert like me, people come up to me and say, Oh, I listen to your show, or I hear you heard your interview about such and such. And that is better rather than me like approaching strangers, that sounds really intimidating. So it's always helpful when somebody else kind of breaks the ice, and they feel like they know you at least a little bit, even if you've never heard from them. So that's been helpful to, answer the mastermind group that I'm a part of today, or we're all kind of sourced from guests of the shows, you guys are all kind of working on really different projects, but you're at maybe at a similar stage in your business. And so we were able to kind of band together and that most recent one, I think we're a couple of years deep into that group at this point. But in the Side Hustle Nation community, which is like 43,000 people strong on Facebook right now, I see posts all the time, okay, I'm looking for an accountability partner, I am looking for looking to join new mastermind group or start a new mastermind group. Here's what I bring to the table. If you if you know anyone or you fit the bill yourself, let's set up a kind of a chat there, as I see kind of connections happening in there, which is really cool to see because all of a sudden, it's not one to many like broadcasting out in the form of blog, podcast, email, YouTube, Tik Tok, whatever it is, The audience can engage with each other, they already have something in common.Dr. Brad Miller:
Kind of a crowdsourcing sort of a thing, where at least have some interconnectivity. Let me say, a good word here, but your interconnectedness in your your group there, because I'm just a big believer, Nick, that one of the things that help people get through adverse life events, like either losing a job or economy tanks, or COVID, or whatever, is taking some action, doing something about it. Another thing there is developing relationships, which will help you get through that, and then learning how to manage the unhelpful relationships, because they are out there as well. And to seek out those helpful relationships to team together because it’s hard not to do anything on your own. But to do this together makes a it makes it a doable thingNick Loper:
Recently we were removing emails that were just getting piled up. And so it was like a stress test for the business in a lot of ways. You got to see what systems were working. And that was cool. If you're the same way, but I tend to focus on the negative, like everything that is broken, and everything is piling up. So it's like, oh, that didn't go so well. And it felt like I just need some time, I just need some deep work time to start, like knocking off this list. And the list maker person, I can break this down to smallest actionable steps, even the act of just writing that down, getting it out of my head, kind of clears up some bandwidth in a way. It's a matter of carving out the time to do that. But even if you can cross like one or two things off that maybe they're not big things, it's closing those loops. I found recently these open loops, like the dishwasher is broken or something, affiliate program that I'm a part of, just went on pause or something like all those little open loops, they really like eat at me and so the more of those that I can keep closed or have a closure insight, I found that helps me out.Dr. Brad Miller:g remotely for since March of:Nick Loper:
I think you are spot on. And if you are going to be a part of the great resignation, I would feel a lot better about that if you had a backup plan, if you had a some sort of income that was maybe at least covering your monthly expenses that maybe doesn't replace your full former day job salary, that's fine. But we don't want to be dipping into savings, you don't want to necessarily be taking on more debt as a result of that. I think maybe that's the silver lining of the pandemic like life might be a lot shorter than we think it is. So what are we really doing here? I think those are great conversations to have. But maybe you've heard the quote of like, I think it's Reed Hoffman from LinkedIn. Oh, an entrepreneur is somebody who jokes off the jumps off the cliff or jumps out of the airplane, and then like, figures out how to build their parachute on the way down? That sounds terrifying. That sounds like so stressful. It's like, start something small, start something on the side. I'm all for the great resignation but with a backup plan or some means to support yourself. Don’t be the the person who's like, oh I had three months to get something up and running. And maybe that constraint breeds a lot of creativity. Maybe that deadline makes you figure out something quickly, or it's like, are you just now dusting off the resume three months from now like. But now I'm gonna go get another job because I didn't understand the budgetary, just realities of making a leap like that.Dr. Brad Miller:
Yeah, the mortgage payments seem to roll around and car payments, and what have you seen to roll around on a regular basis, regardless whether you're employed or not, and what I'm hearing you say is have a bit of a plan? I have a bit of a strategy on this. And so let's talk about that a little bit here. What are some of the things people can do? If they do want to make this shift? What are some of the practices, some of the habits, some of the the new ways of approaching things that people can do if they really want to shift from whatever they were doing? Whether they lost their job, or something like it? Or maybe they just want to do this? If they want to shift towards a side hustle type lifestyle? What are some of the things that they can do?Nick Loper:
There are three most prevalent and most common ways to escape the rat race would be, you know, traditional investments. This is the fire movement, financial independence, retire early, amass a nest egg of 25 times your annual expenses, and you're statistically set for life at a 4% withdrawal rate and probably be a little more conservative than that given at the potentially the tail end of a decade plus long bull run in the market. One of the common ways and this is like traditional retirement for folks to like who worked for 30 years. Save up this big chunk of money and slowly draw that down in retirement path. Number two is rental real estate. I'm gonna buy cash flowing rental properties. The cash flow, maybe in the near term can pay my expenses, and I'm building long term wealth as the mortgages get paid off there. And maybe that's my retirement strategy. And then the third way, and maybe the fastest way, in a lot of cases, but also maybe with the most risk is this entrepreneurial path, like, can I build a business can I build my own income streams to cover my expenses. And under that umbrella, there's three main models that being selling product, selling a service, or selling what I call an audience or content based business, which is kind of the space that you and I are playing in with podcasts. This is the website building, YouTube audience, TikTok, Instagram, like whatever kind of channel that you choose. But once you go down that path, you got some flexibility, because you can sell your own products and services, but you can also monetize with advertising with affiliate relationships. It's ultimately, maybe the most time leveraged, but also, most often, like a lot of ramp up time. It was probably three years before I got my first like podcast sponsorship on an official basis.Even then it probably wouldn't have been enough to fully cover the bill. There's this labor of love in this early marketing stages, trying to get that flywheel spinning. But the other two, you could start really right away. On the service side, sticking your flag in the sand and saying, I have these skills, I gotta go find somebody who is faced with the problem that these skills solve, and you're in business.Dr. Brad Miller:
They would come and it manifest itself would be in things like coaching or perhaps online courses, this type of thing is a one track, at least for what you could do that withNick Loper:
AI thinking, coaching, consulting, freelancing, even local services, like, home cleaning, Gutter Cleaning, window washing, lawn mowing, pooper scooper, type of stuff, we have people on the show doing mobile car detailing, there's a lot of room to play in there. Exciting space is, especially in the home services, like more and more homeowners are just outsourcing this stuff. They’re like, life is short, time is scarce. And my time is just better spent elsewhere. Like, I don't want to be cutting the grass on the weekends, spending Saturdays with the family. So you see, somebody shared this statistic was like, 20 years ago, only one homeowner in 20 was outsourcing like their lawn mowing, and today was something like 30 or 40%. It just keeps getting bigger. So the home services industry is an interesting one to play in. Especially because there's a lot of these different service niches. There's no like dominant, regional or national player. Whenever something is that fragmented, there's opportunity to come in and carve out some market share, and even not necessarily have to be the skilled service provider yourself. Like you could find a qualified professional to go do the work and just try and play a better marketer, a better administrator, a better manager. And we've seen some people doing that to great success. It's like, I pay my independent contractors 60% of the fee, and I take 40 for facilitating the playing matchmaker in a lot of ways. So that's kind of what I had in mind in on the service.Dr. Brad Miller:
The home services industry could be really localized. Also, it could kind of play strategically upon what you mentioned earlier, there are those folks who have done well, the FDR II program, the approach where they have those retirees and so on who have set themselves up relatively well, they may be able to enjoy you the ones who can pay for those local services who may be not have done that before? And it all kind of relates there.Nick Loper:
Yeah. Stuff like that, pressure washing, or all that, but it can be done online, too. I think this week's episode is on a pair of guys who found some qualified workers to produce their own podcast. They're like, well, now we found these people, they have excess capacity. Maybe we could sell this service to other podcasters. And so they're like, we'll do your show notes for you. We'll do your editing for you. And so the online example of service business where it doesn't rely on their technical expertise, to be the to be the bricklayer in a way. I want to be the bricklaying company, rather than being the guy laying the bricks. I want to be the owner of the dog walking company, rather than walking dogs, a little bit of a subtle shift there.Dr. Brad Miller:
I heard about somebody recently who did super well as a babysitting service at I think it was at kind of luxury hotels when people would come into the community from out of town for conventions or whatever whatnot and they would offer babysitting to people who you know came in from out of town and all of a suddend they're in several cities and only the city they were, I think Phoenix or someplace they were at some sort of resort area. Now they have franchises as it were and other resorts cities, for babysitting. So there you go, and they manage that. So that sounded cool to me, I want to take just one little kind of sidetrack here, similar what we're talking about, but it kind of goes into the world I've lived in play and a little bit. A lot of folks who are are regular listeners to the beyond diversity, know that I'm retired pastor and still involved with this world, and also found myself talking to a lot of clergy types and other folks who have looked to go to what in my world I live in, sometimes called by vocational pastors, which is where they have a calling as it were to be in ministry, or missions or something like that, but that is a tough thing to do full time. Some cases, they want to find some way to finance their calling where they can just make some money doing something like this to students. So what are the side hustle businesses for them? What's your thoughts about how someone can, fund a greater cause a greater cause, maybe it's not even there, maybe it's a charity or something like this, by doing some of the approaches we're talking about here, kind of, they got the mindset of a cause greater than themselves that motivates them. And to do this, just give me any thoughts that you may have about how a cause greater than self can motivate us to do some of the things you're talking about here.Nick Loper:
I think that's an awesome scenario to have that cause and you kind of need the silent partner or the financial partner in a way and maybe it is some one of these local service operations. A friend of mine was building an architecture website, how I passed the architecture, registry exam or registration exam or something, he had years and years of content about this. But during the time where it was ramping up, now he does affiliates. He's got his own products, his does sponsored posts, he does like public speaking, like business doing just fine now, but in the early days, it was just like, buy low sell high, like flipping products from target from Walmart, like Amazon, FBA is Fulfillment by Amazon, ship stuff into their warehouse, where you can find a good deal. Out a little bit of a profit on. And so maybe it's a business that you're not necessarily undyingly passionate for, but it funds the other thing, or it allows you to invest your time and energy resources in this other thing. So I think you're spot on that.Dr. Brad Miller:
Do you think there is any connection at all to having some sort of a vision as it were something greater than yourself that can then motivate you to do whatever it takes to get it done here? If there's any connection there?Nick Loper:
I think you're right, because f you don't have this driving, what's the point of all this? If you don't have that, then it's much easier to quit when the going gets tough. And in the tough guy always get stuff like this. Nobody was born knowing how to do this stuff. So it's really challenging. It's this driving motivation, like I want to have more time with my kids, or I want to devote this time to the ministry or I want to be able to take my family on a vacation, whatever that is, it's got to be strong enough because well, life's okay. I don't hate my job. I don't know if that's gonna get you, that's gonna get you up in the morning too.Dr. Brad Miller:
I think we're talking earlier about the about the resignation, thinking people recently are just saying, okay, I get it now. You know, my life has been threatened by this COVID thing or whatever, I get it that I got to get on with my life and enjoy this. Which brings me around kind of the last track, I want to go with you on here, Nick. And that's this I am really interested in a story of someone you've worked with, or witnessed, or in your coaching, or your mastermind, or even just a story that you've worked with, or you've seen a profound life change happen because of something that someone did follow in your teaching or your leadership or something along this line. And it just kind of just gave you just that warm feeling like okay, this is a good thing. Good things happening here. And I've been a part of it. So I'm just really initially hearing the story of a success story. If someone you've worked with or know about, who's changed their life around from a place of being stuck to a place I'd like to call it a place of peace, prosperity and purpose.Nick Loper:I listened to your episode in:Dr. Brad Miller:
Wow, um, I have to give out on my my wife is a notary, but she hasn't used that skill for years. We might have to talk about that one. There you go. Well, that's awesome. Well, Nick, how can if folks all learn more about you and side hustle nation and what you're all about any coaching or I know you've got TED Talks and all kinds of things you got out there? How can people learn more about you or get connected to you?Nick Loper:
You bet. Of course, we'd love to have you tune in to the side hustle show in your favorite podcast app. There's 450 Something episodes to choose from as I put together a greatest hits playlist in Spotify for you if you want to figure out where do I start, with new part time business ideas every week, plus the marketing tactics that drive those. If you're looking for a side hustle idea, you want to see what is out there. Of course, the show is a good place to start, but also sidehustlenation.com/ideas. Actually just hit update on that this month. Hopefully the creative juices keep flowing of things that are out there that other people have done and seen work.Dr. Brad Miller:
That's awesome. But his name is Nick Loper and he blogs at sidehustlenation.com And as the side hustle nation podcast, several other things available to you here. It's been a pleasure to have you as our guest today here on the Beyond Adversity podcast.