The Great Side Hustle Question: Should You Work for Yourself or for Others?

Thoughts of a Mastermind 14 Comments

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The past 3 nights, I’ve spent a number of hours doing my statistical consulting side hustle. About a year ago, an old co-worker asked if I’d help out for a few hours a month with his consulting business. At that point, I was eager to take on more projects and responsibilities to grow my income.

This blog was my only side hustle at that point back in 2017. Now, I have a lot more on my plate and my tune has changed a little bit. With a lot to do still to improve my blog, build my brand online, and grow my other business, I want to ponder and discuss some thoughts around working for yourself versus working for others.

My Lucrative Side Hustle

About a year ago, I received a text from an old co-worker last week and he asked if I was free to grab a beer and catch-up. I believe networking is extremely important given the field I am in (finance and statistics), and I also enjoy getting a drink and chatting with other like-minded and successful individuals.

When we met, we exchanged pleasantries and made small talk for a few minutes. Then, he told me that he had been doing some side consulting work for the past 10 years and is looking to bring on some more help so he can take it a little easier.

He said starting off, he would give me a few hours a week and if that was manageable and there is work that needs to be done, I could take on a few more hours. He said, “Are you interested?”

Without hesitation I said, “Yes, I’m always interested in work outside of my day job. I’m looking to build wealth, learn, and grow.” He was elated to have me on board and believes this will be a fantastic time for me to learn and help out his side hustle.

This discussion kicked off a number of projects which consumed some of my time over the last year.

The Statistics Behind Being a Statistical Consultant

My side hustle has turned out to be less of a time commitment than I thought, but I’ve still made some pretty good cash.

Over the past year, I’ve made over $6,000 from this side hustle.

I’ll stop dancing around the question I’m guessing you are thinking, “How much are you paid an hour?”

$85.

The last 3 nights, I worked 9 hours, and I’m going to bank over $700 off of this work. Provide value and you’ll be compensated.

Of course, this doesn’t come without the necessary education and expertise. While the statistics I’m performing is not anything earth shattering, it’s important to understand the difference between normality and non-normality, the nuances of different frequency analyses, and the different conditions to check for in the data.

There’s quite a bit to know and apply, and at the end of the day, all of these analyses should be coded up in an efficient manner.

It’s a lucrative side hustle, but since the work comes here and there, sometimes I get a little frustrated that I need to prioritize that versus my other interests.

My Goals and How Side Hustles Come into Play

One of my overarching goals in life is to increase my income. By increasing my income, I can increase my savings, and by increasing my savings, I will bring myself closer to financial independence.

With my educational background, I would need to work hard to re-brand myself and take a risk to get to a position on the revenue side of the income statement. At 25, I’m already making close to 6 figures – even with being on the expense side of the income statement at work.

Really, for me right now, the fastest way for me to increase my income by $5k, $10k, or $15k in a year, would be to build a revenue stream on the side of my day job.

That’s why I hustle; I want to learn, grow and increase my income and eventually, grow my wealth through saving.

That being said, it’s also possible to build wealth through the creation of an asset which will both produce income, and be worth something at the end of the day.

Income vs. Wealth

The millionaire fastlaneBack in April of last year, I read the book, The Millionaire Fastlane. In The Millionaire Fastlane, MJ Demarco argues there are 3 financial roads people are traveling on: the Sidewalk, the Slowlane, and the Fastlane. Each of these financial roads is governed by a certain wealth equation.

The Sidewalk Wealth Equation

The Sidewalk wealth equation is:

Wealth = Income + Debt

Sidewalkers create their lifestyle in direct proportion to their income and supplement that lifestyle with extensive use of debt. People in the personal finance community would identify these people as those who try to “Keep up with the Joneses”.

The Slowlane Wealth Equation

The Slowlane wealth equation is:

Wealth = Job + Market Investments

Under this wealth plan, income from a job funds both lifestyle and market investments. The problem here is your wealth is tied to variables which you cannot control (namely, the stock market). In addition, you can only work so many hours in a day. It is physically impossible to work more than 24 hours in a day. Therefore, the two parts of the equation are governed by variables you cannot control.

The Fastlane Wealth Equation

The Fastlane wealth equation is:

Wealth = Net Profit + Asset Value

where Net Profit = Units Sold x Unit Profit and Asset Value = Net Profit x Industry Multiple

All businesses leverage this equation. A Fastlaner builds wealth by providing value to their customers. They can increase their wealth by selling more units, or profiting more from each individual unit sold. In addition, as profits increase, the underlying business asset increases in value. You can see how it is possible to get rich fast (not to be confused with “Get Rich Quick (Easy)).

If you want to get rich at a young age, you have to start a business and become an entrepreneur. It is impossible to really rich by saving 10% of your paycheck, buying a used car, cancelling the movie channels, quitting drinking expensive Starbucks mocha lattes, saving and penny-pinching your life away, and trusting your life-savings to the stock market.

Spending my Time Working for Myself vs. Working for Others

With my lucrative side hustle, I’m working for another person. It’s a job and requires hours for me to get paid. While I get paid very handsomely for the work I do, at the end of the day, all I’m left with is cash and no asset.

Instead of spending hours working for someone else, I could be spending that time trying to create value on my blog or in my business. There are a number of things I want to explore more on this blog in the coming months:

  • Further Automation and Outsourcing of Twitter and Pinterest
  • Creation of Landing Pages for SEO and Pinterest Purposes
  • Providing More Value Through Interactive and Free Applications
  • Free Webinars and discussions for The Mastermind Within Community

All of this takes time to build and create.

I spend at least 20 hours a week working on this blog. I absolutely love it – it’s not work to me, but at the end of the day, I’m only making about $1 a day.

At this point, what’s more worth it for me to spend my time on? Which hustle would be more valuable to spend my time on if this blog or my other business was bringing in $10 a day? What about $100 a day?

Building serious wealth is done by providing immense value to your clients and customers. I’m working on this, and while I’m not quite there, I know I will be soon.

Conclusion

I enjoyed thinking about these questions and points. I think for now, I’m going to keep grinding and keep around this my statistical consulting side hustle. It’s only a few hours a month, and it is some solid cash!

With a side hustle or side business, it’s important to keep in mind your goals and what you want in life.

Whether you choose to work for yourself, or work for another person, as long as the outcome is income, then really, there is no wrong choice.

Readers: what is your side hustle(s)? What are you working towards outside of work? Are you grinding at work instead and use your free time to relax?

Erik

About the Author

Hi! I'm Erik, the creator of The Mastermind Within blog.

I'm passionate about helping you improve as a person, get better with your finances, and create your dream life over time.

Through setting goals, critical thinking and intentional living and action, I believe you can master your life, win with money, and get on the path to freedom.

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Comments 14

  1. I’m hustling to take care of our newborn really so while there isn’t financial compensation, it’s still priceless and comes with plenty of caffeine. 🙂

    Your hours and payment are impressive. Tutoring is also a great way to keep knowledge fresh!

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      Thanks Mr. Defined Sight – I needed your kind words today – definitely struggling at work a little bit 🙂

      Let’s keep the hustle rolling, onwards and upwards!!

      Have a good one

  2. “Whether you choose to work for yourself, or work for another person, as long as the outcome is income, then really, there is no wrong choice.”

    So true! Thanks for the reminder. I often grapple with the idea of side hustling for income now or playing the long game and focusing on the blog.

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  3. I think I’d come to the same decision, to stick with the statistical consulting for the time being. I say that because blogging is a labor of love, you seem to have lots of energy, and you’re going to work on the blog anyway. And the income from the consulting could help you grow the blog. Interesting dilemma–I really don’t think there’s a wrong answer because you can always change your mind!

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  4. I’d probably stick with the consulting gig if I were in your stage of life.

    With kids and on the mid to late career pay curve I’d probably shift more towards time with family commitments. But without kids your not trading much in the way of free time during the week, or at least I wasn’t at that age. Once you have kids free time becomes a bit more scarce.

    As for side hustles, beyond the blog I spend most of my non relaxing/family time helping my wife with her self employed gig. I do most of the administrative overhead like contracts, filing the taxes, and managing licensing and such. Thats really the limit of my desire/ability to work outside of my career. I technically cost her nothing so maybe its less about a side hustle and more about being a good spouse 😉

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      🙂 I’m glad you are able to apply your great business skills at home, and have a favorable result for your wife!

      Thanks for stopping by FTF – I always appreciate your support and comments.

  5. I think consulting and the blog are excellent complements. Consulting is a rate & hours game without a lot of leverage. The blog could grow exponentially and flip the equation (you spend way less time on it than today, and make much more). As always, you have a lot of pokers in the fire – wishes for your continued success!

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  6. Erik,
    That’s great that you have a side hustle that pays $85 per hour. Not many people can make that happen. You mentioned towards the end of the article that you’re trading time for money and not building an asset, and that is what most people never realize. Ther’e nothing wrong with doing some hourly work like you’re doing, but obviously you have higher long-term expectations than most people do.

    I’m 39 now. In my late 20’s I started a side hustle and when I was 30 I wound up quitting my full time job and working for myself full time. One of the best things for me (and my family) financially has been the opportunity to build assets. I’ve sold several websites over the past 7 or 8 years, and my wife and I also had a business selling on Amazon that we sold. When I quit my job I stopped making money from that job. But when I stopped working on websites that I sold, I was able to make about 2 years worth of profit by selling the site. The challenge is that you have to start over after selling, but to this point it’s worked out pretty well for me.

    If your passion is to build assets for yourself, I would encourage you to pursue it.

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      Hey Marc!! Thanks for the comment.

      I really appreciate your support, and am very excited to hear what you have been able to do. I think you will love Friday’s article (2/23) where I’m going to be talking about digital real estate 🙂

      I want to build a number of web apps and sites – there is so much potential, and it seems you have done very well in the space yourself!

      Erik

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