About 18 months ago, I received a text from an old co-worker 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 (banking), and I also enjoy getting a drink and chatting with other like-minded and successful individuals.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that this discussion would lead to more than $7,500 in income during this time.
Sometimes the best side hustles are the ones you don’t plan or expect to happen.
In this post, I will be sharing how I make $85 an hour doing statistical consulting for dog doctors, how I came into this side hustle, and share with you why networking and providing value is the key to side hustle success.
“Luck is what happens when Preparation meets Opportunity“ – Seneca
My Statistical Consulting Side Hustle
Let’s go back to the bar that February night.
When I go there with my old co-worker, we exchanged pleasantries and made small talk for a few minutes.
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. Starting off, he would give me a few hours a week and if that was manageable, 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.
Why was he interested in seeking my help?
The explanation is pretty simple. At my day job, I was a valuable asset to the team and people took notice.
For $85 an hour, I would be helping my old co-worker perform statistical analysis for dog doctors doing research.
I’d only taken 1 biology class and 2 statistics classes in college, but after a year of working as a statistician and quantitative analyst, I’d shown that I could provide value in the field of bio-statistics.
The situation isn’t too complicated. I provided value, showed I could communicate and was willing to go the extra step, and someone had an opportunity for me.
What do I actually do for $85 an hour?
Okay, so at this point you are probably thinking, “Erik, this is great in all but what do you ACTUALLY DO??”
I’ll explain what I do here. 🙂
Every few weeks, I receive a new project. Some doctor has performed a study and needs statistical help.
After an introductory phone call laying out the goals and gaining an understanding of the study, I get to work.
We receive the data in Excel, but use something more high powered for our analysis. Using the statistical software SAS, I write out code to analyze the data.
After running the required pieces of code, I put the results back into Excel and send it back to the doctor.
To give you a little more information, many of the studies I’ve done in the past 18 months have been related to some sort of throat disease. I get a list of 50+ dogs with 100+ attributes and am asked to see if there are any associations between certain attributes and the disease.
Speaking statistically, first, I perform some descriptive analysis by finding the descriptive statistics of continuous variables (min, max, mean, median, range) and frequencies of categorical variables.
Then, depending on the questions and study at hand, I will be looking at Chi-Square analyses, ANOVA, or survival analyses (Cox for continuous variables or Kaplan Meier for categorical variables).
All of this is pretty standard statistics, but certainly took some learning to get used to the terminology and methods.
As I mentioned, it was a great opportunity that just happened to fall into my lap. I kept my options open, looked to provide value, and was willing to take a chance. Would you do the same?
Networking and Providing Value is the Key to Side Hustle Success
Back at the beginning of 2018, I outlined how I made $107,000 in 2017 as a 25 year old. At the end of the post, I recommended to reach that level of income, it’s so critical to provide value to those around you. That is a vague statement, so let me expand on it like I did in that post.
There are many people we interact with on a daily, weekly, monthly, etc. basis. With each person we interact with, there is an opportunity to either add to that person’s life, subtract from that person’s life, or leave that person’s life be.
Think about this for a second: how would you feel if you could add to every single person’s life you came across. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? If everyone walked away from interactions with you saying, “hm, I really like that guy/gal.”
It’s not going to be easy – and I can assure you, I struggle with getting in to this mindset with all I have going on.
At the end of the day though, you are a strong and smart individual. You are capable of so much and can get started today on your goals.
Networking, sales, talking to people, whatever you want to call it will help you meet the right people. After that, it’s up to you to provide the value and get paid your worth.
I’ve found a side hustle that pays me $85 an hour. Will you find a side hustle like this?
Never burn bridges. Always stay hungry and be open to new opportunities. Look to provide value and make other people’s lives better.
Readers: do you have a lucrative side hustle? Do you like trading your time for money, or do you prefer to build something that can scale?