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I already enjoy Nick Loper’s podcast Side Hustle Nation, so when I found out about his new book $1000 100 Ways on the Choose FI show I was keen to check it out.
Based on his podcast content I was pretty confident that it would be engaging and full of actionable tips. I did have a few reservations though. As a full-time working mum to young kids I do not have a lot of time to read at the moment and I wondered how much more I would learn from the book than from doing my own research online on the side hustles I’m already interested in.
I also was not sure how much of the advice would be relevant to me, living in the UK.
As I’ve made a promise to myself recently to go ahead and buy a book or course if it’s something I’m curious about I downloaded it and got reading.
How the book works
The book offers short overviews of 100 side hustle ideas, divided into 4 themes: Local Services, Freelancing, Online Business, E-Commerce and Physical Products.
The same template of questions is used for each idea, covering points such as:
- How did you come up with that idea?
- How much did it cost to get started?
- Tell us about your first sales or first revenue for this business. How did you gain initial traction?
- What mistakes or failures have you had along the way? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
I would say that most of the “classic” side hustle ideas that you might have had are covered, such as blogging, property rentals, reselling – as well as more quirky options like inflatable dinosaur hire.
The book is almost all made up of the voices of the people whose stories are covered, with a very brief summary from the author at the end.
How valuable is it?
For me the value in the book is not so much about sparking new ideas as it is about feeling more inspired and empowered to take action.
The summaries of each concept are very brief but in most cases there are links to where you can go to find out more. Often the links are to resources that are of value to entrepreneurs in general rather than relating to the specific idea. This means that if you did want to follow through on any particular ideas then you would probably still need to do quite a bit of research into getting started and picking up any necessary skills.
What I found really valuable though was seeing the themes that came through across the different types of ideas. For example, almost all of the hustlers said that they wished they had started earlier and encouraged launching soon and “imperfectly” and making iterative improvements across the way.
Many regretted being held back by “imposter syndrome”, not outsourcing early enough and marketing mistakes.
I was inspired by how when people found an opportunity that fitted their situation, was a skill they could master and met a need in the community then they didn’t seem to overthink it and just got going.
Another theme that comes through is the importance of really great customer service.
There’s a huge range in terms of how long it took to make the first $1000 profit as well as the monthly income each idea brings in at the time of writing. One of the advantages of this compilation is that most have a very low start up costs and involve low levels of risk.
One thing that surprised me was how scalable and sustainable most of the ideas are. They say to not to judge a book by its cover but I must admit that if I had known nothing else about this book or the podcast I would have assumed it was about easy and short term ways of making up to $1000 in a crisis, such as selling items you own or using “free spins” on gambling sites.
Instead, many of these ideas are potentially life-changing avenues that can be developed in the long term. Some of these will definitely be “slow-burners”. For me the book over-delivers in this sense but I can imagine some people might be disappointed if they are looking for something that’s very low effort with high short-term returns.
How relevant is the information to readers outside the US?
If you are outside the US, don’t be put off by the $ in the title. (And I do realise that some countries outside the US use dollars, but you know what I mean!). While there are a few ideas in the book that may not take off in the UK, such as the poop scoop service, or yard sign rental, that’s not to say that they wouldn’t work in other countries outside the US.
There are also quite a few stories taken from countries outside the US (including France, Australia and the UK).
Lastly, the one thing that makes it very “international” is that many of the tools and resources mentioned are globally accessible and relevant, such as Google My Business and Facebook.
So should I buy it?
I would recommend this book to anybody with an interest in the process of starting a side hustle and making a success of it. I think it’s particularly helpful for anybody who is lacking in confidence or feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of getting started, as you see over and over again examples of smart but also ordinary people taking the same steps: choosing an opportunity, applying themselves and adjusting based on what is working.
Even if the specific idea you want to pursue isn’t covered, there is plenty of wisdom in here that would make your own journey more enjoyable and profitable.
I’d even go so far as saying that getting it is a no-brainer, as it’s currently available on Kindle Unlimited, which you can get as a 2-month free trial. If you wanted to buy a copy to be able to refer back to (given the wealth of recommended reading suggestions) then at the time of writing the Kindle edition is only £2.49 in the UK.
The book also contains a link to a workbook for developing side hustle ideas, which is usually sold for $49. While there are many takeaways from the book itself, it doesn’t itself cover a detailed framework for developing a hustle, so this workbook is a fantastic complement. If you want to take things further there is an additional course too.
What am I doing differently as a result of reading it?
Well, I can see how consistency, patience and professionalism were a theme running through the testimonies. For me, putting that into practice means sticking to a regular posting schedule for this blog and “treating it like a job”.
For example, I know I want to create a more prominent and appealing subscribe option for this blog because that’s how I return to most of the blogs I read regularly, so I’m going to treat this blog like a job and commit to doing that next, or at least by the end of the month.
How’s that for accountability?