Not every startup will secure VC funding. Many will have to self-fund their startup to get it off the ground. Having a side hustle can be a way to make enough income to keep the dream alive until it takes off.
My path to becoming an entrepreneur is hardly a typical one. I was a bit of a late bloomer. Being an entrepreneur didn't come naturally to me. None of my mentors in life were advising me to take that path. So, I spent a good number of years battling the bureaucracies of the corporate world. I didn't start my own company until I was 38.
Doing so took a considerable amount of risk on my part. I didn't have VC funding, in fact, I am self-funding my startup. Getting started can prove quite challenging even for the entrepreneurs with the best business ideas, products, inventions, etc.
Being an entrepreneur is a grind, and there are many barriers to entry. I'd like to share what I did and a few of the strategies that my entrepreneur friends have used to help supplement their income as they worked on getting their startup off the ground. These people were also late bloomers and had a family to support when they started their business.
Keep Your Day Job Until You No Longer Need It
For me, I started my company while still holding down a day job and working on my business in the evenings. While progress was slow, it was allowing me to continue to provide a steady income to support my family.
I worked my day job until my company started to become profitable, and there was a clear path to replacing my income from the corporate world.
One friend downgraded his time commitment by quitting his salaried position and transitioning to an hourly job. We all know that salary positions end up being far more than 40 hours a week.
That makes it tough to have the time you need to work on your startup. In an hourly position, employees are not typically taking work home, logging in on weekends, and responding to email at all hours of the day/night, which will free up time that can be devoted to your startup, and still give you a source of steady income.
He worked the minimum number of hours per week at his hourly job to be eligible for benefits. Paying out of pocket for benefits can be a huge expense for an entrepreneur, especially if they have a family.
Uber Is A Great Gig For Entrepreneurs
I have another entrepreneur friend that drove for Uber for eight months until her startup was earning enough to bring in sustainable and consistent income. She mostly drove in the evenings, freeing up her days to work on her startup. Driving for Uber is one of the most flexible jobs you can find. When business was slow at her startup, she drove more often. When business was doing well, she drove less. Then, after a year, she drove no more, as her business was off the ground and profitable.
Go Back To The Classroom
If you have a college degree, you can substitute teach. Substitute teachers are always in demand and is another flexible job that mostly allows you to work as much or as little as you want. Unlike full-time teachers that have to lots of work to do long after the bell rings at 3:00, substitutes are typically done for the day giving you time to work on your business in the afternoon and on days you're busy with your startup.
Walk The Dog
In Colorado, we have almost more dogs than humans. A friend in Denver started a dog walking service. He put out fliers in his neighborhood and had clients in no time.
Another entrepreneur colleague outsourced his skills. He sent an email to everyone is his network a list of his skills and the hourly rate associated with each of them.
He added a little emotional appeal about how they would be helping him to fund his life dream of starting his company. Then, before long he ended with paying clients and a side hustle that helped him with funding for his startup.
When you become an entrepreneur, you should begin networking with other entrepreneurs that are working on their startups. You will appreciate the exchange of information and at a minimum enjoy the dialogue with someone who is on a similar entrepreneurial journey as you are. (Being an entrepreneur can be lonely at times).