How to Use Side Hustles to Build Your Talent Stack

How to Use Side Hustles to Build Your Talent Stack
Nowadays, you can’t be in any online business or entrepreneur forum without someone talking about their side hustle.

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Hey everyone. I wanted to jump in quickly let you know about the release of the audio version of my book, The Entrepreneur Ethos, narrated by David A. Conatser. If you want to support the show, you can buy it wherever audiobooks are sold. Links are also in the show notes.

Now on to a solo podcast about How to Use Side Hustles to Build Your Talent Stack.

Nowadays, you can’t be in any online business or entrepreneur forum without someone talking about their side hustle. The private Trends Facebook group that I belong to is filled with people trying to figure out the best marketing stack, what industry to start a business in, who can help with developing an app to scratch their own itch, good website developers on UpWork, what should be their Minimum Viable Product, advice on which consumer products to dropship, and my favorite people selling their businesses or side hustles.

All this side hustle talk got me thinking about my own side hustles and how I use them to build up my talent stack. For those of you who don’t know what those two things are, let me briefly define both.

What’s a Side Hustle?

A side hustle is a business that you do on the side that might eventually become your main hustle or source of income. It’s not a hobby and the important criteria for a side hustle is that you want to make money at it. You don’t necessarily have to replace your main hustle with it but more often than not, that’s the goal.

A side hustle can be related to your main hustle or it could be something you have always wanted to do. Again, the only criteria are that it’s something that will eventually make money. If that’s not the case, then it’s just a hobby.

What’s a Talent Stack?

I first heard the term Talent Stack from Scott Adams on his Coffee with Scott Adams podcast. I really like the idea of learning talents (or skills) that stack on top of each other to make you better at things.

As an example, doing a Podcast is a talent that requires all sorts of talents to stack on top of each other. You need to learn how to record audio, edit audio, write up show notes, book guests, and create the cover art. All those talents stack up into being a good podcaster.

Data Science is another talent that stacks up programming and statistical analysis to make sense out of the mountain of data that’s out there. If you stacked Data Science with Front End Programming, then you could visualize all that analyzed data.

The Power of Doing

One of the great things about a side hustle is that it gets you focused on doing something as opposed to thinking about doing something. While it’s okay to learn about how to do something, it’s much better to actually do it. What’s even better, is that nowadays, all the tools to create an internet-based side hustle are easy and affordable to try out.

For example, let’s say you wanted to start a newsletter and podcast about Artificial Intelligence. It would be easy to setup Simplecast for the Podcast feed and to host the content and send newsletters. In fact, I use both of those for this podcast and site.

The other thing about doing is that it gets you in the mindset that what you thought might be a great idea, turns out to not quite be the 7 figure small business you hoped for. Don’t fret. That’s exactly what happens with side hustles and startups -- you end up pivoting to another idea based on the talents you’re developing.

Systems vs Goals

That’s why it’s important that your side hustle builds up your systems for doing things as opposed to a hard and fast goal. Don’t get me wrong. Goals are all fine and good but don’t get too married to an exact end result because more often than not, you’ll pivot to something new.

The idea about systems vs goals was another concept I got from Scott Adams and it rings true to me based on my experience as an entrepreneur because of the idea of pivoting.

Pretty much every startup I have ever been at had to pivot. If you read my book, The Entrepreneur Ethos, you’ll see that it’s filled with all sorts of companies that pivoted to a new business because conditions changed. What you’ll also see is that the pivot heavily leveraged their core talent stack in a different way.

That’s why it’s important to build a system to grow your talent stack that can also be used to achieve specific goals. Again, it’s not that goals are bad but conditions in the market or in the world can change so fast that the goal will never be obtainable. Just look at industries that have been impacted by COVID-19. The ones that built a system can adjust to the new reality of social distancing, order pick-up, and remote working.

Failure is Never the End Result

One thing that can be tough for new side hustlers is the idea of failure. Failure can be a hard thing to swallow if you’re someone who has a win at all costs type of attitude. I’m not saying wanting to win is a bad thing but as the system vs goal discussion, if you’re goal is to always win, then side hustles are not for you.

Side hustles are by their nature a great place to fail. The stakes are low and the learning is high. The other great thing about failing at a side hustle is that it’s never the end -- only another learning opportunity to improve your talent stack.

Again, I know it seems a bit meta to be like “it’s the journey, not the reward” but in a sense, it’s the journey of building your talent stack so that you can be ready when an opportunity comes your way. The failed side hustle is also the best way to find out if being your own boss or doing your own thing is right for you. Never think of failure as the end but the beginning of the next level of talent stack building.

Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Starting out on a side hustle adventure is going to be exciting and uncomfortable. Try and embrace that uncomfortable feeling. It’s going to be with you for a very long time. I don’t think you’ll ever be fully comfortable with a side hustle because should be pushing you to increase your talent stack in new and novel ways.

It’s Easier Than Ever to Start Something. So Get Started!

Don’t be afraid to start a side hustle. It’s easier than ever to whip up an MVP and see if it has legs. If you’re still feeling a bit apprehensive, then join a community like so you can be around like-minded folks who are not only starting side hustles but also building up their talent stacks for the next big thing that might just come along.