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The 2 mistakes that will destroy your business, & how to create your success (plus 1 announcement)

making money on the side

making money on the side

Mistake #1 can destroy your business

“I’m going to quit my job and start a business!”

I hear it with so much enthusiasm–and being an entrepreneur, I REALLY want to encourage that optimism.

But the problem is that quitting your job to start a business will almost always ensure failure. Why? Well, unless you’ve already stuffed your mattress with hundred-dollar bills, you’re not going to be able to pay for your rent, food, electricity, lattes, whatever, while you’re starting your business.

You’ll be so desperate for work that you’ll take ANY job at ANY rate from ANY client–no matter how demanding, difficult, outside your expertise, or menial. And within a few months, your business will be dead, you’ll be neck deep in credit card debt, and you might even be crawling back to your old job (and nothing says defeat better than crawling back to your old job…), burned by your failed attempt at entrepreneurship, never to play with that fire again.

Big, BIG mistake.

(Even if you have a crushing defeat, remember: it’s only temporary).

Mistake #2 will prevent you from ever starting a business

“I need to have 6-12 months of savings before I start my business.”

Now, I love to save, and I’m pretty dang risk-averse. But, you DON’T need a giant emergency fund to start making money on the side. The mistaken idea that you need a huge emergency fund to start a business is similar–and often goes hand-in-hand–with the mistaken idea that you have to quit your job to start a business; in other words, to quit your job and start a business, you need tens of thousands of dollars to pay bills and fund your business. Wrong.

You may be the exception, but for most folks, building up an emergency fund of 6-12 months will take years. Years! Do you really want to wait that long? Not me–besides being risk-averse, I’m also impatient.

The fact is, you can start a consulting business with less than $100. And if you don’t have $100 to spare, cut out the lattes for a few weeks, and you’ll have your business seed fund. Besides, there are a ton of free & low-cost tools to help you start and run your business. You CAN start making money on the side.

Sometimes–and you need to ‘fess up and admit if you’re doing this–the excuse that you need a giant emergency fund just means that you’re afraid to start a business.

Guess what? Fear is normal. Everyone who’s started a business has been afraid.

We’re all afraid of failing, of tackling something unfamiliar, of looking like an idiot.

But you can get past those fears by:

  • breaking the problem into tiny, manageable, easy steps, and
  • testing your business idea to make sure it’s viable WITHOUT risking more than $100 and some of your time.

Why you need to start your consulting business as a side hustle

A side hustle is something you do to start making money on the side. See, when you have a day job, you have–guess what?–MONEY. If you quit your day job, you have–yep–bills. I’d rather have money, since it pays the bills.

When I started my consulting business in January 2007, I had a full-time day job. I had just left a job at a software company, and taken a job at a non-profit. But at the same time, I started my consulting business so I could start making money on the side.

Granted, I spent WAY too much time planning & researching my consulting business (and all that time spent on planning cost me thousands of dollars in lost revenue; find out why…), but I did eventually start my business. And I made sure I started it in addition to my full-time job; it would’ve been financial suicide to quit my day job to do consulting full-time right from the start, since I had no clients (and I know other people who tried and failed by going the quit-my-job-to-start-a-business route).

Instead, I learned how to market my business, got known in my niche, started getting more and more clients and work, to the point where I was able to quit my day job virtually risk-free, since I had plenty of clients and plenty of work.

Several months before I quit my day job, I saw that the time I spent at my day job was getting in the way of how much I could earn consulting. So, quitting my day job to earn more was less risky than staying at the job.

Another great benefit of starting your business as a side hustle is that in addition to learning how to start & run a business, you’ll be making money on the side–which means you get to build a nice emergency fund.

Even if you hate your job, keep it–for now

You do NOT need to quit your day job to start your business. In fact, it’s BETTER to stay at your day job WHILE you start your consulting business. There are a couple reasons for this:

  • Hating your day job keeps you motivated to build your business.
  • Your day job can fund your consulting business.

You DON’T need a pile of cash to start a business. But, you DO need to pay the bills, and that’s where your day job comes in. And–surprise!–your day job is already paying your bills.

So, if you’re on the fence about whether or how to start your consulting business, or if you’ve just been stuck in the planning & research phase, or if you’ve been making excuses about what you need before you start (“if only…”), just stop it.

Start taking actions–no matter how small–to start your business

Do something EVERY DAY on your business.

Push yourself a little outside your comfort zone.

Tell other people that you’ve started your consulting business (so long as they’re supportive).

Do things that make your business seem more “real” and made your feel like you have to keep pushing ahead so that you don’t risk feeling like you’ve failed.

Start your side hustle, and start making money on the side.



Launch Checklist is HERE!

Yep, the Launch Checklist is here. I’ve seen a couple dozen other business start-up checklists, and truthfully, they’re terrible.

Other start-up checklists don’t cover the MOST ESSENTIAL tasks you should focus on to get your business collecting cash. And if you aren’t collecting cash, then you don’t have a business. Besides, those other checklists aren’t tailored to starting a consulting business, and they don’t go into detail on how to test your idea and get paying customers.

So, forget about traditional business advice. Don’t waste your time on a traditional business plan. Instead, spend your time on ONLY those things that will help test your business idea and get paying clients. Ready? Then click the button below to get instant access, or find out more.

In addition, if you buy both the Launch Checklist AND the Start-up Blueprint, you’ll get a 15% discount.

Get Started NOW!


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
Claudio - January 4, 2012 Reply


I find it really hard to cope with your daily job while growing a side business. Your boss expects you to be there, because that is what you are paid for, and most probably your side customers will also expect you to be there when they need you (because that is what you are paid for)…a situation in which you are able to care for both jobs, and not fall short on any of them is really difficult to maintain in the long run…and then there is your family and your life balance…you can not work at night for too long before your family suffers…

My feeling is that your advise is good, but you should be more specific o. timing…my guess (and experience) is that after 6 or 9 months of doing both things, you feel you have to make a decision…and that is the moment when your emergency fund is a good option to finish growing your business and be able to fly on your own…

I would like to know your thoughts on this issue, and about how long to be in the middle of two jobs.


    Greg Miliates - January 4, 2012 Reply

    You’re absolutely right–it can really be tough to balance a day job, your business, and your family. My kids were 2 and 5 when I started my business, and it wasn’t easy. Typically, what I did was to do my consulting work either after the kids went to sleep or before they woke up in the morning; weekend mornings were also good for doing billable work. For client calls, I’d do those either before I went to my day job or during my lunch break.

    It was definitely a balancing act, and fortunately, I was able to grow my business to the point that it more than replaced my day job salary. Within 18 months, I had completely quit my day job to consult full-time. For my situation, the 15-18 month period worked. In retrospect, I probably could have shortened it. One thing that also helped me was to go part-time at my day job for 3 months before I fully quit.

    But to start any business, despite the challenges of balancing everything, I still think it’s best–and financially safest–to start a business as a side hustle and use your day job to fund it.

Joyce Akiko - February 2, 2012 Reply

I started my consulting company without a full-time job to support me, and it has been incredibly stressful. While it’s nice to have my neck in the game and lots of time to get things done, I’m also terrified I won’t make it. I am looking for a job right now to supplement my savings. I saved up 6 months worth but 6 months is barely any time at all, let me tell you!

I agree with this article… don’t quit your day job.

    Greg Miliates - February 2, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for your comment! I’ve found that the turnaround time from the initial prospecting contact to billable work can take time–sometimes months. And if you start a business without any “warm” leads, it makes running your business extremely stressful–like you mentioned.

    On the positive side, you’ve gotten over probably the biggest hurdle and have actually started your business–that’s fantastic!

    Even if you end up going back to a “real” job, you can use it to fund your business. Don’t think of getting a day job as a failure; it’s just a temporary setback so that you can get some temporary financial security while you build your consulting business. It’s all part of the experiment you’re doing–trying things out, seeing what happens, learning from the results, and adjusting to move forward.

    You might want to check out some of my articles where I talk about identifying a niche, since lots of consultants find that it makes finding work easier and they can charge more.

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