Side Hustle Summary

One Paragraph Summary Have you ever wished that you could quit the daily grind and live your life by your terms? Well, who hasn't? But leaving your job and starting to build a business is risky. In Side Hustle, Chris Guillebeau shows us how one can learn to generate income without additional resources and without having to take risks like quitting one's job.

Side Hustle Summary

Side Hustle—From Idea to Income in 27 days
A book by Chris Guillebeau

  By writing this book summary, I learned the following three things:

  • If you want to create a successful side hustle you should not fear to fail first
  • Assess your ideas like it were someone else's
  • It is stupid to quit your day-job before creating a side business

Key Ideas

The best time to start was last year. Failing that, today will do.—Chris Guillebeau

We all have heard stories from the self-made man who quit his job and became successful overnight. These stories appeal to us because we all like to live our lives on our terms. And these stories give us hope that someday we will be able to do the same.

But just taking the leap and quitting your job is not the best idea. It is just too risky, and there are also benefits of doing the 9 to 5 grind, like health insurance, for example.

The good news is that you can have the best of both worlds. You can become a side hustler and start a small business with the resources you already have at your disposal without having to quit your regular job.

And who knows, your side project might become so successful that in the end, you can leave your job behind without taking any risk.

What is a side hustle?

What is a side hustle? The author defines a side hustle as a profitable business you can start without having to quit your day job. Starting this business shouldn't be a big deal. Only invest the minimum amount of money and time in starting it.

Guillebeau says that investing one hour a day should be enough to start your side venture.

Side hustlers will have the benefit of more security than the average worker because they have the income and social security from their day-jobs and the additional money from their side business.

How to find ideas for a side hustle?

Good side hustle ideas fulfill three characteristics; they are …

  • feasible,
  • profitable, and
  • persuasive

If you have a regular day-job, time will be your biggest constraint you have to master. Remember, you should not spend more than one hour per day on your project. Therefore, it is vital to accomplish your idea in a short period.

Likewise, the idea must motivate you. You will not be able to pursue your new plan if you find it annoying. You need to have an excitement for it so that you do not feel that you sacrifice your free time for something you do not like.

If your idea excites you and you think you can execute it in the time you have at your hands than the concept is feasible.

When is your idea persuasive?

Easy, your idea is persuasive when your customers cannot say no to your offer. It is easy to answer the question, but it will not be easy to find a compelling idea.

And, last but not least, your hustling should be rewarded; your side hustle should bring in some extra cash. Keep your calculations simple. You do not have to make complicated business plans. Just come up with a conservative and an optimistic projection. Then deduct the expenses you expect, and you will know if your idea will be profitable.

Make an offer with a price, a pitch, and a promise

When you have found your idea, you should be able to craft an offer. Every offer needs three elements:

  • a promise,
  • a pitch, and
  • a price

How will your product or service transform the life of the buyer? The answer to this question is your promise.

In the pitch, you tell your potential customer all they need to know about your product or service without any irrelevant details.

The last element you need to make your offer is the price. Are there comparable offers in the market already? Pick the same price as your competitors then. If you are in doubt, just pick a price tag that your customers will like. You can increase rates later.

It is useful when you add a call to action near your price tag. Something like "click here" should be enough. Make it obvious.

If you want to increase your sales, it is a good thing to add some element of urgency to your offer.

To make your offer attractive to people, you need to find a way to plug into the emotions of those people. Make them see how your offer is making their life better or more straightforward. Concentrate on the merits of your product to create strong emotions.

The tools

Typically you should be able to execute your side hustling with only a few tools.

  • a website
  • social media accounts (Twitter, etc.)
  • a payment processor (PayPal etc.)

For the website, it is best to use a content management platform like Wordpress. Many side hustlers are using Wordpress; thus, it should be a viable option for your business as well.

It is always a good idea to ensure that you have the right domain name, and the corresponding social media handles for your business even when you do not plan to use them from the beginning.

Make sure that your website can process payments right from the launch of your business. It is vital to validate your business idea early on. Your concept is confirmed when you have your first three paying customers. Before that, you only have a business idea, not a business.

When to quit

When you have brought your business idea to life, you continuously need to ask yourself one simple question:

Is my venture making money?

You know that there are only three possible answers:

  • you make money, and you exceed your expectations
  • people ignore your offer
  • it is making some money, but the numbers are below your initial expectations

Well, it is evident when the answer is number one, then you can just continue with what you are doing. You have created a successful side hustle.

When your answer is number two, then you also know what you need to do: you need to kill your project.

In case three, you make some money, but just too little. You will have to decide if you should continue to invest your time or if it is better to execute your next idea. To make this decision, you need to collect more data. The data will help you to make a more informed decision.

You only need to measure what matters: profit, growth, and time

You were already measuring your profit and concluded that your project is creating too little money. Now you only need to keep an eye on how fast you can win new customers and how much time you spend on your hustle each week.

After some time of measuring these data points, you will have no problem to conclude. If your data shows that you should cancel the project, do not hesitate to follow through. There might be better ideas on your list.

First Insight: If you want to create a successful side hustle you should not fear to fail first

If plan A fails, remember there are 25 more letters.—Chris Guillebeau

You are probably not a prodigy. Are you? Stop reading.

If your abilities are average, like mine, you cannot expect that your first attempt to build a business will be successful. Do yourself a favor and come up with a big list of ideas first. Then pick the best and start to bring it to life.

If plan A fails, continue with plan B. Don't fret, you will find success before you come to plan Z.

Second Insight: Assess your ideas like it were someone else's

Do you have an idea you can explain in very simple language? Is your idea feasible, profitable, and persuasive? Is it clear how the idea will make money? When you think about the idea, does it make you feel excited?―Chris Guillebeau

It is easy to fall in love with your ideas. I know nobody who complains that God has given him too little wit. The same applies to ideas.

Be ruthless about your ideas. Check them against the criteria outlined by the author:

  • Feasibility—can you turn the idea into action in a short period
  • Profitability—can you make money from this idea, also in a short time
  • Persuasion—is your idea not only useful but will it persuade people to buy from you
  • Efficiency—how quickly can you execute this idea
  • Motivation—how excited are you about this idea? Can you persevere in building the business?

Third Insight: It is stupid to quit your day-job before creating a side business

Don't let yourself get distracted from the two things that matter the most for your side hustle: the benefit for customers, and the income for you.―Chris Guillebeau

Well, Chris has outlined the benefits of a regular 9 to 5 job and argues that it is not wise and not necessary to kill your day job before you start your own business.

This advice alone would have saved me $ 60,000. When I tried to start a business, I quit my day-job first and then attempted to build my business idea into a success. After twelve months, I had to kill my project because I found out that nobody was willing to buy my software product. My potential customer preferred to use Google docs instead.

Would I have tried to build a small version of my product as a side business, then I would have found out that I had no viable business idea. Well, I learned a good lesson. The bad thing is that this lesson was quite expensive. Oh, well.

So, if you don't want to take my advice, take Guillebeau's word and create a side business before quitting your job.


Chris Guillebeau claims that everybody can create a successful side business. I think he is right, but it is not that easy, as outlined in the Side Hustle book. You have to be willing to sacrifice a significant portion of your free time to work on your project.

Also, you need to be willing to fail. It is improbable that your first idea will be a success; there is just too much one needs to learn. There might be exceptions, but do not expect that you will not have to fail first.

With these cautious words in mind, I like to recommend you just take Guillebeau's advice and try to start a side hustle yourself. You do not have much to lose. You can only win or learn.


  • Do not quit your job.
  • Find a side project you can start to earn some extra money.
  • Only invest one hour a day on your side project.
  • Make a list of feasible, persuasive, and profitable side hustle ideas
  • Ensure your side hustle makes you money
  • Make sure your side hustle idea excites you
  • Offer your product or service with a promise, a pitch, and a price
  • Make it easy to buy your offer
  • Add a call to action so that potential customers know what to do
  • Keep it simple and start your business with Wordpress and a payment processor like PayPal.
  • Do more of what works
  • Stop doing of what does not work
  • Measure profit, growth, and time to know whether you have a successful side hustle

Side Hustle Summary—related resources

  Read more about Chris Guillebeau on his website.

Chris Guillebeau has written several other books. The 100 Dollar Startup and The Art Of Non-Conformity are only two of them.

Get FREE access to all of my book summary PDFs.

If you liked reading the Side Hustle Summary, you should also read Everything is Figureoutable Summary.

Posted on CuteMachine in business, entrepreneurship, inspiration, money and productivity.

Jo's Profile ImageWritten by Jo who lives and works in Frankfurt building digital doodah. Stalk him on Twitter.

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