Idea to Income: Your 27-Day Plan to Side Hustle Success

Author, speaker and entrepreneur, Chris Guillebeau, is the host of the Side Hustle School podcast and the author of several bestselling books, including “The $ 100 Startup” and “Born for This.”

In his book, “Side Hustle,” Guillebeau teaches you how to get your side hustle idea out into the world and make a profit in less than 30 days.

The following excerpt is provided exclusively for StartupNation from “Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days” Copyright © 2017 by Chris Guillebeau, Crown Business.


A side hustle has many benefits, but it all starts with the right idea. This first week of hustling will teach you how to generate hustle ideas that actually work.

Day 1: Predict the future

The path from idea to income begins with your answer to an important question: Twenty-seven days from now, what will be different about your life?

Day 2: Learn how money grows on trees

Some hustle ideas are better than others. Learn the three qualities of a great idea and how to find ones with the most potential.

Day 3: Brainstorm, borrow or steal ideas

Using what you’ve learned about high-potential ideas, brainstorm, borrow or steal at least three possibilities for your hustle.

Day 4: Weigh the obstacles and opportunities of each idea

Now that you have several ideas, examine them more closely to understand their pros and cons.

Day 5: Forecast your profit on the back of a napkin

To estimate the profit of your side hustle, you don’t need a finance degree or a scientific calculator. You just need a napkin, a pen and the power of observation.

Related: 10 Steps to Start a Side Hustle (While Working a Full-Time Job)


Once you have multiple ideas, you need to be able to identify the best ones. Learn how to instantly rank and compare ideas so that you’ll have confidence to proceed with the highest possible odds of success.

Day 6: Use the side hustle selector to compare  ideas

Once you start thinking about side hustles, the ideas don’t stop. This tool will show you how to apply “Tinder for Hustling” logic to pick the best one at any given time.

Day 7: Become a detective

As you move forward with an idea, study what other people are doing. Then, do it better or do it differently.

Day 8: Have imaginary coffee with your ideal customer

There’s one person out there who meets your profile as the perfect customer. What can you learn from them?

Day 9: Transform your idea into an offer

Once you have a great idea and a specific idea of who it’s for, you need to transform that idea into an offer. An offer includes a promise, a pitch and a price.

Day 10: Create your origins story

Like a comic book superhero, your side hustle needs a history. Don’t just give ’em the facts; tell them a story.


You’ve settled on your idea, you’ve transformed it into an offer, and you know who your ideal customer is. This week you’ll learn how to help that person understand why they can’t live without your offer, without getting bogged down in unimportant details.

Day 11: Assemble the nuts and bolts

Resourcefulness is your most valuable hustle skill. Get all the logistics out of the way so you can focus on more important things.

Day 12: Decide how to price your offer

Pricing can be a challenge even for experienced hustlers. Use the cost-plus model and follow two easy guidelines for much higher odds of success.

Day 13: Create a side hustle shopping list

Your hustle will require specific tools, resources and deliverables. Learn to find, gather or create everything you’ll need to bring your offer into the world.

Day 14: Set up a way to get paid

You’ve got a lot more than just an idea now—you’re well under way to a real-life side hustle. Before proceeding, make sure you’ve also got a real-life way to get paid for it.

Day 15: Design your first workflow

You’re almost to launch week. By listing out your next steps in an ordered fashion, you’ll prevent mishaps and feel more confident.

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Day 16: Spend 10 percent more time on the most important tasks

Many new hustlers get caught up in mundane details. Avoid that trap from the beginning, and keep your focus on just two things.

To read the remaining steps found in days 17 through 27, pick up a copy of “Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days,” available now at fine booksellers and for purchase through 

More Chris Guillebeau content from StartupNation:

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Detroit-Area Entrepreneurs Achieving Great Success: Dave Alden and Steve Rundell

This episode of StartupNation Radio is brought to you by Pappas Financial 

On today’s episode of StartupNation Radio, Jeff is joined by co-host, Norm Pappas, president and CEO of Pappas Financial. To kick off the show, Norm offers six key tasks entrepreneurs should keep in mind to succeed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tune in to segment one below to learn those tips directly from Norm!

Jeff and Norm interview two entrepreneurs from the Detroit area who are achieving great success. Today, they’re speaking with Dave Alden and Steve Rundell.

StartupNation exclusive discounts and savings on Dell products and accessories: Learn more here

Dave Alden, chairman of Vistage, was at Ford for more than 30 years before deciding to become an entrepreneur in 2014. Vistage is a leading advisory and executive coaching organization for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

During the show, Alden talks about:

  • What he does in his role at Vistage and what the company provides to its members
  • How he helps people work on their businesses (versus in their businesses)
  • Examples of how entrepreneurs can work on their businesses
  • The three characteristics that Vistage members generally portray
  • The process for becoming a member
  • His journey from the corporate world to entrepreneurial world

Listen to the interview with Dave Alden below

Part 1

Part 2

For more on Vistage, visit the official website, and connect directly with Dave on LinkedIn.

Related: StartupNation Radio feat. Coretek Services and Metro Signs

Next up, Jeff and Norm chat with Steve Rundell, principal engineer at Explico Engineering, a scientific and engineering consulting firm specializing in accident reconstruction, biomechanics and human factors.

During the show, Rundell shares:

  • What “forensic investigation” means
  • How and why he chose this line of work
  • Who hires Explico and the work they do
  • A few of Explico’s most interesting cases
  • How industry experts can break into this line of work

Listen to the interview with Steve Rundell below

Part 1

Part 2

For more information on Explico, visit the official website.

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We’ll be back next Saturday with an all-new edition of StartupNation Radio!In addition to weekly StartupNation Radio programming, tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.

The post Detroit-Area Entrepreneurs Achieving Great Success: Dave Alden and Steve Rundell appeared first on StartupNation.


7 Success Factors When Your People Are The Solution

Business-Customer-ServiceThe critical success factors for a product business are well known, starting with selling every unit with a gross margin of 50 percent or more, building a patent and other intellectual property, and continuous product improvement. If your forte is a service, like consulting or web site design, it’s harder to find guidance on what will get you funded, and how you can scale your business.

On the product side, once you have a proven product and business model, all you need is money to build inventory, and a sales and marketing operation to drive the business. With services, scaling the business often implies cloning yourself, since you are the intellectual property and the competitive advantage. You have no shelf life, so you can’t make money while you sleep.

Indeed, there are some success factors that are common to both environments. For example, both need to provide exemplary customer service, build customer loyalty, and provide real value for a competitive price. Here are the additional success factors that are really key to a startup with a services offering:

  1. Get your service out of your head and down on paper. If you can’t quantify or document your service for repeatability and new employee training, you will kill yourself trying to grow the business. Even artisan-based services, like graphic design and writing good ad copy, have innovative processes and principles. Capture your “secret sauce.”
  1. Start with a service you know and love. A successful services business, more than a product business, comes from a skill or insight that you have honed from experience. If you don’t have a high level of commitment and passion, you customers won’t seek you out. Now all you have to do is pass it to the many new members as you grow your team.
  1. Don’t let your service be viewed as a commodity. Low cost and low margin products can be winners, if the volume is high enough. You don’t have enough hours in a day, or trained people, to succeed with lower margins in a services startup. Thus you need to highlight how your service is more innovative and higher value to your target customers.

  1. Recruit only the best people, with the right base skills. Customers won’t pay to see your new employees learning on the job, and outsourcing the real work to a cheap labor source is a recipe for disaster. Make sure they bring solid base skills, so your training can focus on the innovative and unique elements that your service brings to the arena.
  1. Be a visible and available expert in your domain. Be accessible on social media, write a blog or articles for industry publications, and participate in conference panels and speaking engagements. This substantiates your expertise and value, builds peer relationships, gives you access to the people and technology to keep you current.

  1. Practice being a good communicator. Customers can touch and see a great product, but services are a bit ethereal. You have to communicate how your service is the best, to your own team, as well as to your customers. If you deliver a great service, but no one knows it, your business will suffer. Make sure everyone knows your vision and values.

  1. The customer experience is more than the service. Product companies sometimes equate customer satisfaction with customer service, but it’s more than that, especially with services. Make sure that every interaction with every customer is positive, the service delivered is exemplary, and always follow-up for reference and repeat business.

For some entrepreneurs who feel the need to attract outside investors as a critical success factor, they should be aware that professional investors almost never invest in a services-only company. The investor perspective is that no manufacturing or inventory implies a minimal need for capital up front. They tell these entrepreneurs to sell themselves, execute well, and grow organically.

Thus your services business success totally depends on you, your skills and resources, and your ability to bring customers to the table. You are the ultimate critical success factor for your business. Are you ready to make it happen?

Marty Zwilling
Startup Professionals Musings

Sunday’s Success Stories – Celebrate Your Successes From the Past Week: Anything goes, none too small!

Welcome to this week’s Sunday’s Success Stories Thread.

A lot of us get way too hung up on the destination and the fact that we are not there yet.

It is important to take a moment to reflect on a great quote from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “The steps you take don’t need to be big, they just need to take you in the right direction”- Jemma Simmons

This is extremely relevant to all of us in this community. We should all be more aware of the successes we achieve every day that carry us closer to our goals.

Celebrating these successes, no matter how small they are, allow us to stay motivated, focused, and happy while we struggle to achieve dreams of various sizes.

The purpose of this thread is to share our successes from the week with one another and have something to celebrate together.

So, let us know what successes you have achieved this week! Nothing is too small or insignificant!

#Because this is meant to be a safe place to support emotional and physical health there is a zero tolerance policy in effect. Be KIND. Be sure to report any conduct that is in violation of that key tenet.

You can also find more support using instant chat on the /r/startups discord.

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