Sidestrap or Die

Shane Labs September 3, 2014 8

A few days ago I met with my mentor and he gave me some advice that made a ton of sense. However if I act on it it’s going to turn my world upside down. Am I ready to do that?

We were having lunch and he kept mentioning how I really need to hit my entrepreneurship hard. I have to go out there, reach out to others and make connections, take big risks, and not look back. I have to devote myself to it.

Well that’s tough for me to do since I’m ‘sidestrapping.’ My full time job is my main commitment, and my side projects are an experiment to see if I have any great ideas that can bring in some cash. Then I asked him, “Am I being ridiculous to think that I can create anything really successful by putting in 5-10 hours per week?”

His response: “Is it stupid? No. You’re learning lots of great skills that are going to help you throughout your entire life. But is it unrealistic to expect anything major to result from it? Yes. From all the people I’ve seen succeed, none have been able to do it part-time. They’ve only thrived because they put their entire heart and soul into a venture. You can’t feel safe while doing this, instead you have to take risks that are going to make you feel like you’ve just jumped out of an airplane. Naked. And you’re falling so fast your balls are slapping you in the face.”

Let me repeat that last part:

You have to take risks that are going to make you feel like you’ve just jumped out of an airplane. Naked. And you’re falling so fast your balls are slapping you in the face.

Whoa! That’s a visual I wasn’t prepared for. He continued, “Most of the successes I’ve seen have come out of people not wanting to succeed, but NEEDING to succeed. They got laid off and didn’t know where their next paycheck was coming from. Or they quit their job and needed income instantly. Even having a bucket of reserve funds that you can ride on until your idea takes off will allow you to fail, because you won’t have to push hard when you’re comfortable. I’m not saying you need to quit your job and throw away your savings, but I am saying you need to think differently. Approach this as though you have no income and you need to generate money NOW. Can you see how your plan of action changes?”

Damn. That’s intense. But I totally see his point. I have always had the perspective, “I’m stable in my full time career, but it would be cool if I could make something on the side that brought in some income.” From that thinking I’ve been really relaxed about slowly trying new ideas, and making small progress here and there. A couple sales here, a few newsletter signups there. But if I were to change my thinking to, “I need to pay my mortgage next month. How am I going to come up with $2k in the next 30 days?” then I’m not going to be proud of a tiny increase in traffic. Instead I’m going to need sales, now, and lots of them. I’m not going to be emailing 2 people to see if I could get their opinions, I’m going to be calling 30 people asking them why they’re not buying today.

Sky diving

That’s me skydiving a few years ago. Can I recreate the feeling?

How does this change things?

Am I going to quit my job? No.
Am I going to deplete my bank account? No.
But am I going to view this venture differently? I’m gonna try.

I’m going to hit it hard this next month, setting a goal of $1k of additional revenue. That means my September income report will have to be $1,300 or more. I’m going to try strategies I haven’t yet, put myself out there, and attempt feel like I’m free-falling.

How am I going to do that?

This was eye opening for me. Simply asking myself the question how I’m going to make an additional $1k within a month seriously helped me see the potential of my side projects. Am I going to make it via niche sites? No. Am I going to make it by posting articles and collecting a few bucks from affiliate links? Nope. Am I going to make money in the next 30 days from my new hosting benchmarks site? Way too early. But what about selling my own product – via my database site or wordpress plugin site? That’s a bingo. Each of those products has the potential to bring in hundreds of dollars a day, at wouldn’t require me to wait months to build traffic. I’m going to focus on AmpedSense more, mainly because it’s newer and I’m more proud of it.

An additional motivator

One more thing that’s really pushing the need to do this now is that fact that my wife and I are expecting a baby. Yup! She’s actually due in 5 weeks (we’re crazy excited), a baby girl. I’ll keep you all posted when it happens 🙂

But that means my world is going to change drastically. Not only will my extra time to work on side project be cut way short (especially in the first couple months), but we also have a need for some additional income.

So, here I go. Pedal to the metal. If you don’t hear much from me this month it’s because I’m laser-focused on generating sales. Will report back next month. Wish me luck!


  1. Kev September 3, 2014 at 8:04 am - Reply

    Best of luck Shane! I’ve been enjoying reading about your progress so far, and I can’t wait to see what you can do with a real driving force behind you. Keep us updated!

    • Shane Labs September 3, 2014 at 8:30 am - Reply

      Thanks, Kev. Will do!

  2. Christian Harms September 3, 2014 at 10:49 am - Reply

    Keep in mind:; A baby can change anything and there is no planning in future. But I will hope you will do your sideproject work in future.

  3. Duraid September 7, 2014 at 3:44 am - Reply

    Great insight! I’m in a similar position right now, with a full-time job and working on my side projects. It really is difficult to succeed without committing 100%, and it’s easy to take it lightly when it’s just a “side project”.

    I’ve been reading your progress so far and I’m glad to see you’re actually starting projects and making money.

    Looking forward to your future reports, keep us posted.

    • Shane Labs September 7, 2014 at 6:22 am - Reply

      Good to hear, Duraid. Thanks!

  4. ThingsUnder15 September 23, 2014 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    You got this!

  5. Vern Lovic February 8, 2015 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    I had to repost that quote at my site. Awesome. Wish I knew who said it. Who is your mentor?

    • Shane Labs February 9, 2015 at 5:17 am - Reply

      Haha, it’s quite the motivational quote, huh? 😉 I’m not sure my mentor wishes to have that quote to his name. Thanks for sharing!

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