How to Leverage the Power of Micro-Side Hustles to Create Luck
If you’re not careful, your passion project can turn into a second 9–5-job.
That’s what happened to me.
In early 2020, I started my little blog. I was hooked, so I kept releasing article after article. Mainstream writing advice like “more is better” and “keep grinding” had infected me. But here’s my little secret: deep inside, I knew I was abusing my creativity.
Time to Quit
I felt drained, so I quit online writing for several weeks.
One thing was certain:
Having only one option sucks, be it in the world of dating, investing, or entrepreneurship.
So I finally decided to start a second side project — a personality test for aspiring online entrepreneurs.
This simple decision made all the difference in the world.
From that moment, I had the luxury to decide between two different projects. When I wanted to be creative, I wrote. When I wanted to do product development, I switched to my personality test.
Even though I pushed harder than before, I felt great. My new project revived my confidence.
And, to my pleasant surprise, writing felt effortless again.
Committing to a business idea can be a risky gamble.
The moment you start working on your project, you’ll spend a significant portion of your life’s resources on a certain idea.
But will your hustle be worth it?
And, to think even further, how many of these time-consuming side hustles can you stamp out of the ground until you eventually burn out and lose all motivation?
I finally realized that it’s far too dangerous to rely on one golden ticket to success. In the end, having one side-project is just one step away from working 9-to-5 for the rest of my life.
The Myth of “Self-Made”
When we talk about uber-entrepreneurs like Bill Gates or Elon Musk, the term self-made-billionaire is used quite heavily. According to popular belief, their success is attributed to individual characteristics like “hard work”, “passion” and “genius”.
But this individualistic explanation is too simplistic because it doesn’t acknowledge the fact that individuals are exposed to the randomness of their environment.
Let’s take Bill Gates, for example. There’s no doubt that he’s an ultra-smart, driven, and visionary individual. But did you know that Bill Gates visited one of the top 25 private schools in the United States?
His school was among the first nationwide schools that bought a Teletype Model 33 computer. Thanks to this computer, Bill Gates learned to program. At the same school, he accidentally met his future co-founder Paul Allen. These unfair advantages have led eventually to the phenomenal rise of Microsoft.
But what would have happened if Bill Gates hadn’t visited this private school? Would he still have become a self-made billionaire?
An interesting way to conceptualize the randomness of business success is to think about the game of poker.
Interestingly, even the greatest poker players in the world lose against amateurs players — once, twice, maybe even a third time. But eventually, they win because of their experience and better decision-making.
Great poker players don’t win all the time, but they win more than the average amateur poker player. And that’s already enough to be successful.
What does this comparison mean for entrepreneurs?
To increase your odds of success, it’s helpful to create systems that battle the randomness of business. You can do this by:
- Exposing yourself to many new experiences, be it online or offline.
- Working on several small projects in different areas with different people.
- Consistently networking with people.
- Learning more effectively and teaching yourself valuable skills like copywriting, marketing, or data science.
As you’re gaining more skills and experience, these small wins compound over time. And from a mathematical perspective, you’re massively increasing the odds of getting that one “random” blockbuster hit.
The Power of Micro-Hustles
Smart entrepreneurs use the randomness of business to their advantage. And in the age of the internet, the concept of micro hustles can help you to do so.
To me, a micro hustle isn’t a full-fledged business, but a series of small experiments within a niche. It’s a strategic bait that is designed to increase your niche knowledge, test your marketing message, or build an audience.
By splitting up one big side hustle into smaller micro-hustles, you can work on several exciting business ideas at the same time.
- But there are plenty other benefits as well:
You’re increasing your chance of success by diversifying your entrepreneurial efforts.
- As you spend less time and effort on a single project, you’re forced to focus on essentials— say bye to obsessive perfectionism and premature optimization.
- You’ll feel more confident because you have more things going on for you. And even if you should fail at a project, it will feel less painful because you haven’t invested a lot of effort in the first place.
- Also, several side hustles will lead to better feedback loops, which means less risk and better decision-making.
Enough theory, let’s apply this mental model to the real world:
- Instead of writing a whole book about meditation, you tweet 2 Buddhist quotes a day to build an audience.
- Instead of setting up a complex WordPress blog, you’ll sign up to Medium and write your first 400-words article within 30 minutes.
- Instead of coding a complete SaaS product, you cold-call 10 clients and try to presell your idea.
Once you‘ve got enough proof that your business idea will take off, you’re ready to devote more of your time to the project.
Now, you can use the same strategy to manage your marketing-, sales- and creative activities. It’s like having small side-hustles inside your actual side-hustle:
Next time you’re overwhelmed by your side hustle, take a step back and reflect on these questions:
- Do you feel trapped in an entrepreneurial rut?
- Are you working hard but lacking satisfying results?
- Do you have hidden skills and talents you are currently not using?
If at least one answer is yes, a second or even third micro hustle may be your solution.
Don’t feel bad to start small — innocently small.
A tweet, a cold email, or a simple landing page can be the first tiny step towards your future business empire.