What Would You Do if You Lost Your Paycheck?

How’s this for a horror story? You’re working hard and you have a decent life. You’re not rich, but you’re not worried about how to pay the rent. You’ve got it pretty good.

Then you don’t.

You get fired or laid off. Your position is eliminated. The company you work for merges with a multinational conglomerate and your position is superfluous.

It’s a nightmare. Everything you have is built on that income. Your home. Your health insurance. Your whole life. Suddenly, the life you’ve been building is threatened just because some guy in a suit somewhere decided they could make more profit without you than they could with you.

You know how this story plays out. You go on unemployment for a while. You eat into your savings a bit, and you start over somewhere else making much less. All of your plans take a big hit. You’ll have to delay getting married, having children, and buying a home. That vacation you wanted? Poof.

That’s if your job paid enough to have savings in the first place. If it didn’t, you’re not just starting over; you’re struggling to pay for life’s most basic necessities.

And that’s assuming you’re healthy. If you’re not, you’re likely to be faced with a decision soon. Do you get your medicines or do you get to eat?

What if I told you this story could have a better ending?

Why Put Everything at Risk?

Your life doesn’t have a team of writers. You have to write your own story. When the Big Bad takes your job, are you willing to bet your lifestyle on your ability to dig deep and find the will to win?

You shouldn’t be. You should have a backup plan.

When you have a day job—and just a day job—you’re banking on keeping it. You’re betting everything you have that your income from that job is reliable. Maybe you put something aside for big things to come—marriage, a house, retirement—but if you lose that income, you have to go out and start over.

What if you didn’t?

What if you already had another income? What if you had a side business? What if you had already built a reputation for providing value to clients? What if instead of starting over, you could just turn to your side business and start to expand?

Losing your paycheck would still be a setback, but you wouldn’t start over at square one. You’d start over several squares ahead.

There is Security in a Second Income

Sometimes the hero has an ace up their sleeve. When the Big Bad takes away their primary weapon, the hero has something else they can depend on.

That’s your secondary income. That’s your side-hustle.

A side-hustle is simply a business you start in whatever free time your day job allows. You might use the same skills you use in your day job. You might not. You might sell a product. You might provide a service. Whatever it is, it sits alongside your day job. That’s why they call it a side-hustle.

A side-hustle doesn’t always make money immediately, but it shouldn’t be a “someday” goal. You should have a plan to reach that goal sooner rather than later.

The money is fantastic. If your day job covers all your expenses and you do nothing but stick the profits from your side-hustle into savings for a home, retirement, or whatever, that’s great. That’s the hero making a backup plan for the battle against the Big Bad.

But if you put some—maybe all—of the profits back into your side-hustle, you can grow the business, expand your customer base, and increase your income. You might even find that you’re making enough from your side-hustle that you can quit your day job.

Imagine starting a business after you get laid off. You’ll have to come up with the business, launch it, and build it to profitability before you can even think of replacing the income from your day job. But, if you build it before you lose your day job, you’ll already be well down that road. You won’t have to worry that your idea won’t fly; you’ll know it’s profitable, and all you’ll have to do is expand the business.

That’s hard, don’t get me wrong, but starting from zero is harder and riskier.

Content Marketing is the Perfect Side-Hustle

You know things other people don’t, and that’s where your business begins.

What do you do when you have one of those everyday problems? If you have a leaky faucet or a door that doesn’t quite shut properly, where do you go?

If you’re like most people, you go to the internet. What you find there—article, blog post, video, whatever—is content. If that content helps you solve your problem, you’re going to trust that source when you have a similar problem.

And when you have a problem you can’t fix with a little advice, you’re going to trust them enough to pay them for the solution.

That’s content marketing. You solve simple problems for free so people will trust you enough to pay you to solve bigger problems. It’s how you build a business based on what you know that other people don’t.

It’s the perfect side-hustle because the startup costs are relatively small. You don’t need a brick and mortar store front. You don’t need expensive logos or a custom-designed website. You just need a way for people to pay you and a place on the internet—that you own—to host content.

And time, you’re going to need time.

Overnight Success is a Fool’s Errand

Content marketing isn’t just a buzzword. The way marketing used to work, you could pay for access to a huge audience. That’s not true anymore.

You have to earn your audience, and that takes time.

That’s why you need to start now. You can’t expand a business you don’t have.

Building a business while facing the financial pressures of joblessness is incredibly hard. Doing it while employed isn’t easy, but it’s easier.

Your side-hustle is a sub-plot in the story of your life. You’re the hero. It’s your work and your decisions that will make your business is a success. You’ll find, though, that a little help can go a long way.

I’ll be your Gandalf

Every hero has a mentor—it’s right there in the Hero’s Journey—and I’m offering to be yours.

I’ve developed an e-mail mini-course for folks who are interested in starting a side-hustle. It will take you through the first four questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Should you even do this? (not everyone should)
  • What are you good at?
  • What do you love doing?
  • What will people pay for?

The process can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ll help you develop a focus right at the start that makes every subsequent decision easier. And, of course, I’ll guide you through the process of finding the answers that are right for you and your business.

I can’t guarantee your success, of course, that’s up to you. What I can do is give you a head start. If that sounds good to you, drop your e-mail address in the form below to get started.

[Note to Copyblogger editors: The course is not yet finalized, so the e-mail list is not yet active.]

p.s. I spend a disturbing amount of time reading business and marketing blogs. If you sign up, you’ll also receive my weekly roundup of the best insights of the week.