Excerpt from Don’t Start a Side Hustle—Work Less, Earn More, and Live Free by Brian Page
A few months ago, I landed in Orlando for a business conference. After I grabbed my luggage, I walked outside to catch my Uber. Within a few minutes, a blue Toyota Camry rolled up, and a well-dressed guy in his mid-thirties stepped out and asked, “Hey, are you Brian? I’m Jason.” Without hesitating, he dropped my overweight suitcase in the trunk and invited me to take a seat. As we exited the airport toward the highway, we made small talk about the sweltering Florida humidity, and I told him why I was in town. The conversation turned to work, and I asked him whether or not driving was his full-time gig. He said he had been working in an office nine to five for several years but needed a change. Being able to start and end his day whenever he wanted and not having a boss was what attracted him to Uber.
I wanted to help him, so I asked a very simple question. “Jason, would it be possible for you to make ten times more next year driving for Uber?” He didn’t say anything for a bit. “That would be awesome, but no.” He laughed. “I don’t know any way to do that, but I do know if I work around the clock six or seven days a week, I could maybe bring in as much as $70,000 this year, which isn’t bad.”
“That’s great,” I said. “I get that driving for Uber gives you more freedom than the job that you left, but where is this thing ultimately going to take you? What if there was a way to make great money without hustling constantly? What would you do with your time if you weren’t always on the road?”
He looked at me, a bit confused. “Okay, what are you suggesting I do?”
“I suggest that you keep driving Uber while you find a source of passive or semipassive income,” I replied. “Over time, you can reduce the number of hours that you drive so you can invest even more time into building something that will sustain you later. The great news is that you have such flexibility with Uber that you can easily do both. I can show you how to stack passive income sources so you’ll never again need a side hustle.”
He politely nodded with his eyes still on the road as his phone dinged. He seemed to be much more concerned about the new ride request on his phone than the potentially life-altering advice I was sharing with him. Twenty minutes later, he dropped me at the hotel, and I thanked him as I got my luggage. As he drove away, I couldn’t help but think about a much, much bigger world that he could be playing in—but not one he’ll ever get to enjoy until he finds a way to escape his gig mentality.
By definition, side hustles are really any way of making money over and above what one does for their main source of income. But if your “day job” pays well enough, why would you need a side gig? They are an income Band-Aid at best. My favorite kind of income is the kind that comes in whether I’m hustling or not.
Let’s not forget that a side hustle is fully reliant on the one doing the hard work. It’s not scalable. It does not have unlimited potential earnings. It can’t be automated since it is 100 percent reliant on one’s own efforts. What is a side hustle, really? It’s just a fancy way of saying “second job.”
There’s one more really big thing that riles me up about side hustles. The company that provides the hustle has two products they are selling. First, they sell the service—like a hot meal delivered to your front door or a ride from Point A to Point B. But what they also sell is the opportunity. Without the opportunity, they can’t recruit millions of gig workers that make the machine work. Either way, gig companies become very good at sucking in consumers (and gig workers, aka side hustlers) who all contribute to making the founders of that company very, very rich. Those who sign up for side hustles work for those who’ve created them!
Side hustles, over the long term, become the exact opposite of what it means to be a passivepreneur. Being a passivepreneur isn’t about more cash, it’s about cash flow. It’s not about working hard, it’s about working less. A side hustle is really just a job you own. It’s the illusion of freedom, but it is far from what we need to become truly free. A side hustle should be merely a brief stopover on the way to passivepreneurship, not the destination.
When you really understand how to stack PIVs, it becomes even more clear why I tell you not to start a side hustle. Stacking does not rely on you long term, and it allows you to sleep at night knowing that you have income redundancy. The best part is, the more PIVs you set up, the more likely that one of them will be a runaway hit, the kind of opportunity that can make you insanely rich. For those reasons and more, ditch the side hustle and instead become a passivepreneur.
Don’t Start a Side Hustle is the definitive guide to pivoting your life, working world, and entire mindset so you can join the wealthy unemployed and take back your time while making more money. Available in: