Gig Jobs and Entreprenuership
If you have a side hustle or are doing a bunch of gig jobs that you enjoy more than your day job you’re probably wondering whether you can turn it into a livelihood and grow it into an ongoing business concern that can be sold for more than the sum of its parts. In this episode you’ll hear proven tips to do exactly that from Joel G. Block, the author of Stop Hustling Gigs and Start Building a Business: 101+ Tricks of the Trade to Help Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed People Build a Money-Making Machine.
What You’ll Discover About Gig Jobs and Entrepreneurship:
- The major difference between a side hustle, gig jobs, or life style business and a business that can be sold as a going concern [1:54]
- The problem with hustling to get gig jobs and then performing all the work yourself [4:19]
- The 3 things you must have to start building a money machine [6:20]
- What you need to be crystal clear about before you can really move forward [7:33]
- How to leverage your skills into multiple revenue streams [11:13]
- What investors wished start-ups knew for asking for money [14:38]
- And much more.
Hanna Hasl-Kelchner: [00:00:00] Do you have a side hustle? Are you doing some odd jobs on the side, getting paid and wondering how you could possibly turn it into a business? Well, then you’re in the right place, because my next guest literally wrote the book on it. It’s called Stop Hustling Gigs and Start Building a Business: 101+ Tricks of the Trade to Help Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed People Build a Money Making Machine.
Announcer: [00:00:29] This is Business Confidential Now with Hanna Hasl-Kelchner giving you the inside scoop on how to ignite more business success by doing the right things in the right way.
Hanna: [00:00:46] Welcome to Business Confidential now. I’m your host, Hanna Hasl-Kelchner, and as promised, today’s guest is the author of Stop Hustling Gigs and Start Building a Business: 101+ Tricks of the Trade to Help Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed People Build a Money Making Machine. He’s Mr. Joel Block, a self-described disruption futurist and a money-business insider. Essentially Joel is a long-time venture capitalist and a hedge fund manager who lives in a shark tank like world, like the one you see on TV. And since selling his publishing business to a Fortune 500 company, Joel has been giving keynote speeches at conferences around the world, sharing Wall Street insights that enhance stakeholder value by delivering growth strategies and the inside scoop to business executives and their teams on how they can disrupt their competitor’s future. Now, I’m really looking forward to Joel’s perspective on how we can all build a money-making machine, because what’s not to like about that? So let’s have him join us now. Welcome to Business Confidential now, Joel.
Joel Block: [00:01:52] Thank you very much. How are you?
The Real Difference Between Gig Jobs and a Business
Hanna: [00:01:54] I’m doing great and I love the title of your book. It’s fascinating: Stop Hustling Gigs and Start Building a Business. In your opinion, what is the difference between the freelancer who’s adept at consistently hustling gigs and pays their bills, is self-employed and a “business?” What makes a real business in your opinion?
Joel: [00:02:15] You know, it’s really pretty simple. It’s who’s doing the work. If you’re the one that’s doing all the hustling, then then you’ve got a little gig business. If the business is doing the work for you and is driving the leads, driving the activity, that doesn’t mean you don’t do anything. But if the business is doing a lot of the heavy lifting, you know, like the prospecting, now you can have people inside prospecting for you, you can have such a great brand that the brand is prospecting for you, that the brand is driving referrals for you. If you’ve done a good job of creating this giant bubble around your company that just magnetizes people to you, then your business is doing a lot of the work. And it’s enormously different having a business where the business does a lot of the work and you do some of the work or maybe even none of the work, because you can sell that and you can’t sell something where you’re doing all of it all by yourself.
Hanna: [00:03:14] Wow, that’s a lot in there. I’d like to unpack that a little bit with you. So let’s say we start with the person who’s doing all the hustling and they’re good at it. You know, they like what they do. They’re good at being able to sell it to people. What steps do they need to take to create this business that you’ve just described where it has sort of a momentum and a little bit of a life on its own? They’re still involved, but not up to their neck where they’re still knocking down boxes out back.
Joel: [00:03:46] Well, I first would ask that kind of person, if they’re out there hustling, you know, making it happen, rustle in the weeds and just kind of shake the trees and doing all the stuff, you know, what I would ask them is: who then is doing the work when they sell a contract? Who’s actually delivering the services of the company or who’s manufacturing the product of the company? Because if they actually have, you know, other people doing the thing and all that one person is doing is the selling, then that’s not so bad. That’s pretty good.
What Keeps Gig Jobs from Becoming a Business
Joel: [00:04:19] But the problem comes in when that person has to run around town, make a sale and then stop what that person is doing, go inside and deliver the work. That’s really where the problem is. So the company really has to, in order for it to be a company, I’m not talking about a company that the government charges taxes to because that’s just an entity.
Joel: [00:04:43] But in order for it to really become a business, the business needs to have some girth of its own. And that might mean making sure that people know who you are on social media. It’s OK to be a self-employed solo operator, but you’ve got to build a tribe. You’ve got to have people following you. You’ve got to have a group of people who think you’re the cat’s meow; that just believe that when you say something it’s worth listening to, that you have real thought leadership around some topic and that you’re very clear about what that topic is, that you really are an expert in something, and that you want to stay away from blabbering on about things that you’re not an expert at because people will catch you and that will dilute your great value and your great brand.
Hanna: [00:05:32] So it sounds a little bit, if I’m understanding you correctly, that what you’re talking about is more focused on service businesses, or does it also equally apply to selling goods, whether it’s brick or mortar or on the Internet? Can you clarify a little bit?
Joel: [00:05:48] Yeah, it doesn’t make any difference whether it’s a service, product or otherwise. Most gig businesses though, are services businesses. I mean, that’s just the nature of how it works. And so there might be a graphic artist. You might be, I don’t know, speakers are gig people. The word originated in the entertainment business. So people get, you know, just like a little nighttime job. They do the job then they are off to run to get the next one.
Transitioning from Gig Jobs to a Business Model
Joel: [00:06:20] What you have to build is a machine. And the machine is where one person is busy getting the gigs. One person is busy doing the accounting. One person is going to execute the gig. And when you have a couple of different people all doing the job that they’re supposed to do, then you start to create some momentum. How you put your brand in the marketplace and let the brand do some of the work, that’s even better.
Joel: [00:06:45] But let’s say you don’t have that. You just have one person working on the phone. One person doing the accounting and the operations of the company and another person actually delivering the services or building the product or whatever is happening. You know, if you can break it into pieces and have a team of people doing it, then you really have a better shot at creating a real business.
Hanna: [00:07:09] So let’s say I am one of these gig entrepreneurs, all right, I think a lot of people sort of fantasize about being a rock group. You know, they do their gigs on the weekend and maybe they start to cut a CD or an album and have something on YouTube, what have you. What should they focus on first in constructing this money machine that you’re advocating?
What You Need to be Crystal Clear About
Joel: [00:07:33] Well, first thing I would tell you is that you have to be crystal clear about who you are, what you do, what you’re going to say, what your message is. You can’t be flopping all around. Change it here and there. The market has to kind of get to know you. And it might take you a while to get real clarity about what it is that you’re doing and who you’re doing it for and what you’re going to do for them. But the one thing that you don’t want to do is when somebody says so, Joel, what do you do? I do anything for anybody that has any money. Just give me some money and I’ll figure out how to do it for you. That’s the opposite of what you want to do. You’ll never get a following. You’ll never get people to understand who you are, what you do. So the first most important thing is you must get clarity because you can’t put a message into the market that isn’t clear.
Hanna: [00:08:26] So do you think that’s the hardest thing for people to focus on?
Joel: [00:08:30] I think, believe it or not, it is absolutely among the hardest things. It may not be the single hardest thing because different people have different levels of complexity with this. But, it is absolutely one of the hardest things. Even people like accountants have a hard time with this.
Joel: [00:08:49] It’s pretty simple. I’m an accountant. Well, what kind of accounting? There are all different kinds of accountants. Some accountants specialize in the entertainment business suits. Got a lot of specialty stuff. Some accountants specialize in manufacturing concerns. Some do dentists. Some do doctors. Because these people, the clients they have certain common problems and they get really good at solving those problems.
Joel: [00:09:11] I’ll tell you who does very good at this it’s attorneys. Attorneys are very, very good at turning work down if it doesn’t fit because they understand what happens with the consequence, what the legal ramification is of them sticking their nose out a little too far where it doesn’t belong. And so, for example, an attorney will say, I only work on intellectual property like patents or I only do the trademark part, or I only sue people who infringe on these things, but I don’t actually get the trademarks. So they’re very, very detailed and refined about exactly what it is that they do and that works to their great advantage.
Joel: [00:09:52] It makes it very easy for them to tell the world what they do. You have to remember that people, I sort of think people have like a little spreadsheet in their mind. And they’ll have one box for intellectual property lawyer, you know, and some people have that box and people don’t. But let’s say that you have that and a lot of us who are in the gig world, we need to have that because we do things where we can help like them. Well, you know, there’s not room for twenty-two different names to go in that box. So you might further separate that box down by saying I an intellectual property lawyer, but I focus on trademarks. Oh, so your trademark intellectual property attorney and boom, then somebody can put your name in that box. So the next time they need help with that particular thing, the marketplace can start to recognize that. That’s how just that step alone is how the business starts doing some of the heavy lifting for you by making the marketplace start to recognize who you are.
Hanna: [00:10:55] All right, so definitely getting your marketing message and your unique position nailed down is really, really critical. What other obstacles are there? I mean, let’s say we’ve got our messaging right and we’re not going to pivot every three months. What’s next?
Transforming Gig Jobs with Strategic Direction
Joel: [00:11:13] Well, you know, I would actually say it’s a little bigger than your marketing message. I would say it’s really your strategic direction where you’re going. And, you know, I don’t want to harp on this too much, but a lot of people really have a hard time with this. So assuming that they get that buttoned up and everything is excellent, the next thing, because you want to lock down the revenue streams that you want to develop, you have to have multiple streams of revenue. You can’t just have one way of making money on a person.
Joel: [00:11:48] The reason for this is that a person who could help you can help in three or four or five different ways. But you have to know in advance what the likely ways are going to be, that you’re going to help people. So what you might do is you might enter a relationship by saying, I am a graphic artist. I make logos. Oh, perfect. But you also might have to have a service where if they make a newsletter, you put the whole newsletter together. For those who have your newsletter publishing department, it’s really the same as the other work that you do, but by separating it into something that’s functionally different, the marketplace can say, wow, that’s you know, I get that. I get that. That’s another service you can render to us. Now, you don’t necessarily want to lead with that all the time, but if you’re talking to somebody who needs logos, then you can be a logo person.
Joel: [00:12:47] If you’re talking to somebody that needs newsletter publishing, then you can lead with that. So you have to strategically lay out what are the different kinds of services that your business is going to operate in and pick one that’s likely to be your lead. But be flexible that there may be some other ways to assert the other ones. But, when the time is right. That that will allow you to go deep. And going deep means that person gives you some number of dollars to build a logo. But there’s a lot more money in that person’s account because they still need your help. You just have to find more ways to help the person in that business that you’re serving as their adviser. And you need to help them in a variety of different ways.
Joel: [00:13:36] That’s the next really important thing, that people have as an obstacle. They have a hard time with this laying out their revenue streams and revenue stream. Let me just clear up, it’s not having to be the graphic design business in the afternoon. I’m going to mow lawns in the morning and I’m going to run a restaurant that evening. That’s not what it is. It’s how are we going to repurpose the same material, same skills, same activities into different kinds of dollars. And because you want the marketplace to know that you’re a variety of things related to the design field, and then once you do that, you’re going to help to mitigate confusion and you’re going to maximize revenue and profit.
Hanna: [00:14:20] I appreciate the clarity that you’ve given this, and I’m sure that’s going to help some of our listeners who are in a startup mode and trying to figure out what’s what and how to maximize and leverage the skills that they do have in order to serve different needs of particular customers.
What Investors Wished Start-ups Knew Before Asking for Money
Hanna: [00:14:38] Now, while we’re on the subject of money, as a professional investor living in a shark tank kind of world, what is the one thing you wish entrepreneurs knew before they tried to get your attention as a potential investor?
Joel: [00:14:53] Well, this is a whole discussion. A day doesn’t go by that somebody doesn’t call me and ask me for capital because I’ve got a fund and they call me. Joel, can you put some money in my deal? I was on the phone this morning with a guy who was trying to do that. And number one, a lot of gobbledygook. A lot of these people think that by throwing around big words, you know, a technology enhanced enablement strategy, you know, the bigger the words get, the more I shut down. So I don’t really want to hear it. It’s not that I don’t understand what they’re talking about. I just want to hear it nice plain English that everyone can understand. What problem do you solve? And how are we all going to make some money from solving this problem and then let’s talk about who has the problem, how many people have the problem, let’s just make it really, really simple.
Joel: [00:15:48] You don’t get any points for looking like a smarty pants in my world to me, you know, and I’ve been around this block here a lot. And what I know is that most people are busy looking to the left and the money is on the right. They have no idea they’re jumping over a hundred-dollar bills to pick up nickels. That’s what’s happening as we get into the nitty gritty of looking for money at all, give our revenue streams. And I’m going to ask you about all different kinds of things. But I’ll tell you, most people are so focused on the minutia that sometimes they lose, they lose track of the big picture and it doesn’t ever work out well for those people.
Hanna: [00:16:28] Well, Joel, you’ve been around a lot of big money, and it’s a different world than where a lot of startups begin with limited funds. Maybe they’re working from their kitchen table, a spare bedroom, garage, basement, even clearing out a closet in order to have a little space that’s dedicated to their files. They’re brainstorming. They’ve got a little laptop computer. What advice would you give people about the mindset? You know, folks that are in that situation about how they should think about money besides asking for it? But I mean, generally speaking.
Joel: [00:16:59] Well, yeah. I mean, listen, the truth is that most people aren’t going to get any capital. They’re just not. And I’ll tell you that access to capital is not a constitutional right in the United States of America. So nobody, nobody owes anything to you. And the truth is that most people should not get capital.
Joel: [00:17:20] It’s not funny when something goes wrong and somebody else is going to take control of your life. It’s just not good. Most businesses that we’re talking about, our businesses that are called lifestyle businesses, they’re designed for you to take care of your family. And that’s really what most people are building. If you want to build something that’s more substantial than that — totally different story. If you want to build something you could sell — a totally different story — than maybe you need to consider some alternatives. But for most people who are building lifestyle businesses, what I would tell them, you’ve got to hang in there.
Joel: [00:17:54] I mean, and not everybody agrees with me on this particular point, you know, when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail, right?
The Most Important Business Skill
Joel: [00:18:04] I love to sell. So I think that selling is the most important part of any entrepreneurial endeavor. And I’ll tell you why. And I hope this doesn’t hurt too many people’s feelings, although I promise a couple of people’s feelings are going to be hurt at least a little, and that is that we see the greatest desire in the world. And I’m a seller, so I got my cell design services. You know, I could be a mediocre designer or I could hire a mediocre designer, but I’m the one that made the sale, so money is moving in my environment. You can be the greatest designer in the world and if nobody knows about you or if you can’t get the message across or you can’t sell it, or if you can’t sell yourself for a reasonable number of dollars, because, by the way, you could be a better seller in order to get more money, you got to be a little better seller.
Joel: [00:18:55] Anybody can sell for a low price, but better ones are going to sell for a higher price. So I think that selling is really among the most important skills that any of us need to acquire. And I would tell you that whether you’re a designer or an attorney or an accountant or whatever you are, no matter what business, you have to learn how to sell your services because that’s how you make money move.
Expect the Unexpected
Hanna: [00:19:20] Absolutely. Now, you’ve been a successful entrepreneur . . . are a successful entrepreneur. What have been some of the unexpected surprises you’ve encountered when you were building your businesses?
Joel: [00:19:33] Well, you know, it’s a funny thing, every once in a while, the phone rings. And you answer it, and it turns into something, it just it just does, you know, and you have to be on your toes ready for a surprise all the time. So a couple of weeks ago, I was on a call with some friends of mine, a little brainstorming type call. And I said to somebody, I want to build an app, a mobile app. I have an idea for something I want to do. And just a very recent example of the surprise, and somebody on the call said listen I know a guy here is his phone number. So he puts me in touch with the guy and I talk to him and it turns out the guy was quite a high-level programmer engineer type person. But he also had like a lot of marketing sense. And he said, you know, Joel, building an app requires more than just the engineering. There’re all these other things involved. And he really got me thinking in a different way, which because I was open minded to thinking in a new way, a whole new possibility opened up. And I’ve kind of rearchitected what my idea was.
Joel: [00:20:44] So you really have to be open minded. You have to just be aware that once in a while a surprise is going to land in your lap and you don’t know where it’s going to take you. And I don’t tell you to chase every shiny object and go down every rabbit hole, because that’s not a good idea either. But I was listening and I was conscious enough about my own skills. Gee, maybe I don’t know everything about this. Maybe I need to listen to some other people, take their ideas and then reformulate my idea around their ideas. And this just happened to be a really good referral. Now, of course, the guy could have just been an engineer and given me some engineering advice and I would have made the progress and I would have felt something was missing, but I wouldn’t necessarily know what it was. But in this particular case, I was looking for some help and I found it. So you have to be open to that.
Hanna: [00:21:41] And if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Right?
Joel: [00:21:44] If you don’t ask, you don’t ever, ever get a definite answer.
Stop Hustling Gigs, Start Building a Business
Hanna: [00:21:49] So I’d like to come back to your book for a moment, because I know we’re getting short on time here. Stop Hustling Gigs, Start Building a Business. It’s available on Amazon. What inspired you to write that?
Joel: [00:22:00] This is this important story. You know, having spent most of my life in venture capital raising money out of companies, I’ve probably been inside of a thousand companies, maybe more. I don’t know. I have no idea. But a lot of companies. Every once in a while I would learn a little surprise. Like I’d watch somebody. And they had a technique that I thought was really cool or they had a style that I thought was really cool, or they asked a question that I thought was really cool. And I kind of made some notes over time about this.
[00:22:34] Some number of years ago as my children were getting a little older, they’re in their late 20s now, but when they were in high school, we started talking about economics. My oldest daughter was taking economics in high school and she would ask questions and we’d have some discussion and try to make it very simple so the kids can understand what they were kind of getting into it. And I thought, you know, everything that I’ve learned, I’ve been here, I better write this stuff down so that they have really a catalog or an anthology of the way that I think and I put this book together for them.
Joel: [00:23:08] It was just really like a little diary I put to them. But when I look at it, I thought, man, this is this is just way too good not to let people see it. And that’s really where it came from. I just, it was just what I learned in the entrepreneur business. And even though I work with a lot of bigger companies, this is designed for little businesses because it really helps them to see the world in a different way, negotiating a better way. So in a better way ask questions and just think about the strategies that they need. And it’s a simple book, too. But it’s the kind of book that if you read one little chapter, and a chapter is maybe two pages, if you read a chapter every week and you just did one thing every week, that’s the way you benefit from a book like this.
Hanna: [00:23:57] It also sounds like a great reference guide so that you could skip around to whatever issue you happen to be facing at the moment.
Joel: [00:24:03] Yeah, yeah.
Hanna: [00:24:05] So I’m really glad that you put all those thoughts together, that you were collecting them over the years. I mean, this is a lot of collective wisdom and somebody else’s blood, sweat and tears. So thank you for doing this. The name of the book, Stop Hustling Gigs and Start Building a Business. Thank you, Joel. This has been very informative. I appreciate your joining me.
Joel: [00:24:24] Well, listen, thank you so much for inviting me on your show. I appreciate the opportunity.
Hanna: [00:24:29] That’s our show for today. Thank you for joining me. If you’d like to learn more about today’s guest, you can go to our website at BusinessConfidentialRadio.com. It’s got a lot of other powerful information and resources. Available to help your business grow. So be sure to check that out, the website again is BusinessConfidentialRadio.com. I’m Hanna Hasl-Kelchner and you’ve been listening to Business Confidential Now. Have a great rest of the day and an even better tomorrow.
Guest: Joel Block
Joel G. Block, a self-described Disruption Futurist™ and money business insider who is also the author of Stop Hustling Gigs and Start Building a Business: 101+ Tricks of the Trade to Help Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed People Build a Money-Making Machine.
In a nutshell, Joel is a long-time venture capitalist and hedge fund manager who lives in a “Shark Tank” like world like the one you see on TV. Since selling his publishing business to a Fortune 500 company Joel has been giving keynote conferences around the world, sharing Wall Street insights that enhance stakeholder value by delivering growth strategies and the inside scoop to business executives and their teams on how they can disrupt their competitors’ future.
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