BABL 071: Joining The Side Hustle Nation with Nick Loper

On this episode of Build A Bigger Life is a guy who makes his living teaching other people how to make one of their own — on the side.

Imagine doing “work” every day that doesn’t really feel like work. That’s how Nick Loper describes what he does on a daily basis through his website, a site dedicated to helping people find meaningful work and income outside their day to day job.

What Nick has uncovered through his myriad of interviews with people just like you and me,  is there is a lower risk version of entrepreneurship that people are exploring through the side hustle.

What prompted the website and subsequent show is Nick realized that relying on one income stream, as most Americans do in their primary job, was not the best method for the future. As a result, he’s built a business that features others who have pursued their side hustle, reporting back on the experiments that others are doing. He also writes as a freelancer, has a private mastermind, as well as courses that are offered on the web.

Around the 8:00 mark, Nick talks about one of the lessons that he learned from Robert Kiyosaki that your side hustle income doesn’t have to surpass your present income, it just has to surpass your expenses. So many people believe that they have to make what they’re making in their job before they officially make a job change. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Some people pursue the side hustle just long enough to cover a major expense, while others start something that becomes a whole lot more.

Side hustles, according to Nick come in a variety of different forms:

Freelancing. This can either be done on your own, or you price your services over and above what it costs to outsource to someone else. You’ll see a great many people freelancing at writing, editing and computer work.

Productizing. “I’ve done this, now you can too!” There are plenty of folks who are selling their experience being successful at something to others who want to be successful at the same thing. A great example is our mutual friend Chandler Bolt who figured out how to make books best-sellers. (His course is

Content Marketing. Nick says there are lots of success stories coming from podcasting and blogging these days. Podcasting especially where if someone is willing to spend 30 minutes with you in their earbuds, that is a serious relationship you’re building with them. However, as this becomes more popular the level and quality of content will become ever more critical.

One of Nick’s first side hustles was a footwear comparison shopping site similar to Google Shopping, but only for shoes. The way the site made money was through advertising partnerships with Zappos, Amazon or anyone that was wanting to share their catalog online. When sales were made online, Nick would make a commission on the sale.

The traffic that Nick got to his site came from Google, Bing, and Yahoo to get visitors to their site. When the profit was eventually squeezed out of buying ads and making commissions, this business eventually went by the wayside, but Nick had already gotten out of his day job and was into the side hustle pursuit on a full time basis.

In peak years, Nick’s business was doing $400,000 a year in gross revenue. And when buying $10,000 worth of advertising a month he was able to rack up some serious airline miles. But the greatest advantages to Nick were some of the lessons he took away from his businesses like:

  • how to hire staff and developers to handle the day to day operation
  • how to experiment with buying ads
  • how to focus on the most important aspects of business
  • and how to shut down a company when it didn’t serve him any longer

Today, Nick tells people that what he does is he helps people make money outside of their day job. The three most common things that people list as their reason not to do something is:

  1. Time – There just isn’t enough time in the day to be focused on building something worth building.
  2. Money – Just not enough money to build a business.
  3. ideas – Thinking that it takes a radically new or different idea in order to pursue a side hustle.

Nick’s advice to people who don’t have ideas is don’t try to reinvent the wheel, just offer something that people are already buying and do it better or differently.

One of Nick’s interviewees from the podcast made the comment “Sometimes the best opportunities aren’t visible until you’re already in motion” (24:00) To that end, Nick suggests just making a move on a business and seeing what the feedback ends up being.

One of Nick’s guests talked about your first business move is like the first move in a chess game. It doesn’t matter which piece you move, just move one to see what your competitor (or the market) responds with. (25:30)

Around the 28:00 mark, Nick describes his wife’s side hustle as a photographer, a project that started as a post on Craigslist offering photography services and has now grown into 15+ weddings that she and her business partner sold this year after raising their rates 15X. It’s a great story of someone close to Nick that’s also doing her own side hustle. According to Nick (and his wife), it’s just nice to know that you can make money outside your major or full-time job.

Mentioned on the show:


Ryan Finley – focuses on re-selling appliances from Craigslist.

Julie from TimeHackers Podcast

Amy & Jordon Demos — photographers in Scottsdale. Listen to podcast here.

Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn

Tropical MBA Podcast (Lifestyle Business Podcast)

Rule One Investing by Phil Town

A Happy Pocket Full of Money by David Cameron Gikandi


Books recommended by Nick:

Influence by Robert Cialdini

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg

The Millionaire Fast Lane by MJ DeMarco

The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires and The Middle Class

In my estimation, Nick is a researcher and a reporter. He’s an excellent entrepreneur as well, but his ability to filter the information he’s receiving is incredible. He has a learning habit that has served him well.

When asked what Building A Bigger Life means to Nick, he said he refers back to John Acuff who says average is settling for a life less than what you’re capable of. So to that end, building a bigger life is doing everything you’re capable of.