Rooster Chronicles: How I Winged It and Made My Side Hustle Fly
Cock-a-doodle-doo! After clucking around in the corporate world for nearly a decade, I finally did what makes social media swoon— I bid farewell to my day job and turned my side hustle into a full-blown rooster extravaganza. Against the odds and conventional business advice, I managed to scratch and peck my way to a six-figure business from scratch.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a whopping 5 million businesses were hatched in 2022, as more and more corporate folks contemplated spreading their wings in the world of entrepreneurship.
Now, let me tell you a little secret. When it comes to starting a business, they say you need a fancy-schmancy business plan. You know, the kind you whip out to impress the bank, venture capitalists, or even your dear old aunt for some startup capital. But guess what? I never needed one!
Sure, if you’re planning to leave your cozy, stable job, it’s wise to have more than just a few feathers of an idea. However, I’ve seen countless aspiring entrepreneurs get their feathers ruffled over the daunting task of writing a business plan, and as a result, they never take the leap at all.
When I started my current venture, a company focused on traveling and speaking in front of crowds to teach financial education, I approached it the same way I tackled my $300,000 debt in just three years. What could possibly go wrong, right? Well, lo and behold, January 2020 arrived, and the infamous Covid-19 pandemic came knocking on my coop. I had to flap my wings and pivot to a whole new business model. Despite the challenges, here I am in my fourth year of business, with my financial education company raking in over half a million dollars in revenue and a flock of students in my programs.
Funny thing is, I never bothered to write a formal business plan back then. Instead, I made sure my personal finances were in order, allowing me to be my own investor rather than borrowing from someone else. Looking back at how 2020 played out, any business plan I had hatched would have become outdated faster than a worm disappears in the morning sun.
Now, if you’re treading the entrepreneurial path without a plan, you must assess your own risk tolerance. According to a KPMG Women’s Leadership Study, a mere 43% of women are open to taking the daring risks associated with career advancement, let alone the uncharted waters of entrepreneurship.
Fortunately, being debt-free gave me the freedom to start my business without a meticulously formulated plan. It relieved the pressure of having to earn mountains of cash in the early years. It also honed my creative thinking skills when it came to covering business expenses, just like I did with my personal expenses when I clucked my way out of $72,000 in student loans right after my master’s program.
It’s always helpful to use available tools to assess how much you’re willing to gamble on your business, your investment risk tolerance, if you will. Take that quiz once a year to see how you might evolve over time. Personally, I took a quiz from Rutgers University that revealed my investment risk tolerance was below average. This inspired me to take other measures in my personal finances to keep my feathers unruffled while my business was taking flight.
In addition to paying off debt, I reduced my financial risk by ditching credit cards, streamlining my budget (yes, I even sold one of my beloved cars), and building up an emergency nest egg. Now, I’m not saying you have to go all out like me, but I even went so far as to pay off my mortgage prior to 2020. Talk about spreading your wings and securing a cozy nest! This gave me peace of mind, knowing that even if my business crashed and burned, at least I’d still have a place to roost.
It wasn’t until December 2020, almost a year into my venture, that I finally saw a clearer path to revenue. I started consistently raking in $10,000 a month. But let me tell you, until then, I was flapping and squawking my way through various product and service iterations, testing what worked and what didn’t.
Having fewer financial obligations was like having a sturdy perch during the stormy times. While others were squawking for mortgage loan forgiveness or begging for forbearance during the pandemic, I remained calm and collected. My reduced living expenses turned out to be a priceless asset.
Fast forward to today, and my financial education company has grossed over $500,000 in revenue, surpassing what I could have ever made in my old corporate gig. Becoming a solopreneur not only helped me soar free from the clutches of debt but also allowed me to feather my nest with millionaire status in my thirties. I’ve traveled far and wide, achieving my financial independence goals.
Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t wait around for the perfect plan to hatch. Instead, I took a leap of faith and set up my finances to invest more time, money, and energy into growing my business. Sometimes, the hardest part is simply mustering up the courage to spread your wings and give it a try.
So, my fellow roosters and hens, remember this: while a business plan may have its merits, don’t let it hold you back from pursuing your dreams. Assess your risk tolerance, declutter your financial coop, and be ready for some trial and error along the way. With a dash of creativity, a sprinkle of perseverance, and a whole lot of clucking determination, you too can make your side hustle take flight.