Updated: Jan 6, 2020
Today I am reviewing a book that takes the concept of a side hustle a step further. The book is called “The 10% Entrepreneur" written by Patrick J. McGinnis. It’s certainly an interesting title, but it was the subtitle that made me buy the book; “Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job”. As someone perusing financial independence, this book was a must buy.
How being a 10% entrepreneur can help you reach financial independence
The message of this book is that it is possible to have your cake and eat it too. You can scratch that entrepreneurial itch while maintaining the security of your full-time paycheque.
The simplest way to reach financial independence is to pull the two levers of financial independence:
1. Make more money.
2. Save more of the money you already have.
Taking on a side hustle is a great way to pull the income lever. That is why so many people pursuing financial independence have a side hustle. It allows them to instantly increase their income, even if they can’t get a raise at work.
My only issue with most side hustles today is that they are more of a “second job”. There is nothing wrong with driving for Uber or Lyft; If you need extra money, go get it any way you can. To make a side hustle worth the additional time I would have to sacrifice, it needs to be a project that excites me.
Many of us dislike our jobs, many of us “like” our jobs, but very few of us “love” our jobs. If you don’t love the activity you are giving 40+ hours a week to, why would you dedicate even more hours to a side hustle you don’t love? The same reason we give 40+ hours a week to our day job, “money”.
The 10% Entrepreneur advocates that your side hustle should be a project that truly excites you. Like any entrepreneurial enterprise there is no guarantee that you will make any money, but pursuing the 10% Entrepreneur approach has 3 primary benefits:
It provides potentially limitless “upside” to your income.
You Avoid the (rarely spoken of) downsides of the full-time entrepreneur.
It will unleash your creativity and provide you with purpose and energy that will positively impact you in other areas of your life.
Add upside to your income
One of the major advantages of starting a business is that you have little or no cap on your potential income.
With a traditional 9–5 job you likely have a set hourly wage or annual salary. Sure, there may be potential for overtime or performance bonuses, but you have a pretty good idea of what your income will be year to year.
As an entrepreneur, the sky’s the limit when it comes to earning “potential”. Potential is the keyword there. While you have the potential to strike it rich as an entrepreneur, you also have the potential to make no money or even lose the money you invest to start a business.
One of the rules McGinnis lays out for the 10% entrepreneur is that you invest no more than 10% of your available financial resources into your entrepreneurial pursuit. This limits your financial downside while maintaining your stable income provided by your 9–5 job.
Downsides of the “full time” entrepreneurial lifestyle
A good chunk of the book answers the question “why not just dive feet first and become a full-time entrepreneur?” Apart from the financial risks of being a full-time entrepreneur,
McGinnis spends a good amount of time detailing the strain that being a full-time entrepreneur can have on your personal life.
It is a well-known fact that most new businesses fail. To be a full-time entrepreneur often means working 15+ hours a day, 7 days a week taking a huge financial risk and spending very little time with your loved ones. It is not only a personal sacrifice but one made by the entire family of the entrepreneur. All that time spent working and financial risk can put a strain on even the most solid relationships, especially when the venture fails to produce any income.
One of the rules McGinnis lays out for the 10% entrepreneur is that you invest no more than 10% of your available time to your entrepreneurial pursuit. This limits some of the “personal downsides” and potential strain on your relationships. If you are working on your project until 3:00 in the morning, you are not truly a “10% entrepreneur”
Other benefits of the 10% entrepreneurial approach
Aside from the potential for higher income, becoming a “10% entrepreneur” has other benefits that should not be overlooked.
First, you will get a better sense if you truly want to become an entrepreneur. Many people think that the entrepreneurial life is the life they want, but what they want is the image that society has portrayed. They want to be rich, have no boss and work from a laptop sitting on a beach. They don’t think about all the grind and heartache and disappointment that goes along with starting your own business.
The 10% entrepreneurial approach allows people to “stick their toe in the water”. Many people will find the “water is too cold” for them. A valuable lesson to learn without having to quit your day job.
Another benefit of this approach and one that I have found to be true is that by focusing on an entrepreneurial side hustle, you will gain valuable skills that will help you in other areas of your life, including your 9–5 job.
Have you ever written a business plan? Probably, during school at some point.
Have you ever written a business plan that you had to take to a bank or investor? That is a whole different ballgame. You learn so much about yourself and discover skills you never even knew you had through entrepreneurial pursuits which make you more effective at your day job (or anything you do in life). Getting up and giving a presentation to your co-workers will be a whole lot easier after you’ve had to sell your idea/product and yourself to strangers.
Overall, I think this book is worth a read for anyone who wants to start a side hustle or who thinks the only way to scratch that entrepreneurial itch is to leave behind the security provided of their day job. As McGinnis points out, it’s not so black and white.
Have you started a passion project or a side hustle? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to know your thoughts on the 10% Entrepreneur concept.