Why I LOVE a Side Hustle
Most of my life I have had some form or another of a SideHustle. As a youngster Cutting Grass and Shoveling Snow, to Social Media Marketing later in life, and an array of others in between. While always having a full time job or a business I was running, the SideHustle served a few functions;
- Extra Income
- Fallback Plan if something changed with my current employment
- Confidence and Understanding on How to Start and Test an Idea
- Identifying The Corridor of Opportunity
Number 3 and 4 above far outweigh the other two. Extra Income is always nice, but it’s never really been about the money for me, it has mostly been about the Ideas. And, The Confidence to try the Ideas. Ideas are Future Revenue, Future Endeavors, Testin g the Ideas allows us to “See” The Corridor of Opportunity. My current SideHustle is UrbaneFarm, I am working on transitioning this from a SideHustle/Hobby into a Sustainable Business, as it grows and evolves. UrbaneFarm has expanded to two Boutique Foodie Shops, The Depot in Downtown Lakeview, OH and The Depot No9 in Downtown Kenton, OH. UrbaneFarm is a purveyor of 150-Unique Hot Sauce Brands, Fish Sauces, Salsas, BBQ Sauce, Rubs, Gourmet Salts, Beef Jerky, Eclectic Art, Vintage Cast Iron Cookware, New Lodge Cast Iron Cookware , Revolution Stunt Kites and Cut Flowers in Season. We also have a Grill Trailer, BackAlley Eatzz and sling Vienna Beef Dogs and Polish Sausage on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays in the summer season at our store front, The Depot in Downtown Lakeview OH
I started fooling around with the idea and concept 4-5 years ago. It started as wanting to practice urban farming, but not a clue as to how to start. Vegetable Gardens seemed to get gnarly, so that could be an issue, and a deterrent to the idea, as I planned on using the land at our Boutique Apartments Communities for this idea. With that I would need to obtain approval from my partners in the selected real estate ventures. I have not favored approvals over the years, sometimes to my demise, typically practicing Taking Action, and Ask for Forgiveness Later. Sometimes that works, and Sometimes Not So Much.
UrbaneFarm Was Born
I was impressed with all of the Urban Farms popping up all over Detroit. UrbaneFarm started with a few Raised Bed Planters at one of our Boutique Apartment Communities. The first year, we grew a few things but with limited success. That winter I reached out to a couple that had launched Detroit ABloom, a non-profit cut flower farm growing organic flowers, native and pollinator plants and building butterfly and sanctuary gardens. Tom Milano and Nancy Weigandt, Husband/Wife, Founders and Partners of Detroit ABloom welcomed me into their home one cold winter morning in their SouthEast Home in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood. We quickly hit it off, and after listening to their story, Tom and Nancy had decades of experience with Urban Farming, Farmers Markets and CSA Subscriptions;(Community Supported Agriculture) They had interest in expanding their reach, so we collaborated on a couple projects, a Lavender Park with over 900- Lavender Plants
The take away was lots of people trying their hand at Urban Farming via the CSA path. It is an arduous way to create income, although some make a go of it, most crash after a couple years. Detroit aBloom took a fresh approach, Flowers, lots and lots of Flowers. I fell in love with that concept. Tom suggested that we try a Lavender Park, and so we did just that at one property and a Dahlia Park at another property. So,…………We Doubled Down on Flowers. It made much sense, the flowers provided so many valuable things
Corridor of Opportunity
Doubling Down has been a trait for me since I can remember, and I talk about this extensively in my book, The Second Act Entrepreneur. Many schools of thought from business leaders are to fill the gaps, meaning get better at your weak spots. And there is some truth to that, however I have found that working on our weak links tends to make us more relevant to our competition, versus Doubling Down, done in a thoughtful and effective manner, tends to Create Distance between You and Your Competitor. The Corridor of Opportunity becomes clear once you are in it,…………….
Eric is an Entrepreneur, Writer/Published Author, Real Estate Developer and an Apartment Operator. You can get his book, The Second Act Entrepreneur on Amazon here;