How to Start a Side-Business While Working Full-Time in New York City

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Whether you’re 20 or 60, male or female, Harvard-educated or High School dropout —  if you want to start a profitable location-independent business, without quitting your job and without becoming a social recluse — you’re in the right place.

That’s right.

No matter who you are, or what your background is, you can succeed in adding a new stream of income to your life, sometimes in as little as 90 days.

And today, I’ll show you how I did it myself, while working 10-12 hour days in the fast-paced world of Wall Street finance.

First, I want to assure you that if you have tried and failed to start a business in the past — or you’ve dreamed of starting one for a while but never did — it’s not your fault.

We live in a society where everyone and their mother has an opinion on your business idea — and there are armchair experts left and right who just know how you should run your business.

Then there are friends and family who give well-meaning, but ultimately incorrect advice, like: “DUDE, you need to get on Kickstarter to make this work”, or “Hey man, your idea sounds great but I hope you know some investors. Every startup these days has VC funding. You can’t succeed otherwise.”

It’s enough to make you give up before you see any traction — or worse, never even start in the first place.

The good news is, just about everyone is wrong.

I heard a great quote the other day that encapsulates this idea well. It went something like:

“Don’t take advice from someone that you wouldn’t want to trade places with.”

In other words, taking business advice from a successful entrepreneur is a good idea. Taking advice from your buddy Tim in Accounting is not.

Make sense?

OK, moving on.

In just a moment, I’m going to share 3 simple steps to starting your very own, money-making side business.

But first I want to tell you how I stumbled onto these secrets in the first place.

You see, I had wanted to run my own business since I was in my teens. But I never had the confidence to do so, until shortly after college.

Here’s what happened.

In my frantic months of post-graduation job searching, I was put in touch with an alumni brother from my college fraternity.

He owned a large design company in the Philadelphia area.

I went into the call fully hoping to pull the “Hey Alumni bro, think you can give me a job?” card.

That didn’t work. (They weren’t hiring, and even if they were, my Economics degree would serve very little purpose in their creative design firm.)

What did work — and what was one of the most defining moments in my life — was a simple suggestion he made.

He told me, “If you want to succeed at anything you do, read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. And do it today. When you get off the phone with me, go to Barnes & Noble and buy that book. You won’t regret it.”

I followed his advice. After all, he was running a multi-million dollar design firm only a decade or so out of college, so I figured he knew what he was doing.

That book changed my life. (And when you read it, which you should do today, it will change your life too).

There was a lot I pulled away from Think and Grow Rich, but most important was that anyone — including you — can succeed by deciding exactly what you want (whether in business or life), writing it down, and committing to follow through no matter.

Simply put: determine what it is you want in life, never, EVER give up, and you will succeed.

Think about that for a second.

It may sound a bit new-age or “woo-woo”, but it’s not.

With this method, you will be deciding exactly what YOU want in life — and not what you think your friends or family or society wants you to do.

By choosing your own path, you are being 100% true to yourself. And this commitment to your own desires will, over time, cultivate an unwavering sense of personal belief and faith in your own ability to succeed.

You’ll develop the type of faith that weathers the storm of:

  • Long hours at your day job and sleepless nights starting up your business
  • Unrelenting financial stress (thank you, student loans and NYC rent)
  • The trials and tribulations of giving yourself a Personal MBA as a business owner

So, trust me. Before you do anything, just read that one, short book. With the proper mindset, everything else becomes easier.

Now with the “mental” side of business out of the way, let’s jump into logistics.

First off, you’re going to need a set schedule.

These days, I wake up around 5:30 a.m. and work on my business for 2 and a half hours before heading to work.

During lunch, I’ll head to a coffee shop for some business work – or to the gym if it’s workout day. (Regular workouts, and the stress relief that comes with it, are a MUST if you want to juggle a business and full-time job)

But do what works for you.

When I first started my business, I would wake up just in time to leave for my day job.

So I had to work on my startup late into the night, during my lunch hour, and even during my commute.

As a matter of fact, I wrote a complete book on weight loss, all thanks to the Long Island Rail Road (and occasional lunch writing sessions).

I lived in Long Island at the time, and had a 55 minute ride each way to the city. I could’ve slept or played games on my phone, but I had bigger goals (thanks to “Think & Grow Rich”).

So I wrote on my laptop.

The book — all 247 pages worth — was done in less than 60 days.

(On that note, if you drive or simply can’t use a device during your commute, listen to audiobooks. I use Audible and Scribd. It is a simple and easy way to expand your knowledge and reach your goals faster.)

Second, pick a business niche and idea that you will stick with through the ups and downs.

The #1 rule of choosing a business idea is to NOT make a product first and hope it sells.

Instead, find a problem, and then create a product that solves that problem (whether it’s a physical product like the supplements we create — or an information product like an e-book or video coaching.)

The 4 best “big niches” to get into:

  1. Health and Wellness
  2. Business and Money
  3. Romance/Dating
  4. Arts & Hobbies

Then, narrow it down.

Within each niche, there are many sub-niches that are like ‘categories within a category’.

For example, within health and wellness, there is weight loss, muscle-building, chronic pain, organic food, yoga, and so on.

You should consider ultra-targeting a niche, if you want to succeed even faster — such as weight loss for women, fat loss with bodyweight exercises, joint pain solutions for baby-boomers, etc.

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Whatever you choose, make sure it is something that you are knowledgeable in, and that you will enjoy doing even when it’s 2 a.m. on a Monday morning and you’re still up teaching yourself HTML and CSS code because something on your site broke and it’s too late to find a web developer. (True story x 20).

With that out of the way, we’re at the…

Third and last step: learn how to sell

This is very underrated, but to succeed in anything, you must know how to sell.

Pick one (or both) of the following:

  1. a) learn to sell face-to-face or over the phone
    b) learn to write words that sell (i.e. copywriting)

I’m shy by nature, so I’ve taught myself how to write good sales copy.

It has paid off very well for me.

To learn how to write sales copy, I recommend you:

  • Read Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Scwartz (at least the first 4 chapters of it). Find a PDF on Google, as the hard copy costs like $90.
  • Read Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins
  • Read The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy
  • Write out, word-for-word, the 7 or 8 sales letters Gary Halbert recommends. Find the list on Google.

If you’re strapped for time, just read the Ultimate Sales Letter, and make sure you make time for the other recommendations later.

Once you learn how to write copy and create your first sales piece, it’s time to make some money.

Use these 2 main options to get started quickly.

First, find affiliate partners who already have a following in your niche.

Connect with them by offering a helping hand with their work, and also let them know about your new product. Offer them a percentage of sales for promoting your product to their readers.

Second, spend $5-$10 per day driving paid traffic to the sales copy you created. Depending on your offer, good ad networks to try are Facebook, Google Display, Yahoo Gemini, and RevContent. Buying email drops (solo ads) is good too, albeit more expensive.

Pick one traffic source and master it.

Test and optimize your ads to see what gets more clicks and conversions (i.e. sales, or email opt-ins), at a lower cost. Remove the ads that don’t perform. Keep the ones that do.

Once you are making a small profit, increase your ad spend gradually so you can continue bringing in more customers and more revenue.

Rinse and repeat until success.

And remember that no matter what happens…NEVER give up.

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