What Do Apple, Instagram, Houzz, Etsy, and Udemy Have in Common?

My first ever head shot to promote my coaching and consulting business.

My first ever head shot to promote my coaching and consulting business.

If you guessed that they started out as someone's side hustle, you're right. I'll say it again just because I'm sure you love hearing it (don't we all?): YOU'RE RIGHT.

  • Apple, as I'm sure you've heard before, was started by two guys with high school diplomas in a garage in the 1970s.
  • Instagram started back in 2010 when the two founders created a check-in app, similar to FourSquare, that integrated photography.
  • Houzz is the brainchild of a husband and wife team who wanted to solicit feedback on their home improvement project and find contractors.
  • Etsy's journey to a $100 million IPO in 2016 started out as a tiny marketplace for individual artisans to sell their creations.
  • Udemy, once unable to raise any venture capital because they had only a handful of courses has now become one of the worldwide leaders in online education.

Want to know what else Apple, Instagram, Houzz, Etsy, and Udemy have in common? They all had founders who decided to start - even though they couldn't get funding or had to work out of a smoking hot garage. They decided to go for it - even when their friends and family said they'd never make it and were banking on a pipe dream. They failed and tried again. They launched and plummeted, but never gave up.

Want to know what these founders didn't do? They didn't wait until they had enough time, cash or clients waiting on what they had to offer. The just went for it. And, I can't know for sure, but I bet it was pretty uncomfortable. I bet it was downright scary. I bet lots of people gave them the same looks I got back in 2010.

Leaving My Corporate Job

That was the year I left my corporate job to start my own coaching and consulting practice. We were still feeling the impacts of the recession, and I was (and still am) a single mom with two boys to support. When I walked away from my job, I was making the most I'd ever made in my career, but my heart wasn't in it. I was traveling all the time and my boss was scapegoating me for failures that weren't solely mine to own. 

Have you ever been in a meeting and heard words come out of your mouth that surprised you?

I mean, you know that you were thinking them, but you weren't really planning to say them aloud? That's what happened to me on a sunny day in April 2010 when during a routine meeting with my then boss, I heard myself say: "The only thing I know is that I don't want to work here anymore." 

And so we created my exit plan, and after a brief period of freaking out during my four-hour commute home that day, I made a plan. My coaching and consulting business was born that very month. And I was thrilled. Scared as hell, but thrilled! I was eager to share my news with anyone who would listen, until I saw, again and again, that look on their faces that said, "Awww, you poor thing. Is it too late to get your job back?"

So I quit sharing my news, not because I was ashamed of it, but because I didn't need anyone stealing my joy. Now, a little over 8 years later, I've worked with Fortune 100 companies to design learning programs, been hired by teams as their coach-in-residence, become the director of learning strategy at a Portland technology company, all while continuing to grow my coaching practice and online community. But I gotta tell you, I don't believe any of this would be possible without my first side hustle.

My First Side Hustle

My very first side hustle (post-lemonade stand) was back in the late 1990s when a friend and I embarked on a journey to revolutionize the scrapbooking industry with a consultant-based done-for-you service. We supported a handful of clients and trained one consultant. Meanwhile, I still have a closet full of scrapbooking supplies we bought wholesale.

The SCRAP Company (RIP) was a huge learning opportunity for me! I got to know first hand the delicacies of mixing partnership and friendship. I also learned that I should love my side hustle more than I loved scrapbooking - and anything that requires a big inventory investment is not my cup of tea.

Then, in 2007, I found a side hustle that was a great fit for me: coaching.

Before getting my coaching certification, I didn't realize that I've been a coach my whole life. It truly is who I am not just what I do. My business spread quickly by word of mouth and soon I had more clients than I had time for with my full-time job and full-time single parenting. But on the weekends when my kids were with their dad, I'd schedule an entire Saturday with coaching clients, make a couple of hundred dollars, and be in my happy place.

Looking back, I gained a ton of confidence from exchanging my natural talents for money and seeing the changes that my clients were making as a result of our time together. Without my side hustle, I'd never have spoken up that day back in 2010 and resigned from a well-paying job. But I'd caught a glimpse of what it felt like to do work that was more "me," with more earning potential, that I could do on my own schedule, and I was no longer satisfied with the status quo.

While my journey of success is a far cry from Apple, Instagram, Houzz, Etsy, and Udemy right now, the future looks bright. I'm still showing up, coaching clients, earning more year over year, and living life on my own terms.

Where Are You Now?

Have you started your side hustle yet? If so, are you ready to make the leap from side hustle to main hustle? If you're already thriving in your own business, are you ready to scale?

This month in our free, online community, we're talking all about side hustles and scaling in three different ways:

  1. Starting your side hustle for the first time.
  2. Transitioning your professional skills into consulting gigs.
  3. Scaling your growing business with an educational offer (course, workshop, certification).

Everyday from now through September, I'm showing up via Facebook Live to share what I've learned and support you in your goals - whatever they are for you right now. I hope you'll join us!

When you're ready, here are three ways I can help you start your side hustle or grow your business:

  • Join our free, online community, Luminary Hustle. This encouraging and supportive group is comprised of professionals, creatives, coaches and experts just like you who are looking to align who they are with how they make money. Come on in!
  • Want to bounce around your business idea or get advice on how to scale your existing business? I've opened up a few spots on my calendar for free 30-minute sessions this month. Click here to get yours. You'll be amazed how much we can accomplish!
  • Ready to spend 3 days working hand-in-hand to create your signature course, workshop or certification? You'll leave with your project complete and ready to sell. Interested? Send a quick email with SCALE in the subject line.
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