I didn’t start out wanting to build an online business. When I set out on this journey in 2015, my goal was to plug some very real gaps. The cost of living was going up right before my eyes. I had a ton of debt holding me back from living the lifestyle I really wanted and from fully enjoying my career.
When I realized chasing promotions wasn’t going to cut it, I started thinking about ways to make money on the side. Opportunity opened my eyes. It can open yours, too.
Two years ago, I’d never have imagined partnering with business owners across 6 industries, from 8 cities in 3 continents… all while sitting at my dinner table. Since 2015, I’ve logged over 1,000 hours of coaching, consulting, and freelancing experience—exceeding my wildest expectations.
The big hunch
People are hungry for sage advice. My personal branding Secret Sauce had gotten me recruited to career opportunities at LinkedIn and Google. Word got around to friends of friends that I had a track record of success. A few sought me out because working hard, having credentials, submitting applications, and shaking hands just wasn’t doing the trick for them.
In the middle of a conversation about some of my LinkedIn hacks, someone offered to pay me to help them optimize their profile.
That’s when I got a hunch — this just might be a sustainable side hustle. Maaaaybe I could make extra money while working full time, commuting, and living my life.
The tipping point
Hard work and new horizons have never scared me. I was the first person in my family to go to college. I’d built a decade-long career in sales and digital marketing at some of the most influential companies in the world. Even so, I was shy about closing my first client.
I had no clue what to charge, no template for anything, and I’d never taken someone through that kind of transformation 1-on-1. Heck, I didn’t even know what to call myself and what I was doing.
Credibility counts. I knew it was essential to get some client testimonials under my belt. So, I put in a lot of hours, helped my client see results like interviews and offers, and at the end I just asked them to pay what they felt was fair.
I made my first $200. Win for me. The client saw a 30% increase in salary. Win for them.
In retrospect, I could have charged a whole lot more, but there is just nothing like the rush of validation that your first sale sparks. Naturally, I wanted to experience it again and again.
To grow my business, I knew I needed a website. It was taking me too long to close clients because I was spending too much time explaining my services—and having to do it over and over again. I knew it was high time to put on my sales and digital marketing hat.
Call me crazy, but I’m big on learning new things, and doing things myself when I can. After consuming countless YouTube videos and blog posts, I taught myself how to design and manage a WordPress website. With a referral from a friend for a service called Fiverr, I looked for help designing a logo.
When I saw how easy it was to start a profile and start taking gigs, I got another hunch—I could make more money per hour building simple websites for small businesses. Things really started to take off.
The intern trap
I loved my new side hustle—it energized me and nourished a sense of accomplishment. Soon, though, my side hustle would become my lifeline. I’d taken a job that ultimately made me unhappy, and I knew it was time to walk, but I didn’t have a plan or another job lined up. So, I expanded my business by taking on more career coaching clients and expanding my services to sales and marketing consulting.
My goal was to be everyone’s champion while they hustled. After all, I loved my side hustle, so how much more awesome would it be as a full-time gig? Factor in new and real stakes: the anxiety of keeping a roof over my head while I figured out my next career led me to a trap. I became a “yes” man and, without realizing it, I went from being the boss to being the intern of my own business.
Long hours, lists of demands, and no days off made for a grumpy Luis.
That’s when I started to research the whole online business and automation thing. I knew how to help other businesses grow online. I’d done it for Fortune 500 companies for a decade, but I’d never tried building an online business from the ground up myself. Turns out I had a lot to learn.
The big fail
To free up my time, I knew I needed to be smarter. Rather than trying to be a jack of all trades and say yes to helping everyone, I needed to hone in on one target customer and a few meaningful outcomes. Since I got my start helping other people grow their careers, I decided to hone in and offer an online course focused on career services.
This was my first course, and I decided to DIY to save on costs. After outlining the material, I bought some basic video equipment for my home studio, and I got to work. Talk about a learning curve — video editing, learning management systems, writing sales page copy, email drips, graphics aaand workbooks.
After looong days and nights making every mistake possible, beta launch day came around…. the Facebook Ads were getting clicks, but the crickets were so loud, there was no denying I had missed the mark.
Feedback is my friend
Careful listening is an invaluable tool in business. While talking to one of the students who went through my program, I got an illuminating piece of feedback.
“Luis, the material is really good and it helped me a lot, but after hearing your story, I cared less about finding a new job. I want to learn how to start my own business so I won’t need one.”
Failing at launching an online career course completely opened my eyes — it wasn’t that I couldn’t do this, I’d just built the wrong business. My passion wasn’t offering career advice and interview prep, and it showed in the outcome, in the missteps and skipped steps.
My heart is in being creative, telling stories, and helping people see big results. This student could see it, and I knew it inside. This feedback precipitated a tectonic shift in my world. I realized I had shied away from doing what I really enjoy because I fell for two mind traps: “it’s already been done” and “I have to be innovative to be profitable."
So here's what's in it for you
My mission: to offer you simple and sage advice through the what-abouts, how-do-yous, and how-the-hecks — so you can click, click, copy and paste your way to a profitable online side hustle, without getting lost.
Whether you’re just starting out, thinking about starting, or in the trenches and trying to grow your ideas, I know you’re here because you’re ready to do the work. And I want you to know I’ve got your back.
There’s a lot of noise online, with conflicting pieces of advice about where to start and what’s the best tool. I know because I’ve followed a lot of steps to dead ends while trying to get my online side hustle off the ground. Each time it happened, I lost money, and set my self-confidence back. I don’t want that for you.
With everything I do, my goal is to drop business goodies in your brain basket so you can build a lifestyle you love. There are plenty of how-to’s out there, but you need actionable, simple — and impactful — strategies to breathe life into your ideas while holding down a full-time job. You also need a push when you fall for mental traps that hold you back.
I’m here to be your champion while you hustle.