When Phil Knight started Nike, it was on a whim and it wasn’t called Nike. In fact, he wasn’t even making his own shoes.
No, Phil Knight was importing shoes from a Japanese shoe manufacturer called Onitsuka… And he got the deal when he was on a gap year traveling the world. On a whim based on a crazy idea, he stopped by the Onitsuka headquarters and pitched them on becoming their US shoe distributor. He called his non-existent company Blue Ribbon and lucked out when they actually said yes to his crazy proposal.
For the next few years, Knight would go on to become a CPA and practicing accountant, importing and selling shoes on nights and weekends when he could find the time.
Phil Knight, side hustler.
Phil Knight, billionaire.
Same guy, 50 years apart. The difference: he turned his passion for shoes into a side project and never let it die. He stuck with it until it became what we all know today as one of the most admired brands in the world.
Phil Knight’s story is exceptional, but there are hundreds of stories of bloggers, podcasters, and vloggers who started small, just like Phil, and then turned their side hustle into a full-time business.
So many of us have this idea in our heads that one day we have to march into our boss’s office, quit our job, burn the bridge we leave on, and go all in on our crazy business idea for it to work.
Every once in a while that might be the only way it could work. But most of the time for the rest of us there’s another option. That option is staring us right in the face – start where you are with what you have.
Use your nights and weekends to build your skills, chase creative fulfillment, build relationships with interesting people and maybe, just maybe, turn that side hustle into something more one day. Or not. You might just choose to enjoy the side hustle for what it is – a fun project that keeps you on your toes outside of work.
Whatever your goal, if you’re a side hustler or thinking about starting a little something on the side, this issue of Tradecraft is for you.
You’ll hear from people like Dave Stuart: high school teacher by day, author and public speaker by night; Courtney Slazinik: mom by day, photographer by nap-time; and Charli Prangley: all-star designer on the ConvertKit team by day, YouTube personality, podcast host, and maker by night.
Our editorial team has put together a fantastic spread for you in this issue. From why side hustles matter to why millennials always seem to be chasing a side gig of some sort. From building your first website to support your side hustle to downloadable email templates to help you get started with email marketing.
By the time you get done with this issue, you’ll be fresh out of excuses. It’s time to get started. I just have one question for you: What will your side hustle be?
With that, I’ll leave you with some inspiring words from one Rick Ross:
“Every day I’m [side] hustlin’.”
Barrett Brooks and the ConvertKit team
PS: The majority of the writing in this issue comes from copywriter extraordinaire Dani Stewart; the blog design, imagery, and our opinion piece on side-hustling-millennials are the handy work of Charli Prangley, our talented team designer; our tutorial on building your simple website is courtesy of the most patient of teachers, Matt Ragland from our customer success team; and the infrastructure powering this beautiful work of art is hand-crafted by Dylan Feltus.
As always, complaints, criticisms and rotten tomatoes should be sent my way here. The team had nothing to do with it ;).