Nowadays, there are not one, but two questions you get asked at a party or event:
- So, what do you do?
- What is your side hustle?
Whereas thirty years ago, having a second job or a small business was equated to a tacit admission you weren't prospering in your primary career – and needed some financial help,
Today, the side hustle (I don't think the term existed 30 years ago) is seen as a badge of courage – a sign you have high aspirations. In today's economy, low-inflation and stagnant middle-class wages has elevated the side hustle to a viable way to increase income – often more than a job promotion.
This begs the question – what about invention as a side hustle.
The Case for Inventing as a Side Hustle
As I have posited many times in this blog, inventing is a risky endeavor – the share of successful inventors is akin to that of successful actors. Yet, inventing offers something very valuable – that few other businesses can – the ability to create a substantial passive income through product licensing.
If you offer consulting services, you may earn a nice hourly rate, but you are still being paid by the hour – you are only paid when you work – just like in your job. If you merchandise products, you likely work long hours and you only make money when you sell, but every day you have costs: employees/contractors, reps, vendors, and many others.
When you leverage time, you do something once and may be paid for it multiple times in the future. If you, as an inventor, license your product for royalties, you may receive quarterly royalty checks for many years – as does a good friend of mine – and I receive royalties for the Wonder Wallet. The best part of it is, as long as your product is selling in the marketplace, you receive royalties, whether you are working or vacationing in Tahiti. That is the beauty of leveraging time and of having passive income.
The good news is virtually every aspect of invention can be done part-time, in evenings and on weekends. I was working full-time in telecom just before I sold my wallets on QVC, for example. Developing prototypes, sell sheets, packaging and much more can be done in your spare time. The few activities that may be scheduled during business hours: occasional meetings with a patent attorney or meetings to pitch your product for licensing, may require you to take a few vacation days per year.
But, honestly, which would you rather do, take off a couple of days to pitch your invention to a large manufacturer for licensing; or take the time off to visit with your in-laws? Both choices will bring you memories, but the former could provide you an ongoing passive income stream for many years.
Your Most Valuable Asset Is … Not Money!
Here is my final point. Money is important to all of us: you use it to pay your bills, to buy things for you and your family, and you invest it, hoping for a nice ROI – return on investment.
But your single most valuable resource is your time: whether you are poor, middle class, or rich, you have only 24 hour in each day – it is finite, you can never have more time.
In 2009, I made a personal decision. I was making a lucrative income as a telecom project manager. But, I knew that at my age (53 then) the most I might ever make in my job was 20% more than I was earning in 2009 – or about $120,000 if I continued on a strong track to success. But, if I were successful as an inventor, I could make considerably more money than that and I could leverage my time.
In 2016, for the first time, I made considerably more than that from my inventing endeavors – and I took a 3-week trip to Australia. This year, I took my kids to Peru to visit Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca. Had I continued working in telecom, there is no way I would have been able to do any of those things.
I am providing two free webinars for inventors this week called Transforming Your Idea Into a Successful Invention. If you are serious about making your invention a success, I think it will be well worth your time … and the webinars are free.
Join me on Wednesday or Thursday. Stay tuned.