Your Side Hustle Success Begins With Finding The Money

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September 18th It’s National Cheeseburger Day. Whoever publishes the “National Day” calendar is just a random act. But do you know that September 18th Is there an actual historical hamburger fact attached to it?

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Sometime late in the morning of Friday, September 18thIn 1885, after the hot rain stopped, two young brothers from Canton, Ohio, sold the first hamburger. Charles and Frank Menches became wealthy owners of many diverse businesses. But it’s the story of their first “Side Hustle” as Carnival concessionaires that begins our series that sheds light on how you too can become a Side Hustle MVP.

Charles Edward Menches was born on June 10, 1859. Six years later, on July 16, 1865, his brother Frank A. Menches came to this world. His Franco-Prussian parents moved to Canton to start a new life in America. He embraced his adopted country and taught his boys everything they needed to know to excel. Both boys displayed athletic aptitude, agility and skill.

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By 1880, at the age of 21, Charles had a “successful season” with the Stickney Circus. A year later, he did “a nice trapeze act” during a “big picnic” for Germania Turnverein at the Stark County Fairgrounds. In addition to his circus acrobatic seasonal gig, Charles ran a cigar store.

While Charles used his body for fun, Frank chose a more competitive route. In July of 1885, the younger Menches brother won first prize in the Canton Cycle Race Sweepstakes. A year later, he would win a gold badge in the cycling race at the Firemen’s Tournament in Salem.

Despite his retail business, Charles’s first love was the circus. He loved to perform, and he was good at it. But his antics on high wire and flying trapeze had two drawbacks: poor pay and dangerous conditions. Neither suggested what it takes to build a sustainable career or long-term business in the job. The cigar shop may be boring (and dangerous, considering the number of times it was robbed), but at least it provided a steady and reliable (albeit modest) income.

The small shop, which Frank later joined, provided the brothers with valuable experience in counter sales. Charles used this knowledge as he discovered a way to transition to a safer and more lucrative circus. He learned a lot from his fellow Carnies. Most importantly, he learned where the money is.

Artists did not make money. Charles determined that two groups of people made money: the people running the circus and the concessionaires. Charles was not yet in a position to conduct his own show (which would come later), but he was in a position to go where the money was. He started selling concessions and brought his brother Frank with him.

If there’s a moral to this story, it’s “look before you jump.” Before you start selling anything, make sure there is a market that has an ocean of money that is full of people willing to spend it.

Similarly the Menches brothers earned an “M” for their Side Hustle MVP.

M is for “money”. What do you need to do to earn your “M”?

Although a misquote, the adage attributed to Willie Sutton—”I rob banks because the money’s there.” – Offers a lesson to anyone looking to start a successful business: go where the money is. If you want to establish a booming side fast, you have to go where the money is.

First, understand this common mistake that budding entrepreneurs make (even sometimes especially if they have significant business experience). It is very tempting to see “M” as meaning “market”. They make the mistake of treating “market” and “money” as the same thing.

These two words are not synonymous. Assume that “market” has the same meaning as “money,” which can be a costly lesson for entrepreneurs. This is a lesson that the Menches brothers fortunately understood long ago.

Charles already knew the market: circus and exhibition attendees. It represented a large market, a captive market and a market flowing with ready-to-spend cash. Still, when they brought their performance product to this market, they found they didn’t make the money that others had made. Instead of focusing on the market, he rightly focused on where and how the market spent money. The cash inflows then revealed a profitable advantage over acrobatic artists in the food concessions business.

Yes, finding the market is important, but it is only the first step. Your real objective is to find out how that market spends its money.

Which leads to another mistake you often make. The size of the market does not matter. size of sales.

For example, if you need to gross $100,000, you have several ways to accomplish this. You can make a sale for $100,000. You can make a hundred sales for $1,000 each. You can make a thousand sales for $100 each. You can make ten thousand sales for $10 each. Or you can make a million sales for $1 each.

Do you see how ticket price affects market size requirements?

When you review the “Money” analysis template used by Charles Menches, you’ll notice one thing that might seem odd to you. He already had a full-time operating business. Why did they choose the “Circus” market instead of the “Cigar” market? Obviously, he had a passion for showing off. This gave the “circus” an edge. But it represented an entirely new business; Thus, a certain level of risk that was not present with the “cigar” option. Only expanding his cigar store made an advantage because he was already in that market.

What is the probability that the tie is broken? Well, it must have been his obsession (which is for no bad reason). Considering the “money” imperative, and because it is a more objective measure, it could very well be market availability. Intuitively, Charles may have already known that any product he sold in any given market would have the same price point, so it became a matter of determining which market had more money (by volume). And which market had the most captive spectators. This is where the victory of the “circus” took place.

Ironically, the process reversed itself decades later. As the Menches brothers liquidated their Carney business, they sought a way to continue selling concessions (by that time they had opened other novelty food manufacturing businesses). He discovered another captive audience on the verge of becoming a national trend: moviegoers. Just as Hollywood was about to explode, he built a luxury movie theater in Akron during World War I. Once again, he had a market within the walls, with no choice but to buy his cure.

To return to the spirits for a moment, there is an important lesson here. When searching for your ideal side, you don’t want to start out with a completely blank slate. You could, but that makes the process take longer. It is better to start with the “hint”. Like the Menches brothers, you shouldn’t have a specific product in mind (and you probably shouldn’t). However, you will benefit from having a general idea of ​​which direction you want to go. It can be an industry. It could be demographic. It could be a technology platform. It could be a physical geography. Choose a wide area to start your money search.

But there is more.

Another mistake often made, especially among inventors who want to start their own business, is to start with a single product. Now, this can be a successful strategy, and there are many examples where it works, especially for novel ideas and inventions. In general, however, most people participate as an opportunity to raise additional cash, not to create new markets.

But this problem also comes up in full scale business.

“When starting our company, we initially tested a few different service offerings with the end goal of increasing revenue for customers,” says Ryan Turner, founder of in Austin, Texas. “Initially the uptake was very bad because we lacked focus, and in the eyes of potential clients, we didn’t have a clear area of ​​expertise. The first six months were slow because of this, and I was very disappointed, as we went without progress. Were going around in circles. We couldn’t clearly articulate the benefits of working with us.”

This morphed into a market research effort to identify the source of the spend in the product “launch” market.

“After talking to as many successful brands as potential customers, we finally identified where the money really lies in this market,” says Turner. “We realized that the largest eCommerce brands generated a large percentage of their total sales from the email marketing channel. This was often their #1 or #2 revenue driver. We saw that when serving e-commerce brands, real money will be made by removing all the headaches they experience in their most profitable digital channel: email marketing. So, we focused exclusively on this. For the past four years, we have specialized in email marketing for eCommerce brands as our primary service and never looked back.”

Launching a product or service often puts the cart ahead of the horse. If you find yourself searching for low-hanging fruit without any restrictions on the type of fruit, you’ll find yourself way too quickly. The Menches brothers didn’t just look for point-of-sale solutions. He considered all the options. The retail experience he had only gave him the confidence that he could handle the operational aspects of food concessions. And if you’ve ever tasted a great burger, you should always be grateful for their decision.

But don’t get ahead of yourself in the story. At this point, Charles has only decided on the nature of his business. They haven’t determined their product yet. That’s what comes next. (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t a hamburger.)


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