161: Exploring Entrepreneurship without Quitting Your Day Job with Patrick McGinnis

By May 31, 2017Podcasts

 

 

Patrick McGinnis shows how you can develop your entrepreneurship–and job skills–while keeping the stability of your day job.

You’ll Learn:

  1. Why you should consider being a 10% entrepreneur
  2. Two strategies to determine where you should really focus your time and energy
  3. Tried and tested ways to see if your big idea will work out

About Patrick

Patrick J. McGinnis is a venture capitalist and private equity investor who founded Dirigo Advisors, after a decade on Wall Street, to provide strategic advice to investors, entrepreneurs, and fast growing businesses. In this capacity, he has worked in a range of settings, from building startups from the ground up in Silicon Valley to acting as an expert consultant to the World Bank in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.

He is the author of the book The 10% Entrepreneur. He has also written articles for well-known publications such as Fortune, Business Insider, and Forbes. Patrick is a graduate of Harvard Business School and Georgetown University and lives in New York City.

Items Mentioned in this Show:

Patrick McGinnis Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
Patrick, thank so much for joining us here on the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast.

Patrick McGinnis
Thank you for having me.

Pete Mockaitis
You know, it’s so fun. Amongst your many claims to fame, your credit of coining the phrase FOMO if you’re missing out. Can you tell us how that came about?

Patrick McGinnis
Sure, yes. Yes, FOMO will probably be on my headstone someday. Hopefully many years from now. But when I was getting my MBA at Harvard Business School in 2004 and over the winter, I guess 2003 winter, in my ski house we started using this term FOMO among me and my friends, and another term called FOBO or fear or a better option. And I thought to myself, “This is really unique. I’ve never heard this before and somebody needs to record this for all of history.” I don’t know why.

Pete Mockaitis
Someone.

Patrick McGinnis
This is really cool and I’m going to be that guy. So I wrote for our school newspaper, and I wrote a satirical piece called McGinnis’s Two Foes, a social theory at Harvard Business School, and I wrote about FOMO and FOBO and catalogued this new phenomenon I had witnessed. You know, I come from a small town of Maine where you don’t have FOMO because there’s nothing to really miss out on. It’s a pretty relaxed place to grow up. It’s a great place but there’s not much happening.

And so I noticed this phenomenon and wrote about it, and then I really didn’t think much of it from that point. And then 10 years later I got a call from a reporter who was writing a piece on the history of FOMO and he traced it back to me, and I had never really thought about it all that much just because I didn’t pay attention and I hadn’t realized it becomes a big deal. And so that’s the story.

And so FOMO is out there. FOBO has not really taken off, so if you’re listening to this today, FOBO is I think worse than FOMO and probably you’re suffering from both of them if you’re anything like me.

Pete Mockaitis
When you say it’s worse, you don’t mean it’s worse to hear or say but it’s worse sensation, the actual fear internally?

Patrick McGinnis
I think so because FOBO is one of these things. Fear of better option is this idea that you aren’t willing to commit to things until the very last minute. You kind of hold off, wait till you see everything is because you want something better to come along and then you commit at the last minute. And that’s just a really terrible way to alienate people and relationship.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, yes. Worse that way. I was just thinking of that as like, “Boy, that sure doesn’t work in the dating arena.”

Patrick McGinnis
No, that is a great way. I’m sure many people are getting like three people at once and just that’s a FOBO situation. And not only is it exhausting but it’s a great way to really upset some people.

Pete Mockaitis
Certainly. Well, we learned about business, career and love here. That’s great. And so now I want to shift a bit to the topic du jour. And so I really enjoy your approach when it comes to exploring the world of entrepreneurship because in surveying my listeners that’s something that comes up for people but at the same time I’m really gun-shy about the whole universe of the “escape the rat race build digital courses online” whatever universe. And so you’ve got a fresh view on it. Tell us, what’s the story about being a 10% Entrepreneur?

Patrick McGinnis
Okay. So I agree with you and I think you and I sort of very much in the same place because I’m not a believer in get rich quick schemes and I think it’s something that sounds too good to be true. It probably is. That’s just how I see the world, more practical that way. And so the idea of what’s called The 10% Entrepreneur, which is this book that I wrote last year, is the idea that all of us should and can be entrepreneurs but we should do that part-time on the side while holding on our day jobs, making sure that we have the stability of our day jobs while we’re testing and trying new things.

And maybe someday we’ll become a full-time entrepreneur but you’ll do that knowing what it takes, understanding what entrepreneurship is about, and having tried and tested things before jumping in full-time. And maybe you will never go full-time and that’s fine, too, but it’s really about thinking almost like a freelancer in entrepreneurship and using that mentality to try things out before you jump in full-time.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. That makes great sense. And so just so we’re clear, 10% what does that number mean? Where does it come from? Are we literally thinking 40 hours of workweek, so four hours of entrepreneuring? Or what’s that number connect to?

Patrick McGinnis
Sure. So the idea that 10%, this is how I came to it and it was just me, one day walking down the street with my best friend from college, and I was thinking about doing this, and I said, “How much time do you think I should spend on this?” And I said, “You know what? I think maybe like 20% of my time and 20% of my money. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll do that.”

And then I tried it, and I thought to myself, “Boy, that’s a lot. It feels like too much. It feels unrealistic.” And then I thought, “Maybe 10% makes sense.” And I started thinking about the idea almost like of a tithe. The idea that the most tithes is 10%. And the reason why, not that I’ve talked to biblical scholars about this, it was always my understanding that the tithe was a number that was meaningful where you could actually make a difference and it represented a little sacrifice but it wasn’t that you were going to have to change your whole life to do it.

And so that was really how I started thinking about the 10%. And as I started doing it I basically thought, “Let me take 10% of my savings and put it into a separate account and use that to do things on the side.” And then in terms of time, I never really sort of counted the hours. It was more about creating space and mindset, and it was about thinking about, “I’m going to try to find a way to spend 10% of my sort of energy on this.”

And then once I actually researched the book and was in the process of writing, I discovered that the average angel investor, which is one kind of 10% entrepreneur, actually spends exactly 10% of their capital doing things on the side. So it seems that the market agrees with me.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that is excellent. Okay. And it’s also is it the legend of Googlers and their 10% time in such that that’s a thing that exists, right?

Patrick McGinnis
It does. And that was something that didn’t factor into my thinking originally but you’re absolutely right. Google has this concept of 70-20 ten time. You spent 70% of your time on your core function at work, whatever you do that is your job or responsibility, 20% is on new projects, things that are emerging, and 10% is on completely different things, pie-in-the-sky kind of stuff. And so the idea is you’re spending at least a part of your time every day or every week doing things that are completely different than what you do all day long.

And I actually had a great experience. I spoke at a Google offsite last year in Europe, and now they’re actually thinking part of their concept of the 10% is about doing things for yourself outside of work, too, which is really why I advocate you to do. So it’s starting to all come together.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s so excellent. And so tell me then, now you, personally, have invested a lot of your life into kind of evangelizing this idea, you got the book called The 10% Entrepreneur, you’ve given numerous talks on the subject. So what is it for you that kind of gets you lit up or makes you think that this is really worth your life to shout this message from the mountaintops?

Patrick McGinnis
So I came up with this idea because I had to learn this the hard way, and this is why I think I’m so committed to telling everybody I can to do this. So I came out of business school, I had a job on Wall Street, I was moving up the ladder, everything was great. I did not do anything on the side. In fact, I was pretty much… I had friends who I saw working on little side projects and I thought to myself, “Why would you want to spend your free time working?” That just seems crazy to me. Right?

And then as life is want to do, I got taught a lesson the hard way which is that my company, which was a division of AIG, blew up during the 2008 financial crisis. And if you don’t remember, AIG was really at the center of the financial crisis. So my personal stock in the company fell 97%. Yeah, I mean that was not a fun day. So like $10,000 worth of stock, for every 10,000 it was worth 300 bucks.

And then our company was basically bankrupt and nationalized and all kinds of bad things happened. And I thought to myself, “I have never diversified myself. I’ve never done anything on the side. I have nothing to fall back on.” And that was the beginning of this idea with I need to diversify myself. I’m going to be the owner of my career going forward. I’m going to be somebody who looks for autonomy. And if my day job disappears it won’t be the only thing I have going.

But then over time I realized that not only is it about diversification but it’s actually about doing things you enjoy, things that you’re good at, and actually giving yourself a chance to make a lot more money than you would at your day job. So I’ve had some investments that really kind of hit off, and I’m going to make a lot more money than I would in my day job, and this happens consistently with people who do things like this.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s excellent. And so, you know, this brings me back to, boy, one of our very first episodes with Gina Rotta. She was saying that you can really learn and develop some skills even through volunteering. So you’re thinking about 10% of time or money, and I was thinking about startups and business and for-profit schemes, but from that vantage point or perspective then non-profit or volunteer activities also count in terms of developing your portfolio and diversification of skills.

Patrick McGinnis
It definitely can. And I had one point actually considered including a chapter on that in the book, and I decided in the end not to do that because I really wanted to focus this book around ways that people can create economic upside for themselves. However, the same exact mindset that I prescribe in the book could be used to do other things like get involved with a non-profit because what it really is about is finding things that you’re good at, things you care about and getting involved with them in a meaningful way in order to build new skills, meet new people and make your life richer and more interesting.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. I’m intrigued. And maybe could you give us a little bit of a spark in terms of, I guess I’m wondering, is 10% really enough to get anywhere, to accomplish anything? Maybe could you warm us up with a success story or two?

Patrick McGinnis
Sure. So 10% as a starting point, and it could be that you stay at 10%, it could be that you go up to 50% or even 100%, or 110%, which I can explain to you later. Let me give you a couple of examples of people who have done this in the real world, normal people who have used this strategy to build businesses.

And so there’s a woman that I talk about in the book who her story just, for me, is a great example of somebody who’s used this in a really smart way. Her name is Dipali Patwa and she lives here in New York. She was in Brooklyn. And she was working for one of these big companies that makes all that stuff like table runners and beds, all the stuff that you buy at Bed, Bath & Beyond, those fabrics and pillows and things like that.

And she was a designer and she helped them to make all these different things. And one day she had a child, and she was at home, and she was shopping for baby clothes online, and everything was super expensive, and she didn’t find anything she really liked. And then her mom sent her some baby clothes from her native India. She comes from India. And she thought to herself, “You know, these are kind of cool.” She dressed her son in them and she became the hit of her neighborhood. Everybody thought that her clothes are super cool and wanted to know where to get them.

So Dipali thought, “Okay, I’m a designer. I actually know something about this. I’m from India. I understand kind of the cultural heritage of the stuff that people are looking at and enjoying. What if I were to spend $5,000, set aside $5,000 and make up a mockup, go travel to a trade show and actually see if anybody likes these products?” So she did exactly that. She spent a little bit of money and put together this initial little collection of five items, went to this trade show and sold out basically everything, and got tons of orders and started selling immediately.

So she was working full-time running this business out of her bedroom in Brooklyn. And then what happened was, as it really started to take off, she had a couple of things that were really powerful like Matthew McConaughey’s son was photographed in People Magazine wearing one of her items, and then her website crashed, and she started getting more and more opportunities.

So she went to her boss and said, “I want to actually work half-time for you and I want to work half-time for myself.” And her boss said, “It’s really hard to find amazing people like you. That’s absolutely fine.” She then worked 50-50 for the next three-four years, and then by year five-six she was able to go full-time. So she did this in a really smart way. It was super risk mitigated. She basically like slowly transitioned from 10% to 50% to a 100% today, and that’s definitely one way to do it.

Now, let’s look at a totally different example of the ten-percenter, the pure ten-percenter. There’s a woman, who I also talk about in the book, who works in tech in New York City. Okay, so totally different. Technology, works with startups and things like that. And she is an advisor to a bunch of tech companies, so basically tech companies call her up and they say, “Will you give us an hour a month, here or there, and we will give you some ownership in our company,” usually like 0.25% or 0.5%, so she does that. It’s a minimal amount of her time. And some of these companies have gone on of worth tens of millions of dollars.

So even though it sounds small, 0.25%, when it’s 0.25% of 50 million you’re talking real money. And so she’s actually been able to build a lot of value for herself but she’s not putting in tons of hours. And so there’s all this different ways to do it.

Pete Mockaitis
Excellent. Thank you. And I like that lineup, and particularly l resonated with that sum of $5,000 to make some wares and show up at a show is reasonable. And I had heard – maybe you probably know the stat better – something. Inc Magazine determined that most businesses get up and going and bootstrapped for about $10,000, that was the median amount. They may have been some years ago. Do you know if this is true, if that sounds like a reasonable stat there?

Patrick McGinnis
I would actually argue, let’s look at the numbers, because when I started working on these things I started a bunch of stuff, and what surprised me so much, Pete, and I think this is really the secret why this is even possible, is that nowadays, in the last 10 years, the cost of starting a new business has just gone down so much.

So think about 10-15 years ago what it costs, say, anything you need to do these things, you need to build a website, maybe you do some social media stuff like that. There was no social media more than 10 years ago, so all of the things that you advertise and all of the things you use to build an audience that are free didn’t exists 10 years ago. Building a website used to cost tens of thousands of dollars. Basically now you could do it for a couple, you know, $8 a month.

The cost of a gigabyte of storage used to be $8,000 in the early 2000s. Now it’s basically free. Doing international phone calls used to be $3 a minute. Now it’s free because of Skype, or it’s 10 cents a minute. So all of these things that used to cost real money, now are basically free. So I would think it could be even less than that.

Pete Mockaitis
Excellent. Alright. So I’m in, this is intriguing. So tell us, what would you say are some of the very first steps if you got folks who have an interesting, fulfilling career but we think that it’s excellent to go ahead and explore, do a little bit of that 10% entrepreneuring action? What are some of the first steps?

Patrick McGinnis
So to get started you want to think about what kind of 10% entrepreneur you’re going to be. I don’t want to get super deep into it today but there are really five types. There’s the angel investor who’s investing their capital to be part of projects. There’s the advisor like that for investor time. There’s the founder like probably who starts something. And then there’s two more types: the aficionado who’s a 10% entrepreneur who invests in businesses that are exciting, that they’re passionate about like something to do with cooking if they love to cook, or photography; and then the last is the 110% entrepreneur who is a person who’s already a full-time entrepreneur and does things on the side. So those are the five types.

And basically the first thing is to think about, “Which type should you be?” I’ll give you the information later but on my website there’s actually a quiz that you can take to figure out where you should start. And the way you know that is to think about your resources. The things that you have at your disposal that you can invest into your 10% entrepreneurship are your money, your time and your skills.

And so if you don’t have any money to invest, and that’s okay because you can save money and maybe do it later, you’re not going to be an angel investor. You’re probably going to think about being an advisor or starting something. If you don’t have any time, if you’re just really jammed for time right now, you’re probably not going to be a founder. You could potentially be an angel investor. And then you’re going to sit back and think about, “What am I good at and what do I like doing?”

Because what you’re good at will help you to be successful, and what you enjoy doing will give you the energy and the excitement to actually spend the time when you get back from work on Tuesday night, and you’re thinking, “All I really want to do is watch TV,” or, “All I really want to do is call my cousin,” or whatever, give you the energy and the focus to say, “You know what? Actually, I really love working on this business. That’s what I’m going to do tonight.” So that’s really where you get started, is assessing those things and figuring out how you’re going to make those investments.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s excellent. I read a quote today, I think it’s from the Oxford Road website, and it said, “The key to career success is figuring out how to get paid for the weird stuff you love to do as a kid.”

Patrick McGinnis
Oh, my gosh. You know what, this is the thing, Pete. What drives me crazy is when you were a kid, I bet if you were anything like me, and I bet you were, you had all these little things going on, you always had these little hustles going on. It’s like the paper route and the yard sale, and I used to have the lemonade stand and I weeded everybody’s gardens, and I mowed everybody’s lawns. I had all these, I was a little entrepreneur.

And then going through college and working in sort of Wall Street corporate America beat that out of me, and you forget that when you were a kid you have nothing to lose so you just do these things and you had a lot of fun doing it and you make some money. People get all in their heads about, “Oh, my God. What if I fail?” Just remember what it was like to do something fun and actually make a little money out of it. And if you can tap into that, that’s where you can start from.

Pete Mockaitis
Excellent. And it’s funny, as I’m reflecting, I remember in high school I would occasionally leave social engagements because I wanted to read books about business and skills and all of it.

Patrick McGinnis
Yeah, totally.

Pete Mockaitis
And here we are on the How To Be Awesome At Your Job podcast. Now, I’m curious then, I’m thinking in the world of the founder might be the plurality of listeners here in terms of there’s a moderate amount of time and a moderate amount of money sort of available to deploy into places.

I think many people have a clear sense for what they’re good at and what they enjoy. But I’m guessing, as you’ve mentioned, when it comes to that being beaten out of us post-childhood that can get forgotten, it can get repressed. So do you have any pro tips or magic questions to help resurface that?

Patrick McGinnis
Yeah, so there’s two things that I tell people to do, and these are the things that I did. So when I wrote the book I wanted to be as prescriptive as possible. I didn’t want to do is feel be very fluffy. There’s a lot of people who write books where everything sounds really terrific but they never tell you how to do it. That was not my approach. I wanted to actually show people what I did. And I did two things.

The first thing I did – and this wasn’t like a one-day process, this is something you spend a little time on thinking about. But the first thing I thought is like, “What would I have done if, say, I went to the office?” And this kind of happened to me. One day I went to my office and my company was bankrupt, right? And so I thought to myself, “Okay, imagine now, my company is bankrupt, how do I want to spend my time?”

And I really thought about, “What are the things that I love doing every day?” And I sat down and I closed my eyes and I thought, “What are the things that I enjoyed? Did I enjoy being in front of a screen all day? No, that was not.” Some people really like that. Not me. “Did I enjoy working with early-stage businesses solving problems? Yes, I did. Okay, great. Then maybe I should work with companies that are a little early-stage.”

I had done a lot of work in Latin America and I knew that I love that so I thought, “Well, whatever I do with my 10% I’d love to find ways to work with Latin America.” So that was the kind of stuff I started thinking about, “If I couldn’t go back to my day job, what are the things from my day job that I’d want to keep and do in the future?”

And the second thing I did, and this was a really valuable experience and a really valuable exercise that I recommend to everybody here, is I took some time to actually write a very comprehensive bio about myself. And, in doing so, I was able to see and remember what I had done in the past and what my skills and experiences and relationships were, and that helped me to figure out, “Alright, I forgot that I worked with these people. I wonder what they’re up to now?” or, “Yeah, that’s right. I had this experience thinking about marketing and figuring out a new marketing plan for business.” That’s a valuable skill that I had forgotten I had.

And so it’s really interesting how everybody that does this exercise comes back to me and says, “That was really hard, much harder than I could ever expected but I forgot that I actually knew how to do things that are really valuable out there.” So if you do those things and you look at them together and say, “Okay, what have I done and what do I enjoy doing and where are the overlaps?” That’s a great way to start thinking about the areas where you should really focus your time and energy.

Pete Mockaitis
Now, when it comes to writing the bio, I just want to be clear, this is distinct from a resume, it’s narrative and it’s chronological from childhood on, and there’s no space constraints. Any other pointers on it or am I thinking about this right?

Patrick McGinnis
Yeah, I mean, it’s the kind of thing where if you showed it to your friends they would roll their eyes and say, “Boy, you really think you’re special, don’t you?” Right? Mine is pretty long and it’s a couple of pages. And then what you do with that is you shorten it down and shorten it down. You shorten it to 150 words and you shorten it into a paragraph, and it helps you do distill really what you focus on.

So you may have a two-page bio about everything you’ve ever done that distill to the fact that, “Frank is an expert in marketing in the food industry and has a passion for working with new businesses,” right? So it’s a process of sort of getting down to the core of what you really want to do. But, yeah, write a long bio because what happens is it depends on where you are in your career. But if you’ve been working for five, 10, 15, years you’ve done a lot of things and you may have forgotten because when you work in a company where everybody does what you do you forget how special it is the skills that you have built.

If you were to walk onto the street and saw five people, I can guarantee that few of those people could do the things that you do and vice versa. But when you’re sitting in an office full of people who are working in the same company, you forget that your skills are super, distinguished and valuable. And so it’s all about sitting back and saying, “Okay, great. I’ve been working in this job and maybe the creativity has been beaten out of me a little bit but I’m going to sit back and I’m actually going to kind of figure out what I’m good at, and actually believe in myself and do things that I enjoy doing and use those skills to be successful.”

Pete Mockaitis
I love it. Okay. So we’ve got the starting point there in terms of the area of focus. And so now I want to talk about a bit, you’ve got that idea, there’s some enthusiasm, like, “Aha, I should do this.” You told a great story about that test, going to the show, the exhibit hall and trying to sell some stuff. What are some of your other favorite ways to do quick low-cost tests to validate or invalidate whether your current form of your idea is likely to fly?

Patrick McGinnis
Yes, so there’s all kind of great ways to do this. So let me give you an example. This is kind of an absurd example, so I’m prefacing, I’m just telling you this one won’t happen every day. But sometimes it’s just about being open-minded and looking for ways to help people. So there’s one example where I had a friend who was starting a business. He was looking for a business partner. I met a guy a couple of weeks later through mutual friends at a cocktail party and he was looking for a business partner.

I introduced through them, I just thought, “Yeah, this guy…” They seem like they’re very compatible and they’re kind of looking to do the same thing. I put an email together and said, “I think you guys should meet. I think there’s something here. I just kind of feel it.” And six months later I opened my email and there is a stock certificate in my email because they had bought a company together and they wanted to appreciate my work by actually giving me shares in their company. And that took me all of five minutes but it was really about having open mindset to do that. So that’s really kind of interesting example that any of us could do if we keep our eyes open.

But in terms of the other things, let me give you an example. There’s a guy named Luke Holden who started a company called Luke’s Lobster which is a lobster roll chain that now has over 20 stores in the U.S. but when he was just getting started, he was working full-time in a corporate job, and he had grown up fishing for lobsters off the coast of Maine and he loved lobster. I’m a Mainer too so I like lobster rolls. And one of the things that I learned living here in New York City is that while we pay like $15 or $20 for a lobster in Maine, in New York City they’re like $40 which I don’t care how much you like lobster, it’s a lot of money.

And so Luke decided to come up with a business plan to open up a lobster shack that would be inexpensive. And he just spent a lot of time meeting with different people getting all kinds of perspectives and writing a business plan. And then he scrounged together a little bit of money with a partner about $30,000 and opened the first shop. But he couldn’t quit to do this full-time so he found a partner and then they basically worked on it together and he kept his day job. And they tested it out to see if that first opportunity worked. The first store was really successful. They opened another one that was also successful. And then he eventually went and did it full-time.

Now, you don’t need to open a lobster roll chain to test your business. You can actually test things all kinds of really cheap inexpensive ways like maybe setting up a website and seeing if people are interested, maybe running some Facebook ads. There’s all kinds of ways to do it. But the biggest thing that I want you to take away from this is that come up with an idea and then find a very cheap way to sort of get a prototype up or get a basic product up there and see how people react to it. And then try to find people who can make your chance of success higher. Learn from them, get them involved and use what they teach you and tell you in order to make it more successful.

Pete Mockaitis
I love it. Well, can you maybe share a little bit, even perhaps before the prototype phase? Like in the lobster example, I guess, yeah, that’s when you really know, it’s like, “We opened up a shop and it was great and it worked.” I’m wondering here, do you have anything in the realm of powerful pieces you might put in a survey or an interview with someone you think is relevant to assessing whether it can work out? Or do you have any sort of favorite approaches along those lines, kind of in the pre-prototype vetting stage?

Patrick McGinnis
Definitely. So like anything, it’s almost like writing a term paper, that’s what I think about it, writing a report about something. You decide you want it. Let’s say you and I decided tomorrow that we want to start a candle business, and the reason I give this example is because I have a great story about a 10-percenter who did this. We want to start a candle business. So what are             the things we can do without spending any money to figure out if this is a good idea?

Well, we can find out how expensive it is to make a candle. We can look at the market. Go walk to some different stores and see what people are charging. We can look at the competitive landscape. We can see what it actually takes? What are the skills required to do this. We can see if the market has an opportunity. If this is something that it seems like it’s growing and if there are people who are interested in this particular product and how our product could be special and different.

And then maybe we can buy a candle-making kit and at home we can make a couple of them, give them to some friends, and say, “What do you think of this?” Those are the kinds of things. And then, from there, we could say, “Okay, great. I know how to make a candle now. What I’m not good at is I don’t know how to make a logo. I’ve got to come up with cool logo to put on the side of the candle. Well, I can go online, 99designs, and for 300 bucks I can buy a logo and have a logo to put on the side of my candle. And then I can go to some other website and for $25 buy a bunch of stickers with a logo on it and stick them on the side. And then go to the farmer’s market and start selling candles.

And that’s exactly what a woman named Joanna Logan did, she was an assistant at a corporation working there, and she lived in England. And she started doing this out of her garage in Wimbledon on the weekends. A couple of years later now she makes more money on her candles than she does at her day job, and she’s allowed to work. She works like a day a week at home from her garage making candles. So she did it bit by bit by bit, and I think that’s really like about testing, looking around you, seeing how people react, researching the market, and then pushing forward as you see that your idea is actually making sense that you can actually sort of make a business out of this.

Pete Mockaitis
And when it comes to making a business out of this, I want to get your take on is there a key test or benchmark or threshold do you recommend people cross that suggest now might be a good time to take the rest of the plunge to say, “Alright, it looks like we have something here, and I will feel okay about leaving my 9 to 5 at this juncture”?

Patrick McGinnis
Yes, so this always a big decision where it makes sense. If you have got a side business going and it’s starting to take off, and you’ve got a day job, and maybe you really like your day job, and maybe so you may never want to leave your day job, in which case if you want to keep this side business going you’re going to need to find a partner who can spend more time on it than you. And people do that all the time.

But say you think to yourself, “Well, you know, this is taking off, and maybe I would like to do this full-time.” Then you kind of do one of three things. If you think it’s taking off to the point where you can live off of it or you can raise capital from somebody and then you can sort of have a basic salary, then this maybe the time to go and do that. And the idea is that you do it sustainably and that you jump into it but then you have the ability to pay yourself or live off of the profits, and you can have an acceptable lifestyle. That’s A.

If you are not at that point, and you are tapped out in terms of your resources, then it’s time to do what Luke did and go find a partner, it could be a friend, it could be somebody who you meet. I have a friend who actually found her partner by making a presentation that kind of look like the kind of presentation you’d use to raise capital, but she wasn’t looking for capital. She was looking for a really awesome co-founder. And people can do that.

Or if you find that it’s going well but you’re not quite ready to leave your day job and you’re not quite sure about it, you just have to accept the fact that you may grow a little slower than if you were spending more time on it but it’s okay. And you see that all the time, too. I met a woman just the other day who started a really interesting fashion business and she is a lawyer for the government. And it’s all going really well but she’s pretty happy with her day job, so she’s just decided to grow at a pace that is acceptable to her. She’s not looking to become a billion dollar company overnight, and she’s growing it slowly, and if she sees more and more opportunity maybe she will consider spending more time on it. But for now the balance that she has works for her.

Pete Mockaitis
Perfect. Thank you. Well, Patrick, tell us, is there anything else you want to make sure to mention before we hear about some of your favorite things?

Patrick McGinnis
I will just say, what I really want to leave people with is there’s all kinds of reasons, and I talk a lot to people all the time who are doing this, and I talk to other people who say, “Well, that’s a great idea but I’m too busy,” or, “I’m not so sure what I’m doing,” or, “I’m nervous,” or there’s all kinds of reasons why one could say, “Well, I’m not so sure about this 10% entrepreneurship.”

But what I want to really stress to everybody listening is that there’s really nothing to lose here. When you have your day job and you’re doing this on the side, even if you fail you have nothing… sort of you still have all the good things that you had before you started your business. So that’s number one. And number two is always make sure to respect the rules of your day job. Don’t be in there using the FedEx code of your office to send things for your personal business. You really want to make sure that you respect your day job because your day job is the thing that allows you to do these things on the side.

But what’s so great about this is your employer actually benefits a lot from you because all of the things you’re learning on the side you can bring back to be a better and more productive and more entrepreneurial person at your day job.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s an excellent point. And I just want to get your read on this one because it piques my curiosity. Do you consider stealing from your employer if you’re being compensated to do your job and you’re working on your side hustle during your 9 to 5?

Patrick McGinnis
That’s a good question. Now we’re getting into like philosophical stuff. Here’s the thing, you have a smartphone in your pocket that allows you to do things all day long. So if you were sitting at your desk and you have a free half an hour and, by the way, you spend all day Sunday working from home at work, and get you get three emails. One is from your mom asking what you should get your dad for your birthday, and one is from a business contact asking you for a feedback on the design for your new product.

If you answer that one, is that stealing? If you answer your mom’s email, is that stealing? You’re using your time while you’re technically at the office or something in this “personal in nature?” I don’t think so but what you must always do is do an excellent job at your day job so that you’re completely and totally beyond reproach. Nobody can say that you’re phoning in as it were.

Pete Mockaitis
I like that. And I also think, that it’s come up again and again, whether it’s Rachel O’Meara talking about rejuvenation and pausing, or whomever, that we need breaks from the sort of hour-by-hour experience of work life in order to be at our most effective. And so if the side gig is a sort of a five-minute rejuvenator then, in fact, again the employer is benefitting. So that’s kind of my take is that there’s a little bit of a gray zone but I think that we sort of know it in our conscience if it’s just like, “I’m kind of defrauding my employer at this juncture.”

Patrick McGinnis
Well, you know, the thing is, 40% of millennials have side gigs. This is something that is happening therefore what I think of employer needs to do is instead of ignoring this and making pretend that nothing is happening, recognize that this is part of the new workplace, and actually create policies that make sure that people are respectful but then also that are reflective of this reality and find ways to actually harness all this entrepreneurial activity for the benefit of companies.

[INSERT SPONSOR HERE]

Pete Mockaitis
Excellent. All right. Well, now, can you share with us a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?

Patrick McGinnis
Yeah, I love the whole Winston Churchill, “Never, never give in.”

Pete Mockaitis
And how about a favorite study or a piece of research?

Patrick McGinnis
I love this piece of research that people who started business on the side are 50% more successful than people who jump in full-time, and that is from the University of Wisconsin.

Pete Mockaitis
And how about a favorite book?

Patrick McGinnis
I love The Lean Startup. I think that is such a winner.

Pete Mockaitis
Me, too. And a favorite tool?

Patrick McGinnis
This is so not that exciting, but Reminders on my iPhone keeps my entire life organized.

Pete Mockaitis
And a favorite habit or personal practice?

Patrick McGinnis
I think just finding a little time every day, do a little exercise is a game-changer.

Pete Mockaitis
And if I can ask, what kind of exercise and when do you do it and how does it change the game?

Patrick McGinnis
Sure. I do cycling, running and yoga. And, for me, the cardio gets all the pheromone or whatever, these different, I don’t even know what juices it’s releasing, but just kind of like it gives you that runner’s high. I was training for the marathon, I felt like I was in ecstasy the whole time. And then the yoga keeps you. I truly believe yoga is like the fountain of youth. So it is an elixir of youth and especially if you’re doing other exercise, it kind of keeps you from hurting yourself.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And how about is there a particular nugget, a piece that you express that really seems to resonate, gets Kindle book highlighted, re-tweeted, note-taken when you’re sharing it?

Patrick McGinnis
Yeah, I just think that’s a really interesting question. I just think the basic idea that entrepreneurship is not an all-or-nothing thing. A lot of people find that to be very, very unorthodox and actually it’s a mindset shift that a lot of people resonate. It resonates with them.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And where would you recommend if folks want to learn more or get in touch with you, where would you point them?

Patrick McGinnis
You can find me at my website PatrickMcGinnis.com. If you go there you could take this quiz, I mentioned. You can download a free chapter of the book, find tons of resources like contracts and lots of blog entries, and then you will find links to all of my social which has all kinds of stuff, so Facebook, Twitter, YouTube videos, all kinds of stuff like that. And if you go to PatrickMcGinnis.com/buildyour10, I have a free ebook with a bunch of the exercises in the book you can download, and actually do some of these exercises we talked about.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, excellent. Thank you. And do you have a final challenge or call to action you’d issue to those seeking to be awesome at their jobs?

Patrick McGinnis
Yeah, I would just say never forget that your number one employer and the person you have to keep happy is yourself, and so look for ways to put yourself first because you’re going to be a lot happier and you’ll be a better employee for it.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Patrick, thank you so much. This is a real blast. I wish you lots of luck with 10% entrepreneuring and spreading the good word.

Patrick McGinnis
Thank you very much. Best of luck.

Pete Mockaitis
Patrick, thank so much for joining us here on the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast.

Patrick McGinnis
Thank you for having me.

Pete Mockaitis
You know, it’s so fun. Amongst your many claims to fame, your credit of coining the phrase FOMO if you’re missing out. Can you tell us how that came about?

Patrick McGinnis
Sure, yes. Yes, FOMO will probably be on my headstone someday. Hopefully many years from now. But when I was getting my MBA at Harvard Business School in 2004 and over the winter, I guess 2003 winter, in my ski house we started using this term FOMO among me and my friends, and another term called FOBO or fear or a better option. And I thought to myself, “This is really unique. I’ve never heard this before and somebody needs to record this for all of history.” I don’t know why.

Pete Mockaitis
Someone.

Patrick McGinnis
This is really cool and I’m going to be that guy. So I wrote for our school newspaper, and I wrote a satirical piece called McGinnis’s Two Foes, a social theory at Harvard Business School, and I wrote about FOMO and FOBO and catalogued this new phenomenon I had witnessed. You know, I come from a small town of Maine where you don’t have FOMO because there’s nothing to really miss out on. It’s a pretty relaxed place to grow up. It’s a great place but there’s not much happening.

And so I noticed this phenomenon and wrote about it, and then I really didn’t think much of it from that point. And then 10 years later I got a call from a reporter who was writing a piece on the history of FOMO and he traced it back to me, and I had never really thought about it all that much just because I didn’t pay attention and I hadn’t realized it becomes a big deal. And so that’s the story.

And so FOMO is out there. FOBO has not really taken off, so if you’re listening to this today, FOBO is I think worse than FOMO and probably you’re suffering from both of them if you’re anything like me.

Pete Mockaitis
When you say it’s worse, you don’t mean it’s worse to hear or say but it’s worse sensation, the actual fear internally?

Patrick McGinnis
I think so because FOBO is one of these things. Fear of better option is this idea that you aren’t willing to commit to things until the very last minute. You kind of hold off, wait till you see everything is because you want something better to come along and then you commit at the last minute. And that’s just a really terrible way to alienate people and relationship.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, yes. Worse that way. I was just thinking of that as like, “Boy, that sure doesn’t work in the dating arena.”

Patrick McGinnis
No, that is a great way. I’m sure many people are getting like three people at once and just that’s a FOBO situation. And not only is it exhausting but it’s a great way to really upset some people.

Pete Mockaitis
Certainly. Well, we learned about business, career and love here. That’s great. And so now I want to shift a bit to the topic du jour. And so I really enjoy your approach when it comes to exploring the world of entrepreneurship because in surveying my listeners that’s something that comes up for people but at the same time I’m really gun-shy about the whole universe of the “escape the rat race build digital courses online” whatever universe. And so you’ve got a fresh view on it. Tell us, what’s the story about being a 10% Entrepreneur?

Patrick McGinnis
Okay. So I agree with you and I think you and I sort of very much in the same place because I’m not a believer in get rich quick schemes and I think it’s something that sounds too good to be true. It probably is. That’s just how I see the world, more practical that way. And so the idea of what’s called The 10% Entrepreneur, which is this book that I wrote last year, is the idea that all of us should and can be entrepreneurs but we should do that part-time on the side while holding on our day jobs, making sure that we have the stability of our day jobs while we’re testing and trying new things.

And maybe someday we’ll become a full-time entrepreneur but you’ll do that knowing what it takes, understanding what entrepreneurship is about, and having tried and tested things before jumping in full-time. And maybe you will never go full-time and that’s fine, too, but it’s really about thinking almost like a freelancer in entrepreneurship and using that mentality to try things out before you jump in full-time.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. That makes great sense. And so just so we’re clear, 10% what does that number mean? Where does it come from? Are we literally thinking 40 hours of workweek, so four hours of entrepreneuring? Or what’s that number connect to?

Patrick McGinnis
Sure. So the idea that 10%, this is how I came to it and it was just me, one day walking down the street with my best friend from college, and I was thinking about doing this, and I said, “How much time do you think I should spend on this?” And I said, “You know what? I think maybe like 20% of my time and 20% of my money. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll do that.”

And then I tried it, and I thought to myself, “Boy, that’s a lot. It feels like too much. It feels unrealistic.” And then I thought, “Maybe 10% makes sense.” And I started thinking about the idea almost like of a tithe. The idea that the most tithes is 10%. And the reason why, not that I’ve talked to biblical scholars about this, it was always my understanding that the tithe was a number that was meaningful where you could actually make a difference and it represented a little sacrifice but it wasn’t that you were going to have to change your whole life to do it.

And so that was really how I started thinking about the 10%. And as I started doing it I basically thought, “Let me take 10% of my savings and put it into a separate account and use that to do things on the side.” And then in terms of time, I never really sort of counted the hours. It was more about creating space and mindset, and it was about thinking about, “I’m going to try to find a way to spend 10% of my sort of energy on this.”

And then once I actually researched the book and was in the process of writing, I discovered that the average angel investor, which is one kind of 10% entrepreneur, actually spends exactly 10% of their capital doing things on the side. So it seems that the market agrees with me.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that is excellent. Okay. And it’s also is it the legend of Googlers and their 10% time in such that that’s a thing that exists, right?

Patrick McGinnis
It does. And that was something that didn’t factor into my thinking originally but you’re absolutely right. Google has this concept of 70-20 ten time. You spent 70% of your time on your core function at work, whatever you do that is your job or responsibility, 20% is on new projects, things that are emerging, and 10% is on completely different things, pie-in-the-sky kind of stuff. And so the idea is you’re spending at least a part of your time every day or every week doing things that are completely different than what you do all day long.

And I actually had a great experience. I spoke at a Google offsite last year in Europe, and now they’re actually thinking part of their concept of the 10% is about doing things for yourself outside of work, too, which is really why I advocate you to do. So it’s starting to all come together.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s so excellent. And so tell me then, now you, personally, have invested a lot of your life into kind of evangelizing this idea, you got the book called The 10% Entrepreneur, you’ve given numerous talks on the subject. So what is it for you that kind of gets you lit up or makes you think that this is really worth your life to shout this message from the mountaintops?

Patrick McGinnis
So I came up with this idea because I had to learn this the hard way, and this is why I think I’m so committed to telling everybody I can to do this. So I came out of business school, I had a job on Wall Street, I was moving up the ladder, everything was great. I did not do anything on the side. In fact, I was pretty much… I had friends who I saw working on little side projects and I thought to myself, “Why would you want to spend your free time working?” That just seems crazy to me. Right?

And then as life is want to do, I got taught a lesson the hard way which is that my company, which was a division of AIG, blew up during the 2008 financial crisis. And if you don’t remember, AIG was really at the center of the financial crisis. So my personal stock in the company fell 97%. Yeah, I mean that was not a fun day. So like $10,000 worth of stock, for every 10,000 it was worth 300 bucks.

And then our company was basically bankrupt and nationalized and all kinds of bad things happened. And I thought to myself, “I have never diversified myself. I’ve never done anything on the side. I have nothing to fall back on.” And that was the beginning of this idea with I need to diversify myself. I’m going to be the owner of my career going forward. I’m going to be somebody who looks for autonomy. And if my day job disappears it won’t be the only thing I have going.

But then over time I realized that not only is it about diversification but it’s actually about doing things you enjoy, things that you’re good at, and actually giving yourself a chance to make a lot more money than you would at your day job. So I’ve had some investments that really kind of hit off, and I’m going to make a lot more money than I would in my day job, and this happens consistently with people who do things like this.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s excellent. And so, you know, this brings me back to, boy, one of our very first episodes with Gina Rotta. She was saying that you can really learn and develop some skills even through volunteering. So you’re thinking about 10% of time or money, and I was thinking about startups and business and for-profit schemes, but from that vantage point or perspective then non-profit or volunteer activities also count in terms of developing your portfolio and diversification of skills.

Patrick McGinnis
It definitely can. And I had one point actually considered including a chapter on that in the book, and I decided in the end not to do that because I really wanted to focus this book around ways that people can create economic upside for themselves. However, the same exact mindset that I prescribe in the book could be used to do other things like get involved with a non-profit because what it really is about is finding things that you’re good at, things you care about and getting involved with them in a meaningful way in order to build new skills, meet new people and make your life richer and more interesting.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. I’m intrigued. And maybe could you give us a little bit of a spark in terms of, I guess I’m wondering, is 10% really enough to get anywhere, to accomplish anything? Maybe could you warm us up with a success story or two?

Patrick McGinnis
Sure. So 10% as a starting point, and it could be that you stay at 10%, it could be that you go up to 50% or even 100%, or 110%, which I can explain to you later. Let me give you a couple of examples of people who have done this in the real world, normal people who have used this strategy to build businesses.

And so there’s a woman that I talk about in the book who her story just, for me, is a great example of somebody who’s used this in a really smart way. Her name is Dipali Patwa and she lives here in New York. She was in Brooklyn. And she was working for one of these big companies that makes all that stuff like table runners and beds, all the stuff that you buy at Bed, Bath & Beyond, those fabrics and pillows and things like that.

And she was a designer and she helped them to make all these different things. And one day she had a child, and she was at home, and she was shopping for baby clothes online, and everything was super expensive, and she didn’t find anything she really liked. And then her mom sent her some baby clothes from her native India. She comes from India. And she thought to herself, “You know, these are kind of cool.” She dressed her son in them and she became the hit of her neighborhood. Everybody thought that her clothes are super cool and wanted to know where to get them.

So Dipali thought, “Okay, I’m a designer. I actually know something about this. I’m from India. I understand kind of the cultural heritage of the stuff that people are looking at and enjoying. What if I were to spend $5,000, set aside $5,000 and make up a mockup, go travel to a trade show and actually see if anybody likes these products?” So she did exactly that. She spent a little bit of money and put together this initial little collection of five items, went to this trade show and sold out basically everything, and got tons of orders and started selling immediately.

So she was working full-time running this business out of her bedroom in Brooklyn. And then what happened was, as it really started to take off, she had a couple of things that were really powerful like Matthew McConaughey’s son was photographed in People Magazine wearing one of her items, and then her website crashed, and she started getting more and more opportunities.

So she went to her boss and said, “I want to actually work half-time for you and I want to work half-time for myself.” And her boss said, “It’s really hard to find amazing people like you. That’s absolutely fine.” She then worked 50-50 for the next three-four years, and then by year five-six she was able to go full-time. So she did this in a really smart way. It was super risk mitigated. She basically like slowly transitioned from 10% to 50% to a 100% today, and that’s definitely one way to do it.

Now, let’s look at a totally different example of the ten-percenter, the pure ten-percenter. There’s a woman, who I also talk about in the book, who works in tech in New York City. Okay, so totally different. Technology, works with startups and things like that. And she is an advisor to a bunch of tech companies, so basically tech companies call her up and they say, “Will you give us an hour a month, here or there, and we will give you some ownership in our company,” usually like 0.25% or 0.5%, so she does that. It’s a minimal amount of her time. And some of these companies have gone on of worth tens of millions of dollars.

So even though it sounds small, 0.25%, when it’s 0.25% of 50 million you’re talking real money. And so she’s actually been able to build a lot of value for herself but she’s not putting in tons of hours. And so there’s all this different ways to do it.

Pete Mockaitis
Excellent. Thank you. And I like that lineup, and particularly l resonated with that sum of $5,000 to make some wares and show up at a show is reasonable. And I had heard – maybe you probably know the stat better – something. Inc Magazine determined that most businesses get up and going and bootstrapped for about $10,000, that was the median amount. They may have been some years ago. Do you know if this is true, if that sounds like a reasonable stat there?

Patrick McGinnis
I would actually argue, let’s look at the numbers, because when I started working on these things I started a bunch of stuff, and what surprised me so much, Pete, and I think this is really the secret why this is even possible, is that nowadays, in the last 10 years, the cost of starting a new business has just gone down so much.

So think about 10-15 years ago what it costs, say, anything you need to do these things, you need to build a website, maybe you do some social media stuff like that. There was no social media more than 10 years ago, so all of the things that you advertise and all of the things you use to build an audience that are free didn’t exists 10 years ago. Building a website used to cost tens of thousands of dollars. Basically now you could do it for a couple, you know, $8 a month.

The cost of a gigabyte of storage used to be $8,000 in the early 2000s. Now it’s basically free. Doing international phone calls used to be $3 a minute. Now it’s free because of Skype, or it’s 10 cents a minute. So all of these things that used to cost real money, now are basically free. So I would think it could be even less than that.

Pete Mockaitis
Excellent. Alright. So I’m in, this is intriguing. So tell us, what would you say are some of the very first steps if you got folks who have an interesting, fulfilling career but we think that it’s excellent to go ahead and explore, do a little bit of that 10% entrepreneuring action? What are some of the first steps?

Patrick McGinnis
So to get started you want to think about what kind of 10% entrepreneur you’re going to be. I don’t want to get super deep into it today but there are really five types. There’s the angel investor who’s investing their capital to be part of projects. There’s the advisor like that for investor time. There’s the founder like probably who starts something. And then there’s two more types: the aficionado who’s a 10% entrepreneur who invests in businesses that are exciting, that they’re passionate about like something to do with cooking if they love to cook, or photography; and then the last is the 110% entrepreneur who is a person who’s already a full-time entrepreneur and does things on the side. So those are the five types.

And basically the first thing is to think about, “Which type should you be?” I’ll give you the information later but on my website there’s actually a quiz that you can take to figure out where you should start. And the way you know that is to think about your resources. The things that you have at your disposal that you can invest into your 10% entrepreneurship are your money, your time and your skills.

And so if you don’t have any money to invest, and that’s okay because you can save money and maybe do it later, you’re not going to be an angel investor. You’re probably going to think about being an advisor or starting something. If you don’t have any time, if you’re just really jammed for time right now, you’re probably not going to be a founder. You could potentially be an angel investor. And then you’re going to sit back and think about, “What am I good at and what do I like doing?”

Because what you’re good at will help you to be successful, and what you enjoy doing will give you the energy and the excitement to actually spend the time when you get back from work on Tuesday night, and you’re thinking, “All I really want to do is watch TV,” or, “All I really want to do is call my cousin,” or whatever, give you the energy and the focus to say, “You know what? Actually, I really love working on this business. That’s what I’m going to do tonight.” So that’s really where you get started, is assessing those things and figuring out how you’re going to make those investments.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s excellent. I read a quote today, I think it’s from the Oxford Road website, and it said, “The key to career success is figuring out how to get paid for the weird stuff you love to do as a kid.”

Patrick McGinnis
Oh, my gosh. You know what, this is the thing, Pete. What drives me crazy is when you were a kid, I bet if you were anything like me, and I bet you were, you had all these little things going on, you always had these little hustles going on. It’s like the paper route and the yard sale, and I used to have the lemonade stand and I weeded everybody’s gardens, and I mowed everybody’s lawns. I had all these, I was a little entrepreneur.

And then going through college and working in sort of Wall Street corporate America beat that out of me, and you forget that when you were a kid you have nothing to lose so you just do these things and you had a lot of fun doing it and you make some money. People get all in their heads about, “Oh, my God. What if I fail?” Just remember what it was like to do something fun and actually make a little money out of it. And if you can tap into that, that’s where you can start from.

Pete Mockaitis
Excellent. And it’s funny, as I’m reflecting, I remember in high school I would occasionally leave social engagements because I wanted to read books about business and skills and all of it.

Patrick McGinnis
Yeah, totally.

Pete Mockaitis
And here we are on the How To Be Awesome At Your Job podcast. Now, I’m curious then, I’m thinking in the world of the founder might be the plurality of listeners here in terms of there’s a moderate amount of time and a moderate amount of money sort of available to deploy into places.

I think many people have a clear sense for what they’re good at and what they enjoy. But I’m guessing, as you’ve mentioned, when it comes to that being beaten out of us post-childhood that can get forgotten, it can get repressed. So do you have any pro tips or magic questions to help resurface that?

Patrick McGinnis
Yeah, so there’s two things that I tell people to do, and these are the things that I did. So when I wrote the book I wanted to be as prescriptive as possible. I didn’t want to do is feel be very fluffy. There’s a lot of people who write books where everything sounds really terrific but they never tell you how to do it. That was not my approach. I wanted to actually show people what I did. And I did two things.

The first thing I did – and this wasn’t like a one-day process, this is something you spend a little time on thinking about. But the first thing I thought is like, “What would I have done if, say, I went to the office?” And this kind of happened to me. One day I went to my office and my company was bankrupt, right? And so I thought to myself, “Okay, imagine now, my company is bankrupt, how do I want to spend my time?”

And I really thought about, “What are the things that I love doing every day?” And I sat down and I closed my eyes and I thought, “What are the things that I enjoyed? Did I enjoy being in front of a screen all day? No, that was not.” Some people really like that. Not me. “Did I enjoy working with early-stage businesses solving problems? Yes, I did. Okay, great. Then maybe I should work with companies that are a little early-stage.”

I had done a lot of work in Latin America and I knew that I love that so I thought, “Well, whatever I do with my 10% I’d love to find ways to work with Latin America.” So that was the kind of stuff I started thinking about, “If I couldn’t go back to my day job, what are the things from my day job that I’d want to keep and do in the future?”

And the second thing I did, and this was a really valuable experience and a really valuable exercise that I recommend to everybody here, is I took some time to actually write a very comprehensive bio about myself. And, in doing so, I was able to see and remember what I had done in the past and what my skills and experiences and relationships were, and that helped me to figure out, “Alright, I forgot that I worked with these people. I wonder what they’re up to now?” or, “Yeah, that’s right. I had this experience thinking about marketing and figuring out a new marketing plan for business.” That’s a valuable skill that I had forgotten I had.

And so it’s really interesting how everybody that does this exercise comes back to me and says, “That was really hard, much harder than I could ever expected but I forgot that I actually knew how to do things that are really valuable out there.” So if you do those things and you look at them together and say, “Okay, what have I done and what do I enjoy doing and where are the overlaps?” That’s a great way to start thinking about the areas where you should really focus your time and energy.

Pete Mockaitis
Now, when it comes to writing the bio, I just want to be clear, this is distinct from a resume, it’s narrative and it’s chronological from childhood on, and there’s no space constraints. Any other pointers on it or am I thinking about this right?

Patrick McGinnis
Yeah, I mean, it’s the kind of thing where if you showed it to your friends they would roll their eyes and say, “Boy, you really think you’re special, don’t you?” Right? Mine is pretty long and it’s a couple of pages. And then what you do with that is you shorten it down and shorten it down. You shorten it to 150 words and you shorten it into a paragraph, and it helps you do distill really what you focus on.

So you may have a two-page bio about everything you’ve ever done that distill to the fact that, “Frank is an expert in marketing in the food industry and has a passion for working with new businesses,” right? So it’s a process of sort of getting down to the core of what you really want to do. But, yeah, write a long bio because what happens is it depends on where you are in your career. But if you’ve been working for five, 10, 15, years you’ve done a lot of things and you may have forgotten because when you work in a company where everybody does what you do you forget how special it is the skills that you have built.

If you were to walk onto the street and saw five people, I can guarantee that few of those people could do the things that you do and vice versa. But when you’re sitting in an office full of people who are working in the same company, you forget that your skills are super, distinguished and valuable. And so it’s all about sitting back and saying, “Okay, great. I’ve been working in this job and maybe the creativity has been beaten out of me a little bit but I’m going to sit back and I’m actually going to kind of figure out what I’m good at, and actually believe in myself and do things that I enjoy doing and use those skills to be successful.”

Pete Mockaitis
I love it. Okay. So we’ve got the starting point there in terms of the area of focus. And so now I want to talk about a bit, you’ve got that idea, there’s some enthusiasm, like, “Aha, I should do this.” You told a great story about that test, going to the show, the exhibit hall and trying to sell some stuff. What are some of your other favorite ways to do quick low-cost tests to validate or invalidate whether your current form of your idea is likely to fly?

Patrick McGinnis
Yes, so there’s all kind of great ways to do this. So let me give you an example. This is kind of an absurd example, so I’m prefacing, I’m just telling you this one won’t happen every day. But sometimes it’s just about being open-minded and looking for ways to help people. So there’s one example where I had a friend who was starting a business. He was looking for a business partner. I met a guy a couple of weeks later through mutual friends at a cocktail party and he was looking for a business partner.

I introduced through them, I just thought, “Yeah, this guy…” They seem like they’re very compatible and they’re kind of looking to do the same thing. I put an email together and said, “I think you guys should meet. I think there’s something here. I just kind of feel it.” And six months later I opened my email and there is a stock certificate in my email because they had bought a company together and they wanted to appreciate my work by actually giving me shares in their company. And that took me all of five minutes but it was really about having open mindset to do that. So that’s really kind of interesting example that any of us could do if we keep our eyes open.

But in terms of the other things, let me give you an example. There’s a guy named Luke Holden who started a company called Luke’s Lobster which is a lobster roll chain that now has over 20 stores in the U.S. but when he was just getting started, he was working full-time in a corporate job, and he had grown up fishing for lobsters off the coast of Maine and he loved lobster. I’m a Mainer too so I like lobster rolls. And one of the things that I learned living here in New York City is that while we pay like $15 or $20 for a lobster in Maine, in New York City they’re like $40 which I don’t care how much you like lobster, it’s a lot of money.

And so Luke decided to come up with a business plan to open up a lobster shack that would be inexpensive. And he just spent a lot of time meeting with different people getting all kinds of perspectives and writing a business plan. And then he scrounged together a little bit of money with a partner about $30,000 and opened the first shop. But he couldn’t quit to do this full-time so he found a partner and then they basically worked on it together and he kept his day job. And they tested it out to see if that first opportunity worked. The first store was really successful. They opened another one that was also successful. And then he eventually went and did it full-time.

Now, you don’t need to open a lobster roll chain to test your business. You can actually test things all kinds of really cheap inexpensive ways like maybe setting up a website and seeing if people are interested, maybe running some Facebook ads. There’s all kinds of ways to do it. But the biggest thing that I want you to take away from this is that come up with an idea and then find a very cheap way to sort of get a prototype up or get a basic product up there and see how people react to it. And then try to find people who can make your chance of success higher. Learn from them, get them involved and use what they teach you and tell you in order to make it more successful.

Pete Mockaitis
I love it. Well, can you maybe share a little bit, even perhaps before the prototype phase? Like in the lobster example, I guess, yeah, that’s when you really know, it’s like, “We opened up a shop and it was great and it worked.” I’m wondering here, do you have anything in the realm of powerful pieces you might put in a survey or an interview with someone you think is relevant to assessing whether it can work out? Or do you have any sort of favorite approaches along those lines, kind of in the pre-prototype vetting stage?

Patrick McGinnis
Definitely. So like anything, it’s almost like writing a term paper, that’s what I think about it, writing a report about something. You decide you want it. Let’s say you and I decided tomorrow that we want to start a candle business, and the reason I give this example is because I have a great story about a 10-percenter who did this. We want to start a candle business. So what are             the things we can do without spending any money to figure out if this is a good idea?

Well, we can find out how expensive it is to make a candle. We can look at the market. Go walk to some different stores and see what people are charging. We can look at the competitive landscape. We can see what it actually takes? What are the skills required to do this. We can see if the market has an opportunity. If this is something that it seems like it’s growing and if there are people who are interested in this particular product and how our product could be special and different.

And then maybe we can buy a candle-making kit and at home we can make a couple of them, give them to some friends, and say, “What do you think of this?” Those are the kinds of things. And then, from there, we could say, “Okay, great. I know how to make a candle now. What I’m not good at is I don’t know how to make a logo. I’ve got to come up with cool logo to put on the side of the candle. Well, I can go online, 99designs, and for 300 bucks I can buy a logo and have a logo to put on the side of my candle. And then I can go to some other website and for $25 buy a bunch of stickers with a logo on it and stick them on the side. And then go to the farmer’s market and start selling candles.

And that’s exactly what a woman named Joanna Logan did, she was an assistant at a corporation working there, and she lived in England. And she started doing this out of her garage in Wimbledon on the weekends. A couple of years later now she makes more money on her candles than she does at her day job, and she’s allowed to work. She works like a day a week at home from her garage making candles. So she did it bit by bit by bit, and I think that’s really like about testing, looking around you, seeing how people react, researching the market, and then pushing forward as you see that your idea is actually making sense that you can actually sort of make a business out of this.

Pete Mockaitis
And when it comes to making a business out of this, I want to get your take on is there a key test or benchmark or threshold do you recommend people cross that suggest now might be a good time to take the rest of the plunge to say, “Alright, it looks like we have something here, and I will feel okay about leaving my 9 to 5 at this juncture”?

Patrick McGinnis
Yes, so this always a big decision where it makes sense. If you have got a side business going and it’s starting to take off, and you’ve got a day job, and maybe you really like your day job, and maybe so you may never want to leave your day job, in which case if you want to keep this side business going you’re going to need to find a partner who can spend more time on it than you. And people do that all the time.

But say you think to yourself, “Well, you know, this is taking off, and maybe I would like to do this full-time.” Then you kind of do one of three things. If you think it’s taking off to the point where you can live off of it or you can raise capital from somebody and then you can sort of have a basic salary, then this maybe the time to go and do that. And the idea is that you do it sustainably and that you jump into it but then you have the ability to pay yourself or live off of the profits, and you can have an acceptable lifestyle. That’s A.

If you are not at that point, and you are tapped out in terms of your resources, then it’s time to do what Luke did and go find a partner, it could be a friend, it could be somebody who you meet. I have a friend who actually found her partner by making a presentation that kind of look like the kind of presentation you’d use to raise capital, but she wasn’t looking for capital. She was looking for a really awesome co-founder. And people can do that.

Or if you find that it’s going well but you’re not quite ready to leave your day job and you’re not quite sure about it, you just have to accept the fact that you may grow a little slower than if you were spending more time on it but it’s okay. And you see that all the time, too. I met a woman just the other day who started a really interesting fashion business and she is a lawyer for the government. And it’s all going really well but she’s pretty happy with her day job, so she’s just decided to grow at a pace that is acceptable to her. She’s not looking to become a billion dollar company overnight, and she’s growing it slowly, and if she sees more and more opportunity maybe she will consider spending more time on it. But for now the balance that she has works for her.

Pete Mockaitis
Perfect. Thank you. Well, Patrick, tell us, is there anything else you want to make sure to mention before we hear about some of your favorite things?

Patrick McGinnis
I will just say, what I really want to leave people with is there’s all kinds of reasons, and I talk a lot to people all the time who are doing this, and I talk to other people who say, “Well, that’s a great idea but I’m too busy,” or, “I’m not so sure what I’m doing,” or, “I’m nervous,” or there’s all kinds of reasons why one could say, “Well, I’m not so sure about this 10% entrepreneurship.”

But what I want to really stress to everybody listening is that there’s really nothing to lose here. When you have your day job and you’re doing this on the side, even if you fail you have nothing… sort of you still have all the good things that you had before you started your business. So that’s number one. And number two is always make sure to respect the rules of your day job. Don’t be in there using the FedEx code of your office to send things for your personal business. You really want to make sure that you respect your day job because your day job is the thing that allows you to do these things on the side.

But what’s so great about this is your employer actually benefits a lot from you because all of the things you’re learning on the side you can bring back to be a better and more productive and more entrepreneurial person at your day job.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s an excellent point. And I just want to get your read on this one because it piques my curiosity. Do you consider stealing from your employer if you’re being compensated to do your job and you’re working on your side hustle during your 9 to 5?

Patrick McGinnis
That’s a good question. Now we’re getting into like philosophical stuff. Here’s the thing, you have a smartphone in your pocket that allows you to do things all day long. So if you were sitting at your desk and you have a free half an hour and, by the way, you spend all day Sunday working from home at work, and get you get three emails. One is from your mom asking what you should get your dad for your birthday, and one is from a business contact asking you for a feedback on the design for your new product.

If you answer that one, is that stealing? If you answer your mom’s email, is that stealing? You’re using your time while you’re technically at the office or something in this “personal in nature?” I don’t think so but what you must always do is do an excellent job at your day job so that you’re completely and totally beyond reproach. Nobody can say that you’re phoning in as it were.

Pete Mockaitis
I like that. And I also think, that it’s come up again and again, whether it’s Rachel O’Meara talking about rejuvenation and pausing, or whomever, that we need breaks from the sort of hour-by-hour experience of work life in order to be at our most effective. And so if the side gig is a sort of a five-minute rejuvenator then, in fact, again the employer is benefitting. So that’s kind of my take is that there’s a little bit of a gray zone but I think that we sort of know it in our conscience if it’s just like, “I’m kind of defrauding my employer at this juncture.”

Patrick McGinnis
Well, you know, the thing is, 40% of millennials have side gigs. This is something that is happening therefore what I think of employer needs to do is instead of ignoring this and making pretend that nothing is happening, recognize that this is part of the new workplace, and actually create policies that make sure that people are respectful but then also that are reflective of this reality and find ways to actually harness all this entrepreneurial activity for the benefit of companies.

[INSERT SPONSOR HERE]

Pete Mockaitis
Excellent. All right. Well, now, can you share with us a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?

Patrick McGinnis
Yeah, I love the whole Winston Churchill, “Never, never give in.”

Pete Mockaitis
And how about a favorite study or a piece of research?

Patrick McGinnis
I love this piece of research that people who started business on the side are 50% more successful than people who jump in full-time, and that is from the University of Wisconsin.

Pete Mockaitis
And how about a favorite book?

Patrick McGinnis
I love The Lean Startup. I think that is such a winner.

Pete Mockaitis
Me, too. And a favorite tool?

Patrick McGinnis
This is so not that exciting, but Reminders on my iPhone keeps my entire life organized.

Pete Mockaitis
And a favorite habit or personal practice?

Patrick McGinnis
I think just finding a little time every day, do a little exercise is a game-changer.

Pete Mockaitis
And if I can ask, what kind of exercise and when do you do it and how does it change the game?

Patrick McGinnis
Sure. I do cycling, running and yoga. And, for me, the cardio gets all the pheromone or whatever, these different, I don’t even know what juices it’s releasing, but just kind of like it gives you that runner’s high. I was training for the marathon, I felt like I was in ecstasy the whole time. And then the yoga keeps you. I truly believe yoga is like the fountain of youth. So it is an elixir of youth and especially if you’re doing other exercise, it kind of keeps you from hurting yourself.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And how about is there a particular nugget, a piece that you express that really seems to resonate, gets Kindle book highlighted, re-tweeted, note-taken when you’re sharing it?

Patrick McGinnis
Yeah, I just think that’s a really interesting question. I just think the basic idea that entrepreneurship is not an all-or-nothing thing. A lot of people find that to be very, very unorthodox and actually it’s a mindset shift that a lot of people resonate. It resonates with them.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And where would you recommend if folks want to learn more or get in touch with you, where would you point them?

Patrick McGinnis
You can find me at my website PatrickMcGinnis.com. If you go there you could take this quiz, I mentioned. You can download a free chapter of the book, find tons of resources like contracts and lots of blog entries, and then you will find links to all of my social which has all kinds of stuff, so Facebook, Twitter, YouTube videos, all kinds of stuff like that. And if you go to PatrickMcGinnis.com/buildyour10, I have a free ebook with a bunch of the exercises in the book you can download, and actually do some of these exercises we talked about.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, excellent. Thank you. And do you have a final challenge or call to action you’d issue to those seeking to be awesome at their jobs?

Patrick McGinnis
Yeah, I would just say never forget that your number one employer and the person you have to keep happy is yourself, and so look for ways to put yourself first because you’re going to be a lot happier and you’ll be a better employee for it.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Patrick, thank you so much. This is a real blast. I wish you lots of luck with 10% entrepreneuring and spreading the good word.

Patrick McGinnis
Thank you very much. Best of luck.

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The Gold Nugget

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