How This Man Turned His Hobby Into a 6-Figure Business

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Lucas Alcalde created Kegs and Code Co., turned his home brewing hobby into a six-figure business
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Have you ever dreamed of ditching your day job? Maybe you want to write a novel or start a business but worry about making ends meet.

If you’re afraid to make the leap, you should know that it’s possible to do what you love and make a living. Lucas Alcalde is a perfect example. A passionate home-brewer, he launched a business called Kegs & Code Co. Juggling his regular job and his business, he grew his company over the course of three years. Now, it’s his full-time job.

“I’m super excited to say that I quit the 9-to-5,” Alcalde said. Here’s how he turned his side hustle into a successful business.

Launching Kegs & Code Co.

Alcalde loves beer and started brewing his own as a hobby. Although he enjoyed it, he was frustrated by the lack of consistency.

“Everything started when I brewed a batch of beer, and it was great,” Alcalde explained. “Everyone loved it. Right after that, I brewed another batch, and it was really bad. In both cases, I didn’t have notes to show me what I did right or what I did wrong.”

Alcalde searched for a journal specifically for brewers but couldn’t find anything that fit his needs. So, he decided to create one.

He designed a journal, but he didn’t think much would happen with it.

Lucas Alcade's brewing journal

Image credit: Kegs & Code Co.

“I never actually thought this was going to be a full-time thing,” he said. “And then a couple of my friends told me I needed to think bigger than just a journal.”

To get funding for his idea, he launched a campaign on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding site. To Alcalde, putting the campaign online was a significant motivator.

“Since the journal was on Kickstarter, if I failed, everyone would know,” he said. “Within five days, it raised over $12,000. At that moment, everything changed for me.”

The success of the campaign showed Alcalde that there was demand for his product. He was so excited that he considered quitting his job. However, his wife convinced him to slow down.

“She told me that I didn’t really have a business at the time, just a product,” he said. “And she was right. So I worked as a computer engineer for the next four years.”

Balancing his side hustle with his full-time job

Alcalde said juggling his side hustle with his regular job was difficult, but he carved out time for it.

“For the last four years, I spent every spare minute of free time on my side hustle,” he said. He even set an intense schedule for himself.

“I woke up at 3 in the morning so I could work on my side hustle until 7 a.m., when I had to go to work,” he said. “I had an hourlong lunch, so I’d take my laptop to Starbucks and work for another hour.”

Maintaining a rigorous schedule was important to him, even though it was difficult.

“So many people say they don’t have the time to start a business or side hustle,” Alcalde said. “But if you really want something, you’re going to wake up early or work late to make it happen. It pays off.”

Quitting his job

As Alcalde’s side hustle grew more successful, working his 9-to-5 became more challenging.

“I knew I needed to go to work and do a good job because people were counting on me,” he said. “But at the same time, every single morning I felt like I was walking away from something bigger.”

Kegs & Code Co. started to receive more publicity, and Alcalde received several large orders. These developments signaled that it was time to take the next step with the business.

Alcalde explained that four things happened that made him feel like he was ready to quit his day job:

  1. He had a foundation. Alcalde credits his friends and family with giving him a foundation to draw on when things got tough. Having that support helped him face the challenges of his new career.
  2. He built a safety net. Alcalde and his wife decided they needed a safety net in place before he could quit his six-figure job. He saved enough to cover his bills for six months. It took him nearly three years to save that amount, but once he achieved his goal, he was more comfortable leaving his job. If you plan to leave your current role to pursue your own business, building an emergency fund is crucial.
  3. He created a plan. With a regular job, you have a routine and assignments dictated by a boss. But when you’re self-employed, you don’t have that structure. To ensure he stayed on track, Alcalde created a detailed plan of where he wanted to be in a year and broke it down into daily tasks. That approach helped him stay focused on meeting his goals.
  4. He just did it. Finally, Alcalde said there’s only so much you can do to prepare. Eventually, you have to take the plunge. Although he questioned himself and started to second-guess his plans, he committed to taking a leap of faith.

Alcalde quit his job in April 2018. Now, he earns a six-figure income from his business and makes more than he did in his old position.

Starting a business

Alcalde started Kegs & Code Co. because of his passion for home-brewing. However, it took a lot of careful planning, hard work, and early mornings to turn it into a full-time business.

Now that he’s accomplished that goal, he’s focused on helping other people achieve their dream of ditching the 9-to-5 to launch a business.

“What’s next for me?” Alcalde said. “I’m going to pay it forward and help other people get started. You’re not alone. That’s the bottom line. Other people are doing what you’re doing too.”

If Alcade’s story inspires you and you want to become an entrepreneur, here’s how to turn your side hustle into a full-time career. Or if you already have a great idea for a product or service, find out how you can get financing for your business with angel investors, low-interest personal loans, business loans, or home equity loans.

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1 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

  1. VARIABLE APR – APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes.

2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student Loan RefinanceFixed rates from 3.999% APR to 7.804% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.480% APR to 7.524% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.480% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.07% plus 0.91% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

  1. Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). The following table displays the estimated monthly payment, total interest, and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for a $10,000 loan. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for each in-school loan product reflects the accruing interest, the effect of one-time capitalization of interest at the end of a deferment period, a 2% origination fee, and the applicable Repayment Plan. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment, which is reflected in the interest rates and APRs displayed. Variable rates may increase after consummation. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.08% effective July 25, 2018.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 2.72%-8.17% (2.72%-8.17% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.50%-8.69% (3.50% – 8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled, must be in repayment of their existing student loan(s) and must make the minimum number of payments after leaving school. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Average savings based on 18,113 actual customers who refinanced their federal and private student loans through our Education Refinance Loan between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. The calculation is derived by averaging the monthly savings of Education Refinance Loan customers whose payments decreased after refinancing, which is calculated by taking the monthly student loan payments prior to refinancing minus the monthly student loan payments after refinancing. The borrower’s savings might vary based on the interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of the loans they are seeking to refinance. The borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if their monthly payments are lower.
2.57% – 5.87%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Earnest
2.80% – 6.38%1Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Laurel Road
2.48% – 7.52%2Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit SoFi
2.47% – 7.99%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Lendkey
2.57% – 6.65%3Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit CommonBond
2.72% – 8.17%4Undergrad
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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.