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.
“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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.23% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
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2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
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|2.47% – 6.23%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
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|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|