LIFT Speaks Ep 32 with Mark Delgado: How to Start a Side Hustle – 53 Ways While Keeping Your Day Job

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Mark Delgado has been an entrepreneur since his college days at TCU.  Looking for a way to make extra money to cover college expenses, Mark and his buddy saw a niche in the market and started Frog Savers – a coupon book for local businesses in the TCU area.

After graduating, he cut his business teeth in the corporate world before starting his own business.  He owned and operated an insulation company. When the crash of 2008 happened, like many people in the construction-related business world, he slowly watched his business dissolve and went through the “gut-wrenching” experience of having to let great employees go.

The crash was a watershed moment for Mark. Since 2008, Mark decided he would always have more than one type of income stream. He currently runs his main business, a roofing company, and has several side hustles.

If you think that Mark’s side hustles interfere with his main working gig, you are wrong.  Referrals are his main source of generating new business. He puts customer care at the top of his list of priorities. His work is excellent, and his customer care goes above and beyond expectations.

Today, Mark’s going to share some of the reasons for starting side hustles, how he chooses what works for him, and how you can find a side hustle that works for you too.

A Few Questions for Mark

The thing I enjoy most about my business is . . . being able to impact, make a difference in people’s lives with value and build relationships.

My older self would coach my younger self to . . . step out, take massive action, invest in yourself and others, make decisions faster than you can blink your eyes, who cares if your actions work or don’t… keep moving. Don’t be afraid of lack of success. Surround yourself with the people who are where you want to be and see how you can serve them and model them.

One thing I wish I knew when I was younger is . . . I was dyslexic and highly GIFTED rather treated as an outcast by the educational institutions and received the right help before discovering it at the age of 42.


53 Ideas for a Side Hustle


Catherine Miller: Welcome to LIFT Speaks. Today I’m visiting with Mark Delgado. I met Mark probably three years ago at a networking event in Southlake with the Southlake Chamber of Commerce and slowly over time what I discovered is Mark is a master networker and he is a man with many side hustles.

His story is interesting, and also relevant. I read articles over and over again about how to find your side hustle. What Mark has done is he has taken a side hustle and really turn that into your fulltime job. You’re a multi-side hustler. Would you say that’s true?

Mark Delgado: I would say that’s true.

Catherine Miller: His first side hustle was when he was at TCU called Frog Savers.

Mark Delgado: Frog Savers.

Catherine Miller: Yes. Tell us about Frog Savers. How did you come up with that idea? It was probably just the first of many.

Mark Delgado: Well, as a struggling student in college, I guess most people probably are as a college student. We just needed some ways to subsidize our activity. So, me and a friend of mine, we decided to – as a student going out to stores and businesses, it would be nice if you buy one and get one free. So we decided we would come up with this Frog Saver idea where we go to local businesses, restaurants and they would pay us money to be – to pay advertising for this booklet and then we would hand these booklets out to all the dorms, all the students, fraternity houses, and then we just took all the cash and so we did that for a couple of years until we graduated.

Catherine Miller: I love that. I think that’s a great idea.

Mark Delgado: Yeah.

Catherine Miller: It reminds me I actually had a side hustle in college.

Mark Delgado: See?

Catherine Miller: I know. I mean I had a job as well.

Mark Delgado: So did I.

Catherine Miller: Yeah. But my side hustle was Baylor went to the cotton ball and so a friend of mine and I painted ribbons. We wore ribbons a lot in our hair and around our necks and so we painted cotton balls, little cotton balls on them and BU and sold them, sold them to all the sorority girls and stuff like that. Baylor only went to the Cotton Bowl once when I was in college. I think I had enough money to buy Christmas presents. But hey, it worked

Mark Delgado: Now think about it, you have an “ah-ha” moment where you actually have a side hustle. The confusion is people think way too much of a side hustle. It’s an avenue for you to use your skills, your skillset, your personality to add value to somebody.

Catherine Miller: Right.

Mark Delgado: And you could turn that just as – just as a hobby that you did or you could roll in. You know, if there’s a high demand, it could slowly turn into something bigger that as you mentioned one of ours, you know, made us a lot of income. We do not really focus on it. I focus on impacting lives.

Catherine Miller: Take us on the journey of going from graduated from college and you got a corporate job out of college to then finally deciding “I need to have multiple streams of income.” Can you share a little bit about that?

Mark Delgado: Yeah. We will kind of start the story off as just most – most of us, we’re all – I tell high school kids. We’re all conditioned just like I was. I was told I was going to go to school, get a degree in college and go get a job. That all was just ingrained to us our entire lives and that we weren’t coming home after 18.

Catherine Miller: Yeah.

Mark Delgado: So, after I went to college, I got my first job like I was supposed to and through that, my personality and being in a cubicle, really I realized pretty quickly that that wasn’t me, but I didn’t know anything different. I thought this is what I’m supposed to do, that I’m supposed to retire and there you go. That’s what you’re supposed to do.

Catherine Miller: Right.

Mark Delgado: And over time, I had the benefit of – they gave me pink papers two years out of college at a job and that was really my epiphany that wow, I’ve been putting in 60 some hours a week, only getting paid for 40 because I was salary and that was not for me. People were crying. I was elated to go, “Man, there has to be something better.”

Catherine Miller: So pink paper, you mean like the pink slip.

Mark Delgado: I got the pink slip. I was prepared for it. My feet were on the desk waiting to have them hand it to me and escort me out of the building.

Catherine Miller: Oh, you were ready to quit.

Mark Delgado: No, no, no. I just knew it was coming.

Catherine Miller: Oh, OK.

Mark Delgado: You know, when your boss tells you when it happens, you’re the first one on his list. You know it’s coming.

Catherine Miller: That’s not a good sign.

Mark Delgado: Well, it’s just I didn’t conform to my job was my life. I did everything I was supposed to. But I didn’t enjoy working 20 hours every week extra and not get paid. To me, that wasn’t right. It didn’t seem that right. So, I didn’t bleed Corporate America. I wanted a life outside. So, it wasn’t like I was misbehaving. It’s just hey, this is not me. I have a life outside of this work.

Catherine Miller: Right. So, you were looking in a way for more of work-life balance.

Mark Delgado: Correct.

Catherine Miller: As well as, you also understood that just because you work for a large corporation doesn’t mean that your job is not volatile. I think there’s kind of a perception out there that if you own your own business, it’s more volatile. But the reality is, we’ve been in business for years, and at least you can fight for it. When you’re an entrepreneur, you can go out there and hustle and really work to create change.

Mark Delgado: Correct.

Catherine Miller: At that point, you began to create your own side hustles and small businesses really. They were even more than a side hustle. Take me down the journey of what your first business was outside of that second pink slip.

Mark Delgado: Once I was excused from my job, one of my suppliers …

Catherine Miller: That’s a good word.

Mark Delgado: … hired me on to be one of their salespeople. I didn’t have any sales background. They said, hey, we like you. Can you do this? I said, “Sure.” I winged it without any training. But I was personable and so that’s how I got the taste of sales, that I got compensated for the effort that I produced, which was a totally different concept.

So, the epiphany there was if I produce, I can get paid a lot of money. I’m not just a salary and that’s not my only income. During that time – just deep down inside, I always say there’s an entrepreneur spirit in everybody. I just knew. It’s like I want to do something different and I was introduced to a product and I put it in my home and I was like, wow, this is really good. I think I know people who could benefit from this.

So, I opened up a company that I did in conjunction with my sales job because I travel. Then I would come home and then I would work this – I never jeopardized my employer because that’s who was paying me. But when I wasn’t working or if I was taking a break or during lunch where I wasn’t doing that, I would start working this side hustle which then turned into a company that did very well for itself.

Unfortunately, I had the same experience with my second job that they took it away, took all of my accounts in-house and that was my final – that was really my final straw. That was like, hey, I’m never going to have somebody determine my fate where you put all your time and effort and just like most people, that you think your job is safe. You’re just a number.

I mean things change. Businesses buy businesses and you have to lay people off. So, my philosophy to myself was I will never have just one form of income ever. I’m going to have multiple streams of income that when things go say bad in one area or things slow down, there are other areas in there that can generate income that you can produce and build and maybe eventually sell.

Catherine Miller: Right, because you actually had a business that you had built up. It was an insulation company that actually was a thriving company.

Mark Delgado: Correct.

Catherine Miller: And during the 2008 fall, a lot of people were hit hard. Your company was hit hard as well.

Mark Delgado: Correct, yeah, because our primary customers were builders and here in Texas, the building industry just collapsed, and our business just fell apart.

Catherine Miller: Right.

Mark Delgado: But during that season, I had that entrepreneur warrior spirit inside, which everybody has, and that’s when I was introduced to non-traditional businesses. I joined a non-traditional business in 2003 that just did phenomenally well and then was introduced to one in 2007 which was – it really met with my insulation business, that I could – it worked in conjunction with it. So that’s why that made sense for me because it was just an added value I could add to my client that I already had.

So those two entities there really helped. I mean that was kind of a cushion. When I saw our business tank in, as an owner, just like you’re an owner, I mean your name is on the check and to me, I had lives I had to take care of.

Catherine Miller: That’s right.

Mark Delgado: And the hardest part – I would say the hardest thing I ever had to do was lay people off.

Catherine Miller: Yeah.

Mark Delgado: I mean it was gut-wrenching.

Catherine Miller: Yes.

Mark Delgado: But you have to make business decisions and unfortunately, the way those times were in 2008, 2016, I mean just – a lot of businesses were hit hard. But because of side jobs I did things on the side, creating revenue in business, – I didn’t have to go to bankrupt or just – I was at the bottom of the barrel.

Those were all awakenings to me. It’s like OK, I got to get more. There has to be more things that I can do that collectively can create a nice passive income, nice income for my family.

Catherine Miller: So, you received two pink slips. But also, in your own company, the company that you built, sometimes things happen and you lose that too. But at that point, you had more than one stream of income, right?

Mark Delgado: Correct.

Catherine Miller: So, in that process, what did you do to go – to actually choose a side hustle? What did you do as you looked at opportunities out there? How did you choose your side hustle?

Mark Delgado: Well, there are so many opportunities. When I look at an opportunity, one, I have to believe in it. I have to be a product of the product because any type of business that I’m in, I’m never going to jeopardize a friendship, a relationship because of a product or something that I’m doing.

So, I truly have to believe that I know that it’s something that I can add value to somebody. I mentioned the other one was – it was in conjunction with our business. It was just adding another product line to our business that paid on a passive level. So, there are also things that you can take a look at that maybe are in conjunction to what you’re doing.

So, if it’s health or wellness, there might be some other type of businesses that you can – you know, you could do online type stuff, online courses and there’s a lot of opportunities. But just finding the right opportunity that fits you, that you feel comfortable sharing.

Catherine Miller: Yeah. So, in your side hustles, whether you owned your business or worked for someone else, how did you make sure that it didn’t interfere with your day job? Meaning not just interfere but that you do your very best work. Honoring the people you work for or even as an owner, you how you honor those who are your employees and make sure that you are setting the stage for good business. So how did you make sure there wasn’t interference in that?

Mark Delgado: The number one thing is you’re prioritizing your time. I don’t do multiple hats at the same time. I might have – you can just say just – it’s like I have a suitcase or a backpack. You don’t know what’s in my backpack. But the main purpose that I’m talking to you about is that purpose.

If it was my traditional business, that’s what I’m doing. Like my business that I have now, that is my core business. That’s my core. All the other things I do are in conjunction with the core. So, through our conversation today– if it leads – leads open to sharing one of the side hustles that I do, I will share it. If it doesn’t lead to it, I don’t share it.

It scares a lot of people because they see these people jump all over you with their product the entire time. It is really about teaching people how to do it correctly. But the number one thing is prioritizing your time and don’t just be pushing (your product) on people. When the door opens and when they have a need or they say they have a need, then share it.

Catherine Miller: What would be your advice? There are lots of people who talk about getting side hustles. It’s a good conversation. I see articles slide across the internet all the time these days. What would your recommendation be for someone who’s saying, “I really would love to have one or two side hustles.” How would you guide them to find the correct side hustle for them?

Mark Delgado: One, I would do a self-analysis of yourself. Find out what your interest is. What are you passionate about? I mean if you’re passionate about fitness, you might be passionate about some – say something on the internet or you might be passionate about writing. I mean you could have a side hustle just writing transcripts for people. There are so many things. You have to find out what your skills are. What you like, what you enjoy and you will find that people – there are businesses out there that will pay you for your skills and talents. The more you home in and master it, the more value you’re adding and the more you can get paid for it.

Catherine Miller: Right, right. So, you just look for things that pique your interest.

Mark Delgado: Correct.

Catherine Miller: Or that you believed in.

Mark Delgado: Yes. Hey, take a look at this. Take a look – and I will look at everything. I’m one of those – I will look at it. Sometimes I’m just advising someone, hey, you know, they – they’re sharing it with me and I’m looking. Then I just ask them questions. What are your interests? If it’s just strictly money, I go, “You’re in it for the wrong reason. It’s not about the money,” because people see right through you, that you’re just wanting to do it for money.

So, if you’re just wanting to do it for money and it says a product, they’re going to see through it. But as – if you’re just money-driven, there are things like you could drive for Uber, Lyft. You could freelance your services and say like Uplink or Fiverr.

I mean there’s a lot of things that you can do more with your skills and talents. But you just got to look and see if it’s for you or not.

The other thing too that people don’t really realize is their help. I mean whenever you do something, typically you’re partnering with somebody. You got to find out who in that community. Is that community the right fit for you?

Catherine Miller: Right.

Mark Delgado: While it may not be the correct fit, the person could be the right fit. But when you see the community, that community might not match up with your beliefs and values.

Catherine Miller: Right.

Mark Delgado: So, you really have to look – really look at yourself and if it’s something that you really believe in, then I say just go for it.

Catherine Miller: Yeah.

Mark Delgado: You have nothing to lose.

Catherine Miller: Got nothing to lose. That’s true. Hey, the cool thing is, is that Mark and I have come up with a list of 50 different side hustle ideas for you, ways that you can evaluate your time and your passions and what might work well for you.

If you’re watching this right now, you obviously have an interest in this. So just click the download button below and you will be able to get a copy of these 50 different side hustles.

If you’re somewhere else, then go to the for Mark Delgado and you can click on the download button and receive the 50 different side hustle ideas.

Mark, thank you so much for coming today. I do really appreciate it. I appreciate the way you operate, the way you do business and the way you care for people. It’s good to have you here.

Mark Delgado: My pleasure. Great to be here.

Catherine Miller: Thanks.

53 Ideas for a Side Hustle

About LIFT Office

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