Most people are familiar with the term 'side hustle', and this may be how you started your business. Side hustle is the term for taking on extra work to explore our passions or earn extra income while also working a full-time job, but what do you call it when you already have an established business and you are adding something on the side? Introducing the concept of the 'side sprint', a useful tool to help entrepreneurs grow and transform their business. Join Crista Grasso as she breaks down the difference between a side hustle and a side sprint and how to leverage a side sprint during periods of business growth.
In this episode, I share:
- What a side hustle is
- The concept of 'side sprint' for entrepreneurs
- 3 strategies for quick results with a side sprint
- A few things to watch out for with a side sprint
- How to know if it's a side sprint or just work
- Side sprint vs passion project
- How to keep your side sprint lean
Tune into Episode 14 of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast or keep reading below.
How To Leverage A Side Sprint During Periods Of Business Growth
You have probably heard of the term side hustle, but what I want to introduce you to today is more about the concept of ‘side sprint’. I’ll share when it makes sense for you to leverage this concept in your business and how to assure that your side sprint is as successful as possible, as quickly as possible, without experiencing burnout.
Refresher on the term ‘side hustle’
Let's back up and start with the good ol’ side hustle. I'm sure you are familiar with it. This might even be how you started your business. A side hustle is typically something that you're doing to generate revenue in addition to your main source of income. You see this a lot with people who have full-time jobs or corporate careers. They're either trying to get some supplemental income coming in or their job or career doesn't allow them to do something that they're passionate about.
Side hustling is fairly common for people who have careers or full-time jobs. Many of us start our businesses that way, including myself. In my experience, I was consulting Fortune 50 corporations while building my business on the side. I was investing a ton of time, energy and money into that business trying to get it off the ground so that eventually I could get to the point where I could be full-time in my business. I know many of my clients are doing the same.
For some of you, you may still be in that place, or maybe you've already made the transition, but you started there. If you think about the idea of having something you do on the side to generate supplementary revenue in addition to your main source of income, that's something that you continuously do as you grow and level up your businesses.
By the time you already have your successful businesses, it’s no longer a side hustle.
The Side Sprint concept
If you're unfamiliar with the term sprint, this is used a lot in Agile, which is what I did when I consulted with my corporate clients. A sprint is a defined period of time that’s usually anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks. What I like about the sprint is that it's both a defined period of time AND a period of time with a defined capacity.
When you have a side sprint, you have clearly and intentionally dedicated a specific amount of your time to this pursuit, regardless if it’s just you or you and your team. Additionally, there are always clear outcomes. You're not just hustling and randomly working hard to try to figure out what's working.
The key with a side sprint is that it's something that you're not doing within your regular schedule. Instead, it’s extra time, money or energy that you're allocating and doing in parallel.
While there are periods of time in your business where this is valuable and sometimes necessary, you also run a high risk of experiencing overwork, overwhelm and ultimately burnout if you do this for an extended period of time.
3 Strategies for fast and sustainable results
There are three different strategies I recommend for quick and sustainable results in your side sprint.
1. Have an outcome-focused plan
Be clear on the results that you are looking to get, the experiments that you are trying to run, what you need to learn, and what you need to achieve. You know I'm a big fan of Lean Strategic Planning, I recommend leveraging that, and with specific outcomes in sprint format.
Maybe for you, it's a one-week sprint. I find that for a small team or for a solopreneur, one-week sprints make a lot of sense. The larger your team, sometimes two-week sprints make more sense.
2. Treat what you’re doing as a small experiment
Design small experiments to make sure that you're focusing your time in the time blocks you created for your sprint, and then measure your results and adapt your plans as needed without locking yourself into the ‘how’.
3. Be clear on what you want to learn and what results you want to achieve
What do you want to learn? What do you want to achieve? Be flexible in how you get there and allow those conversations with your customers or with your ideal target market to influence what you do next.
"Allow conversations with customers to influence what to do next for your business." -Crista Grasso (Click to Tweet)
Avoid the temptation to overwork
Here are a couple of words of caution – side sprints can trigger the temptation to overwork, and in some cases, a side sprint can be more of a distraction instead of an evolution of your business. For all of you workaholics out there, don’t leverage the side sprint to give yourself permission to overwork.
The key with a side sprint is that it has a defined end. You don't always know what that end is because that's part of the outcomes, and you're purposely trying to get the results through experimenting.
"Don't leverage the side sprint to give yourself permission to overwork." - Crista Grasso (Click to Tweet)
Side sprint vs. permanent project
Not everything is a side sprint.
From my own experience, I've shared with you before that when I launched my podcast, I had to make some conscious decisions about what I was going to say no to in my business to create the space for the show.
The podcast is a good example of something that is not a side sprint. Instead, it’s a permanent project that I am doing in my business. I had to figure out what I was going to say no to, to create the same number of hours, if not more in my schedule, to be able to realistically commit to record, produce, publish, promote the show.
When you're adding new things into your business that are going to become part of your regular business model, that isn't a side sprint. That is something that you have to figure out how to incorporate in.
On the flip side, the transformation that I mentioned that I'm undergoing in my business where I'm replacing my primary revenue stream from working with these big, large corporate consulting clients, to working exclusively with solopreneurs and entrepreneurs and coaches, consultants and thought leaders, that is very much a side sprint. I have specific time that I allocate to that every single week.
Side sprint or passion project?
A side sprint is also not a passion project.
Passion projects are great and can be really beneficial for us personally. The key is to resist the entrepreneurial urge to turn every great idea that you have into a business, and try to monetize it. Not only do you often end up losing the passion you once have for it but it can end up deluding your brand, confusing your customers, and lead to burnout.
Remember to keep things Lean
As always, my final tip for you here is to keep things lean. When you have a side sprint going on at the same time as you're running your core business, keeping things lean is more critical than ever. When you only have a set number of hours to focus on something, you tend to use your time productively. As you're working on your side sprint, be intentional with how many hours you want to allocate to it and keep things as lean as possible.
Additionally, make sure that the things that you are investing in are the things that are going to add value to your clients and profit to your business, or will help you validate those things if you don't know yet.
I want to hear from you! Do you have a side sprint?
by Crista Grasso
Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale. Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business. She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast. She is also the founder and CVO of the Profitable Planner Co and Criscara Jewelry.