This following is a Goalcast exclusive excerpt from Chris Guillebeau’s new book, Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days, published September 19, 2017 by Crown Business.

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A side hustle isn’t just about money in the bank, as helpful as that can be. A side hustle really can change your life. When you build something for yourself, even as you continue to work your day job, you become empowered. You gain confidence. You create security, both in the form of that extra cash and also in the fact that you’re opening up future opportunities for yourself.

So right from the beginning of this journey, start thinking about your future. Assume that this side hustle thing will work out. What would that mean for you? What will be different about your life?

How a Side Hustle Can Change Your Life (and How to Find One)

How a Side Hustle Can Change Your Life (and How to Find One)

When a British man who managed a construction company wrote a series of fish tank reviews for an obscure website, he included links to several Amazon product listings at the end of the reviews. He knew he’d earn a small commission if visitors clicked through from the reviews and made a purchase, but he was so busy with his day job that after he posted the reviews, he promptly forgot about the whole thing.

A few weeks later, a check arrived in the mail… for $350. His partner didn’t believe it was real money until he took her out to a nice dinner with the proceeds. At the time, he had no idea that this small project, created in a weekend, would go on to make hundreds of dollars. He also didn’t know that several years later those same reviews would still be earning him an average of $700 a month, without any further work on his part. It wasn’t retirement money, but it sure was nice.

Similarly, when a San Diego government employee offered to photograph a friend’s wedding, he didn’t know it would lead to an extra $3,500 every month. This employee didn’t want to be a full-time wedding photographer, but the option to shoot an occasional wedding whenever he wants provides him with security and savings. He takes the jobs that accommodate his schedule and turns down the ones that don’t, all while continuing to receive a steady paycheck from his “real” job.

When a Pennsylvania oil and gas sales rep started posting images on Pinterest, she wasn’t a celebrity and didn’t have a “revenue model.” In addition to the day job, she was also a mom and a yoga teacher and active in her local community. Within a month, she had earned more than $1,000 — much to her shock and happy surprise. After three years, she’d taken in more than $40,000, all while uploading photos whenever she had a break from her busy day.

These stories, all true, represent the way of the side hustle: defined as a moneymaking project you start on the side, usually while still working a day job. In other words, it’s a way to create additional income without taking on the risks of going full throttle into the world of working for yourself.

The freedom and power of the hustle

Sure, for some people the thought of quitting their day job and striking out on their own is exhilarating. For many others, however, it can be terrifying. After all, whether or not you have a family to support or a mortgage to pay, a job that produces a steady income and provides health insurance is difficult, if not impossible, to give up.

But what if you could get a profitable idea off the ground with just a minimal investment of time, money, and effort — and you could make that happen alongside your stable and steady job? My book shows you how to do exactly that, with a step-by-step guide that takes you from idea to implementation in just 27 days. 

But a side hustle isn’t just about money in the bank, as helpful as that can be. A side hustle really can change your life. When you build something for yourself, even as you continue to work your day job, you become empowered. You gain confidence. You create security, both in the form of that extra cash and also in the fact that you’re opening up future opportunities for yourself.

So right from the beginning of this journey, start thinking about your future. Assume that this side hustle thing will work out. What would that mean for you? What will be different about your life? 

How to identify high-potential ideas

Not every hustle idea is worth pursuing, and the ability to separate high-potential ideas from ones that are undesirable or merely interesting is a key skill of starting a profitable hustle quickly. With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to do this right away.

Undesirable ideas have characteristics like these:

  • A grand vision that is hard to simplify or translate into action
  • Something you have no idea how to make (or requires skills that you don’t have)
  • A vague, nonspecific idea of the kind of people who will pay for it
  • Something that is high maintenance or requires a lot of lead time to produce

High-potential ideas have characteristics like these:

  • A simple path to turn the idea into reality that you can describe in one sentence
  • Something that you know how to do or can easily figure out
  • Solves a problem or makes someone’s life easier in a specific way (and that they will be willing to pay for)
  • Is low maintenance and easy to deliver without a ton of preparation or follow-up
  • Will bring in income not just once but on a recurring basis

When considering different side hustle options, pass over ideas that are merely interesting. Choose high-potential ideas instead!

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Excerpted with permission from Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days, by Chris Guillebeau. Published by Crown Business. This text has been edited for length and readability.