How Ryan Robinson grew his side-business to $160K per year (Sidegig Ep. 1.3)

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Many of us spend 40 to 50 hours a week in an office. But what are you doing with the rest of your time?

You need to prioritize where you’re spending your time before and after your day job in order to have a successful side business.

With an entrepreneurial mindset and using the knowledge from your day job, you can set out to create your side gig. It’s not always easy fitting in your side business with your daytime job, but with a little bit of planning and a lot of passion, you can find your way to success.

Even with very little time and very little money, you can still find the resources you need to put into your new project.

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In this episode of SideGig, we interview show host Ryan Robinson, a successful entrepreneur, content marketing consultant, and owner of who tells us all the ins-and-outs of starting a successful side hustle.

You can listen to the full episode below. We’ve also included some quick-to-read notes below as well. We hope you enjoy episode three of Sidegig.

You'll also enjoy this episode of our new podcast...

Developing an entrepreneur mindset

Ryan’s parents owned businesses, where he would help out as a kid during summer holidays. It was hard work, but he learned the job that was required to run a business.

During college, a period when the world was in recession, Ryan was surrounded by failing business. He realized at this time that he didn’t want to worry about money and be reliant on a full-time job for income.

He wanted to be his own employer, and control his own destiny.

Most people like the security of a job. Chris Guillebeau wrote a book called The $100 Startup: Fire Your Boss that discusses why not having a job is often more secure than having one. Why?

Because you can see failure coming before it’s going to happen.

A secure job, however, can vanish unexpectedly. Entrepreneurship is real job security.

Ryan started his first business, iStash, when in college at the age of 19. iStash was a mobile phone attachment that allowed you to sneak things into festivals.

He had some failure in the beginning, but he eventually outsourced manufacturing to China and sold around 7,000 units. It was a big learning curve. This business ended in 2012 when Ryan finished college.

Using employment to gather knowledge

Ryan’s first job was a company featured on Shark Tank called OrigAudio, who sold portable speaker devices that can turn a box into a speaker.

Ryan helped with product development, but more importantly, it was his first shift into marketing – he wanted to build on those skills.

Ryan’s second job involved writing every day, creating content for a fashion company that did well on Google. He was in this job for a little less than a year, where he was learning on the job and building a new skill-set.

At this time, Ryan took a short break to work on his next business venture, Case Escape, with a college friend.

Unfortunately, this venture didn’t work out, and he later needed to move back with his family. The full story can be read here:

Ryan then moved to San Francisco, where he worked in online education at Creative Live. It was a tough learning experience, but he was able to observe how teachers pick styles and map out a curriculum.

Going freelance

Ryan left his role at Creative Live in July 2016 to work for himself, with a freelance contract already in the bag. He started contracting for LinkedIn to work on ProFinder on a monthly retainer.

This opportunity has allowed Ryan to double his income in less than half the time of his previous day job.

Ryan’s contract with LinkedIn takes up only a third of his time. The rest of the time he focuses on

In the summer of 2017, Ryan plans to roll out a course that promises to help you build a business: ‘The Launch Formula.’ You can sign up here:

Fitting a successful SideGig around a day job

Ryan works early mornings, starting his day at 5 am as inspired by Jon Acuff, an author who needed to find time to work that didn’t upset anyone. To get sufficient sleep, Ryan is in bed by 9:30 pm.

Working this early buys him 3 hours a day of uninterrupted time where he can focus on growing his business.

Google Calendar allows Ryan to plan his business schedule, blocking out Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to wake up early.

You also need to schedule time for your side business, or you’ll never do it.

People who say ‘I don’t have time’ are simply not making time. How much are you willing to sacrifice for your future?

It’s important to find what motivates you, so you can align your hard work with your purpose. It’s easy to be distracted, so you need to really want it.

Featured in Forbes

Ryan has been featured on high-profile websites including Inc, Forbes, and Buffer. But how did those opportunities come to him?

In college Ryan reached out to contributing editor Jeff Hayden by email asking how he could write for Inc. He received a reply recommending that he should create the type of content he would write for Inc, but post it on his own website.

After writing a guest blog post for Buffer, Jeff Hayden re-posted the blog, allowing Ryan to reach out once again to build up a relationship. This started the domino effect

The lesson here? Make friends with the right people, and bring value to the table before asking for something in return.

Look at others as bridge builders rather than competitors.

What ideas of Ryan’s stood out to you?

Ready to start a side-gig? Listen the full episode here:

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About Ian Paget

Ian is a graphic designer from Manchester, UK. He runs Logo Geek, designing logos and brand identities for start-ups and SMEs. He also runs a popular social media group of the same name where he shares and creates valuable logo design resources.

Leave a Comment



  1. I’ve been following Ryan for a couple of years now, and it’s great to hear more about his journey. Thanks, guys!


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