87: The 5 Step System to Quit Your Job In the Next 12 Months

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If you’re not already following Bryan Harris, I recommend you do.

The guy is super smart and has a unique way of breaking things down so that they’re easy to understand and implement. Each time I’ve heard him interviewed on other shows he always brings a ton of value and this episode is no different.

In fact, we were in scheduling limbo for a while trying to get this one done. I first heard him on my friend Dave’s show, The Power of Part Time, then on Entrepreneur on Fire, and then on Wow Small Business.

He doesn’t mess around, and gives super-detailed actionable advice with some awesome examples, but gives the caveat that it takes real work.

This is not a 4-hour workweek passive income system — at least not at first. But that’s OK, because we’re hustlers and ready to make something happen in 2015, right?

Let’s do it.

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The 5 Steps:

  1. Step 1: Identify the problem
  2. Step 2: Re-engineer your solution to that problem into a service
  3. Step 3: Choose ONE person you want to work with.
  4. Step 4: Create a proposal
  5. Step 5: Give away your “Must Have” experience free first

Rinse and repeat.


  • The 3 main ways of making money online, and which one Bryan recommends as the fastest path to quitting your job.
  • How to identify a problem you can solve.
  • Bryan’s unique “tutorial-hacking” method of finding a service to sell.
  • His top tips for identifying your ONE ideal customer and landing them as a client.
  • How to structure your your “pitch” email so it gets read and gets a positive response.
  • Why you should give away your service, to the extent you can, to build trust and goodwill.
  • Bryan’s #1 tip for Side Hustle Nation.


What do you think? Will Bryan’s 5-Step system work for you to build a viable job-killing side hustle this year?

Let me know in the comments and if there’s a critical mass, maybe we can form a little mastermind of service-selling side hustlers!

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5 steps to quit your job

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

44 thoughts on “87: The 5 Step System to Quit Your Job In the Next 12 Months”

  1. I really like the idea of starting off selling a service as the basis of your money earning endeavors. There are many marketplaces on the web that will allow you to do this, but none better than fiverr in my opinion.

    My view may be a little bias because I’m a Top Rated Seller that’s been there for 5 years now, but I’ve tried other marketplaces, and none offer a more robust learning experience coupled with a virtually non existent barrier of entry in order to start earning money.

    ‘Sell then Scale’ should most certainly be the motive with whatever you become successful in online. People are racing to the internet (to get a piece of the action) in droves, so your experience has a great chance to become a teaching product that you can sell, and that’s when the magic starts to happen!

    • Thanks Dion. I like the idea of starting with an existing marketplace too, because there’s a built-in audience of buyers. But do you think that cheapens the experience of your customer … like could you command better rates and move up the value chain by reaching out to your target clients directly?

      • Great question! Cream always rises to the top, so offering a service in a marketplace where you’d benefit from working with a broad scope of clientele should provide you great hands on experience. I’ll use fiverr in this example as I like to refer to my tenure there as a “paid internship”.

        I started there in 2010, but during the early days I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to sell. I was a novice at graphic design at best, but that’s the service I started with. Again, I wasn’t very good as I didn’t understand color and type the way a traditional designer would. However, I stuck with it, and kept learning whilst working on many types of design projects.

        I’ve learned a lot about design and the internet over the years, and fiverr has served as a conduit that made my growth possible. It’s been 5 years since then, and I now use work that I’ve designed at fiverr in my professional portfolio to procure freelance contracts. More importantly I use all of the knowledge and skill I’ve amassed as the catalyst of my web adventures, and these adventures have created something dream-like for me.

  2. Great call and learnt heaps. Thanks. Just to let you know the link to get Bryans top strategies is not working and goes to a 404 error page

  3. Loved the interview & all that you do Nick. When you guys provide the link & list if he could provide a few business examples (online) & how to execute them that would be great. He seems to be focused on those who have online marketing or tech skills.

    I’m a concierge with a travel website and am trying to figure out how I can find an audience to tap into with my service business until the website takes off. I’m not sure how the “how to” article method would apply in the case of someone like me. It also does not have to be in this realm. I am open-minded but do not possess tech or design skills. More examples in this realm would be great. Thanks! :)

    • I could be wrong here, but I believe the training identified (online marketing example) where someone “shared” the post. That meant they liked the information and thought it worthy to share.

      I think the same would hold true for travel. Find blogs, that align with what you do as a concierge, about travel topics that have a lot of shares, or find a post about a travel destination or travel services. Find out who shared the blog/post. Then provide them with valuable information about the destination, what they need (i.e. passports, visas, etc.), and so on so they can take the trip. Finally, let them know you can provide the services to help them get that trip if they would like.

      Does that sound right, Nick?

      • Thanks Jim. I really appreciate you giving me suggestions. I’ll have to think out the box a little bit on this one. I’ll have to look for forums & blogs outside the dominate TripAdvisor scene. I’m a concierge in Oahu, HI so Hawaii, mostly Oahu is my thing.

        There aren’t really “how to” types of articles about planning a vacation here and the big blogs like HuffPost will post general, generic types of articles but accord to Brian popularity is the key here.

        I’m thinking people wanting to move here might be a possibility and offer more opportunities. I’ve done corporate relocation too. Thanks for listening to me think out loud. I don’t mean to take this thread too far off topic.

        • Stephanie,

          I don’t think you’re taking it off topic. I think your helping people like me think of other ways the techniques discussed can be applied.

          I think you could find blogs or communities discussing Oahu. Facebook has a few groups, but I don’t know if they would be good for marketing your services. They mentioned finding things posts that were shared and offering the things mentioned as a service. So if they posted about the 7 best places in Oahu to visit and someone shared that post, you could offer a service to plan that for them.

          If I were planning a trip to Oahu, I would love it if someone offered me a list of places to see, tell me the best ways to get around town, the best sites to see, etc. I would probably try to figure out how to do it myself, but would likely get tired of trying to arrange it all and hire someone like you to do it for me.

          Just brainstorming. I could be off-base.

          • Thanks Jim those are good ideas and suggestions I can try. It doesn’t hurt to experiment. I’m not a travel agent so I would be charging people for my time to plan things & advise them on various activities, etc. I have affiliate links that people can click on to book hotels or activities which would be the ideal passive income someday but I’m a long way from the volume being enough from that.

            In trying to think of other examples to try to apply Brian’s advice to I looked through Nick’s 79 list of business ideas and around on the internet.

            I liked Brian’s approach of trying to get somebody to pay you $100 monthly for some service to continually do for them. On his own website I noticed he offers coaching for $500/month but it’s for 6 months. I like that you’re covered for awhile income wise without having to constantly hustle.

            I noticed that he also wrote an example somewhere on the internet about getting somebody to pay you $1,000 for something but $100 seems more doable & less intimidating to start.

            Another approach could maybe be getting people to sign up for a group class online or webinar that you teach & everybody pays a set fee to attend. I’ve tried this last month with no success. Either my offer is not good or I’m not marketing it well. I’m thinking the latter is more of the factor.

            Outside of my concierge example I’m trying to brainstorm other service related businesses that could perhaps be offered business to business (or not). Perhaps looking at virtual assistant & freelance types of sites could provide inspiration.

            Applying this to Brian’s teaching would mean finding a super-specific group of people to offer services to who respond to a popular article about it. It seems writing, social media & SEO are the popular advertised-for services.

            Another approach would be to maybe find what mundane and/or tedious tasks that business owners or regular people have and offer to do it for them. For example….??? Gonna sleep on it. Sorry for long post.

    • Thanks Stephanie!

      Love the conversation you guys are having here :)

      Another episode worth checking out is Ryan’s discussion from last year, which focuses on strategic partnerships to help find new customers:


      The main question he raises is “who are your target customers ALREADY doing business with?” Because it may be easier to reach them than the actual customers themselves.

      In the case of the travel business in Hawaii, big hotels likely already have their own concierge staff, but I might begin reaching out to smaller hotels, bed and breakfasts, or — and this could be big — Airbnb hosts. If you could offer their guests some sort of exclusive experience or add-on, it could be a cool unique selling proposition for them and make them look like a hero to their guests.

      • Thanks Nick!!! I will definitely check that episode out.
        I love the idea of reaching out to the smaller hotel properties to partner up with them. Vacation rentals are also HUGE here and it’s an area I’ve been meaning to investigate more. It’s the law here for out of state property owners to have a local property manager and many of those guys will manage multiple properties. If I can partner with them and maybe even get a link on their web page that could be a win-win.

        You’re right about most hotels having concierges. I was one of them for a long time. Most will subcontract it out to a company like Expedia to handle.

        Thank you to Jim also for the tips. I’m glad I put myself out there and asked for help :)

  4. The other thing I’m wondering is if you are in the business of giving advice or showing somebody how to do something more efficiently how do you “give it away” without shooting yourself in the foot? In other words how do you do that but do it in such a way where the person still has incentive to hire you? I guess you could offer it in vague terms or say things like “if I could show you how to save x amount of $ would you be interested?” but that might sound too salesy and not close anything. A couple more examples from Brian would be great if he can :)

  5. Nick great content I am on board with this plan I am looking to make the transition into a full time entrepreneur. but within 6 months. Can I accelerate this process?

  6. Unrelated suggestion for you Nick: I just noticed your “send voicemail” tab on the right. I think it might stand out more if it was on the left side of the screen. That’s where most sites put the social buttons from AddThis. I remember you wondering why no one uses it at the end of one of your episodes. Try it on the left :)

  7. It’s one of the few podcasts I listened to twice – in a row. Lots of takeaways. I realized I’d sort of drifted into doing more services, with clients coming in by word of mouth, and was just resolving to shift the equation more towards products.

    The concept of productizing services has always been interesting to me, and this podcast has definitely opened up my eyes to possibilities I had not considered.

    One interesting niche for those of us in the expatriate community is to offer turning a website into a bi-lingual one.

    Great value as always Nick. Thank you.

  8. Nick & Bryan,

    Amazing, amazing stuff. This is the first podcast that I listened to in the New Year and like others, I listened to it multiple times. Love the hack and strategy.

    Nick ~ The Side Hustle Show has quickly become my favorite podcast. You deliver pure gold on a weekly basis and I have grabbed many ideas and tons of inspiration from yourself and the people you have interviewed. Looking forward to the upcoming year for sure. All the best in 2015!

    • Chris, thanks so much! Doing the show is the highlight of my week, and Bryan definitely rocked it on this one!

      Happy New Year to you as well and keep me posted on all your side hustle projects.

  9. Nick and Bryan, thanks for the awesome podcast!

    I haven’t listened to all the SHN podcasts (yet) but got a bunch of them under my belt and so far this one is my favorite, hands down! So many great insights.

    I really liked the ideas of:
    1) being specialized when it comes to your projects (so you can charge premium for your services), and
    2) doing a lot of the work upfront and overpreparing when you make your pitch so that it’s an “easy yes” for the client.

    Thinking of the few gigs I bid on places like eLance, for example, I think I could improve going forward by focusing on the projects in my area of expertise (which will translate into a solid, razor-focused portfolio that will present me as the expert in my niche) and, instead of blabbing about how great I am, looking at ways how I deliver value / show the client how I’d solve his / her problems.

      • Hey Nick,

        Thanks for the tip – just listened to that podcast a few days ago – definitely some good pointers on eLance there.

        I actually read Daniel’s (now famous?!) write-up on hacking eLance a few times since starting on eLance in September. Though to be honest it took me all the way to December to do my first (and for now only) video proposal – man, it was so much fun and I got a great initial response from the client. The client ended up going with someone else for that project but still it was an awesome experience. I haven’t touched eLance or Guru (my 2nd choice for freelance gigs) in the past few weeks but look forward to picking it up again this month with more videos.

  10. It is my dream one day that everybody engineers their layoff by negotiating their severance, rather than quit. Why not get a severance with thousands or hundreds of thousands in your pocket to give you a financial runway to do something new?

    Don’t quit, get laid!


  11. Very interesting stuff. I need to try something to get out of this job I am in. I will try fiverr and see if I can’t drum up some gigs.

  12. I’m a bit of a later-comer to this podcast episode (thanks to Nick for directing me to it!) however I thought it was an excellent interview with some very actionable stuff.

    Keep up the great work,


  13. That is such a beautiful feeling to walk away from your employer. I’m a firm believer that when the jealousy and hate increases on your job toward you, it’s time to start your side hustle and consistently work on it so you can “quit your day job.” My mother worked for the City of New York in Brooklyn for 35 years and no way could I do that. They didn’t have side hustles back then nor the internet. She knew nothing about starting her own business. If she knew how to start a business, all the jealousy and hate she experienced in her 35 year career on the job in New York she could’ve used to start her own side hustle. Today, I’m happy to work on the side hustle today to help her in her retirement because she went through so much.

    I never did like working a regular job. I did it off and on for the past 20 years. One minute I had a job. Next minute I was either fired or let go for no reason without saying I was fired. People always acted shiftee toward me. I came to the conclusion in my mind that working a regular 9 – 5 job is not for me. I don’t like no one pressuring me and telling me to meet a deadline. I want to work on my own business and build up my own stuff, even on days I don’t make money. Working a regular job is only going to get a person a controlled paycheck and a boss who thinks they’re the stuff before you have to tell them off and secretly laugh at them, because they don’t know you have a side hustle and working on a way to beat them at their own game.

    Thanks for posting this. Gave me inspiration to add to this conversation.

  14. I think there’s one thing you forgot. Ask your narcissist boss for a raise after you made the company over $171,000 in sales and have them shake their head NO to your face. Do you think that alone’ll rev your motivation to the public 9th step to put your side hustle in OVERDRIVE? :-)

  15. The daytime employment scene is botched to rob employees of their true entrepreneurial potential. They figure if they short you on your paycheck, rob you of a pay raise, humiliate you in front of other employees and rig your termination to their advantage while getting the company sales a day before getting wrongfully terminated, they have you right where they want you and “shorted.” This should inspire anyone to have the “side hustle millionaire” mindset and only use their day job as a “bridge job,” with the positive intention on quitting their day job to be a future [side hustle millionaire].


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