Why Coaching And Taxes Make Good Side Gigs


Show Notes

What characteristics make a good side gig? How do you strike a balance between your day job and your side project? How much is enough?

  • (00:00) - Japanese curry
  • (03:31) - Flexibility
  • (07:32) - Remote work
  • (10:27) - Choose how many clients to take on
  • (13:21) - Low barriers to entry
  • (16:56) - Keeping it intentionally small
  • (20:55) - Low capital investment
  • (25:00) - Skills for your primary career
  • (27:29) - Try it out!


[00:00:00] Steve: So, Tyler, when I am home and it's just me, or just me and the kids, I have a hard time cooking a fancy meal because my kids may or may not eat it. And if it's just me, I'm like, well, I could just put a hot pocket in the microwave.

You know? Do you have this problem?

[00:00:18] Tyler: Uh, Yes, but the problem isn't that it's hard for me to cook a fancy meal. The problem is it's hard for me to like feed myself at all,

[00:00:28] Steve: Oh,

[00:00:29] Tyler: even with basic, like a rice and oatmeal or something like. Yeah, it's, this is actually definitely a weakness of mine and it's something that I relate to with a lot of my clients, right?

Cuz food in general is a big area of overspending for like everybody that I've ever talked to. And part of that I think comes down to this exact reason. And so I'm a bachelor. I live alone. Mm. It's real easy to just get some takeout or grab something from a restaurant on the way home from work or from wherever I'm at, because that's just mentally easier than like boiling some rice, I guess.

However, I will say I just had a breakthrough in this area. A friend of mine introduced me to the concept of Japanese curry roux, which is basically like a soup uh, curry mix that comes in like a cube that you melt into some ingredients. So you stir fry basically. So like you stir up, stir fry up some meat, some vegetables, you put in the curry roux and bam, you've got curry. You just put it over some rice. It's so easy.

[00:01:33] Steve: I I, I think I know what you're talking about cuz we have the, it's called like Vermont Curry or something. The,

[00:01:40] Tyler: There are a number, a few brands. Yeah. Yeah,

[00:01:43] Steve: But yeah, we buy that a lot because my father-in-law has a, a good recipe for that. That's what we use. It's very convenient. It tastes good too,

[00:01:53] Tyler: yeah. It's, it's basically like, as convenient as Top Ramen. Not quite, cause you have to cook some vegetables, I guess, but like, but like elevated, you know. Anyway,

[00:02:02] Steve: but you could just like open a bag of frozen vegetables and dump 'em in, you know, had to.

[00:02:08] Tyler: you are so right

[00:02:11] Steve: I have come around

[00:02:12] Tyler: life, my life has changed again. It's gonna be even easier now.

[00:02:16] Steve: like I used to think Frozen. I mean that's for like peas and carrots, but broccoli actually is very nice cuz you don't have to chop anything. You just throw it in the boiling water and boil it for five minutes and that's it. Then it's cooked. You're done.

[00:02:32] Tyler: I love that. I sense in our future, an entire episode about food and how it connects to money and time and stress and willpower. I don't know. It could

[00:02:45] Steve: You know, actually one of the ideas on our calendar right now I want to talk about that in there, so I Yes, we will get to that. I'm quite sure of it.

[00:02:54] Tyler: And in the meantime, hopefully neither of us starve.

[00:02:58] Steve: Yes, the kids will be fed, even if it's french fries and chicken nuggets in the air fryer.

[00:03:03] Tyler: Cool.

[00:03:04] Steve: Hello, dear listener, I am Steve.

[00:03:14] Tyler: And I'm Tyler, and this is, It's Not About the Money, where we discuss a wide range of topics related to creating and running small businesses.

[00:03:22] Steve: Tyler and I are small business owners ourselves, and we are just trying to make sense of the world, one podcast at a time.

[00:03:31] Tyler: And today we are talking specifically about the businesses that we each started and why they work for us and why we think they are great as side jobs for someone who has a full-time job.

[00:03:46] Steve: This is a very interesting topic because a lot of the clients that I have are also solopreneurs. They have, they might have a W2 job, which honestly I think is kind of like a superpower if you want to start a business, because you've got a big block of income that's coming in, that's how you fund your business for a while, or it can be if you want it to.

[00:04:07] Tyler: Yeah. Or in my case my current aspirations, I guess, or or plans for my business are to keep it as a side job and really continue to pour in focus into my full-time career. Cause that's something that's really important to me. And that's why I'm passionate about this topic and this episode is because I want to have a business, but I also want to excel at my day job and my career. And so I think it took me a long time to find a business model that I felt I could really pour myself into without sacrificing the time and energy that I need to put into my career, if that makes sense.

[00:04:48] Steve: It does. Yeah. I'm glad you have found that. So I'm excited to hear what you feel like are the, the reasons that your business works well as a side gig. And I'll chime in with mine as well. I think a lot of them will overlap. So shall we do it?

[00:05:05] Tyler: I, yeah, I bet they do have a lot in common. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

So the first one for me is the flexibility. Well, first, let me state what my business is. I am a coach. So that means I spend time one-on-one with people in person, or virtually though I'm choosing to go the virtual route. Listening to them and helping them resolve is issues in their personal finances basically.

And so this comes with a huge degree of flexibility when it comes to time spec-- you know, I can choose my own hours. So flexible hours is, is the first reason this has been a great business for what I'm trying to accomplish with my career.

[00:05:44] Steve: Indeed that is also the case for me. Although it's a little different because the bulk of my work is not in real time with the client. It's, it's you know, whenever I want to do it. Nights, weekends, of, you know, filling out the tax returns or running the financials or cleaning up the books, all that kinda stuff.

And then I do have real-time calls with clients, whether that's the intake call or we're going over their tax return when it's all done, getting signatures that kind of, those, those things are sometimes in real time, although often they're asynchronous as well. But anyway, flexible hours. Yes, because I can, aside from when I need to talk to the client in real time, everything else can be done whenever I can fit it around the rest of my life.

[00:06:37] Tyler: Yeah, that's really nice. That's really nice. Yeah. So for me, since I've got a full-time job, I guess it's not uh, coaching because of the live nature of it isn't completely flexible. Like I need to meet with people when they can meet with me that also lines up with my work schedule, right? So sometimes that means.

Right. Well, no.

[00:06:59] Steve: Unless they're in Singapore.

[00:07:01] Tyler: right, and then I, I couldn't do it. Yeah, I'd be asleep. I'd be useless. I'd be useless at that point. But so yeah, what that tends to mean is that I'm meeting people in the early evening slash late afternoon and I'm not really, I'm not willing to work on weekends at this point.

I don't. So I don't do that either. So it's pretty, it's very limited. I've got about four hours in my work week or like my week I should say that I've set aside for this. And that's been enough so far. It's amazing.

[00:07:31] Steve: There you go. Do you work remotely? Your, your primary job?

[00:07:36] Tyler: I do, yes.

[00:07:37] Steve: I do as well. And I think that is very helpful

[00:07:41] Tyler: absolutely.

[00:07:42] Steve: uh, in that my job is more results oriented. Like I do need to be online in, you know, core business hours kind of things to be a, be available for my colleagues, but, If the work is getting done, then it doesn't super matter when it gets done for the day job.

So anyway, that gives me a lot of flexibility as well.

[00:08:06] Tyler: Yeah, no, that makes sense. I, I, I don't know if I could do this if I were not working remotely because the time that I have available to meet with my clients is typically when I would be commuting, you know, if I, if I was still going into the office. Right? It's kind of that perfect time slot for that. Another thing is the nature of my specific job is, so I'm a manager of people and I've got an international team that's distributed throughout the world, which means I also have an element of flex built into my schedule at work, right?

Sometimes I need to be available in my evenings to meet with my team members who are in Asian timezones, and sometimes I need to be available earlier in the morning to meet with people in Europe. And then of course I am available in the day to meet with the people in the, in, you know, the United States and, and near to me time-wise.

And so I'm, I, I really love that element of my job, the international nature of it and kind of you know, and the, I'd say flexibility that comes with that as well. It's pretty cool.

[00:09:06] Steve: Very nice.

[00:09:07] Tyler: And, and, you know, it's not just the time that I spend with clients uh, The flexibility comes in handy for, but I feel that coaching is a great business model in that it's rel-- it's relatively, or it can be, right? Cause there's multiple ways you could approach this. Like, I'm sitting here saying like, oh, I want this to be a part-time thing. I set aside four hours a week. There's gonna be plenty of people listening to this. They're like, no, no, no. I wanna quit my day job. I wanna build my coaching empire. Or, you know, my course, online courses. And I, and that's awesome. You know, I support that. That's just not what I'm trying to do.

So, but this is our podcast, I guess, when we're talking about why this works for us, and that's a big reason that it works for me is I, you know uh, it's also, you know, coaching, I would say you are trading time for money. So it's not scalable in the way that a technology product or like a digital content product would be, but it is high margin for what it is.

You know, you're, you're trading your time for good money. I would say, and so you're able to work relatively little for the revenue that you get in terms of hours, right? I'm not counting all of the personal development that, that we do in terms of like reading and bettering ourselves and thinking about how to help our clients and all this stuff.

Right? But, but in terms of like actual, like spending time with clients, you, you can, you know four hours a week is enough to meet my goals currently, is what I'm trying to say.

[00:10:27] Steve: There you go. But that's a good lead in into the next point that I wanted to mention, which is we can have control over the size of our client base. So if you want to grow it into a big coaching practice, you can do that, little by little, and you have the flexibility to do that. And you could say, I've got enough clients now that I'm gonna start working on the weekends or, or whatever, or not, and that's totally in your control.

And that, that is also true on the tax side for me. Where I get, I get to decide how aggressive do I want my marketing campaigns to be? How, how many clients am I bringing in the door? How many do I want to actually take on? That's all within my control.

[00:11:09] Tyler: Yeah, I love that about, about coaching as well, and there's some really interesting elements that come into play because this introduces an element of scarcity, right? So you could choose if you wanted to, to, to have like a waiting list, like if you were full or you know, when you're talking to prospects, you know, say like, you know, I've only got one open slot right now. And you know, it's not to pressure you or anything, but just so that you're aware.

And that, you know, that's scar-- scarcity is an important part psychologically for people choosing to buy things also. So, yeah, I, I, I, I really like, I like that element of it as well.

You uh, Mark Butler, the person that I always quote because he's like my virtual mentor, I guess at this point. He does, he has no idea who I am, but I listen to his podcasts and things. He talks about the concept of inventory, which is exactly what we're talking about, right? How many clients do you wanna work with? And what I love about what he says about this is basically a lot of people who start small businesses stress because they don't know what is enough. Right? They might be doing quite well. They might have a decent number of clients, some good revenue, but they don't feel successful because they aren't, you know, they, they want more or they, they don't feel like it's enough.

And so part of controlling, having complete control over the size of your client base is that you get to decide what is enough. Let's say, like in my case, if I set aside four hours per week to coach and those four hours are full, then I can just be content with the fact that I am having, my business is extremely successful right now because I am fully booked. Right? And I know that's a little bit of a psychological trick on ourselves, but I think being happy with your business is important or else you'll quit eventually.

And that's a, that's a great side effect of, of controlling your client base.

[00:13:01] Steve: Interesting. I like that idea. And I think that's an important thing to do just for your own contentment in life is, is to be able to say like, how much is enough? When can I hop off the hamster wheel here and just be happy with what I've got?

[00:13:18] Tyler: Yep.

[00:13:20] Steve: I like that.

[00:13:21] Tyler: So I'll just mention another thing that made coaching a great fit for me as, as a business to start, which is that the barrier to entry is basically non-existent. Although you can get certified as a coach if you want to, and I did. You don't have to. There's nothing stopping you. It's not a regulated industry or anything. There's nothing stopping you from calling yourself a coach, putting up a website, you know, and, and going for it. So that, that's quite convenient.

[00:13:49] Steve: That is nice

[00:13:50] Tyler: And I don't think you can say the same about what you are doing because I know you put quite a bit of time upfront into becoming qualified to do tax preparation right.

[00:14:00] Steve: I did. That's true. But I'll caveat that with, it's not as, It's difficult to become an Enrolled Agent as it is to become a Certified Public Accountant. And so that worked in my favor. So with tax preparation technically you can, anybody can hang out their shingle and say, I prepare taxes. You don't need a credential to do that.

[00:14:30] Tyler: I did not know that

[00:14:31] Steve: Um, I, I would be wary about trusting anyone who doesn't have some kind of a credential, even if it's just the Annual Filing Season Program kind of thing.

But what I did required studying for an IRS exam, three exams that the IRS administers, that covers personal taxes and business taxes, and interacting with the IRS, what their processes are. Those are the three topics of the exams.

And that took most of a year for me to study for and then take those exams and pass them. And that's pretty much it to become an enrolled agent. Well, "pretty much". That was a lot of work. But it, I was something that I was able to do on the side while still having a normal nine to five job as opposed to a Certified Public Accountant, you need a master's degree in accounting and you have to have worked under a CPA for at least a year, and then you have to pass the CPA exam. That's a, a lot higher of a bar, to clear, and was not something that I was interested in pursuing at this time just because that would require taking time off from the higher paying job that I currently have.

[00:15:53] Tyler: Right.

[00:15:54] Steve: to go to school and then work under CPA for a while,

[00:15:59] Tyler: So it sounds like you looked at the lay of the land, figured out what was required and even some of what was optional and kind of chose the, the optimized path to get where you wanted, which is like, you want to be preparing people's taxes, you wanna be helping people file the, file their taxes and make decisions about their business finances in a legitimate way.

And, and you took the optimal path for what you wanted to accomplish, it sounds like.

[00:16:25] Steve: That's right, and so I have a credential for it, but I didn't get more than I needed. I mean, CPA is a great credential to have, don't get me wrong. Like that's, that's very well recognized. I, being an Enrolled Agent, I always have to kind of explain what is an Enrolled Agent to people. And so that's kind of a disadvantage of it.

But anyway, it is a good a good one to have and it was not too difficult to get while still working a full-time job.

[00:16:56] Tyler: So that was a condition for you, was like you wanted you, you didn't want to interrupt your career to do this. You wanted to be able to do it in, in addition.

[00:17:02] Steve: right. And partly because as you described, I want to have a business, but I don't necessarily want that to be the full-time thing yet. It may be in the future, but for now, I want to be able to do both still. And this was a way of, of doing both.

[00:17:23] Tyler: Yeah. And I wonder, you know, how common that is? I, I don't know. I, I, I think about people that I know in real life who have aspirations to start a business or who have started businesses and they. I don't know. I, it seems like among people who want to do it, but haven't done it, I hear a lot of, oh yeah, I wanna quit my full-time job.

I want this to be my full-time thing. But they haven't really taken many steps towards making that happen yet.

[00:17:51] Steve: Hmm.

[00:17:51] Tyler: But as I think about people that I know, and sorry, this is a very unscientific and statistically insignificant like mental, exercises I'm doing right now. But, but no, like we all know real people who, you know are in our lives who talk about this kind of stuff.

I think actually more people than not are doing their business on top of their full-time job in my personal circles. Although I definitely know some who, who quit and started their own business, and that's awesome. They, you know, they, I guess they had the financial runway to do that, kind of fund it for a year and see if it works. Um, so I guess an element, there's an element, you know, in here of risk, right? I don't think you or I are necessarily big risk takers. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but Mm.

[00:18:35] Steve: I agree with that. Yeah, that's, that's a big part of why I went this route because I've got a wife and four kids and we need to keep the roof over their heads. I can't just turn off the income stream for a couple of years to to try something out.

[00:18:54] Tyler: Oh,

[00:18:54] Steve: so, so this business works really well for that for me.

[00:18:58] Tyler: You're, you're causing me to do some soul searching right now, actually. Like I, you know cuz you're like, yeah, I could go full-time someday. Like, I don't, I I genuinely don't know if I would want to coach full-time. I mean, I. Maybe in retirement, cuz then it would be awesome. It's just like this job that I love that's not full-time that, you know, brings in some extra money.

Like that sounds awesome to me

[00:19:17] Steve: but

[00:19:17] Tyler: But uh,

at least right now, I'm really fortunate in my career to be in a career that, that first of all, I got into based on what I studied in my education, which I don't know, seems kind of rare maybe that I've just, you know, and I've built a network over the years and I have connections and I really you know, You know, I'm, well, I, I try, I'd like to think I'm pretty good at it, or at least I try to be.

And, and it's like, it brings a lot of satisfaction. And I dunno if we've talked about this concept before, but the, the cost to me in terms of like, time, stress, energy, who my boss is, et cetera, relative to the income that it provides is, is in a good place, right? So I'm not like, uncomfortable or trying to get out of it.

It's like a great situation, which I, I realize is not something that everyone can say. I feel really, really lucky in that regard. So, yeah, I don't know. I don't know if I would wanna go full-time with coaching, but, you know, I guess if people started like throwing money at me in a way that I could definitely replace or, or exceed my current income, I'd think about it.

But I have a hard time imagining that at this point.

[00:20:22] Steve: Well there you go. I mean, that's, that's a great thing to think about and I don't think there's anything wrong with just, you want it to have a small coaching practice on the side. That's fine.

[00:20:33] Tyler: I know, but it's easy to get caught up in like the, you know, the hustle. I, I don't know, there's a lot of people out there that, that would not agree with that, you know, so,

[00:20:41] Steve: right, and I think that comes back to the contentment idea of this is, this is, this is enough for you. You really like your career and you also like this business. And having both of them at this level is enough,


[00:20:53] Tyler: Yeah.

[00:20:54] Steve: that's okay. Yeah.

[00:20:55] Tyler: So what else about tax preparation and or coaching business models make them great for people who wanna have a full-time job and do something on the side.

[00:21:05] Steve: Low capital costs is probably one, like the, the amount of money needed to start the business is relatively small for me. It was on the order of less than $10,000, kinda in that neighborhood, which,

[00:21:22] Tyler: And what does that include?

[00:21:25] Steve: uh, that was the exams and the study materials for them.

And then setting up the legal entities, registering with the IRS, software purchases. Then all of the, all of the other things that you would need to run any sort of a business, website, email what else?

[00:21:47] Tyler: So basically Okay. Yeah, that, that's good. That's that's not too bad. I mean, the same, the same goes with coaching. I would say you don't really need any money to, I mean, maybe if you wanna have a website, you know, 20 bucks a month or something would be, but you know, really you just need, if you're gonna be doing virtual, like a, a Zoom account or like a Google Meet account and a Rolodex, people to call, I guess.

I spent a little bit more than that. I also, you know, registered my business. It wasn't expensive. I got a certification, which was $500 and a couple months of my time. What else? And then just, yeah, the basic stuff that you mentioned as well. Website, little bit.

Now I will say I spent a lot of money that I absolutely did not need to spend because I'm a, I, I'm a sucker for you know, let's see, I took a couple courses, right? So I took a course about SEO marketing. That was like 1500 bucks. Didn't need it. It was cool. I like, I enjoyed it, but you don't need to do that to start a business, if that makes sense. So, and a few other things, but yeah, definitely. I would say probably if I had to guess without going and looking at my records, I'd say I am maybe around 5,000 to get started, most much of which was optional. So,

[00:23:06] Steve: That's not too bad then.

[00:23:07] Tyler: Yeah. I mean,

[00:23:09] Steve: And I think there's, there's a lot of businesses like this where obviously if taxes do not interest you, then that is not super helpful directly as advice. But I think there are lots of businesses like this where you can, you can start it without much of an investment, especially if it's primarily a, a digital kind of a thing or a service provider business, chances are you can, you can start it with very little capital.

[00:23:37] Tyler: That's true. And I know, you know, even $5,000 or $10,000, that's gonna sound like a lot to a lot of people, you know, for Oh,

[00:23:45] Steve: Indeed. Yeah.

[00:23:46] Tyler: you know, so I don't wanna act like it's nothing. But like I said, a lot of that was, you know, if I could do it again, it would be less because of the experience that I have now.

Oh, I didn't need that. I didn't need that. You know, I was marketed to, I was sold things. Oh, you wanna be a successful business owner, do this. Ah, You know, did it accelerate my progress? Maybe. But at the end of the day, looking back, I'd say most of what I need has come from listening to podcasts, believe it or not.

You know, like Mark Butler's podcast and reading a book or two. And then just trial and error. So I don't know the, the point being you can spend as much as you want, but you don't have to. It can be very inexpensive to get into this kind of business.

[00:24:28] Steve: Yeah, at some point maybe we should do an episode of all of the mistakes we made starting the business so that you don't have to.

[00:24:38] Tyler: yeah.

[00:24:38] Steve: But, uh, also like part of it is just you have to experiment and you have to try things out, and you gotta figure it out for yourself, sort of what is gonna work for you.

And so maybe even if we can tell you all the mistakes that we made,

[00:24:52] Tyler: you'll make your

[00:24:52] Steve: you'll still have some that you've gotta figure out for yourself.

[00:24:56] Tyler: Yeah, for sure.

[00:24:57] Steve: So I don't know,

[00:25:00] Tyler: And can I say one other thing that I love about the, the coaching business that I'm in and why I think it, it's good for me as someone with a full-time job, it's that the thing that I'm doing in particular, which is coaching, helps me be better at my career anyway. So, like I said, I'm, I'm a manager. That's a big part of what I do is I, I work with people. And I have many opportunities to coach them, you know, if they're open to it and they're willing and, and, and sometimes may need it.

So the experiences that I'm having every week with my clients, it just like, I think it makes me a better communicator. It makes me a better negotiator, it makes me a better listener. It helps me mature in all these different ways that really just make me all around a better professional and help me in my work in my day job. So I just think that's a nice little cool benefit.

[00:25:50] Steve: Okay. I like that a lot. I will say for me, I have also seen some benefits, so as the business owner, it has given me a lot of empathy for the owner of the company where my day job is, because that's also a small company. And so being I can kind of imagine myself in his shoes of like, what are the kinds of decisions that he has to make especially as we're growing and he is expanding his role into much more management than he had prior to having a bunch of employees where he was doing it all himself like going through those kinds of transitions is, it's really interesting to watch with a little bit of perspective from, from my end. That's been super interesting.

[00:26:39] Tyler: I agree with that 100% and like there really is a shift I believe between an employee mentality and then maybe even like a, a management mentality and then an owner mentality, right? It's a totally different perspective and you think about different things and.

Like, even as a dumb question, like, Hey, should we throw a pizza party as a team? You're gonna get totally, wildly different. You know, the employees are gonna be like, yeah, of course. We're gonna have a pizza party, the manager's gonna be like, Ooh, how am I gonna justify this? Or whatever, you know, like they're like, I want, I wanna make my team happy. But the budget and then the owner may, you know, I don't know.

It depends on the, the owner, I guess, but, and the finances of the company, right? But they might be like, no, we gotta, we gotta save our money. Like we, you know, gotta have our whatever. Anyway, so Yeah. It's fascinating. It's fascinating.

[00:27:28] Steve: Yeah.

[00:27:29] Tyler: Anything else? What are any other thoughts on this topic?

[00:27:32] Steve: Hmm. I would say, I feel like I say this a lot, but if you have an idea that you're really interested in and you wanna try it out, try it out. Especially if it's something where you don't need a lot of capital costs, it's flexible, you have control over how much work comes in, how much time it will take you.

That could be a really good candidate for trying something out, and maybe you want to turn it into your full-time thing, or maybe you don't, and you can you won't know for sure until you try it out, so

[00:28:10] Tyler: Yeah, and as you listed off those things we talked about, I think we forgot the most important one, which is, I like coaching and you like preparing taxes, so don't torture yourself either. Yeah,

[00:28:22] Steve: Yeah. Having a creative outlet outside of your day job can also be really useful for a lot of people.

[00:28:33] Tyler: myself included.

[00:28:34] Steve: yeah, if you're feeling bored at work or you like it, but it's not scratching that itch of you wanna build something that's yours in the world or make a, make a bigger difference.

This can be a good way of doing that. And you can start small.

[00:28:52] Tyler: Yeah, absolutely.

Well, thanks Steve for sharing your thoughts on this. This is, like I said, this is a super important to topic to me and I, I, I'm excited to see how both of our thoughts on this continue to evolve as we get further along our journeys.

[00:29:06] Steve: Yeah, me too. This has been fun.

And hopefully you, our dear listener, have enjoyed it as well and found something that you can use.

[00:29:17] Tyler: Yeah, we hope so. Or else, you know, we're just having a good time here anyway.

[00:29:23] Steve: You can email us at hello@notaboutmoney.com with your complaints or your cool ideas or whatever you want.

[00:29:33] Tyler: That's right, and we'll see you on another episode of, It's Not About the Money.

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