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How To Start A Side Business Even If You Work Full Time In A Phone Shop

I’m writing this sitting 40,000 feet in the air flying over the Heart of Africa headed back to the UK after an amazing trip to the Future Of Learning Conference in Johannesburg South Africa. Thanks to the fantastic organisers for providing me the opportunity.

I was asked to present the Keynote speech to educators and various thought leader in the education space from within the region. All I can say it that I was a mind blowing experience. Sharing my inner thoughts and story with hundreds of captive people was a truly humbling experience. You can read more about it here…

During this trip I had many amazing conversations with amazing individuals however one experience really stood out for me and I wanted to share the lesson that I took away from it.

Starring Opportunity in the face and doing nothing about it

From the minute I landed in South Africa, I must say I could feel the tension in the air. It’s weird, as an African who grew up and spent 18 years of his life living on the continent, I must admit I felt like a fish out of water. Naturally, I had been on youtube looking for tips on how to drive and stay safe in SA (and here’s an opportunity for someone to make some money sharing a few tips on this subject matter. The videos I found were all from visiting foreigners. I was looking for local content to ease my mind a little).

Anyway, I digress. Unfortunately, during my research, I bumped into all the videos of robberies and hijackings that happened once in a while in certain parts of SA, and I must admit this had me worried. And to compound on this, the immigration officer who served me on that day was very interesting.

After feeling offended because I placed my passport on the counter and not in his hand, he went on to school me on having good manners. All I can say is the outcome was semi-pleasant, he eventually stopped, we shook hands and I went on to grab my bags and head out to the arrivals area.

Meet Dennis The Phone Shop Guy

Now the first thing I needed was a local sim card that would allow me to get some data and use my phone as a GPS. After waiting in the queue for a short while, I was next. The dude behind the counter was a cool cat probably in his early to mid-20s, possibly 100% South African with the local accent to go with it. I don’t recall asking him for his name, so for the sake of this story let’s call him Dennis.

He came across as the cool guy you want to know when you move into a dodgy neighbourhood and you need someone to give you the inside scoop on local happenings and keep you away from trouble. His character brought a nice vibe to the small glass fronted shop just outside the arrivals area. He somehow managed to find a way to help each and every customer whilst cracking jokes at the same time.

He sold me the offer of the day, which I accepted and whilst I waited for the line to activate on my phone, I couldn’t help but engage in conversation with the dude. I confessed that I was feeling a little tense and worried about the whole scene in South Africa with Xenophobia, hijackings etc. Acknowledging the tenseness in my voice, he went on to share a few tips (that only a local could share).

The Value Is In Sharing Local Knowledge

With every tip shared each of my concerns were gradually thrown out of the window.

I was like dude,”how many foreigners(new arrivals) are in you in contact with every day”? To which he answered,” A span (slang for a lot)”. I interrogated further, “and have you ever been asked the same question I am asking you right now”? To which the answer was, “yes, a lot of the questions are along the same lines”.

Have you ever thought about finding a way to share some of the most commonly asked questions in the form of a printed write-up or a little blog or something? And everytime someone starts asking you questions along the line I am asking, you simply direct them to your blog website or pull out a little printed ‘SA streetwise Trips by Dennis’ or something”, I commented.

He looked at me with a grin on his face and said, “youse a clever dude, aren’t you? That could work”. By that point, my line was connected and I had to shoot to pick up my hire car. That conversation with him just left me thinking, how many folks out there are starring opportunity in the face every day and not taking advantage of it?

3 things you need to start making money even if you have a full-time job

Let me break it down and give step by step pointers on how my dude Dennis could be making extra income whilst entertaining customers at the airport phone shop.

Before he starts making money he needs the 3 things below going for him.

  • Solve a problem & provide value

    The best way to provide value in any industry whether online or offline is to solve a problem. In the story above the value Dennis is providing is just in time local knowledge. This is information that is probably worth very little to him but to me the concerned foreigner it’s like gold dust.

  • Credibility and Trust

    To succeed in any industry you need to have credibility. I need to trust that you will do what you say you will do. You can be trustworthy because I’ve known you for a while and you always come through, or I could trust you because you are leveraging a mutual friend’s trust. It doesn’t matter which way it is I’ll still trust you to some degree.

    Dennis works in a phone shop owned by one of the largest telecom companies in the whole of South Africa, as a result, he comes with a lot of credibility and trust. Think about it, I’ve just arrived in the country, I’m travelling solo and have no local friends to look out for me on arrival, he’s the funny, happy guy working for a credible brand, why would I not trust him?

  • Traffic, potential customers

    Once you have something to sell (value of whatever kind), you need someone to sell it to.
    Dennis is located in a high footfall area where thousands of foreign visitors arrive on flights from all over the world every few minutes.

    The majority of them pass right by his shop, and as mentioned earlier the phone shop seemed to always have a queue standing outside. To add to this, because of his vibrant character most customers naturally gravitated to his counter. Basically Dennis as an endless supply of potential customers for his information pack or blog website. And the best thing about it is it’s free.

So how can I start making money?

Before Dennis can start making money from the knowledge he has, he needs to package his “value”. He can do this in many ways.

I will share 4 ideas

  • Simply produce a small A5 paper size guide with the most frequently asked questions
  • A small PDF that he can email to anyone directly from his mobile phone
  • A blog website where he shares the most asked questions alongside supplementary stories that relate to the subject matter.
  • Offer and experiential offering where a few evenings a week he offers an immersive trip into the real South Africa with a group of 3-5 individuals. During the evenings out he can take his group on a street experience that includes dinner at a cool local restaurant, drinks and a vibrant location in the city etc

Now that he has packaged his value, Dennis is ready to start making some money.

Here are various ways he could monetise his project (make money)

  • Sponsorship
    Dennis could produce his little A5 booklet and sell a page or two to local sponsor companies. They could be car hire companies, experienced tour operators, local hotels and restaurants. The list is endless. His sales pitch would be, “ Hey, I have access to over 10,000 people, international visitors, each and every week. I can put your product in front of them at the right time when they’ve just arrived”.He could get paid a flat fee for adding the adverts in each print run or get paid every time a person he refers signup with the sponsor.
  • Sell advertising space on his Blog Website
    Dennis could do the same as above and sell advertising space on his website to local companies for a flat monthly fee, or for every person that clicks an advert pointing to the advertiser’s website.
  • Make money from Google AdSense
    Simply add Google AdSense code on his website and let google place advert placements on his local knowledge focused blog website.
  • Sell the pdf version of the A5 booklet (sent via email to the customer)
    Simply offer each customer he speaks to the booklets for a small price they are happy to pay.

All of the above options could be done at the same time to maximise income or one monetisation option could be implemented.

I hope that “Dennis” will somehow to visit the site (I did invite him), read this and implement it. Then come back and share how it’s gone with everyone.

To conclude, I know some of you are probably saying,” Why would anyone want to buy this information”? I’ll leave you with the grand old saying, “One man’s junk is another man’s gold”.

Let’s go out there and make some hay.

In the comment box below, let me know if you’ve ever been in a situation similar to the one above and didn’t appreciate the opportunity you were in.

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