The Art of the Hustle: Erik Dryer
“Until you learn to celebrate things big and small, none of this is worth it,” says moonlighter and Goodshuffle co-founder Erik Dreyer.
Goodshuffle connects local companies and individuals to an online marketplace, where they can book all their event rental needs, from tables and chairs to tents and coolers, in one place.
32-year-old Dreyer has been working on his side business for 2.5 years and just recently left his day job to work on his side business full-time.
“No one knows your company (or idea) better than you do, so stay true to who you are and what you are working for,” assures Dreyer. “Listen to the people you trust and remember to have fun. And I can’t stress enough how much none of this is worth it unless you learn to celebrate things both big and small.”
For the moonlighters ready to go full-time, Erik shares this advice:
What are the benefits, in your opinion, of moonlighting?
Really, what you’re doing while moonlighting is taking the first step in understanding how you stack up as a small business owner.
If you can’t handle the stress and commitment to work on your business part-time in addition to a full-time job, then there’s no reason to believe you’ll be able to make it work when you have a whole company’s worth of responsibility on your shoulders. It’s easily 2x a full-time job to make a company successful.
Unless you have a large cash reserve built up, or a client willing to pay upfront for the beta version of your product, moonlighting offers you the ability to explore product market fit from the relative comfort of a steady paycheck.
If you’re fortunate your day-time job will overlap to some degree with your moonlighting gig and the lessons you learn from one will directly apply to the other.
Often times the challenges faced at night directly translate into solutions for a client the next day. And vice versa. The draw back? It’s taxing on both your mind and your relationships.
How did you make the decision to work on your startup full-time?
There is no magic data point you can routinely point to that will tell you when to quit your day job. It’s going to be a unique combination of excitement, traction, money, stress, adrenaline, and foolishness that will push you over the edge.
For Goodshuffle, we saw what we believed to be an advantageous intersection between market opportunity and on-hand skills.
What was that first week like of working on your passion full-time?
Joyous, daunting, and blissfully ignorant.
What have been the advantages of working on your business full-time?
Starting a company requires 100% dedication and focus. Going full-time, when you feel that you’ve reached product market fit, is a necessary step in achieving that level of attention.
That depends on how you look at being an entrepreneur and starting your own business.
We live in a very fortunate time and place to be able to risk everything on starting a business. We’re not doing it out of desperation. We’re not doing it as a fight or flight response. We have the luxury of being an entrepreneur.
I think it’s an absolute privilege, so no, there are no disadvantages.
Photography by Leah Beilhart