Hello! Today, I have a great article from Brian Winch. Brian makes a living (it’s a $650,000+ per year business for him) by picking up trash. I’ve been hearing his story a lot recently, so when he asked to write for Making Sense of Cents, I, of course, said YES! Below is his story and advice.
The number one reason to work a side hustle is to make extra income on the side. Show me one person who wouldn’t like to boost their income! Besides the positive cash flow, by using your non-work hours more productively, here are some advantages of launching your own side hustle idea:
Creative outlet. You may be really successful within your career, but are you passionate about it? What do you do in your spare time as soon as you clock out at your job? Having a side hustle focused on your hobby can provide a positive outlet for your creative energy.
Freedom. When you are focused on your side hustle you are your own boss. Not only are you free from management but also in my case I am able to be physically free and not chained to a desk.
Income diversification. Losing a job can put the average person into a tailspin – especially if they don’t have a backup plan. In this unfortunate scenario your side hustle can be your backup plan for a while. Having multiple streams of income can also help in case of medical emergencies, if you decide to change jobs, or are faced with relocation.
Skill building. Entrepreneurs learn to wear many hats in their business. Without a dedicated HR, IT, Accounting, or Marketing Department you’ll come to realize that you must figure out how to do things you may have relied on others to manage in the past. Who knows- you may even be able to apply these new skills at your regular job.
Balance. Working a side hustle means you will be naturally more engaged and busy! Saying “No.” to obligatory invitations or extraneous requests will become second nature. We have to admit to ourselves that there’s a limit to how much we can do in a day, and when we do we allow ourselves to prioritize our life and focus on what’s most important- achieving a healthy balance.
Reaching financial goals. You may have your financial future mapped out through retirement. But wouldn’t you like to get there quicker? A side hustle helps you earn that extra cash to accelerate your financial progress.
There are an unlimited number of ways to make extra money on the side. My advice on selecting a side hustle idea is to take stock of what inspires you and makes you happy. Look for a light bulb moment. When my light bulb went off I pursued my side hustle idea and found financial freedom- and you can too!
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As Easy as Taking a Walk
In 1981 I was at a personal crossroads. Day in and day out I went to my unfulfilling full time job at a sporting goods store. I was miserable. I was uninspired. I was lacking motivation. Was this going to be my life? Something inside me yearned for more, but here I was with a high school diploma, a small savings account and plenty of bills to pay. What could I possibly do?
One day, inspiration hit as I recalled that my father used to make extra money on the side by cleaning up litter in a local shopping plaza. I had gone along with him a few times as a kid, and I remembered thinking how easy it was. It was literally a case of us walking around the property cleaning up litter before the stores opened the next day and getting paid for it. This was my light bulb moment.
My motivation started kicking in and I began to think about how I could successfully develop this side hustle idea. I began contacting property management companies and offered to clean their retail, office and warehouse properties on a daily basis. This was work I could accomplish before and after my full time job at the sporting goods store! As I began signing on more and more properties I realized I had a viable business on my hands. I was now feeling empowered!
After just two months of this side hustle adventure I was making more income than at my full time job. Can you guess what I did next? Yep- I quit my job, and Cleanlots was born.
Yes, you can actually get paid to walk.
Benefits of Owning a Parking Lot Litter Removal Business
Would most people describe my business as glamorous?
Probably not, but a litter removal job has many personal advantages – if you can see past the trash. How successful you become depends only on your work ethic, persistence and attitude. In the 35+ years I’ve been running Cleanlots I’ve enjoyed these many benefits:
It doesn’t interfere with a 9-5 job. You can continue to work at your primary job and make extra money on the side with litter clean up. Parking lot litter removal is done out of the sight of customers-which means late nights or early mornings. Personally, I enjoy working outdoors in the early morning of the day. Hearing the first song birds of the day, working in the cooler temperatures before the day heats up, early morning dew and observing occasional wildlife in those dawn hours. Often I’m offered morning coffee or a late night slice of pizza from clients who appreciate the work that I’m doing.
Routine. I find comfort in having a daily routine. I can go on autopilot but still accomplish the task at hand. Don’t think that means this job is boring. I always have interesting, sometimes funny stories to share of my cleaning adventures (see Bonus finds! below). It is also a great use of time to listen to music or your favorite podcast while you work.
Low-risk. When I decided to start my side hustle idea I only invested $200. When you think of the potential income, $200 is a worthwhile investment. There are no special skills or training involved. (Remember: I started this business with only a high school diploma!). You can grow your business as slow or as fast as you like. Eventually, I grew my business enough to recruit others to help me with the cleanup work. Now that $200 side hustle investment has turned into a $650,000+ per year business.
No hassles. Once I complete my work I have the rest of the day to do as I please. Self-employment means no time clock to punch. No traffic jams to stress out over. No boss to report to! If you can get to the point where you’re successful and can quit your regular job, I guarantee you will enjoy being your own boss and never look back. Self-employment is where I found my independence, freedom and empowerment.
Recession-proof. There is no shortage of work in this business. Are people littering less than 30 years ago? NO! People don’t tend to think litter is an issue unless they shop at a messy property. Smokers still toss their butts as they please. I’ve witnessed people empty out their vehicles in a parking lot even though a waste dumpster was nearby. It’s a shame! And property owners have a hard time keeping up. That’s where we step in! Live in a high growth area? Even better. Isn’t it amazing how many commercial properties with parking lots there are? Consider how many of these were built within the past ten years. All of these properties must be maintained litter-free on a regular basis.
Green industry. I have a great sense of pride and satisfaction knowing that my business is making for a cleaner, greener environment. Not everyone wants to clean up after people- I get it. More money for those of us that do! I enjoy making a noticeable impact in my community with this green service.
No expensive equipment to buy. When I first started I used the standard tools such as brooms, dustpans and litter grabber tools. You may even already have these in your household. A special litter scoop tool can be found at your local cleaning supplies store for less than $50. You’ll find what works best for you. I discovered a gem of a litter collection tool that allows me to sweep up nearly as fast as I can walk. Not only did it speed up my cleaning times but it can also pick up even the smallest litter materials resulting in increased efficiency.
Exercise. How many jobs can you name that will pay you to take a walk? When I first started out and was doing all the litter removal myself, I walked a few miles a day. Put on your pedometer or personal fitness tracker and see how many steps you take in a day! You are taking care of yourself as well as your customers and the environment.
Bonus finds! You would not believe some of the items I’ve come across during my litter removal adventures. In addition to typical litter (food wrappers, drink cups, cigarette butts), I sometimes find articles of clothing, cell phones, wallets and even money! I return any valuables that can be identified, however crumpled up bills are thrilling to encounter and go right in my pocket. Years ago I found a crumpled $2 bill on the ground, and I was even more surprised to discover a $100 bill wrapped inside of it. Another time I noticed a grimy roll of bills next to the waste dumpster as I went to empty my collecting bag. After taking it home and drying it out (it looked like it had been there for quite some time), I counted up all the bills – $600! Someone’s careless loss turned into my profitable gain.
Opportunity: Make Money by Taking a Walk
If you’re thinking that a parking lot litter removal side hustle might be right for you here are three steps you can take today to make extra money on the side.
You can charge $30 – $50 per hour. In fact, I know of people who are making an extra $20,000 – $40,000 a year on the side, simply by cleaning up litter.
First, take a drive. Just think of all the potential cleaning contracts you have in your community. Look at all the commercial properties in your area. Shopping plazas, office buildings, warehouse sites. All are potential contracts. Most property managers don’t want to do the “dirty job” themselves. But you do, and they’ll pay you handsomely to do it. Month after month. Year after year.
Second, create a list of contacts. I have found that Commercial Real Estate Management companies are your best source for business. They are contracted by property owners to manage and maintain their commercial properties. A management company typically has several properties in their portfolio. One good management company contact could turn into dozens of potential contracts.
Third, lean on me, Brian Winch. I developed a step-by-step guide on how to start and run a parking lot litter cleaning business. This is an operations manual that will help you set up, launch, and run your side hustle. I’m also dedicated to your success and am available by phone to talk you through any questions you may have.
I’m often asked, “If this business is so good, why share it with anyone?” The fact is this business is successful at the local level. I couldn’t operate in your city just as you couldn’t in mine. The truth is, I have nothing to lose by teaching you what I know and much more to gain by “letting” you in on my secrets – which will be to our mutual benefit. It becomes a win/win situation for the both of us!
No matter which side hustle idea you choose to pursue I implore you to get started today! Take those non-work hours and make them work for you! Enjoy all the creativity, diversification, balance, personal growth and financial freedom that a side hustle can provide. You won’t regret it.
How does picking up trash for extra money sound to you?