Case study: How a venture capitalist started earning money on the side
January 07th, 2010 - 56 Comments
Don’t tell me you’re too busy to earn money on the side.
Today, learn how Elizabeth Weil (formerly a venture capital associate, now at Twitter) turned her hobby of arts & crafts into a side income selling via Paperwheel.com and to premium clients. She has so much demand that she’s sold out of products — and this is her side job.
Elizabeth does high-end letterpress printing — basically super-premium custom stationery — like these:
Think back to yesterday’s framework on the 3 easiest ways to earn money. In Elizabeth’s case, since the letterpress stationery is hand-made custom for each client, this is a combination of freelancing and productization.
In this 25-minute interview, you’ll learn:
- How she managed to make more doing letterpress than working at her venture-capital job!
- How she rapidly tested her idea
- Where she invested — and where she cut corners (and still does, to this day)
- The systems she’s built to scale her work
- How she manages time/productivity while working fulltime at Twitter
Listen to the interview here
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- 0:29: How do you earn money on the side?
- 1:44: What do you for your fulltime job?
- 2:42: WTF is letterpress and how’d you get interested?
- 4:02: I make fun of artists
- 4:18: How did you take your interest and turn it into extra income?
- 5:30: What was the FIRST thing you did to get started?
- 6:50: What investments did you make in yourself?
- 6:57: (Rapid testing) Spending $200 or $500 on courses doesn’t come naturally to many people. How’d you decide to do that? How did investing in courses help you?
- 8:53: What barriers did you come across?
- 9:58: Crushing barriers: Nervous about delivering to your first customers. How’d you get over that?
- 12:26: How did you find your first paying customer?
- 14:04: First order of $250 sounds like a lot. Is that average? (Notice how Elizabeth understands her business in terms of the different kinds of costs. This takes a long time to get. You don’t need to understand it all from day 1.)
- 14:42: Freelancing + productization, and how to simultaneously sell products and services.
- 15:14: She’s sold out on Etsy!
- 16:32: How she systematized her side income as she grew.
- 18:56: How long did it take her to set up a website? (Notice her answer — 4 years! And she’s still doing incredibly well.) This is where people waste so much time earning money. I’ll cover more of prioritization and productivity soon.)
- 20:14: Let’s talk numbers. How she made more doing this side job than working at her venture-capital salary.
Time management with a full-time job
- 21:10: How do you do this while holding down a busy full-time job?
- 21:57: Did you tell your boss you have a side job?
- 23:00: How do you think about a side income? Fun money? The multiplicative effects of staying busy + earning money.
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Make More Money
Get advanced strategies to earn more: You’ll find more case studies — including someone who turned down over $100,000 of side income — plus an MP3 download of this interview with Elizabeth. And lots more unannounced techniques to help you earn more – just join my private Earn1K insider’s list below:
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