“Don’t get bogged down in planning the business. Just find something you like doing and roll with it. It’s your business; it’s not like you can get fired!” ~ Matt Coughlin
Day Job: Project Manager, Blake Landscapes, Inc. Leesburg, VA
Side Business: EMG Wildlife Management
Monthly Revenue: $500-$1000
1. Tell us about your business.
My business is a natural resource management company, but I seem to have found a niche in removing dead deer from Northern Virginia properties. I serve local governments, property management companies, business owners and residential properties.
2.What motivated you to start your business?
It started with a post I wrote as joke on my blog www.brightideablog.com. I wrote a post about a company in Maryland that would remove a deer from a yard for $350. I closed the post with the line “I’ve got news for you, I would do it cheaper.”
More than a year later, I got a call from a homeowner in Great Falls, VA who had a dead deer in his yard and 4th of July party coming up. I agreed to remove the deer for $200.
Later that same year, I lost my job as VP for a landscape company. I immediately went to work for myself doing consulting in many forms. The dead deer removal business continued to grow as part of my multi-faceted company, which I named Evergreen Mill Group, LLC.
Later, I was offered my current job and couldn’t refuse. But the dead deer just kept rolling in and I couldn’t say no to the extra money.
3. What steps did you take to get started?
To get started, I went and talked to an accountant then started an LLC using LegalZoom. I also called a lot of people, told them about my situation and what I could do for them.
4. Tell us about an action you took to help your business grow.
Blogging and being part of an online community are what has helped my business grow most. Stick with it!
I blogged for three years before this revenue stream started flowing.
5. Name three tools-free or paid- that are vital to your business.
6. What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge for me is the fact that I’m an educated person who hangs out with other educated people, and it’s hard to tell them I pick up dead deer for money!
I finally just had to accept that I’m a different cat and decided that if I just be myself others will accept that too.
7. Share your greatest business success.
The greatest success of my side business was winning a contract with the Town of Vienna, VA to pick up dead deer on town property.
8. What is your ultimate business goal ?
That’s a good question. I’m torn between going into wildlife management full time and keeping the great full time job and side hustle I already have. My main goal right now is to save all the money I earn from the side gig for the rest of this year and see what I can do with it next year.
9. How do you balance your job, business and family life?
It all just seems to work out. I work for an extremely family friendly company and between that job and my side business I still find time to coach baseball (typically two teams per season, spring and fall) and do a lot of other fun stuff with my kids.
10. What advice would you give to someone just starting their side hustle?
Nobody is entitled to anything. Nobody owes you anything, and you can’t depend on anyone to help you. That’s the cold hard truth.
But on a lighter note:
Don’t get bogged down in planning the business. Just find something you like doing and roll with it. It’s your business; it’s not like you can get fired!