(By John Greathouse for Forbes) – I have long argued that side hustles develop entrepreneurial muscle and can lead to significant and unforeseen outcomes. Thus, it’s not surprising I was drawn to Larry Morrow’s book, All Bets On Me.
Greathouse: Hey Larry. Nice job on your book – it’s inspirational and contains worthwhile advice for entrepreneurs of all ages.
Your book reminded me of a memorable conversation I had last year with Don Charlton, a good friend and Founder of JazzHR. Don grew up in the Projects in Pittsburgh and (he) was telling me that many of the successful side hustle platforms have their genesis in the African American community.
He said that jitney drivers have been doing an Uber thing in Pittsburgh for decades and the concept of Airbnb (renting out a spare room on a short-term basis) is nothing new in the black community. Interestingly, these side hustles were deemed illegal, until Silicon Valley “legitimized” them.
Larry Morrow: Right. I agree with that statement, after all, African Americans have always been great innovators and inventors. We are visionaries and many times visionaries are ahead of their time, but we have to remain resilient and be solution oriented, in spite of being a minority. We have to change the narrative, it’s our responsibility.
A hot topic right now is gentrification. Many say it’s a problem facing the black community and while I think it’s important to use your platform to bring awareness to those kind of issues, I think it’s just as important to use your platform to bring solutions.
Gentrification is an issue in New Orleans. For me as an investor, it’s definitely an opportunity. But for me as a young black entrepreneur, gentrification as an issue facing my community gave me the chance to be intentional about creating opportunities and investing in preserving our culture. I opened a black-owned restaurant, with a predominantly black staff that caters to a predominantly black audience – in a gentrified neighborhood. We have to intentionally preserve our culture and invest together.
Greathouse: I know you’re well known in the Big Easy and in the promotional world, but please tell my readers who Larry Morrow is and what you’ve done to perfect the side hustle.
Morrow: I’m not sure I’ve perfected anything, but I do hustle differently… so I define side hustles a little differently. For a while, you have to treat your side thing like your main thing… at least until it can run like a well-oiled machine and generate an income successfully without you.
Promoting was my side hustle, and to date, what began as a side hustle, (has) funded several legitimate ventures, (such as) concerts, events, Morrow’s Restaurant, All Bets On Me and several real estate development projects and created countless opportunities for others. Needless to say, I take opportunities seriously and that’s what side hustles are.
In New Orleans we have a word called lagniappe, it means “a little something extra.” Your side hustle is meant to give you leverage, a leg up over people who don’t go as hard as you do, it’s supposed to be your lagniappe.
Greathouse: Lagniappe. I like that. It seems everyone is looking “for a leg up,” yet many Millennials shun creative, out-of-the-mainstream side hustles.
Do you think this is due to a lack of motivation or is it because many young people’s view of side hustles doesn’t go beyond the established platform, like Uber, Air-bnb, etc.?
Morrow: Can I preface this part with one thing? I can’t tell you one side hustle that was easy! I’m extremely passionate, I believe that passion fuels purpose… so doing things wholeheartedly is important to me. If you’re not all in, you can’t expect to get the full benefits of an experience. (I’m) saying that because people often overlook the significance of a side hustle.
If having a side hustle was easy, everyone would have one. It takes a lot of energy to identify or create an additional income source but honestly, it’s becoming a norm that Millennials can definitely benefit from.
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