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The Breakfast Club’s own DJ Envy shares his advice on how to set up your side hustle

On this episode of In The Know: Money with Marsai Martin, we delve into the “side hustle.” Breakfast Club host, music producer, and real estate investor, DJ Envy talks with Marsai Martin about how to maintain multiple streams of income while pursuing your dreams and passion projects.

Before weighing the pros and cons of a side hustle, Marsai and DJ Envy first define the concept. DJ Envy explains that side hustles give you a safety net in case something happens to your main stream of income. “Try to have as much income as possible coming from so many different places that if something does happen, you’re okay,” he explains.

For those interested in starting a side hustle, DJ Envy has one big piece of advice: Do your homework. “Make sure you know whatever business you want to do, you have to know,” he says.

He then shared an anecdote about when he launched a car wash business but only attended the car wash on Saturdays, when it was packed. This prevented him from knowing that on every other day, business was really slow. “So what wound up happening? I couldn’t pay the bills, I couldn’t pay the mortgage, I couldn’t pay anything because it was only one day that it was packed,” he explained. “So do your homework in the business and do your homework thoroughly and ask a lot of questions.”

Marsai then inquires about what the pros and cons of a side hustle are, assuming you’ve done your homework ahead of time!

“Side hustle usually means you can’t put your total effort into it,” DJ Envy admits. “It means you have a full-time whatever you’re doing and the side hustle is a little bit of what you’re doing. So I would say a con is you can’t really put that much energy and effort into your side hustle.”

But on the other side of a successful side hustle is the pro. “I think the pro is once you get it working, you don’t have to put as much effort in and hopefully it’ll keep bringing you revenue and bringing you profits,” says DJ Envy.

One form of a side hustle is real estate — or investment properties. Marsai opens up about how she just bought her first apartment and asks DJ Envy about real estate as a form of passive income.

“I love real estate because you can always get paid and you can use real estate to continue to get money,” he says.

He then lays out a scenario. “I purchased my first investment property in Detroit,” begins the DJ. “In Detroit at the time, properties were only $10,000. I bought that property for $10,000, I held it, and I wound up selling it for $180,000.”

With profit in hand from his first investment property, DJ Envy explains the next step he made.

“Then you buy a two-family house. Let’s say a two-family house is $200,000. Usually you have to put 10% down. 10% of $200,000 is $20,000. So that means you owe $180,000,” he explains. “You have to pay that off in 30 years. Paying it off in 30 years, your mortgage or your rent will be $2,000. You live on one floor, you rent out the top floor. The person that pays the rent on the top floor pays your mortgage, your taxes, and all your bills so now you’re living rent-free and you own a property,” he concludes. Sounds like a plan!

Finally, Marsai and DJ Envy touch on social media and how the digital world has influenced the side hustle.

DJ Envy admits that he thinks social media has made it easier to pursue side hustles. “You could do a viral video today and all of a sudden you’re an internet influencer and people are willing to pay you to promote their products,” he explains.

But the caveat is that authenticity is key. “But I think you have to be careful about what you do. You can’t do too much where people just know you’re doing it for a check,” he admits. “People have to understand and really realize you’re doing it because you have a love for it. It has to fit your brand and it has to be real because if not, people see right through it.”

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