Season 1, Episode 2
Ever wondered what you could do with 500k+ followers? The Bachelor’s Derek Peth shares tips on influencer best practices and what makes a side hustle worthwhile.
Hosts: Laurel Road’s Alex Lawrence and Briarley Laban
Guests: Laurel Road’s Derek Peth (former contestant on The Bachelor)
Alex [00:00:00] Hey, this is Alex.
Briarley [00:00:01] And I’m Briarley. And you’re listening to financing ambition. A Laurel Road podcast.
Alex [00:00:06] Where we’ll talk about the financial decisions that you’ll face along the road of life with an eye to increasing your financial health and understanding. So today’s episode is all about side hustles and the gig economy. Side hustles, as we know, are a great way to add supplemental income, pay down your debt, indulge in a passion project or just make more money. I read an interesting article in Entrepreneur magazine recently on profit driven side hustles that could deliver at least a thousand dollars per month. Briarley, can you guess what the top three are?
Briarley [00:00:36] Oh, I would have to say selling anything online. Drop shipping or…Poshmark.
Alex [00:00:42] Pretty close. Number one is selling on eBay. Number two is recycling used smartphones. And number three, get this — becoming an influencer. I’m just kidding. That’s not actually on the list. But we have some insights on this enviable hustle. Joining us is our colleague here at Laurel Road. People tend to know him from the bachelor nation, Derek Peth. Here you are at you’re boring old day job at Laurel Road with us. Tell us a little bit more about your background getting here and then we’ll talk more about your side hustles, which I’m sure people are very interested to hear about.
Derek [00:01:13] Well, first of all, to my boss, I don’t think it’s boring here. I just think we work really hard and put in many long hours and we all deserve a raise.
Alex [00:01:22] Disclaimers, disclaimers.
Derek [00:01:25] I’ve always maintained a job in the financial industry. When I pivoted into this weird, you know, part of my life, I was working at a at a 9 to 5 sales job for for a bank down in Florida. I got a call in the middle of the day from some random number and I thought it was a prank call because they came in and it is this very L.A. voice that came on, said, hi, this is Kelly from The Bachelor. We just want to know if you’re still single. And in my brain, I was like thinking of the morning radio show that I’d heard that day, that has prank calls on it. And I just said, you can email me, and hung up the phone. And throughout most of my career, I’ve I’ve just kind of stuck my foot into any door that I could and then took that next opportunity. And I knew it was a one time thing that I couldn’t do again. So, yeah, but I still wanted to maintain this foundation. And thus here I am on the road with you guys.
Briarley [00:02:22] I know you’ve gone from banking to The Batchelor and then back to banking. They seem so unconventional and contrasting. Can you tell us a bit about how you made those decisions?
Derek [00:02:34] Totally. I think unconventional is right. You know, I actually had to quit my job that I had before to make that decision to go go on the show. There’s a lot of focus, I think, on like finding your passion and making sure that that’s what your job is. And I’ve always had this idea that there’s a multitude of sides to you. So to me, that was just a natural fit of my skills to be in a sales role at financial institution. But that doesn’t necessarily hit on some of my passions. And I think the creativity that goes along with being involved in something like a television show, I mean, that’s about as creative as you can get. I know you used the I-word there, Alex, before…Influencer.
Alex [00:03:16] I do apologize.
Derek [00:03:17] Not allowed to use that today.
Alex [00:03:20] Tell us, why do you not like the word influencer?
Derek [00:03:22] I think it’s not…It’s less about the reality of it…there’s a lot of marketing firms that use that word because it’s a very direct line towards what’s going on in the background of just the advertising that’s that it’s tied to. But for some reason, because I think it’s social media has been ingrained to be about a focus of who we are first. People just get really put off by the very pushy and honestly oftentimes poorly developed sales that, quote, influencers, I think, put in front of them.
Briarley [00:03:54] I totally agree with you, Derek. I think there can be a stigma around that word influence. But it is interesting. You know, it’s real. There is real power to social marketing. And I’m heavily influenced. Sorry to say that I am…by the people I follow on my Instagram feeds and from my peers. But I also am so intrigued by your contrasting life and how you balance that meaning. I’m a banker from 5:52 to going home in the putting on a different hat.
Derek [00:04:30] Thank you for making sure that was a good 10-hour day there. You know, to be honest, the very first opportunities became present after the very first show that I did, and I didn’t understand it at all. I actually had only gotten Instagram maybe like four months before that and had like three posts. Instagram is the primary vehicle that a lot of us, you know, drive on. And a lot of that has to do with Facebook being really intelligent about how they do. They upped their reporting on any of the information that then can be delivered to a business. And so like I just couldn’t make sense of it. And then I guess I started to understand more as I presented more of myself, people started responding and replying. And you get this sense that people almost feel like they know you. Once that kind of happened, I changed my mindset because I’d seen some of my friends. We started talking about how basically this was like free money. And especially when we talk about my best friend Wells, who is a genius at this stuff. He basically was saying they aren’t different from some other stupid thing I would find, you know, online, and talk to people about. So taking something that’s an advertisement and making it fun and enjoyable and just like connecting with people in a way that’s still, of course, like represents the brand or what have you. So I think the important thing to know is who you are and what makes sense with you. So there may be some very serious products. That’s not me. That’s not something I feel comfortable suggesting to people. So you have to believe in the product before you get involved. Because I think of my limited time. Right. Because I have I have this normal job to do, so on the weekend you might end up recording. And so because of that, like I have to pick the ones that that resonate the most with me. And also that are presented in a way that I can have fun with or enjoy. Yeah.
Alex [00:06:19] And that that sort of Segways into something that’s always interested me. And it’s really whether we treat our passions as jobs or we treat them as purely just a passion. I know for me I started to enjoy music more in many ways when I transitioned from being a professional singer to singing just more as a hobby. You know, these side houses that you’ve picked up, are they passions for you that you’d want to do full time?
Derek [00:06:43] That’s a really difficult question to answer and excellent. Hitting the hard hitting questions here, at Laurel Road. OK. So first things first. I feel the same way that if I’m not making my passions work, they’re more enjoyable, I guess. Yeah. There’s days when with my other podcast, it’s bachelor related or six hours of television in a week that we then have to discuss…that’s exhausting.
Alex [00:07:10] Yeah, that’s not fun.
Derek [00:07:11] I don’t need that much drama that’s reality based. You know, and then commentating on it. But there’s also then a lot of positives, right? For the most part, finding ways to, you know, say little jokes or find connecting points from this ridiculous show that I’ve been connected to. It becomes a creative outlet for me to. And in that sense, I can enjoy the creativity that goes into that. I could enjoy the difference. And it adds value.
Briarley [00:07:38] So one thing I really like about what you do, Derek, is that you’ve struck a really cool balance between having a creative outlet, but is actually making a material impact in your life. So can you tell us a bit more about kind of the recipe that someone could follow or the essence of a side hustle and what they should do to make it enjoyable but also meaningful?
Derek [00:07:59] I’ll tell you, I didn’t get there easily. But to your point, I do think I’ve kind of narrowed down the way that I think about assessing an opportunity. Right. And so first things first. Simplicity, because there’s a lot of things that can get extremely cumbersome and certainly maybe they’re really valuable. But personally, because this is a side gig, a side hustle, I don’t have the time to invest in something like that. So this is low lift. If I can be just based on my existing skill set, boom, it makes sense to me. First thing is simplicity. Second thing is looking at the returns. So if there’s really high returns, then maybe it does make sense to spend a week learning something new. In many cases, realistically I’ve priced myself out of a lot of things because I know that it’s not worth it for me to take the time unless someone’s going to go. Yeah. You know, we’re ready to make that kind of investment and lifetime value. Anything that’s in that higher range, too. By the way, there’s a recurring relationship. They want to do this on an ongoing basis. Yeah. Again, simplicity. Now we’re talking about returns. If it meets both of those, then how much time is it going to take? Because my time is very precious. I only have so much of it for my personal life. If this is going to take a part of that and B, my side gig, is this realistically going to just crowd out your entire life and then you’re going to end up with no enjoyment whatsoever? Right.
Alex [00:09:18] I think there’s a lot to the simplicity and returns aspect that ties into personal branding and branding yourself — the act of branding yourself. You’re finding out who you are and what you’re good at and what do you stand for. And out of that, you might discover the whitespace that nobody else is hitting on, that you can find a side hustle in. You know, for me, I have a strange talent being able to sing opera so I can go off and do that at parties and weddings.
Derek [00:09:46] Prove it.
Alex [00:09:46] I did last week. OK. It’s going to come back. But I really think that personal branding exercises are a wonderful way for people to tap into their strengths and get to those those points that you spoke about.
Derek [00:10:01] Yeah, you know what, I’ve never gone through an actual exercise. But, you know, I mean, it’s a great, great way to position this for somebody who wants to actually look for a long term business, because to be frank, there are lots of Fortune 500 companies who are looking into how they can invest money in this influencer world. You know, there’s a lot more funds and more opportunities for some of the like mid-level influencers that have suddenly popped up out of nowhere. You know, there’s just giant corporations that are bringing them large sums of money that used to go towards, you know, advertising on television or on radio. So what I like about what you just said is, you know, there are some exercises that people can go through. And if they want to create a brand that, you know, they think is gonna be a business opportunity, that’s gonna be a lot of time investment. It is not an easy lift. Believe you me, this only happened because I accidently ended up on a show.
Alex [00:10:52] Totally. So we’ve talked a lot about social marketing, personal branding. What are some tips you can give people? Just some short and easy tips around creating a great campaign or marketing one self or a product.
Derek [00:11:05] So a lot of this comes from brand guidance, typically. But you know, people do want to see smiling faces. They want to see bright content. So there’s a lot of like bright lights. Go look at ads on the street. That’s what they want to see in a representation on social. You know, like what’s what’s something that has been the most powerful with my podcast. It was skinny pop popcorn. So just jokingly, the very first time that we did some ad read instead of saying Skinny Pop, I read it like that song from In-Sync Dirty Pop. So like it’s “Skinny Pop”, it just some stupid little thing. And then the next week that I read it, I realized that the ad could be sung for whatever reason. The timing was all perfect. So it was just like, now it’s time for something sweet, salty and cheesy and I’d change it. And so I guess now I sing it. And so I go, now it’s time for something sweet, salty and cheesy. It’s a skinny pop moment for The Bachelor Week. And it took off like all of a sudden there were hundreds of people tagging us and me. They would just be at the store getting skinny pop tagging and Skinny pop came back. They were like, what did you guys so? All of a sudden, all of these people are just critics. Took some little thing like that. Right. So you don’t always know. But what I will say is people just want to have fun and have some fun. So. Right.
Alex [00:12:32] And I would know this pretty well. You can change the course of an advertisement or an evening altogether by bursting into song.
Briarley [00:12:39] Maybe we’ll get a duet one day.
Derek [00:12:41] Karaoke after this, guys. I’m done. Let’s go. Let’s hit the bar.
Alex [00:12:48] So, Brierly, obviously not everyone wants to be an influencer, right? This is not going to be a story that applies to everyone. And that’s OK. I mean, we ourselves are not aspiring to be influencers, although maybe some days it does seem appealing. Finding what makes you unique is a big takeaway here. Finding your whitespace, knowing what makes you uniquely you. And if that uniqueness can be matched to the market somewhere where someone’s not doing something that you can fill. I think that’s an amazing insight we learned here.
Briarley [00:13:18] I agree, Alex. And I think one of the other things that I took from the conversation is that you may not know what you’re differentiating factor is or what was a unique. However, what Derek did is he said yes to something. Right. And he has used this to create a platform to to be able to share his creativity and look where it’s taken him over the last few years. So saying yes to opportunities is one of the things that I took from this as well. And there’s huge things that can come from that totally.
Alex [00:13:54] And creative outlets in general, I mean, not everybody needs a creative outlet. But if you do, a side hustle can really be a perfect way to explore that creative outlet. And if you’re lucky enough, maybe you’ll strike that balance of high returns with something you love that is relatively simple and doesn’t interfere with your day job. So you get the time, the returns and the simplicity that Derek stressed are so important for making a side hustle Realistically work on your life.
Briarley [00:14:21] And the realities of the side, are very interesting as well. It’s a lot of work.
Alex [00:14:26] Yeah. Can’t be underestimated.
Briarley [00:14:28] We all work so hard. So if you can make it something that’s really fun or just something you’re really good at. I think it makes all the difference.
Alex [00:14:38] One hundred percent. So thank you. Brierly for another great episode. Thanks to our guest, Derek Peth, for a great conversation. We’re really looking forward to our next episode featuring our chief marketing officer, Alyssa Schaffer on Millennials and Gen Z couples finance issues. Can money matters make or break a relationship? We’ll find out.
Briarley [00:14:58] Thank you so much for joining us. We hope you enjoyed it. And if you did, please hit subscribe. We’d also love to hear your thoughts and feedback for future episodes. Please email us at podcasts at Laurel Road.com.
Alex [00:15:11] Let’s get the legal out of the way. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank and a member FDIC and equal housing lender and MLS number 3 9 9 7 9 7. Any opinions, findings and conclusions expressed in this podcast are those of the participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of KeyBank in providing this information. KeyBank is not acting as your agent or is offering any tax, financial accounting or legal advice.