A startup CEO says there's a time when a side job does more harm than good


Poppin CEO Randy Nicolau

Randy Nicolau

Side jobs can get in the way, says Poppin CEO Randy Nicolau (pictured).


Side jobs are in right now.

For some, they're a great way to bring in some extra cash.

However, side jobs are not for everyone.

In fact, Randy Nicolau, cofounder and CEO of office product startup Poppin, said that side gigs are actually a bad idea when you're launching your own startup or new business.


"You have to just pull the Band-aid off and go for it," Nicolau told Business Insider. "As soon as you have contingency plans and backup plans, 'Oh, I'm going to do consulting on the side, to keep a little money coming in.' That means you're not going to dedicate 100% of your time to this thing. Those almost always fail, in my experience."

He draws a distinction between side hustles: If your side gig is the business you eventually hope to become your 9-5, you're probably in a different position. But if you're holding an obligatory side job just for the cash, it might just end up distracting you from the all-consuming process of starting your own business.

"You're working seven days a week around the clock," Nicolau said. "It's all you think when you sleep, it's all you think about when you shower, are on an airplane, et cetera."

He said that it's easier for young people without life responsibilities to get started as entrepreneurs. Still, he recommends that anyone who has a passion for entrepreneurship give it a shot, even if they have responsibilities.

It all boils down to your motivations, he said. It's not enough to found a startup because you want to be your own boss or rake in a ton of money.


"It's something that burns inside of you from grade school," Nicolau said. "If you're just reading Business Insider and TechCrunch and getting all excited because you see people making billions of dollars what seems to be overnight; we know that nothing really happens overnight. It takes years and years and years."

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