Side Hustle Success Stories: Changing the Food Game

Thinking about starting something on the side? Check out FindSpark’s latest side hustle, Sidehustle.me, for all the tips and tricks you need to pull off a successful side project.

Featured Side Hustler: Gregory Stahl

Connect with Gregory: LinkedIn

Side Hustle: Pure Provisions (Twitter // Instagram)

Full-Time Job: I am a Strategy and Development Manager at Google. In this role, I help our large advertising agency clients understand their investments with Google and develop the sales narratives and strategies critical towards growing our business.

Tell us about your hustle:

I am co-founder of a snack company called Pure Provisions. Our mission is to provide healthy, sustaining, and all-natural snacks with the nutrition and portability you need to fuel your journey. Our first product is a delicious orange ginger turkey jerky and we have several more marinades on the way soon!

What motivated you to start it?

I am an active outdoorsman and I always loved jerky as a snack. After graduating with a business degree, I thought about jerky from a marketing angle and realized — here is a delicious, nutritious snack but it’s marketed in a poor way. We set out to create not only a better, more nutritious product, but also one that had a broad appeal.

While building your side hustle, who has helped or supported you the most?

My two business partners have been incredible to work with. We realized early on that we each had unique and complementary skills that we utilized to create / develop all aspects of our business.

Who is your biggest side hustle role model?

My girlfriend has always encouraged me to pursue my passions even if that meant working nights and weekends + forgoing time that we could be spending together. This inspiration coupled with the fact that she has successfully launched and operated a business for several years gave me confidence to pursue this dream.

How much time on average do you spend on your side hustle per week?

15-20 hours currently.

What was the biggest element holding you back from starting and how did you overcome it?

Developing a food product can be incredibly complicated. With federal regulations, various suppliers involved in the process and cost constraints, there were several instances where we believed it could be over. The key to overcoming is to shoot for the small wins in the beginning — something as simple as getting a call returned from a supplier made our days. And when you string together multiple small wins, the vision becomes clearer.

What is an example of a time you hit a rough patch? How did you handle the situation?

We had a confidential dream creation that we thought would be a game-changer from a product perspective. After months of testing and validating our hypothesis, we had a manufacturer tell us it hasn’t been done before because scientifically the snack is not shelf-stable. While this was a severe setback in both our aspirations and how much time it commandeered, we went back to our original goal of creating and marketing a better jerky.

The rough patch actually gave us clarity. It allowed us to double-down on our branding efforts and create a simple, yet superior product. The market reception has been overwhelming and I believe the setback period was a catalyst for our success.

What has been the biggest benefit of having a side project?

The fulfillment of my entrepreneurial dreams and the passion of marketing a product and company that I developed.

What are your favorite apps/books/productivity hacks?

I use several Google tools like Insights for Search which help me detect trends over time and also Google News Alerts which keeps me on top of our industry and competitors. We also use Google apps for our work so we can collaborate in real time and in one place. We get a lot of our information through face-to-face discussions — there is no substitute.

For someone starting out, what is your biggest piece of advice?

Sales is the key to success in any business. And sales is really difficult to teach so the game is fair — schooling, past work experience, pedigree only matters so much. And sales takes all forms and permeates every part of your business from negotiating with suppliers to bringing on new employees to getting your product in stores.

So practice selling all the time. If you are trying to earn a promotion at work, sell yourself. If you want to convince your friends to travel abroad with you, sell them on the itinerary. If you are trying to get a rent decrease next year, sell your landlord on why you are the best tenant. Every day presents a sales opportunity.

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