This Former Ph.D. Student Started a Side Hustle to Graduate Without Debt — Now He Makes $30,000 a Month and Can Complete a Job in 15 Minutes Sina Omosowon, founder of TV-mounting business Shine, turned down job offers post-graduation to be his own boss.

By Amanda Breen

Key Takeaways

  • Omosowon learned about the lucrative TV-mounting side hustle through a friend.
  • Within six months, he was seeing consistent monthly revenue, then opted to take the business full-time.
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This Side Hustle Spotlight Q&A features Sina Omosowon, founder of the TV-mounting business Shine.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Shine. Sina Omosowon.

When did you start your side hustle, and what inspired it?

I started my TV-mounting business, Shine, in 2019. I originally started the business as a side hustle to help put myself through school and support my family. At the time, I was earning my Ph.D. in plant evolution, focusing on food crop production and crop improvement. A friend of mine introduced me to TV mounting and showed me there was a growing demand in this space, particularly as more people chose to mount TVs on their walls versus using a stand to help create more space in their homes. I saw an opportunity to make extra money through TV mounting, so I got trained on the basics and started to build out a business from there. My business ultimately helped me pay for school and finish my Ph.D. with no debt.

Related: This Former Amazon Employee Started a Side Hustle Because She Wanted 'Lifestyle Freedom' — Now Her Business Earns $100,000 a Month

What were some of the first steps you took to get your side hustle off the ground?

After being introduced to TV mounting, I got trained on the basics and shadowed a friend on a few of his jobs. From there, I tried to consume as much information as I could to learn and grow a base of knowledge, watching a lot of YouTube videos and asking questions. As I continued to complete more and more jobs, my confidence grew.

When I first started out, it was important to grow awareness of my business and build trust with customers. Without reviews or much experience, I often got customers by giving discounts on jobs. I also learned the importance of being responsive and getting back to customers quickly. I always had my phone on me so that when a request came in, I was able to quickly answer any questions and schedule an appointment.

In addition to word-of-mouth, I registered as a pro on Thumbtack, which helped me find customers in my area who needed my services. It was a great place to build out a profile with reviews and photos from completed jobs so potential customers could learn more about me and my business. As I completed more jobs and built up a bank of positive reviews, it became easier to get more clients. Especially as a young entrepreneur, positive reviews help people trust you and give them confidence that you'll do a good job. I now have nearly 1,000 five-star reviews.

I started out doing around two to three jobs a day, and these jobs took more time as I learned different nuances and built up my confidence. Steadily, I started getting more and more customers and became even more efficient at TV mounting, which allowed me to serve more people in a day. Today I can mount a TV in 15 minutes.

Related: The 'Easy' Side Hustle He Started in College Hit More Than $1 Million in Revenue — and Taught Him 3 Business Lessons He Still Uses Today

Were there any challenges that came with running your side hustle? If so, how did you navigate those?

One of my biggest challenges initially was having to spend money upfront to get my business off the ground, whether that's purchasing all the tools or giving customers discounts on jobs to build up a client roster. This initial investment was important, particularly because it's crucial to have the right equipment for jobs requiring construction. Luckily, I was able to recoup the money I spent upfront after a few months of work.

How long did it take you to begin seeing consistent monthly revenue?

I started seeing consistent monthly revenue about six months after I started. After getting my Ph.D., I received job offers in the plant science space, but my business was also taking off, so I had to weigh my options. It's always been my dream to be my own boss, so I decided to invest in my TV mounting business and take the entrepreneurial path.

How much average monthly revenue do you earn now?

I earn about $30,000 per month through my TV-mounting business.

You've since turned your side hustle into a full-time business. What do you enjoy most about it?

Owning my own business lets me control how I spend my time. I can schedule jobs around family commitments and decide when to work and when not to work. I also really enjoy interacting with people on a daily basis and putting a smile on their faces with a job well done. There's a lot of satisfaction in owning your own business.

Related: 3 Secrets to Starting a High-Income Side Hustle in 2024, According to People Whose Gigs Make More Than $20,000 a Month

Do you have any advice for others interested in this gig? What should they know before they get started?

My biggest piece of advice for anyone interested in being an entrepreneur is to make customer satisfaction a priority. When you're just starting out, money should not be the priority. It's more important to satisfy the customer, get good reviews and build up a strong client base who can refer you to friends and family. With consistency and steadfastness, the money will come. Prioritize customer satisfaction, and everything will fall into place.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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