The Smiling Steve logo with the words Smiling Steve™

I help people get an extra paycheck every month—in as little as 30 days!

Two downward facing arrows with the caption; some thoughts on how to can start a side hustle to make more money
This is an image of Smiling Steve™

About Smiling Steve™

I have not had a job since 1996. 

As first sentences go, that one is a doozy. It contains a mere eight words yet it communicates volumes.

Even people who don’t know me or anything about my last twenty-five years, when they read those 8 words, they sense there are exciting stories to be heard.

Of course, this website contains those stories.

Now I need to come clean. I’m an entrepreneur and all I do is help people either start a side hustle or make more money in their existing side hustle. 

Of course, starting a home based business and keeping a job, is exactly where the term side hustle came from. And, the benefit of it is you have the chance to make a lot more money without the risk incurred by most people when they start a business, having to leave a job to do it.

However, in my case, I wanted the freedom of not having a boss. So I started a side hustle business with the intent to quit my job when that income got big enough, then I got let go when the company I was working for closed its doors.

Of course, my job situation—meaning lack thereof—forced me into full time entrepreneurship though I would have ended up where I am anyway. But my story is uncommon.

By contrast, look at my friend Rabbi Dave. At some point this year—in his 21st year of running a side hustle—he will have earned a total of $3,000,000 in his side hustle. And, because what he does deserves to be called a side hustle, that means these earnings were outside of his job.

I will get back to Dave in a minute, first let me share a little more of my story . .

Four years after I lost my job, I spent considerable time in a bagel shop near where I lived, that operated on Locke Street in Hamilton, Ontario, a mere 40 miles from Niagara Falls in Canada. This bakery and eatery slash coffee shop had 3 owners, one of which I though was quite remarkable.

The other two consisted of a silent partner, who was a real estate agent, and an active partner who formerly worked for 20 years at The Beer Store.  The one I want to talk about was a seasoned and battle-scarred entrepreneur named Lou.

One day Lou said to me; “I finally figured you out. You’re a contrarian, aren’t you?”

When I replied “I don’t know what you are talking about” it was only out of amusement. But how did he come to his conclusion?

He had seen me arriving on week mornings in his shop right after the hordes of people rushing to get to work was over. He had noted that I took my time eating a tuna bagel sandwich and drinking coffee, as I read the newspaper.

He could see that I was neither in a rush nor tense tense. So, naturally, this seasoned entrepreneur wondered why.

I never told him the specifics because that shop was my place.  I liked the peace and quiet of anonymity and that may sound odd, until you get another piece of information.

Those people never found out that I was featured in the April issue (2001) of a newsstand magazine, called House of Business (see a scanned image below). 

A scanned image of Smiling Steve™ featured in House of Business magazine in April of 2001.

I also didn’t share with anyone in the bagel shop that I was featured on the cover of Home Business Journal magazine in the February 2004 issue (scanned cover below). And these decisions were by choice.

After all, I went there to relax and read the paper before I started my day back at my home office. If I had told everyone about the articles I would have had them asking me to share with them the secrets of how I did what I did. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just liked my peace and quiet in the morning.

In my professional life I wanted this attention, but in my personal life I didn’t need it. And that was by choice.

I was free and I liked it!

I more or less kept my personal anonymity until I realized that I better create a presence on social media. And why I need a website or a social media presence is not likely to fit like a puzzle piece into your understanding of the way it is—known as the confirmation bias.

I had a niche website from as early as 1996. And that old site, going all the way back to 1998, is like three clicks away. Just checkout Archive DOT ORGs Wayback Machine, which contains every website that ever existed and was indexed on any search engine.

A bit of checking around and you will soon prove to yourself that I have had two successful websites, which means I have been very successful marketer. But I did not create my own personal brand, until now.

You might not realize why I am talking about this and what it has to do with helping people start a side hustle. But, as soon as you realize that I help others do what I am doing for myself now, you will soon realize why I am doing it.

You see, the first rule of direct marketing is; do it, then teach others how to do it. So, even though I have helped thousands of people, because I don’t have my own presence or brand, to some, means I am not an expert at it.

Had I known in 2007 that the phrase “side hustle” would have become huge, I would have started Side Hustle Professionals or Side Hustle News.

It was 2019 when I finally switched my online presence away from using my own name, which is Steven Peter Burke, to a more easily remembered brand name. I reasoned that people would remember the smiling part of Smiling Steve™ far easier than my last name, which would make my brand Steven Burke.

Truth be told, I never felt comfortable using my full name online. And, with a Brand Name the added benefit is my personal name is not online.

Also, when you put out content that people like and want to follow, what happens when the phone rings or their 5 year old child runs in the room? For these and many reasons someone who is interested in following you may not click that follow button or opt-in on your website site the first time they are exposed to your stylish content. 

Later on, as they get back to looking for stuff online they may think; “what was that guy’s name again?”

There is almost no chance that anyone who does not have a photographic memory will recall Steven Burke.

That is why I decided to use Smiling Steve™ . . it is more easily remembered.

Of course, I should’ve made that change long ago when Steven Burke, the cyclist from the U.K. was winning races and making it into many online news posts. In those days, no one who searched my name online could find me in a virtual sea of stuff being posted about a guy who was winning world championships in his sport!

When a few of the entrepreneurial adventures I journeys I took did not succeed the way I had hoped and I returned to the Direct Selling industry about 6 years ago, I thought to myself that I was completely out of touch. What was I going to do?

Then I remembered Tom, a man who was kind enough to help me in 1997, which led to the success of my first website and business. But, at that moment, I could not remember his last name, which stunned me.

I really do know him well. But my mid-fifties brain could simply not recall his last name; Schreiter.

What I did finally remember was his brand name, which is Big Al. And when I typed Big Al and his industry into Google, just like that I found him.

Just to complete the Big Al story; two weeks after I did that Google search he was coming to Toronto, where I live. And there I was talking to him again after nearly a decade!

The moral of the story? Your brand is important and it needs to be easy to remember. And, it is also better that your full name is not used when you market online.

So, I hope you will follow my progress as I prove that the keys to direct response marketing work just as well today, in a world full of social media, as they did in twenty years ago.

I could have called myself Side Hustle Steve too or any number of things but I ended up with Smiling Steve™ in the end. And, in case you did not know I am a master Direct Response Marketing, both online and off-line. I also know Direct Selling skills and have generated over 1.5 million leads.

Interestingly, when I found out that this DOT COM was available, I did not know about the skin (or character) in the online game, Minecraft. It has the same name as my brand but, it turns out that this is just a bonus.

Why is it a bonus? Simple.

Many people could use a side hustle but don’t really know about them yet. So they have no way to search for me or what I share online. Right?

However, when they search on Google for information on this Minecraft skin, they end up seeing me (or Smiling Steve), as my website is ranked higher. So, without passing myself off as being related to or involved in Minecraft, I get traffic to my site.

An image of eh skin in Minecraft, a character known as Smiling Steve

Through this site you can learn everything there is to know about Direct Selling and/or running a Side Hustle. Especially how to market both online and off and, if you do that through advertising, you will be entering the arena of direct response marketing.