Every episode of the Side Hustle Pro podcast begins with a few ad reads and then an introduction by host Nicaila Matthews Okome: “You’re listening to Side Hustle Pro, the podcast that teaches you to build and grow your side hustle – from passion project to profitable business.”
Doubling as a mission statement and foreword, the introduction is a promise, but it’s also an overview of what the Jamaican-born, New York-based creator, and one-woman podcast incubator, has built for herself.
The Side Hustle Pro Story
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Matthews Okome graduated from university with an MBA from the University of Michigan. While feeling out of the job market, she started her own side hustle – a blog that would become the podcast, dedicated to interviewing women of color about their entrepreneurial pursuits. This was in 2015, when financial and entrepreneurship blogs were still primarily focused on white, cis, male entrepreneurs.
Next, Matthews Okome landed a job at NPR, the leading podcast publisher in the United States. She led the marketing campaigns for many of their top shows including Code Switch, Embedded, and How I Built This, all while running Side Hustle Pro on the side.
The podcast found its niche relatively quickly. There was nothing like it at the time. In just a year, Matthews Okome had secured many illustrious guests – Morgan DeBaun, CEO of the African American-focused digital media company, Blavity; Lisa Price, founder of Black hair care company, Carol’s Daughter; and others.
These stories affected her, and in 2017 she quit her job at NPR to take on Side Hustle Pro full-time. “I was tired of being rejected…no one is going to be able to reject me again, I’m going to have my money and I’m going to be able to quit if I want to. And that’s what I did,” she explained.
Matthews Okome seized the opportunity to fill a hole in the media landscape, but Side Hustle Pro’s success is also a result of how much of herself she infuses into the podcast. She is an incredible host, able to create a relaxed atmosphere that is no less entertaining than her more buttoned-up contemporaries in the finance and entrepreneurship genre of podcasts. She’s as comfortable bouncing off a guest as she is doing a solo episode; she knows her jokes are funny and laughs along with you.
Episodes of Side Hustle Pro have been downloaded over 8 million times. The podcast, and Matthews Okome have been featured by the likes of the TODAY Show and Fast Company, was heralded as the perfect entrepreneurship podcast by Mashable, and highlighted in the “Bold Women” featured list by Apple Podcasts
Matthews Okome also offers a course called Podcast Moguls. This is a podcast incubator aimed at aspiring podcasters armed with nothing more than a good idea and gumption. She shows these would-be moguls, often women, how to create a sustainable online business using the still relatively new medium. Podcast Moguls lasts for eight weeks and over that period Matthews Okome walks her students through defining their topics, finding their ideal audiences, social media marketing, and the raw fundamentals and equipment you need to get started.
Matthews Okome has been wildly successful with Side Hustle Pro. Podcast Moguls is her way of holding the gate open and pulling everyone else through.