We’ve all dreamed of handing in our notice, emptying the contents of our snack drawer, and striking out on our own with a celebratory fist pump — like Judd Nelson in the final scene of The Breakfast Club.
If you’re one of the over 44 million Americans who have a side hustle, this distant dream can seem more attainable. But, between work, play, and seeing family and friends, it can be hard to imagine turning that extra pocket money into a steady income, let alone a flourishing business.
However, Apple, Facebook, and Craigslist all started from a side hustle, so who says that you don’t have what it takes to make it work?
Here are some handy tips to help take your part-time gig in your garage into a real business you can rely on.
Be Prepared: Do Your Research
A big part of transforming that dream into reality is crunching the numbers carefully. You don’t want to end up quitting your job, only to find out a few months down the line that your business idea isn’t sustainable.
- Work out your USP (and your ideal customer). Take some time to think about your unique selling point and write a brand statement. Once you’ve worked out exactly what it is that you have to offer, it will help lay the foundation for your dream business. Identifying an ideal customer will help you to focus on creating and improving a product or service that speaks directly to them.
- Get to know the market (and your competitors). There’s no point considering making the switch to working for yourself if the work isn’t there. Conduct thorough research into similar businesses and how in-demand they are. Is there an opportunity for you to offer more than your competitors? Make sure you know as much as you can about the industry you’re entering, the level of demand already there, and the potential for growth.
- Sort out your finances (and find a regular paying client). Unless you own a magical money tree, you’re going to need a buffer when it comes to quitting your full-time job. Take a look at your monthly budget and work out how much you’ll need to survive for at least six months. With online banking, it’s easy to work out the cost of survival. Bag at least one repeat customer to ensure some money is coming in, instead of it only going out.
Be Productive: Choose Tools And Habits That Work For You
Modern life is busy. There’s an abundance of media to consume, notifications to answer, and distractions everywhere. Luckily, the other side of the coin is that there are productivity hacks, apps, and podcasts to help you knuckle down. Striking a balance between the two is key.
- Download digital tools. When you’re burning the candle at both ends and working two jobs at once, focusing can be difficult. Last year we identified the best digital tools for productivity and this extensive list can help you organize your calendar, track time, manage finances, and more.
- Eat that frog (do the biggest task first), Feeling overwhelmed and unproductive? Mark Twain once said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
Off the back of this quote, author Brian Tracy advises tackling the biggest, ugliest and most important task, before completing your minor tasks on your to-do list. It’s simple, but it makes sense. The more you procrastinate, the worse that task will seem. And, by ‘eating that frog’, you’ll have achieved something big, and your mood will brighten, leaving you excited to tackle more tasks.
- Know when to ask for help. It’s easy to think that you alone can handle everything your business throws at you. We get it, your business is your baby. However, the ability to be honest with yourself is integral to identifying when and where you can benefit from outside assistance. Virtual assistants can help with smaller tasks leaving you to concentrate on bigger frogs. Hiring a web designer or copywriter who can help turn your vision into something professional and commercially viable is a sensible investment.
As a solo entrepreneur learning to self-govern, starting a full-time business can be all-consuming. Take full advantage of this productivity-obsessed era and discover the methods that align with your new business.
Be Seen: Build Up Your Online Presence
When starting a business, acquiring a domain name and creating a website are the first steps to building your brand online. With your piece of Internet pie, you can begin to attract new customers and have a home-sweet-home for your brand.
Building up an Internet presence may seem like a daunting task — but with time, expert advice and care, anyone can start and grow their business online.
- What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but when it comes to building an online brand choosing a domain name is all-important. A complementary top-level domain like a .inc, .accountant, or .store can help your customers understand what you do, fast. Internet users search selfishly, and if they can’t understand what a website does, it’s all too easy to click the back button and try somewhere else. They won’t hang around too long out of a sense of goodwill, so make your name count.
- Design your logo. A logo is an easy way to distinguish your business from others and to show the personality of your brand. Use it on your website, social media, and in your online and offline marketing assets. Why not try our free logo maker and design a unique logo within minutes?
- Create your perfect website. Whether you’re selling flea collars for french bulldogs or running salsa nights for seniors, with great tools like WebsiteBuilder, it’s never been easier to design a website that fits your needs. Choose from over 200 templates and use a simple drag-and-drop to make it your own. And, with responsive design, your website will look elegant across all devices.
- Use a dedicated email address. Give your customers a place to send feedback, share problems or ask questions about your offering. A dedicated domain-based email will build trust in your brand and what you have to say. We offer a two-month free trial of Private Email which includes file storage, calendar and more.
- Stay safe and secure. Here at Namecheap, we offer WhoisGuard privacy protection, free for life when you register your domain. This means that your information will be kept hidden from potential spammers, frustrating marketing calls, and fraudsters.
- Learn the basics of SEO. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of growing visibility within organic search engine results. The more popular, informative and user-friendly your site content is, the more often and higher it will show up in searches. It’s vital to understand the basics of SEO when creating a website, and digital marketing, so take the time to do your research and you’ll benefit hugely.
Be Brave: You Can Do It!
Next time the ‘Sunday Scaries’ have taken hold, take a deep breath and remember it doesn’t have to be this way. You have it in yourself, (and we have some great advice on how to manage a business), to embark on a thrilling journey to entrepreneurial bliss with confidence.
In the words of Talking Heads, you may end up asking yourself ‘Well… how did I get here?’. The answer will be preparation, productivity, and an incredible online presence!