You’ve been thinking about starting a side hustle or small business for a while, but you’re not sure where to start, let alone how to grow it and generate a decent income.
Well, coming from someone who started out with a passion side-hustle which has grown to become a six-figure+ full-time hustle, I am stoked to share with you the steps to get there.
START WITH THE END
The first thing you should do is to get to know your real reasons for starting this side-hustle.
Do you want to make more money? Help others? Fulfil a creative need? Achieve lifestyle flexibility?
For each reason that you come up with, ask yourself ‘But why?’ again another 5 times. Only then will you get to your deepest drivers for this pursuit.
In addition, ask yourself what your ultimate goal is from this pursuit. Do you want to keep it as a side-hustle only? Or do you want it to eventually become your main business?
Having clarity on your ‘why’ and dream result will keep you going when times get tough… Which it will!
CHOOSE YOUR NICHE
One of the first business quotes that stuck with me was from Meredith Hill: ‘When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one’
It might be tempting to have a general product or service – Like scented candles or personal training. That way, you’ll reach more people get more sales, right?
Thanks to technology and globalisation, there is now more competition than ever. It costs almost nothing to set up a business online, as well as for people to find the exact product or service that they need, whether it’s local or on the other side of the world.
As a result, industries have broken down into micro-niches.
Why would someone buy a general scented candle off you for $10 when they could get the same thing from TK MAXX for 80c?
However, imagine that you have a micro-niche business for newborn baby scented candles, or personal training for women over 65 or vegan men who want to build muscle (Yep, these all exist!). Now, you may only appeal to 0.1% of people, but you’ll be THE go-to for that 0.1%. 0.1% of 8 billion people is still 8 million people. And they will come to you and be pay a premium.
Ask yourself how you will be unique. Why should people come to you versus anyone else? Are you cheaper? Are you more innovative? Do you provide connection and intimacy that others don’t?
Choose a micro-niche, and own it
START BEFORE YOU’RE READY
Even if you don’t feel ready, just get started. The alternative? End up waiting a lifetime to begin.
The best way is to start at any level, then learn on the job. What you learn and the progress you’ll make through starting will always be more significant than learning theory over the same time period. Starting now instead of 6 months later gives you a 6-month head start.
It’s going to be different for each business, but make sure you speed through all the legal requirements so you can put yourself out there as soon as possible. Many businesses these days just require you to set up a social media account, release a beta produce/service to friends and family, and you’re off.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t do AND prepare for your business at the same time. As you start, churn through at least 10 books on business and your micro-niche. Get a business mentor. Figure out the details. Enter small circles with other business-owners.
ONCE YOU’VE STARTED
From there, you can do the formal things such as setting up a website, gathering feedback, testimonials, setting up systems, making improvements, managing your accounting etc. All of these things are a constant work in progress, and are secondary to your main product/service.
Focus on your story just as much as your product or service. With so much noise, people now crave intimacy and connection. Share your ‘why’ and values, and people will be drawn to you. Even more, they will become loyal to you and your business, instead of just being one-off, flaky customers.
HOW TO GROW
To grow, think in long timeframes. I usually say think and plan in ‘years and decades’, then act in ‘days and weeks’.
Thinking and planning in years and decades will sustain your motivation even if you’re not yet getting results. You’ll be willing to operate at a loss this year to invest in long-term business. You’ll network with people who might not give you anything now, but could refer customers, or become one in the future. You’ll work on your skills as a business owner that will pay dividends over a decade.
At the same time, you need to act in days and weeks. You need to be putting in the work now. Say no to tv. Read in bed. Work before and after your 9-5. Run social media ads for brand awareness. Show up online to get more leads. Send messages and emails to make sales. Ask your current customers for referrals.
Manage your cash flow. Most businesses don’t fail because their idea was bad. It’s because they ran out of money and simply couldn’t continue.
Something else is developing and automating systems such as onboarding emails and accounting. Having systems will allow you to scale. They are also constant variables that allow you to test what’s working and what’s not.
Dedicate yourself to these systems, but don’t be attached to them. If something isn’t working, you MUST be adaptable. Times change fast. What worked last year might be what kills your business this year.
Final thing: STAY CONSISTENT
Building a reputation and momentum might take six months. Maybe five years. Likely 10 or more.
But if you keep showing up and intentionally refining your process, then you WILL achieve success in your business. It’s as predictable as the equation of 1+1=2!
Did this resonate? If so, hit reply and let me know. I’m more than happy to answer any other questions, too 🙂