Have you been thinking of starting a side hustle? Maybe you need the extra cash (as 30% of side hustlers say) or you want a separate income stream—considering how unstable the economy has become lately.
Whatever the case may be, you need to know some basics before you kick start your side business. These are things that’ll help you stand out from the 45% of working Americans who are already running side business.
Briefly, you’ll need: lots of coffee for the planning and creating phases, brainstorming sessions for working out the details and a logo marker to create your brand identity.
Ready to get to work? Here’s what you need to know.
Even if it’s a side hustle, you still need a strategy or business plan to keep it running. What do you plan to sell? How do you plan to do it? Who is going to be your supplier? How are you going to ship to customers? Answer these and other ins and outs of running a business before you actually get to work.
Write down your mission, goals, objectives and everything else in between. Chances are you’ll come across some loopholes doing all this planning. That’s a good thing—once sorted, you’ll have a side hustle business plan that’s ready to be a success.
About half—or 42% to be specific—of businesses fail because they don’t meet a market need.
So, if you are planning to start a side hustle that offers whatever else already does, think again. Your aim should be to find a gap in the market and fill it (Psst! Here are some side hustle ideas). It’s only then that your side hustle is likely to become successful.
Already have some competitors offering what you want to, but you’re sure you can beat them? Go ahead, but work out what makes you different beforehand—aka your unique selling proposition (USP). Is it unique customer experience? It is a humorous brand voice? Write it down, then stick with it.
A strong visual identity makes your side hustle look professional (hence, reliable) and not something you do occasionally on the side.
It also helps you leave a memorable impression. Even if the target doesn’t turn into your buyer right away, they’ll remember you for the future or even refer you. Woo-hoo!
Now, to get to work: you’ll need a logo, color scheme, one to two brand fonts, and design elements. The logo will do most of the (visual identity) talking as it shows up everywhere your business does. You could go with a name logo if you’d like, or make one using a DIY logo maker.
When working on your color scheme, always think through and understand the impact that each color has on people. Blue, for instance, has a calming effect and is known for gaining people’s trust. That’s the reason why Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and other giant names have blue in their branding.
Next, pick fonts that you’ll use on your marketing materials such as your website, social media graphics, packaging material and so on.
Lastly, select the design elements you’d like to work with. Do you want to add shapes to your designs? Settle on which you’d include. Want to play with animation or add illustrations? Decide all of this and note these elements, your fonts and the color scheme into a style guide. Refer to this guide when you design flyers, brochures, graphics, or any other marketing material. This way, you can be consistent with your brand identity rather than using a new font every time you write your newsletter.
Just because you’re planning on running a professional side hustle doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. In fact, the more fun you have, the more you’ll be able to attract customers. Customers in 2020 love a business with a human side and 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. With a noteworthy personality, you can offer a great customer experience. People will know they aren’t talking to a business, but rather the human behind the brand.
A brand voice is the unique way you want to communicate with your business. You want to communicate in a consistent style, which will, eventually, make your business memorable. It doesn’t have to be a hefty document detailing how you need to talk. A page on your brand voice traits and dos and don’ts will do.
Here’s a chart you can create with your brand voice details:
Nope, you don’t need the kind of plan that sits on paper and never sees the light of day. Instead, you need an actionable game plan to get your business in front of the right people.
A two-pronged approach can help here. First, know where your audience is. Second, build your community.
If you’re crystal clear about your buyer’s persona, it’s likely you already know where your ideal audience spends their time. Not sure where they do? No worries. A little bit of research can help.
For instance, let’s say, you’re targeting 30-year old moms in the US who have an ambition to start their side business. Your consulting service can help them. Where can you find these women?
Let’s run a quick search: 81% of mothers in the US use Facebook. As a next step, you can also look at moms in your circle and ask them where they spend most of their time online. You’ll get your answer and also the marketing channel to target.
For the second step—building your community—start with growing your network by building genuine relationships with your target audience. Then, go on to build your own community or group, for instance, a Slack channel where you bring together your target audience and offer them value (hint: this is how you need to market your business instead of selling your services All. The. Time)
Translating this into the moms example, join Facebook groups where moms hang out and make friends with potential buyers—but don’t just sell them yet. Then, make your own Facebook group where you continue to offer value. It’s here that you share your services occasionally (say, once a week) and offer discounts.
Lastly, don’t freak out. Yes, you are serious about the side hustle’s profitability, but that doesn’t mean you should spread yourself too thin and burn out.
Take inspiration from other women who have been side hustling for years but keeping safe from burnout. Try to dedicate time to a stress relieving self-care routine. Don’t let anything get to you—there’s always a solution to each problem.
Here’s to a profitable side hustle! You can do it.
Masooma Memon is a pizza-loving freelance writer for SaaS. When she’s not writing actionable blog posts, she has her head buried in a fantasy novel or business book.