The advantage of running your own business doesn’t just lie on the financial side, but it’s also a powerful way to take control of your life. It doesn’t have to be anything big from the start – you can start on the side and start making extra money month after month. Just a few hours a week will get you there, even if you already have a job. You’ll be able to pick projects that truly excite you, meet a lot of interesting people along the way, and choose your own hours. Since you won’t be needing employees, some fancy storefront, not even LLC, getting started is quite easy – all you need is the right system, and I’ve prepared some tips to help you establish it.
1. Search For Your Business Idea
The world is full of ʽgreat business ideasʼ and that’s why this first step may sound so daunting – you’ve seen too many of them fail, even if they were big. But maybe that was precisely the problem – they were too big for the beginning. You can easily get past this mental barrier by looking into your own strengths. Every one of us has gathered some skills and knowledge through life, so that’s the place to start. We pay for expert knowledge all the time in the form of instrument lessons, college courses, language classes, etc. So there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to cash in on yours. If you can’t think of anything you’re good at, maybe your friends can, so simply ask them. Besides the fact you’ll get some ideas, their answers will also provide you with a nice little ego boost. Do you have some interesting hobbies? Why not turn them into businesses? Perhaps you are good at carpentry, or enjoy repairing cars or general repair work around the house – these could all be turned into businesses. Answering all these questions you’ll certainly end up with more than ten business ideas and all that’s left to do is to pick the one that excites you the most.
2. Start Investing in Yourself
Don’t worry, we’re not gonna talk about how much money you’ve saved up. Your investments can start in the form of time and dedication. But at some point, you’ll probably want to supplement your income. As your new business gets off the ground you’ll want to work full-time on it and leave your job, meaning you’ll probably want to scale. That’s when some bigger financial investments are needed. Since you’ve found something you’re passionate about and you ready to make it happen, deciding to take a loan won’t be a problem. But what if you don’t have an ability to get one? Maybe you weren’t paying your current loans or credit cards on time, and now you have difficulty getting another one or refinancing. Getting back on the right approvement track can be a long process, but it can be brought up to speed with comprehensive credit reporting, which will also help you with the interest rate you’re charged for your next loan. Finances don’t need to come in the beginning, but the need will come eventually, so you need to be ready and smart about it.
3. Finding Your Clients
Sending numerous emails – or, not to mention, making calls – in search for clients can be a real nightmare. But before you quit, just remember that the majority of your competition thinks the same. That means that just by putting in a little bit more effort into your initial reach out you’ll be able to immediately separate yourself from the crowd. So hold on to those emails and phones, but there’s no need to stop at that. Utilize your friends and neighbours and the power of word of mouth. Start building the presence on social networks. And don’t forget job boards such as Craigslist – believe it or not, it’s one of the best places for a freelancer to generate leads. The reason is quite simple – potential clients and customers looking for freelancers there often don’t get the best applicants, so there’s plenty of room to jump in. And that’s not the case just with Craigslist – depending on your niche you can do this on any job site. You need to be just slightly better than the average, which leads us to our next tip.
4. Crafting Your Pitch
Now, the reason why so many of your competitors suck on these sites lies in the fact that they’re just shooting off a bunch of boilerplate emails hoping to nail a gig. And the reason why you’re gonna be better than them lies in the fact that you’re gonna take time to craft your pitch. If you wish to reach out to your potential customers and clients you need to speak directly to their needs and concerns – this is basic human psychology. And all you need is five email lines in order to achieve that (if your pitch needs to be in speech make it an elevator one). In the first line, you’re gonna introduce yourself and mention how you know the client, building rapport. In the second you’re gonna talk about them in the terms of what you want to do for them, mentioning why you’re the best man for that role. This, of course, requires some research on their organisation. The third line has to be all about how your work will benefit their company – by maximising their profits or freeing up their time? In the fourth line, it’s time to get your foot in the door – get them to agree to a small agreement, making room for a larger one that will come later. And the fifth line needs to be an actionable one – it is also the most critical one so you need to be crystal clear in asking them if they’d like to proceed. Although this is a sort of a template, there’s still the need to change the email from a client to client, but benefits always remain the most important part.
5. Mastering Pricing
This last part is usually the most confusing one – beginners are in constant fear if they’re charging too much or too little. It’s true that there aren’t any firm rules for rates, but there are three handy ways to get rid of this confusion. If you’re charging per hour, just take your ideal (but realistic!) salary and drop three zeros from it – that’s your hourly rate. Or if you’ve come up with the lowest rate that’s on the edge of leaving you resentful – double it. The last solution is to simply charge the same as the next guy does – all you need to do is to find on Google the average rate for the service you’re providing. Whatever method you choose, it will be your initial price. After you start charging you’ll get a sense of where you’re at and you can start ʽtuningʼ your rates until you find the ones you’re satisfied with.
Starting your business on the side is the best way to go since the process is easily scalable, meaning you can generate as much money as you want, investing mainly time and effort in the beginning. After you get enough experience and generate enough money you’ll be ready to turn your side hustle into a full-time gig.