Tips for Side Hustlers and Entrepreneurs
Starting things can be hard — whether it’s a blog, a business… or an orange. We work with a lot of first-time business owners, startups, side hustlers and entrepreneurs, so we thought we’d kick off our blog with a series on things you should know as you’re starting up. Here are our 4 simple tips for any business getting ready to open up shop.
Get specific about who you’re serving.
You’ve probably already decided what your business is going to sell. But how much have you thought about who’s going to buy it? Companies with a well-defined target are more successful than those who try to serve everyone. So if your target market is very broad, like “people who own a house,” or “pet owners,” sit down and dig a little deeper.
Write about your ideal customer: How old are they? What are their other interests? Where do they live? What’s their income level? What are their pain points, and how will your business uniquely solve them?
For example, in our field, there are a lot of designers, writers and marketers out there. We specialize in working with small businesses and startups in the U.S. who make craft products or sell specialty services. Our clients tend to have big agency tastes, but need to work within freelancer budgets. We solve this by keeping our overhead low and our processes flexible so we can create killer work on tighter budgets.
Understand your startup and monthly costs.
Starting a business can cost anywhere from $100 to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending what you do. The costs of starting a personal coaching business are going to be a lot different than those of starting a craft brewery.
A lot of the first time businesses we see that don’t make it off the ground didn’t take the time to understand their budgets.
Here are a few things to consider:
If you’re making a product, how will you prototype it and how much will that cost? Where will you source materials, and do you need any labor other than your own to build it?
Do you need a logo, photography, a website, brochures, business cards or other branded materials to get going?
What are you going to use for your company’s email, phone number, etc?
What does it cost to register a business in your state?
Do you need any special software to track expenses, orders, inventory, etc?
Do you need to rent or buy space for the business or to store inventory?
Sit down and think through everything you need to get started and then do a little research to estimate your costs — both for starting up, and month-to-month.
Decide what you can do, and what you need help with.
One of the top qualities we’ve noticed in successful entrepreneurs is they have a great understanding of their skills and what they need help with.
We’ve worked with clients who are amazing photographers and take care of that themselves. We have other clients who are great writers and do their own blogs and social media. And we have some who are amazing salespeople, but they want help with blogging, social media and SEO.
Everyone’s different. The key is to honestly assess where you bring the most value to your business and focus your efforts there. You can make the money you spend on photography or writing back. You can’t win back sales you lost because your product didn’t look or sound as good as the competition’s, or because your website didn’t make it really easy to buy your product or hire you.
Set reasonable & achievable goals.
While it would be amazing to hit six-figures of sales, or sell thousands of products in your first year, it’s pretty unlikely. When you’re starting up, it takes time for people to be aware of your business and to work out any kinks.
Make sure your goals for the first year or two take this into account, and that you know how you're going to make a living, either through savings, outside funding or a day job. Many successful businesses start as side hustles.
For the business owners out there — what’s the best advice you’ve gotten? And for anyone just getting started with their business — what questions do you have for future posts?
Send your comments or hit us up for a free design and marketing quote.