You’ve worked hard and honed your craft, and you’re ready to turn your hobby into a legitimate online business.
But how do you balance your full-time job and your side hustle while building something sustainable? Read on to find out.
Have a Sustainable Business Plan
If your goal is to create a sustainable online business so you can quit your full-time job, decide what’s most important to you and create a transition plan ahead of time. Do you want to have a certain amount of money in the bank before you hand in your resignation? Or a certain number of clients before you make the complete transition?
Determine how you want to start and set benchmarks to stay on track.
Define Your Brand
Once you have a plan in place, develop your brand voice. This fun brand voice exercise can help! You need to have consistent messaging, whether you’re tweeting, posting a photo to Instagram, or writing copy for your new website.
If you aren’t sure where to start, ask yourself these questions:
- Why do you want to start a business?
- What is your actual product or service?
- What is your niche and what problem are you solving for your customers or clients?
- What does your business value? What does it stand for and believe in?
Branding also includes choosing a color scheme, font, and logo for your website, products, and marketing materials. Consistency across all platforms creates a comprehensive marketing strategy.
Above all else, don’t just copy other successful brands. It might sound cliché, but just be yourself.
The business world is all about networking, so once you figure out what your business is, get out there and tell people about it. Attend in-person networking events, join Twitter chats, and participate in Facebook groups that relate to your online business.
Connect with people in similar industries that complement your product or service. Take the time to get to know them as people—not just potential business partners—by asking them about their lives and the things they care about (and actually listen to their answers).
Build Relationships with Your Customers
Even though we live in a digital age (or perhaps because we live in a digital age?), people crave connection. No one wants to feel like they’re being sold to—they want to feel like they’re part of a family, so take the time to get to know your customers.
Provide real value by going above and beyond their expectations. Give each customer your undivided attention, whether they’re spending $1 or $1,000. When people have an amazing experience with a brand, they’ll tell everyone they know, and nothing will help grow your business like the endorsements of brand fans.
Surround Yourself with Like-Minded Entrepreneurs
You won’t just learn tips and tricks from other entrepreneurs. Their “I’ve been there too” stories can help keep you going if you start to second-guess your business plan. Hearing encouragement—and sometimes the hard truth—from peers or mentors can be powerful for new business owners.
You can also learn from their lessons without making the same mistakes. When it comes to business, the adage “don’t reinvent the wheel” couldn’t be truer.
Don’t Try to Please Everyone
There‘s no faster way to burn out than by trying to make everyone happy. Focus on your niche and what you are good at. When you’re ready to hire employees, look for people who have the same values and work ethic as you. If people love working with you, your customers will take notice.
Don’t Give Up
Building a sustainable online business can be difficult. You can stay motivated by celebrating even the smallest successes. Remember why you wanted to start your own company in the first place. Stay focused on the end goal and what it will feel like when your side hustle becomes your main hustle.
You’ve got this!
Featured Image from Shutterstock / By fotogestoeber