It’s finally time. You’ve had your million dollar idea and now you just need to take the necessary steps to get your side hustle going. But how do you make money while working a fulltime job? Lucky for you, in this post, we will examine how to get your side hustle started, how to best manage your time, and how you can attract new customers. So let’s get started!
How to Make Money While Working a Full-Time Job: Getting Started
Getting started is the most difficult part of beginning any new business. All of the voices inside your head will be screaming at you that, “Now is not the time!” But guess what? There will never be a perfect time to start your new business. You either have to commit to the idea that you are doing it no matter what or you must push the idea out of your mind and learn to enjoy working for someone else. Since you are reading this article though, I have a sneaking suspicion that you are just brave enough to jump off the deep end and into the pool of hard-working yet blissfully satisfied entrepreneurs.
Set Up Your Website
Probably the best place to get started with any business is creating a website. There’s no point in being amazing at whatever it is you do without anyone being able to find you on the internet. Most people nowadays search for what they want online first, so if you do not have a presence there, you will likely have a difficult time attracting customers.
What you are looking for in a website provider is one that is all-encompassing. You want to use a host that can provide you with a sleek-looking website (check out their themes for easy website building and customization) that is responsive (or in other words, will look good no matter what type of device someone is using to look up your website). The responsive part is very important as most people now do internet searches on their phones. You don’t want to have to build a desktop version of your site, a different version for iOS phone and tablet users, and yet another version for Android phone and tablet users. With a web host that has responsive design built-in to their web themes, you make one website and it looks good on all devices. Less work for you, yet you look like you spent a lot of money making sure your design works on all devices.
Another thing you will want to do when picking your web host is to assess what you will need from your website in the future. I know you haven’t even begun your side hustle yet, but it’s important to think about the future now so you don’t design an entire website with the wrong web host and have to start all over in a few months.
Will you need to set up an online store? Think about the design of your store and how easy it needs to be for people to look through your items. Also, think about people like me that shop online and put stuff in their cart without actually going through the checkout process. I use the cart to store things I really want to buy but, for various reasons, I don’t check out (the most common reason being I would have to get up and go get my credit card).
How can you retain those people’s orders? Selz has the ability to send an automatic email to your customers who, like me, abandon items in their cart. This reminder email will help you retain those orders with little to no effort on your part! It’s working smarter, not harder. This is the type of advanced thinking that will ensure you pick the right web host for your website.
Another very important aspect of your website that you need to consider is the search engine optimization (SEO). This ensures that you pop up on search engines (ok, let’s just all say it together: “Google”) when someone is looking for your goods or services. What is the point of having a beautiful website that is perfect in every way but can’t be found by doing a simple Google search? Let’s face it, hardly anyone goes to page 2 or page 3 after searching with a few keywords. If you aren’t on page 1, you are losing customers. So, without getting into too much technical jargon about SEO, you can either have a web host that offers SEO or hire someone to do it for you. Whichever path you decide to take, it needs to be a priority when setting up your website.
Finally, and this is my last point about setting up your website, it is important to choose a provider that offers unlimited storage, bandwidth, and customers. Here’s why: If you set up your website and become extremely successful (which we know you will be!), you don’t want your site to suddenly not be able to handle the number of visitors coming to it. A typical way of remedying this situation is having to pay your web host more money for increased storage, bandwidth, and customers. It’s almost like extortion! If you choose a host that encourages you to grow to your maximum potential from the beginning, you won’t have to worry about going over any limits. Instead, you’ll be basking in the glory of your success.
Set Up Your Social Media Channels
One of the cheapest ways to get your name out to your target audience is through social media. As a new business, you should not pass up any publicity opportunity that is free. That is why it is imperative that you set up social media accounts for your business from the start. Even if you aren’t planning on using them right away (we’ll get to that later), at least set them up so they’re there when you are ready to start using them.
A key element of good branding on social media would be to use the same easy yet memorable name across all social media channels. For instance, if you sell dog food, don’t choose doggiebowlz547851. Who can remember all those numbers at the end? They might have special meaning to you, but they are not easy for your customers to remember. Also, keep in mind that uniformity is important when branding your business on social media. Don’t be doggiebowlz547851 on Instagram but DogTasticallyDelicious on Facebook (I’m making up these names, so if those are your social media handles, it is a pure coincidence that they are listed here).
It might be harder than you think to come up with something that isn’t already taken on some social media channels, which is why once you do find something available on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, SnapChat, or whatever other social media resources you use, get those accounts created so no one can steal the name from you!
I feel like it must be stated that being an entrepreneur is not cheap or easy. Sometimes we get swept away in a dream that we forget the hard realities of life. Starting a new business takes money. While some businesses take significantly less money to start than others, you will need some sort of funds to get your idea off the ground. Whether that means you use your own money from working at your full-time job, securing a loan from a bank, or finding a remote job that helps you earn while your new business grows, money will have to come from somewhere. Just know that before your business can make money for you, you are going to be making money for it. Think of where that money is going to come from and go get it.
How to Make Money While Working a Full-Time Job: Time Management
Time management is usually a category you are judged on when facing your annual review at your full-time job. While you may sneak onto Facebook during work hours when the boss isn’t looking (you wouldn’t do that, would you?!), your time to devote to your side hustle is going to be limited. With your full-time job taking up most of the day, you will have a few hours at best to devote to your side hustle every day. Coming up with a plan on how to spend that time is imperative to ensure that your business doesn’t turn into a hobby. Listed below are the best ways to spend your time when you are just getting started.
You are basically working two jobs now. You have your full-time job in the morning and your side hustle at night (or reversed for my 3rd shift friends). No matter how tempting it may be, do not work on your side hustle while at your full-time job. That is actually a good way to get fired and lose potential funding for your side hustle.
My one exception to this rule is that you will need to post on your social media channels intermittently throughout the day, but what you post should be thought about and written out at night so it takes just a few seconds to actually post at the peak time of day. A scheduling tool like HootSuite can help you schedule all of your posts in ahead of time so you don’t even have to think about it during the day.
And now, without further ado, here are your everyday tasks:
Work on your website: Your website should not just be “done,” it should be functional, beautiful, and giving you insights into who is visiting it from, from where, etc. Even when you feel your website is done, you might have to tweak it to run deals and specials. Or maybe consider adding a blog to help with attracting customers. This task is actually one that should never actually be totally finished.
Post on different social media channels throughout the day at peak times: Research peak times for the different channels you use or use an app to help you out with this. Make sure to use hashtags so new people (AKA: potential customers) can find you. What you post should be planned out the night before, so uploading a post takes mere seconds. And once you start getting likes on your posts, like other people’s posts back (you’ll get more likes this way).
Respond to your clients: Doing this in a timely manner is very important for your reputation and to keep your customers happy. Enough said.
Do the mundane: I assume since you are still working full-time, you are the only one working your business. This means you are the everything: the CEO, the CFO, the secretary, the laborer, etc. All businesses have those mundane tasks such as filing or shipping product that need to be done every day. I know you’re exhausted after your full-time all day, but don’t fall behind on this. You have way too many other things to accomplish.
It’s good practice to think about the big picture at least once a week. While you won’t have the time (or the energy) to think about these things after working your full-time all day, set aside one day a week to plan for your business’ future.
Here are the tasks you should do once a week:
Analyze your business finances: Sometimes this can be done in 2 minutes and other times it will take much longer. Make sure you are accounting for everything you are spending on the business so you can get a clear picture of what needs more funding, less funding, or can go in your “tax-deductible” folder. Accurate and meticulous records that are filed correctly will save you a lot of hassle at tax-time.
Create a list of 5 business contacts that you would like to do business with: This list will be used in the following week when you contact one person from the list every day. Whether it is a guru in your field that you would like to pick the mind of or a business client that could place a large order with you, make your plan of attack now on how you will approach them, what you will say, and of course, make sure to dig up their contact information.
Read: Reading opens the mind to new opinions and perspectives that you may not have even considered. Whether you like books or online articles, just make sure to devote some time to read about your industry, someone successful in your line of work, or how someone else can help you with your business.
Plan your marketing strategy: Social media will only get you so far, especially while you are new to the game and no one knows who you are. This is why it is imperative to have other marketing strategies in play. Are there local networking events you could attend? Do you need to do an old-fashioned mailer in your community? Should you contemplate cold-calling to get more customers? Should you work on your website’s SEO? Whatever you decide to do, set aside a time each week to plan your method of getting your name out there.
Make sure you are working toward your business goals: This one seems common sense, but it really isn’t. If you haven’t written down the specific goal of your business and how you plan on achieving that goal, you will likely be doing things aimlessly. Are you running a side hustle so you can eventually make it your full-time job? Are you hoping to help others with your business? Whatever your goal is, make it specific and obtainable. For example, don’t merely say you want your side hustle to become your full-time job. And do not get your hopes up of your side hustle making a million dollars in its first year. Those goals are ok, but they are not specific or obtainable. A better goal is wanting your side hustle to produce $35,000 in profit within the next 8 months so you can make it your full-time job once it reaches that benchmark. Re-evaluate your goal every week to see if your past week’s worth of work was beneficial towards that end.
How to Make Money While Working a Full-Time Job: Prospecting For New Business
If you plan on staying in business, you are going to have to prospect for new customers. It is an ongoing cat and mouse game that you must be willing to play. And while this can mean doing different things depending upon what industry you are in, there are certain universal truths for a new business that apply to everyone.
One of the first things you need to do when prospecting for new business as a new business owner yourself is to get your name out into the community. Local businesses often refer customers to other business owners they know, and if you are an invisible man or woman in the community, you are missing out on new clients. This applies to your local neighborhood as well as your online community.
Think of cross businesses that could refer people to you. Do you sell your services as a tutor? Make sure your local high school teachers as well as college professors know you and have an easy way to refer people to you (e.g. a stack of business cards, hanging a sign in their classroom, etc.). Do you offer embroidered gifts online? See if you can get your local fabric shops to let you put a sign in their store or a link on their website. Many people buy embroidered gifts for weddings and baby showers. Explore businesses in those fields and see how you can work with those business owners. If you are creative in applying how your business could work collaboratively with others, pretty soon everyone in your community will know your name.
Another way to get new customers is to be visible online. While we’ve already discussed the importance of good SEO on your website, we haven’t discussed advertising. Sure you can go the old-fashioned route with mailers, phone calls, and door knocking, but if you want better results for less effort (and let’s face it, you don’t have time to waste while working two jobs), online advertising is where you should be focusing your efforts.
Facebook ads allow you to pinpoint your target demographic and set your budget for the ad campaign. Google AdWords only charges you when someone clicks the link to your website or calls you directly from the search page. Even Instagram offers advertising on its platform. Think about where your target audience spends their time online and then pay to get some advertising there. Like we’ve discussed before, there’s no point in being the best at your business if no one can find you when they need you. Advertising is necessary to start getting those orders rolling in.
Now that you have the basics down for starting your side hustle while still working your full-time job, you may be wondering how you will know when it’s time to quit the full-time and focus solely on your own business. Since most people working their own business would rather do their own thing full-time, it is important to know when to make the transition. Stay tuned for the next post on transitioning your side hustle to your full-time job for even more tips on how to run your business when you’ve got more time to focus on it.