Side hustle. Part-time gig. Freelancing.
Whatever you call it, when you’re doing your own business in addition to working full time at someone else’s, things can get tough.
You come home at the end of the day, and you’re wiped. You’ve given your best hours of energy and productivity to your job. And hey, that’s not all bad; maybe that job is supporting you right now, giving you benefits, keeping the roof over your head.
But what it’s not doing is making it easy for you to launch that other business, that passion project, that thing you’ve been dreaming of.
That said, it’s certainly not impossible to build a successful business on the side. Loads of people do it. So what have they got that you haven’t? Extra-strength espresso? Insomnia? Super-high metabolism?
Nope. Likely the only thing they’ve got that you haven’t got is a plan.
Start with a strategic vision
It’s so hard if you’re working 40 hours a week to carve out time to work on your own business. So what I encourage you to do first is to ask yourself what is the next phase? What would you love, love, love to have happen in the next 12 month period?
For some people that might be, “Oh, I’d love to produce this much from coaching income.” Other people would be like, “I’d love to be known for this niche in the coaching community.”
The key here is to define a goal and then define a metric that will let you know if you’ve achieved it. With an income goal, it’s pretty easy to see whether or not you’ve reached it. Other goals are a bit more nebulous — how do you know if you’ve become “known” for something? Maybe it will be when you get a certain number of people on your email list, or a certain number of referrals. Whatever it is, attach a number to it.
And then work backwards from that. Use the sales strategies I’ve talked about (here in a guest post for my good friend Lacy) to determine your goals. If you want X sales (or people on your list, whatever), how many emails or phone calls do you have to make? How many guest posts do you need to do? How many networking events should you attend?
Once you have a strategic vision, you can work backwards and create a plan to fit it into the time and energy you have available.
Nurture your audience
Of course, I honestly think that most one place most people should probably be focusing is on nurturing their existing audience by doing interviews, blogging, building traffic to their website, and getting email opt-ins.
If nothing else, you’re actually building that list and you’re participating in this online conversation that you want to be known for. By writing consistently and doing some kind of a monthly guest post somewhere else in addition to your own blog, you are drawing people back to your domain, and your community, and your place.
I was actually working with somebody who said to me, “Oh my gosh, I want to start up coaching on the side again, but I’ve just been so busy that I haven’t even looked at my website for three years.” And that’s the thing that’s going to be hard to overcome. It’s not hard that she wants to start coaching again. But that lack of momentum, that radio silence for three years, that’s going to be difficult to overcome and build back up.
On the other hand, it’s relatively easy for someone to pick up a side gig if they’ve been at least spending a few hours every single week engaging with and growing their community.
It might be a video for some people. It might be a blog post for others. It might be a Periscope, still for other people. Figure out what energizes you in terms of updating your presence on a weekly basis, and just make it happen. It doesn’t have to be a big effort. It can be whatever makes you happy.
Consider it part of the long game – it’s not going to produce immediate income, but it’s going to continue to establish your presence and credibility online.
Borrow someone else’s audience
Then, when you’re ready to really kick it up a notch, reach out and try borrowing someone else’s audience.
If I were in the situation of wanting to ramp up my business quickly (and with minimal effort) I would actually pitch myself to someone who already has an online community, who already has all the business that they can handle. I would offer, for a monthly fee, to be active in their group, potentially maybe hold an extra monthly call to build on what they offer and to offer an extra layer of accountability.
To me, that’s easily worth $500 a month for an active person helping me manage a community.
To you, that’s going to give you discussions. That’s going to give you ideas for posts. That’s going to give you additional training and additional credibility. And eventually, you might end up being a strategic partner with this other coach, but also you might say after a year that this has been fantastic but now I’m striking out on my own.
And some of those people in that community might also be interested in your conversations too. I don’t think you would market yourself to those people, but those people would also probably be interested in your perspective too, as you expand your offerings and your reach.
It’s almost like being mentored, or actively trained, or being an apprentice in somebody else’s program, which I think would be so valuable and also kind of fun. It’s kind of a way to keep you in the game even if you don’t have an active one-on-one client and keep you focused on that.
However you decide to approach your side business, try not to get discouraged if it ends up taking a bit longer than you’d like. You think, “Oh, this is a two year vision.” But then you get a little mad because your two year vision is actually taking three and a half years or whatever it is.
Regardless, it’s important to have that vision for what you think is going to work for you and then just translate into, “Does this next step get me closer to that or further away?”
If you find yourself in this sort of situation and could use more information about running your business from a sales perspective, I urge you to get on the VIP list to hear more about my new program, Sales Boss, when it launches this year. Click here to get the free ebook and get on the list and you’ll be the first to know when the program is ready and take advantage of early bird offers!