Welcome back to Aisling Healy Career Coaching.
Today's post will cover starting a side hustle and some hints & tips to help you if you're thinking of setting up your own business.
As you may know, I decided to take the leap and set up my own business. I started working on the business about 6 months ago.
I’ve always wanted to own my own business but I wanted to be sure it was the right one for me so that’s why I set it up as a side hustle and stayed working until I was sure I wanted to do this full time.
If you’re thinking of setting up a side hustle while working a full-time job, the following is the advice I’d give you:
1. Do your research. Take the time to really investigate the business that you’d love to set up. Start with your hobbies and interests. Is there a hobby you have that you would love to do everyday? Do you have some skills that you always thought you might pursue as a business? Did you gain certain experience and skills in your current/previous job that you think you would be able to offer as a business yourself?
For me, I always wanted to help people. I started by analysing my different interests and hobbies I had and writing down scenarios if it was possible to make them a business. Then I looked at my experience. My colleagues and friends who ever asked me for help with their careers, or what to do next in their job or in a certain scenario, always told me I should do this full time as the advice I gave them was always successful. That is how I found career coaching. Coupled with my experience and their validation from the help I gave them, it made me confident that this was the right business for me to pursue. It took a long time to get to that realisation. It takes time but it’s worth it.
2. Commitment. Starting a side hustle involves a lot of commitment. Be prepared to not find the answers you want straight away and the necessity to put in a lot of hard graft. But if you are really committed, you will succeed.
I lacked the commitment at the start in setting up my own business and it took a long time to get moving with my idea. The thought of the business kept coming back into my head when I had dismissed it the first couple of times, thinking I wasn't able to take the risk. I finally became determined to go for it and here I am.
It is tiring having completed a long stressful day in work to go home, power up the laptop and go again. Your weekends are the same. I compare it to studying for exams, you feel a bit guilty when you’re not working on it and can get stressed when you are. That's why commitment is so important and looking at the bigger picture. You need to be prepared to spend all your time to make your side hustle successful but I promise it is worth it.
3. A strategic business plan. What are the most important parts in running a business? I thought at the start I’ll just get a website up and running and business cards and that was it, ready to go! I was very mistaken. In order for you not to make the same mistakes, I would suggest taking the following steps:
a. Think about the service you want to offer, research your competitors and define your unique selling point that will make you stand out from the crowd.
b. Pricing. Come up with pricing that’s reasonable but also value in the time you spend. I know you may want to charge lower prices to get the clients/customers in but that won’t work after a while. You'll spend a lot of time working for a lot less earnings.
You are an expert in your field and you shouldn’t undersell yourself just because you are starting out. Start as you mean to go on. Join groups, ask competitors, research what they charge. Some won’t want to help but some will be supportive.
Price yourself based on your findings. You can offer maybe one or two free services for one or two people in the beginning in order to gain experience and strong testimonials but then you need to start charging reasonably in order to make your side hustle a full time reality.
c. Strategy. Plan your business strategy for selling your services. Who is your target market? How are you going to get your name out there? What is your unique selling point? What is your niche?
d. Brand, website and business cards. Branding is so important when marketing yourself and selling your services. I originally started off with a well-being website and initially wanted to combine the well-being with the career coaching and have the same branding. I did a trial run and I found it too difficult to have a laid-back well-being based website with professional based services - the tone just didn’t match. I re-branded and created a separate coaching website from my blog posts.
You will come across a lot of trial and error and this is good! You are constantly learning when you make mistakes and changes. I assure you don’t give up hope.
Building a good website is vital – Mark from https://www.thefoxisdigital.com/ did an amazing job setting up my website, advising me on my social media platforms of what works and doesn’t and how to optimise the right platforms to promote my business along with the fundamental business tools that I needed to run my business. From this I set up a detailed marketing plan of blog posts, YouTube videos and Instagram posts. He also designed my business cards. He saved me a lot of time and energy already having the expertise. It definitely helps when setting up your own business alone to invest in a business coach.
e. Don’t be afraid to start. Don’t keep putting off setting up your side hustle. Yes, do your research, plan (a lot) and then just go for it. I kept putting off setting it up because I thought I didn’t have enough done, it wasn’t the right time, my website wasn’t perfect etc. I then just set myself a deadline and launched it. I can make fixes and edits as I go along. We learn from our mistakes and things can always be rectified. But if you don’t start you never will. Remember done is better than perfect.
f. Get your finances in order. From setting up bank account, a revenue account for self-employed, to using your Excel sheet tracking your money in and expenses, this is an important step not to be missed. If you’re setting up a products business then you will have higher overheads buying the stock in order to sell and you must plan for this financially. If you’re setting up services business, you’ll have relatively lower overhead costs, but all relevant costs need to be taken into account. It is important to understand how you charge VAT and filing taxes. Not the most exciting part of setting up a business but it’s certainly one of the most important.
The above are some of things to consider when setting up a business and how I started my side hustle. I marketed myself at jobs expos at the weekends and got my LinkedIn profile up to date. I’m currently trying and testing some other marketing techniques and I will post on what was successful and what was not! I saved and planned, and it enabled me to make my side hustle into a full time career.
Currently I’m working with @MarkFoxCoaching who’s coaching me step by step in setting up my business so check him out if you’re setting up a business!
If you need career advice or goal setting, please don't hesitate to contact me and check out my website https://aislinghealycoaching.com/
My next post is going to be focused on setting career goals and evaluating your current professional situation. If you have anything in particular you’d like me to cover career related, comment below or drop me an email.
Thanks for reading,