10 Tips for starting your own side business
You want to start a side business.
I believe in entrepreneurship. Society works best when customers are served well by highly responsive entrepreneurs.
Bravo. Well done. Congratulations!
Since I started as an entrepreneur 19 years ago, I learned the following about side businesses.
If you’re like most people who want to start a part-time enterprise, it probably means you have a full-time job. People with a full-time job who pursue a side hustle have an important reality check to face: your available hours to develop a viable business are severely restricted. On average, we’re talking about 5 hours a week after you do your full-time job, sleep, tend to family and relax. Maybe you can sustainably work more than 5 hours a week. The average is 5. I’m going to recommend 10 hours per week.
As you know and I've explained through this site, there are 14 Entrepreneurial Disciplines necessary to make a full-time business viable. You can’t possibly master all these in a side business. There’s just not enough time.
You have to be super efficient with your available hours. So here are 10 Tips For Starting Your Own Side Business:
- Work When Fresh. Go to bed early. Then work on your side business from 5am to 7am, Monday to Friday. There are your 10 hours a week. At 7am, prepare for your day job. Don’t trudge away in your full-time role, commute home, have dinner, spend time with your family and then expect you can give the best of yourself to your startup. It’s just not going to happen.
- Stick To What You Know. You’ve gained experience and expertise. Perhaps this was from your day-job, a hobby or even daily living tasks. Whatever the source, don’t abandon this field. Stay focused where you’re quickest. Stick to what you know. With only 10 hours a week, you simply don’t have time to learn new fields.
- Be The Marketer. 10 hours a week is not much time to do anything. So, you need to concentrate on doing one thing very well, with rhythm and efficiency. Marketing brings in money. You need to focus on doing as much marketing as you can in those 2 hours each morning.
- Run Marketing Experiments. Your marketing efforts will fail at first. You need to dedicate all of your 10 hours a week to marketing simply because you need all that time to experiment with channels, pricing, copy, target market and media. Experiment until you achieve a good marketing return on investment.
- Systemize Your Marketing. Once you have found a marketing technique which yields promising results, document how you did it. In other words, write out instructions. Documenting does three time-saving things for you. It records your success formula so you don’t forget it. It acts as a checklist for quick repetition by you in your 5–7am window. And it provides a training document you can use so a freelancer can substitute for you and repeat your process.
- Go Evergreen. If you spend any time in your precious 10 hours a week reproducing your product or service, try a different business. You’ll never have time to market. Create a product once. Then repeatedly market that same product. The product should therefore not date or be time-sensitive or require reconstruction. It should be evergreen. Evergreen products save you production time.
- Don’t Deliver Your Product. If you don’t have time to reproduce the product, you don’t have time to deliver it. Make sure that you are not performing any delivery or fulfillment services. You can have an individual, company or platform deliver on your behalf, but not you. There is no time and, in order for your side business to grow, you have to uncouple yourself from the task of actually fulfilling.
- Cash Advance Business Model. A huge sap on your time is when you produce a good or service and then ask for payment after delivery. This leads to time-eroding problems like unnecessary negotiating, dealing with customer misunderstandings, chasing delayed payment and even collections. Don’t waste valuable time. They pay upfront or they don’t receive your product. If your product, industry or side business idea doesn’t lend itself to that, try advance payment anyway. If customers won’t do it, try a different product or market.
- Automate Everything You Can. There are countless apps which can make your life easy. Have invoices automatically sent. Schedule emails.
- Use Your Commute Time. If you catch the train or bus to work, don’t squander that valuable time. Continue your marketing efforts from your phone or laptop. Not only will your commute fly, but you’ll squeeze in extra productivity again when your mind is comparatively fresh.
In all of these 10 Tips For Starting Your Own Side Business, the theme is that you need to set a regular, early time to work, concentrate on marketing, and finally automate or outsourcing all other tasks.
Again, congratulations on wanting to join the noble ranks of the entrepreneur. I hope your side business flourishes and ultimately replaces your day job so you and your family have an amazing future.
Best of luck.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.