Start Your Side Hustle: The Starter Kit and Strategy You Need!Jun 26, 2023
What if you had the exact toolkit you needed to build your business without burnout? As a business strategist with 20 years in corporate strategy, I created the Side Hustle Starter Kit with both growth and freedom in mind. It is a step-by-step guide to streamline your business on a part-time schedule. We cover business strategy, creating and maintaining effective systems, and a social media strategy that works for you and your schedule.
When I started my business, I didn't have a lot of time. My twins were 18 months old and I was working full-time. But I knew I wanted time freedom, a strong and fulfilling business, and most importantly, to be able to be at the bus stop every day when my daughters got on the bus for school and got off.
What Does it Mean to Run a Full-Time Business Part-Time?
If you want your side hustle to be profitable without being glued to your phone or computer 24/7, you have to be strategic in your time and the tasks you are spending that time on. My goal was to replace my corporate income, but I didn't have 40 hours a week to spend building my business to be able to do that. So I got creative and got strategic. Part of this included outsourcing tasks that I didn't enjoy or wasn't good at so that I could focus on other things as well as asking for help. Another part included weeks of BIG pushes (hello, leap weeks) that were busy and packed full but resulted in BIG growth for my business. Building and maintaining a business that creates a full-time income but only working 8-10 hours each week is possible. And as a business strategist, I am here to show you how. I did it, and you can, too.
An effective business strategy is important so you are not just working, but working on the right things to grow your business! Strategy is simply having a plan that is in alignment with your goals and priorities. Ask yourself these questions to get started with yours:
- What is your core mission and vision? The reason why you started?
- What are your core values? (ex. You want weekends off, etc.)
- What is your short and long-term objective? (Quarterly, Monthly, etc.)
- How do you measure success?
Take time to reflect on these questions and actually write down your answers. Your answers will probably change over time, and that is a way you will see your progress and how far you've come. It will also bring you back to your WHY when times get hard, which we all know at some point happens.
Putting together simple systems will help you automate and duplicate your processes so your business works while you don't. Now that you have built a strong foundation in your business you are going to want to scale through systems and automation so you can produce income on autopilot. Here are some examples you can apply.
Productivity Plan (Time block your day!)
Taking time to plan exactly what you are working on, when you are working on it, and how long you will be working on that task will keep you focused AND reduce the risk of mindless scrolling. Set your timer for 30 minutes and when the timer goes off, you move on. You will be surprised at how much you can accomplish when you start the week or day with a plan.
So often when I talk about business strategy or even project planning, I immediately get the feedback of, "OH, that is so hard." But the fact of the matter is that it is a simple process and so beneficial in reaching your long-term goals. You might not be used to doing it, but it is simple and can be done in 30 minutes or less. If you don’t know where you are going, how are you going to get there? A vision without a strategy is just an illusion and more importantly, a quarterly plan helps you choose what to do but also what not to do. When setting your annual goals, knowing what steps you are taking daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly will ensure you are making small strides toward those big goals. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you achieve your long-term goals? One daily income-producing task at a time.
What is one of the themes that keep coming up with my clients? Funnels. Because the key to having an "anti-social" strategy is NOT not using social, but using social in a way that works for you. Do you know what is still there when IG shuts down your account (this has happened to me. Twice.) or the algorithm changes? Email. Channel both your inner business strategist and productivity coach with a plan that is effective and efficient. This includes utilizing funnels to help nurture your future and current clients. This basically means that you are using email automation to ask questions, learn about your client, and point them to resources that can help them more.
I did a whole blog post on Two Email Funnels That Any Small Business Can Create to Save Time, which is a HUGE part of my anti-social strategy. Do you have these two simple funnels set up in your business? Both are pretty powerful and can not only lead to better relationships but increased sales.
Client Relationship Tools
The combination of these tools saves HOURS in my business but also makes a much better experience for my clients and team. I share more about some of my favorites here.
- Visually communicate your day. Make your calendar and milestones visible so everyone including yourself can see them! Whether it's a large wall calendar, a shared Google calendar, or a weekly calendar on your refrigerator, have them in place so they can be easily seen.
- Pick a scheduling tool with workflow capability AND design it around your ideal schedule.
- A free tool for communicating. I use and love both Voxer and Slack. Voxer is a walkie-talkie app that allows me to do 1:1 coaching with my clients in real-time, on my schedule and their schedule. Slack is like a modern AOL messenger where you can organize your conversations by topic. You can also use Slack for client service and response. Everything is organized and easy to access.
- Utilizing Google Calendar and other scheduling tools to create simple manual systems: this small business planner was made with this business strategy tip in mind!
Outsourcing to other team members when possible:
When I first started my business I reinvested all of what I was making back into my business. Two of the BEST hires I first made were a virtual assistant to repurpose content and a website designer on retainer. With these two completing those tasks, I was able to spend those extra hours working on other parts of my business that I enjoyed and that I needed to be to scale quickly. You are going to need help. And while outsourcing may not be in the cards when you first start your side hustle, I would really encourage you to make a list of all of the things you do. Write them down. Then, next to each task, either do, delete, defer, or delegate.
- Do: some tasks only you can do and need to be done. These are incoming-producing tasks that will move the needle in your business and/or something you truly enjoy doing.
- Delete: what can you just delete or get rid of?
- Defer: what can you do later?
- Delegate: can someone else do it for you?
BONUS: Your focus should be on incoming producing activities. Use systems and outsourcing for the rest!
Keep in mind every business is different and a system can simply be a process that is repetitive. Like sending out a newsletter on the first Monday of every month (and using a template to save time). Find what works for YOU! Brainstorm where you can create your own systems. Think about repeatable tasks that happen on a weekly, daily, and monthly basis. Can you batch them? Pair them? Outsource? Or are they a must-do?
Social Media Strategy
Stop spending HOURS scrolling endlessly with zero results. Create a strategy and plan to streamline your social media. (Insert my anti-social strategy at work). Coming up with a social media game plan not only will save you time but bring in your ideal client without slimy cold messages. Use these questions to help with your strategy:
- How are you solving your clients' pain points? Tell them through your content.
- What value are you bringing them every week? Do you have a freebie or offer you can give them?
- How are you establishing a relationship? Are you checking in with them instead of just asking them to join you?
- Are you consistent with your social media presence?
Don't forget to celebrate your focus with some time off!
- Grab my small business planner to time block your day efficiently and effectively.
- Learn more about two email funnels that you can start in your business
- Here are some of my favorite tools to save time and streamline.
- Wondering about outsourcing? Here are some strategic tips and what to outsource first
- Learn more about my anti-social framework
Looking for more on this topic and your High-Level Action items? Check out the Strategy Lab in the Crush the Rush Club!