There’s a reason why financial experts tell people to find multiple streams of income. For one, it ensures that we have something to fall back on if one source of income suddenly fails. For another, if there’s one thing the COVID-19 crisis has taught us, it’s that we never know what tomorrow might bring. Even if we feel we have found a semblance of stability in our financial life, something could happen that might cause a shift in the global economy, and we always need to be ready.
If you have a good business idea but know that you can’t yet let go of your stable income, here are some tips for running a lucrative side business without quitting your day job.
Start with the essentials.
Most people would say that a thorough business plan is always necessary no matter how small your business is, but if it’s only going to be a side hustle, this simple but direct-to-the-point business plan will do:
- What is the product or service?
- What is the platform you will use to take orders and sell your products or services?
- What channel will you use to fulfill those orders?
That’s it. At the core, a business plan is just made of answers to these three basic questions. In short, don’t worry about the details at this point. Those details will come to fruition when there’s a need for them. Let your operations grow organically as your business grows.
Review the state of your finances.
You may be passionate about the product or service, but if you’re going to be an entrepreneur, you have to educate yourself about the business aspect as well. You can start by looking at the state of your finances and seeing what you can do now to avoid failure or lose all of your life’s savings. Here are some key financial tips when starting a small business:
- Don’t neglect to pay yourself to keep the day-to-day operations going. You are part of the business, too.
- Make moves that will contribute to the growth of the business. Look for opportunities to create more value for your business.
- Don’t shy away from taking out personal loans. It can help boost your cash flow and can help you avoid significant challenges when trying to expand.
- The time to start building healthy financial habits is now. Keep a good credit score and monitor your expenditures.
Do the “minimum effort for maximum impact” approach.
Because the marketing world is incredibly saturated, there is no shortage of things to do or boxes to tick in terms of promotions and advertising. But if you’re just starting and you’re not doing this full time, it’s wisest to focus on marketing tricks that may be simple in execution but will create maximum impact.
You can evaluate your “minimum effort for maximum impact” strategy by looking at your business. Which platforms will your product or service make the most noise in? If you’re selling art prints, Instagram might be your best bet. If you’re selling furniture or anything related to the home, Facebook Marketplace might be your best friend since most homeowners will most likely be spending the most time there. Choose just one platform and make sure it’s the one your target market is in.
Constantly evaluate and adjust.
Just because this isn’t your full-time job, it doesn’t mean you can completely let the chips fall where they may. You still need to do a level of monitoring that will allow you to continue if things are working out and pivot when a strategy is not making the impact you hoped it would. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you always need to spend money to earn more money; sometimes, you just need to take a step back and look at the big picture and the basics. Review your early-stage marketing to see if there’s anything you can add to create more revenue.
Focus on growing your customer base.
Once you get to a place where your business is up and running and you’ve finally figured out how the business works, the next step is to find ways to sell more. For example, if you can finally afford to spend a certain amount on paid ads, do so. Now is the time to execute more marketing activities that you didn’t use when you were starting.
The Bottom Line
And lastly, maintain the proper perspective. Don’t be quick to quit your day job lest you put yourself under a financial strain. Work on your business idea on weekends, during off-hours, weeknights—until you reach a point where it’s sustainable. It’s the best way to minimize risk while pursuing your passion.