When pivoting in your career, it is helpful to have priority areas that narrow your focus, provide structure to your new adventure and allow you to grow in manageable ways. Below are 4 areas that have helped me build my side hustle and evaluate its full-time viability. Consider these areas as reflection points you can use at any time, no matter where you are in your business.
1. DETERMINE YOUR INVESTMENT CAPACITY EARLY AND OFTEN
It is easy to get excited and completely overwhelmed at the same time by business ownership. What does it mean to be an entrepreneur? How will you manage your day-to-day schedule building something while also maintaining performance in your full-time gig? What is your tolerance for risk? Can you put other things in your life on hold to put your business dream first (i.e. time spent with friends, family, less cash for entertainment)?
Fear not! Take some time answer these questions above. Set up a practice of self-care, acknowledge accomplishments regularly and pay attention to how you feel each day and every couple of months. Remind yourself this is a journey and determine if you’re up for it.
Timesaver #1: Prevent burnout by taking time to acknowledge your progress and reflect on what you’d like to accomplish in your business adventure, whether it be full or part-time. Happiness in work goes a long way
2. DEVELOP A REPUTABLE, CONSISTENT ONLINE PRESENCE AND BRAND
Identify the social media sites where you feel most comfortable sharing your business vision, thoughts and resources associated with your brand. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter were the first and easiest three places for me to start doing so. Later, other social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram gave me the space to be creative and show my more personal side.
Several years ago, I worked with students at UMass Amherst to build me a website. This past spring, I realized it no longer suited my new vision and scope. A mentor encouraged me to take it down and build a simple website on Squarespace. Best. Decision. Ever. I took on the task of learning Squarespace, which led to some struggles but, ultimately, the realization that I needed help to get the caliber of design that would set me apart from other coaches. I became familiar with design lingo and more aware of my own expectations, making me a savvier shopper and landed me in the capable hands of Business Betties.
Leaving the website design and coding skills to the experts allowed me to focus on writing effective copy, reflecting and gathering client feedback and actualizing my web presence and brand in a visual context that I was proud of. I then sought support from a friend to design my logo. Not only did my business’ mission to support the professional development and career goals of women, I felt that my brand also became that of female business owner who supported other female business owners. Bonus.
Timesaver #2: Brand development takes time. Identify the aspects of it you enjoy and then invest green in an expert service or two.
3. DEVELOP NEW AND CAPITALIZE ON INNATE SKILLS
Early in my business, I tried to build all of the skills I thought I would need on my own. What became clear after several struggles implementing that philosophy was that I needed to dedicate my time to learning industry trends in terms of content delivery. I already knew how to create and deliver workshops; I just needed to learn new software and techniques. Where and how could I reach my clients? I spent time learning webinar and video software and how to use Google hangout-on-air, create eBooks, Facebook Ads and Lead Pages. Canva, MailChimp and WordPress followed suit. I was completely immersed in building new skills. I felt alive and fulfilled.
Participating in the Do+Make Business District connected me to a community of entrepreneurs, resources, classes and challenges that assimilated me into the world of entrepreneurship. Since I loved marketing so much, I am in the process of completing Hubspot’s free marketing class and will complete the Resume Writers Academy Certification this fall, an industry-specific credential.
Timesaver #3: Developing both industry-specific and entrepreneurial-related skills are essential throughout the life of your business.
4. BUILD COMMUNITY
Make the decision early on to spend time talking with and meeting fellow business owners. Tell your friends, family members and even strangers about your goals. Join these Facebook communities and groups of like-minded and similarly focused women. For example, I joined and/or followed online bloggers and coaches such as Olyvia, Mariah Coz, the Nectar Collective, Megan Minns, Hilary Rushford, Kimra Luna, Live in the Grey, By Regina, Lady Project and the Freelance Hustle. Being both an observer and participant builds your sense of belonging and encourages you to act on your entrepreneurial dreams. There are other female business owners to whom you can turn for advice. Find yourself an accountability buddy, ideas mentor or sponsor; an individual or two who can connect you to people and resources that will help you grow business, listen to your awesome ideas and help you turn them into reality.
Timesaver #4: You cannot be successful in work and life without friends, family and fellow business owners. Invest time and a little cash in coffee dates and phone calls to build relationships.
This article first appeared on the Business Betties blog. To view on their site, please visit this link.Like this article? Share it!