How To Start a Side Business

By: Alanna Sabatino

There are many benefits to launching a side business. For starters, you are the entire company: the boss, C.E.O., employee, and everything in between. Because you’re the only worker, you receive 100% of the profits you make. This financial freedom opens up a world of opportunities for you, from paying off debts or student loans to saving for a rainy day. All in all, it can take you one step closer to being financially independent. 

Along with the many benefits, it’s essential to remember that starting a side business is not as easy as one might think. You have to be willing to dedicate your personal time, energy and creativity to the company. Here are a few things to keep in mind when contemplating starting your own side business:

Determine what your side business will be

It can be overwhelming to narrow down your talents and abilities. Your side business should involve something you love and something you love to do. If you’re unsure about what those “loves” are, try asking yourself:

  1. What skills do I have? Which ones are my strengths? Which are my weaknesses? Which skills do I enjoy doing?
  2. What do you see a need for? For your business to succeed, you need to stand out from everyone else. Do some research and identify what people need and how you can provide that service or product.
  3. Are there enough customers for your side business? To have a constant income, you will need a continual flow of customers. If your business is a one-time purchase, then you need to ensure that you’ll have enough new customers to keep the business going.

What platform will you use?

Once you have a concept for your side business, you’ll want to consider where to house your business. Will you use blogs, social media, or websites?

Blogs: 

Does your side business focus on a concept or experience rather than a product? If so, then blogging platforms are for you. Blogs give you the freedom to diversify your content—think fashion, travel, advice, DIY, cooking, etc.—and create your own brand and aesthetic to match. Blogs are an excellent choice for imaginative individuals that want to share their creations with the world.

Social media: 

If you don’t think you are tech-savvy enough to create a blog from scratch, social media is an excellent place for first-time entrepreneurs like yourself. Instagram’s newest feature allows you to set up a virtual storefront right on your profile (for a more in-depth look at this new feature, check out this article!) This means you can display, sell and interact with your products all in one space.

Service-based websites: 

Rather than selling a product or a concept, you might want to sell your hard-earned talents. Consider creating a business using freelance-based websites such as Fiverr and Etsy to market your services. 

Make sure you have clear goals:

Setting goals for your business will help you stay on track and prioritize your abilities. Remember to be realistic in your dreams and milestones; setting small, achievable goals to mark your success provides you with a sense of accomplishment that will motivate you to continue working hard. One promising framework to use when formulating plans is the SMART Goals Criteria. Developed by management icon Peter Drucker, SMART is the acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Remember your resources:

You may think you’re starting from scratch but, even if you are, helpful inspiration from social media influencers like the ones below is available to you at your fingertips.

@misslunavega: Luna Vega’s TikTok account breaks down everything from saving money as a beginner to starting a side business on platforms like Etsy, all from the comfort of your own home. Her TikToks are packed full of valuable information and are easy to follow and implement in your own financial journey.

@herfirst100k – Tori Dunlap runs the TikTok account @herfirst100k and the podcast “Financial Feminist.” Tori’s TikTok features a combination of financial advice and lifestyle videos that allow her viewers to learn and relate to her on a more personal level. Her account’s primary focus is empowering women to be financially independent and sharing life tips for saving money when travelling, interviewing, and more. 

@alexarosecarlin – Alexa Carlin is a best-selling author and the CEO of Women EmpowerX. Her TikTok account breaks down smaller, everyday concepts that help reshape myths about financially independent women. For example, Alexa has numerous videos addressing countering self-doubt and combating the lack of confidence that women face in the male-dominated business world. 

@yourrichbff – The TikTok account “yourrichbff” is run by an ex-Wall-Streeter. She uses her knowledge to educate women in an informal yet educational way, highlighting the different types of mortgages, bank accounts, credit scores and much more. She films her videos as if she’s talking with her friends, so they’re accessible and understandable to women of all professional backgrounds.

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