How I Turned a Side Hustle into a Full Time Job
We get asked a lot how we built our business.
It’s one of the reasons we expanded our law firm to work with businesses as well.
So we broke it down into an 8 step plan.
And we go in depth into each step in our new program
It’s an 8 week program with one hour video courses and 20 minute solo sessions each week.
This is the process we’'ll walk through. Together.
LISTEN TO THIS WEEK’S EPISODE
Step 1. A Business Plan
If you’ve skipped the first step, you’re in trouble.
Trust me, I know.
I started my first business without a plan and it caused me to make so many bad decisions.
Like, putting an ad in a newspaper bad decisions.
The thing about starting a business is that everyone will have so many suggestions for you. Friends, family, people you’ve met in Facebook groups, people who run businesses you admire. And it’s hard to figure out which advice you should listen to. Everyone means well but they don’t all know business. And none of them know your business.
Being clear about your business from the start means you can skip the bad advice and start building a successful business instead.
Step 2. Products + Services
It’s important that everything you sell is customer focused.
I fell into a trap earlyon where I’d get a creative itch to build something. A new product or service. I was interested in the challenge of building it. It seems fun.
But I didn’t check in with my audience to see if they even want it.
So I’d build it and then I’d have to convince them that it was helpful.
That’s a lot harder than listening and building something they want from the start.
So that’s what I do now.
I don’t spend time building a product or service until I’ve tested it out
Early and often.
I still get this creative itch sometimes but I always check myself. Now, I redirect it to other things like our marketing channels.
Step 3. Brand
It’s tempting to spend your early days in business working on branding and a logo.
But if you don’t know your people yet, don’t waste time or money on building a brand.
Trust me, I’ve done this...twice!
In my skincare company and my law firm, we started out with one brand and then developed into a different brand as we learned more about our customers.
Both times happened after a year. It took a year of working with my customers to finally know who they are.
Step 4. Marketing
Marketing is overwhelming right now.
There are so many places to be: email, blog, instagram, pinterest, facebook, etc.
Now, Linkedin is an option? Crazy times!
I’ve been beating the overwhelm by picking one place. Learning it. Mastering it. And moving on to the next one.
I started with Instagram. I felt like it would give me the most legitimacy among my customers.
Instead of googling, they’d pull up my instagram to see how many followers I have.
It’s the first thing I do with companies too.
Once I figured that out, I moved to getting website traffic. This started with blogging.
And now, I’m moving to Pinterest as a place to redirect traffic to my blog. Btw, it’s working like crazy!
And once I master that, I’ll really focus on growing the Podcast and finally YouTube.
Step 5. Sales
A sales process should be as simple for the customer as possible. And for you.
I sat down early on and wrote a sales template. The same one that I used for years.
It’s my answer to the question: What is a Trademark? Or Why do I need one?
This helped me get down the main points and feel more comfortable talking about it.
My secret to the sales process: talk to the person.
I know it’s time consuming, but it’s the best way I’ve found to make sales.
We offer a free consultation at our law firm. It’s a great way for us to get to know our clients and for them to get to know us. They see that we’re not stereotypical lawyers and that working with us can be fun. A win-win for both.
It’s easier in a service business, but there are ways you can do it in a product business, too. You can make sales calls or have monthly events at wholesalers. You can have videos of you on the website or do instagram lives. The more customers see you the better!
Step 6. Operations
If you’re running a business, you have a to-do list ten pages long and a pile of random papers somewhere with notes scribbled on them.
The best place to start with operations is to create a task center.
Compile your to-do list into one place. A place to write ideas and brainstorm and keep random notes as they pop into your head. And a place to track your to-do list.
Step 7. Legal
An LLC is a good first step for most businesses because it means you won’t be personally liable for anything that happens in your business.
There are also a few key contracts you’ll likely want.
A website policy is important because it makes your customer service policies, like returns and cancellations, binding for anyone who orders from your website. Otherwise, orders can legally be returned.
A client contract is also important because it spells out the project and payment timelines. It also makes cancellations clear so you avoid legal drama.
A freelancer contract is key when hiring a designer, photographer, or assistant. You want to make sure that you own the rights to the work they’re creating and the only way to do that is with a contract. You also want to make sure they keep your information confidential.
Trademarks are the most important legal piece. Only one company can own the rights to a brand nationally. And it’s based on who files the application first.
If you file the trademark first, you own the right to the brand and can stop others from using it.
But, if someone else files the trademark first, they’ll own the trademark rights. You won’t be able to use the brand nationally anymore, which means you can be restricted from selling outside your city.
Step 8. Finances
I think so many people get freaked out by the finances part of it.
But it’s actually really easy.
Setup a system like Wave or Freshbooks. They usually have fun graphics and charts that give you a look at your business finances in a glance.
And come back to check it monthly to see how it’s going.
Are you making more or less sales? Are you spending more or less?
Then try to plan next month based on what’s working and what’s not working.
You can do it in 20 minutes!