How to Start a Side Business in Your Free Time
Starting a side business in your free time is easier than you think. If you’ve been pondering about starting a business, this article is for you! I’ll be sharing my personal story of starting a business while I was working in my full time day job, including how I started, my goals, and how I quit my 9-5 to pursue entrepreneurship full time!
Let’s kick it off!
Why Start a Side Business?
There are many reasons people want to start a business. Maybe you’ve always dreamed of being a business owner or you’d like to make a little (or a lot of) extra money. There are many businesses you can start easily and with little startup expense, while still managing your full time job and any other priorities you have.
Here’s my personal story:
It all started for me about 4.5 years ago. I have been working in a corporate job I wasn’t that fond of, for 7 years! I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur so I started a little online store on a whim! Within a week, I had made 25 sales! I was so excited. I started educating myself like crazy about how to run an online store, how to make it grow, how to earn more profits, etc.
One year later I was earning enough to quit my 9-5 and so I did! It was a great decision for me, that allowed me the flexibility to spend more time with my family, watch my toddler grow and hit his milestones, and be available for important things that used to stress me out because of scheduling with my FT job (appointments, events, holidays, etc.)
How Did I Do it?
I’ll tell you! I won’t detail step-by-step how I did every little thing because everybody doesn’t want to start an online store. A side business could be freelancing (graphic design, writing, consulting, etc.), dog walking, babysitting, social media management, virtual assisting, flea market flipping, making money on Pinterest, etc.
How You Can Start Your Side Business
Step 1.) Figure out your niche
First things first. You wanna start by figuring out what kind of business you want to pursue. There are 2 options: products and services. A product business is where you sell products like kids apparel, shoes, jewelry, printables, ebooks, etc. Service businesses sell services like business coaching, social media management, virtual assisting, freelance writing, etc.
Step 2.) Create a business plan
I know, I know. This sounds pretty boring but it’s the opposite. Creating a business plan can be exciting. You’re mapping out you business future. What are your business goals? Where will you be in 1 year? 5 years? What is your social media strategy? Will you bring on employees? These questions are some that you’ll answer when you create your business plan. There are business plan free templates on word processing programs like MS Word, or you can freehand it all and just start typing a long document. It doesn’t need to be fancy, this is for you.
Step 3.) Sourcing and Fulfillment
Figure out where you will get your products and supplies from. Examples: shipping supplies, packaging, wholesale products, etc. Consider if you’ll be shipping products (if required) yourself or hiring a fulfillment house, will you sell in a marketplace like Amazon, etc.
Step 4.) Site design/setup/launch
Ok, so you don’t NEED a website for your business necessarily, but it adds credibility and you will likely have a bigger liftoff than if you didn’t have a site. Platform of choice: Shopify. Shopify is great and has everything you need whether you are selling goods, selling services, etc. They have a TON OF THEMES and a TON OF PLUGINS to help you with everything from sourcing, newsletter management, marketing, promotion, etc.
It’s a breeze to set up a Shopify site. The main components are: products or services, About Me page, Contact Us page. You can add extras like a sizing chart, FAQ, etc.
Once you’re all set, time to launch!
When you launch, it’ll be a super exciting feeling. You want to hit the ground running so start your promotion even before your site is live. You can set up a landing page to collect emails and send an intro newsletter announcing your site being live once you launch. Once you’ve launched, check on your site daily. Check customer emails, check inventory, etc. Basically you wanna stay on top of your site because it can be really easy to fall behind.
Maintaining your Side Business Hustle
For maintenance, you want to make sure you continuously promote. This can be free or paid promotion.
Free promotion examples:
- Word of mouth advertising
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Forum marketing
Paid promotion examples:
- Social media ads
- Paid discovery (like Stumbleupon, Outbrain, etc.)
- Google Adwords
Some marketing/promotion articles you’ll love:
There you have it friends! Have you launched your side business? Share your experience with us down below in comments!