How to Create a Side Business This Weekend for $0
This is a guest post by Susan Finch who blogs at MothersWhoLaunch.com
Creating a side business conjures up images of business plans, cash flow predictions, client lead magnets, and designing assets like a high converting website. It’s really no wonder why we never actually do anything about our business goals. All of those things are complete distractions and self-imposed busy work to insulate us from our fear of failure. We just end up over-complicating the process until we talk ourselves out of our grand plans.
In reality, you don’t need any of those things to get your side business up and running in a single weekend. And you can do it all for $0. Here’s the complete blueprint to get your business started quickly.
Make a Powerhouse List of Your Skills
Brainstorming your skills isn’t new advice. We start by making a tidy list to narrow down our skills. But there’s more to it than jotting down, “dog sitting”. What kind of benefits are you actually offering to your potential clients?
Are you a dog whisperer who serves anxious down owners who are relieved when you’re available because they know their pup is going to be well taken care of? Or let’s say you’re a freelance writer. Maybe you help online entrepreneurs crush their online copy to connect with their audience, nail their messaging and make more sales?
The skills that make an impact on a person’s life is what you’re really focusing on. If you have no idea what you can possibly offer, then think about what your friends and family always say about you and what they need from you. What makes you unique?
Be an Online Super Sleuth
Don’t get too hung up on the first step on this blueprint. Just do your best and move on. Fortunately, there’s an incredibly easy way to get inspired about your idea, and see if the skill and service you want to offer is in demand. This step can even tell you what to charge. What’s the secret? Just see what your competition is up to.
Google something like, “Freelance writers in Atlanta” to find out who your competition is, who their clients are, and their rates. Now you’ve got instant validation if your idea is even worth pursuing. If there’s no competition in your area for your general service, then it’s unlikely the service is in demand.
And by general service, I mean “Dog sitting” or “freelance writer.” The exception might be if you live in a tiny town, so just broaden your area to the nearest city instead.
Next, figure out how you can stand out from your competition and what to charge. If you’re interested in freelance writing for small businesses, but you can only find freelance writers in your area specializing in writing copy for corporations, then you may have found your niche. Offer your services to small independent businesses who need help with their online sales copy.
You can also see what your competition is charging to determine your rate with confidence. But whatever you do, don’t undervalue yourself. No one is going to give you permission to charge what you're worth, or the going market rate for your service.
You have to own it and dive right in. If you’re struggling with that, charge slightly below the competition to get up and running.
Tap Your Network the Right Way
This is the part where people start panicking and pulling all nighters to put together a DIY website and rush order their business cards. It’s really not necessary. Stop focusing on “busy work” and start focusing on action instead.
Start by letting your network know that you’re interested in expanding your freelance services (or whatever it is you want to offer) with a simple, pleasant email. It doesn’t have to be sales-y or make you feel awkward. Try this:
“Hey guys, I’m finally taking the plunge and starting that landscaping business I’ve been talking about. I’m going to start by helping homeowners overhaul of their lawn and garden for curb appeal to get it ready to sell but am open to other ideas and clients. Let me know if you hear of anyone looking! I’m also happy to tackle anything that comes my way to get up and running.”
Broaden Your Search
Friends and family are usually pretty reliable in spreading the word about your awesome new business. But don’t stop there. Look at every free newspapers, online newsletter, Craigslist small business ads, and directory in your area.
Most of these places will let you post your services for free, or a small fee. Your library, grocery store, community center and coffee shop are also good places to leave a few marketing flyers. All you need is your information, phone number, service and maybe a photo of yourself.
If you can design a simple flyer for yourself – go for it. Otherwise, just forget about it and focus on launching your business instead. You can worry about designing impressive marketing materials later. Right now you should be focusing on finding your first few clients to build up your income, testimonials and referrals.
So what have you spent so far on your new business? Probably nothing unless you didn’t have printer paper ready to go.
This step is the most important of all. Learn to execute with passion. No one is perfect, but your business model should be a passionate one. That means doing an impeccable job with your freelance writing, giving your clients peace of mind when they leave their dogs with you, and landscaping that yard until strangers knock on the door and ask who their gardener is.
Executing boldy is why you don’t need money to start a side business. Instead, what you really need is time and passion. Those things can’t be bought, and they certainly aren’t always easy to do. But it’s how you’ll ultimately succeed and scale your business past your wildest dreams.
Looking for a profitable business idea you can start this weekend? Get Susan’s list of Big List of Work-At-Home Ideas That Earn Big Bucks. Susan Finch is a freelance writer and social media consultant who blogs at http://www.motherswholaunch.com/