In case you didn’t know or you are just seeing this blog for the first time, I hosted a webinar on May 22nd, 2021 called ‘Are You Ready To Start Your Business or Side Hustle This Summer?’ and was joined by guest speakers Erica Terry, Stephen Warley, and Vincent Pugliese.
It was a wonderful conversation as each of them shared their experiences and wisdom with the group watching. We covered topics such as:
- Why would someone start a business?
- How do you find an idea?
- What are the steps to getting started?
- How do you let people know you exist?
If you haven’t seen the event yet, I highly recommend you watch the replay, but here were my 5 big takeaways:
1. You will make more in a business than working for someone else.
Vincent brought up his personal story of being a newspaper photographer and making just above minimum wage despite plenty of accolades and experience in the world of photography. His father told him something to the effect of he has worked hard to develop his skills but was not using them correctly. What he meant was Vincent had worked hard to become a high level photographer, but by staying employed by someone else, he was never going to be able to command the level of income that he could earn by selling his skills directly to the public. If you have a skill that someone is hiring your company to get access to, then by default you must be getting paid less than what the client is willing to pay because your company is taking some of the payment to cover costs, and line their own pockets.
Can you start freelancing on the side and selling your skills directly to clients? You can charge them the same amount they are paying your company, or more, and you control all of the cashflow at that point!
2. Use what you already have.
Erica shared how she left her education role to become a consultant in the same space. Like Vincent, she already had a set of skills and experience that were valuable, and she decided to turn those into a business.
Chances are that you are pretty good at some skill or you know more than the average person about a given topic. Make that the focus of your side hustle or business since it requires very little learning on your part. Since you already know more than the average person, the average person is often going to be willing to pay for your experience since they either don’t have the time to acquire the skills/experience themselves, or they are not able to get to a high enough level, therefore they need to hire it out to someone else.
3. Redefine Entrepreneurship
Stephen is a big advocate of trying to redefine what entrepreneurship actually means. We are often scared of trying a business or side hustle because we believe it is going to be this monster task, and involves a ton of time, money, and learning. We think it means inventing something totally new, or renting out a storefront in your downtown area.
Entrepreneurship doesn’t need to be any of those things. We simply need to have a focus on helping people and using our skills/resources to do that.
4. Build a bridge to your dream island
Vincent used the analogy of a dream island to describe what many people see their business as. When we initially start thinking of a business idea, we see the final product. The pretty website, the shiny shop front, customers coming on a regular basis… it sounds glorious and exciting!
What we need however is the bridge to get us from where we are to where we want to be [the dream island]. Identify what the starting version of your business looks like and what steps you need to put that into place. Then start laying out the pathway for growing into the business you want to be! Finally, take action on those steps. Each day, try to do something that moves your business closer to the dream island.
5. Tell people what you are doing
An area many of the panelists spoke about was using your personal network more. When you are coming up with a business idea, don’t keep it close to your chest, hidden from the world. If you are worried about someone stealing your idea and copying it, then it may be a great idea anyway if it is easily replicated. Another point Stephen made is that the most unique thing your business has, that no other one does, is you at the wheel. You are a unique selling point that sets you apart from your competitors. The way you approach the business and how you work with your customers should be based on your plan and your strengths. If you try to copy someone else, you will end up being a poor version of it.
When you have an idea or a prototype of your business, share it with your friends, family, and social network. Ask them to become buyers, and most important, to leave reviews or testimonials for your business! By just announcing your plans you will often get valuable feedback in terms of what your customers want, whether there is interest in buying, offers to help or connect you with people who can help you, and insights for things to try or places to get items for free! People love helping each other and if you approach life with a “help others” mentality, I 100% believe people will be there to help you when you need it, or it will come back to you in some other unknown way.
There were so many more big talking points and ideas that resonated with many of you who watched. Thank you to all those who reached out already to share their big talking points, and I highly encourage you to watch the replay and share your big takeaways with me or on whatever social platform you are seeing this post on.