Many famous businesses started as a side hustle. Be it Facebook or Instagram or even Khan Academy. They all started “in the garage”. But what does it take to turn a side project into a thriving business? It could be flipping used cars or building an app or selling online courses. I’ll get to the Mushroom Coffee in conclusion.
People are always looking for ideas to get started with a side hustle.
I LOVE the idea of doing something on the side. For many years, I had a side hustle of creating websites. Yeah, websites. I created websites using WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Heck, my first website was on Yahoo Geocities and my second website was plain vanilla HTML code wired together with an HTML builder. But I digress.
Side hustles don’t have to be something related to tech.
It could be that you like to make handmade jewelry or personalized cards. Any of them would work. No matter what you pick, here’s what you should be looking to do (if you want to build this into a full-time business):
5 Things You Should Do to Turn Your Side Hustle Into a Full-Time Business
- Pick a specific niche of people or interest group that you already serve.
- Decide your positioning (and target market).
- Increase the value of what you create.
- Determine the Size of Your Target Market.
- Create irresistible offers.
Let me walk you through each step.
1. Pick a Specific Niche or Interest Group.
There was a time when the Swiss Army knife was a premium commodity in the gifting market. Today, there are too many Swiss Army knife-like products and services in every industry.
If your side hustle is making handmade soaps, you’re probably better off niching down further into something like handmade soaps for corporate gifting or handmade soaps for sensitive skin.
Now let’s take this one step further with positioning.
2. Target Market and Positioning.
In recent times, Sebamed, the German skincare brand, ran an advertisement that specifically targeted customers of a competitor. In doing so, Sebamed named who their target market is, and what their positioning is.
But there are other ways to think about your target market and positioning too. FMCG brands can offer a ton of case studies. Colgate-Palmolive, a company that makes consumer products is perhaps an easily relatable example. They offer toothpastes for sensitive gums, for kids, for kids that like a specific superhero (like Spiderman or Superman), and so forth.
If I took handmade soaps for sensitive skin as an example, you could target this to Gen Z that are customers of a competing or complementary skincare brand. On the other hand, it could be targeted towards mothers with newborns too.
3. Increase the Value of What You Create.
Why do you think pizzas are so expensive when bought inside airports or at 5-star hotels?
It’s not because of superior quality dough or ingredients. The difference in price is because of how the consumer perceives the value to be. When you don’t have many options inside an airport, you think it’s okay to pay $15 for a pizza that you’d probably get for $7 outside.
But that’s one way of increasing value.
Have you ever wondered why McDonald’s has “combos” and “meals”? While just the burger could be just $2.50 and added Coke plus fries costs you $6.
How can you increase the value of a handmade soap for sensitive skin for mothers with newborns?
What if you gave them something extra? Perhaps a booklet on newborn skincare and a couple of samples of something else you create?
4. Determine the Size of Your Target Market – In 5 Minutes.
One of the biggest challenges as someone that has a side hustle is to gauge the size of your market. Because unless you know the size of your market, you don’t know if this side hustle can be turned into a full-time business.
But how to determine the size of your target market?
Here’s a simple back-of-the-napkin approach:
- Look around for businesses that sell to your target audience – J&J baby soap, if your target market is handmade soap for sensitive skin for mothers with newborns.
- How much is your target audience spending on those products or services?
- How frequently are they purchasing those products or services?
Do this exercise and you’ll know how much your target audience spends for products like yours.
5. Create Irresistible Offers.
Let’s say you went to a flea market. You are passing by a pop-up store where someone’s selling her handmade hats. You like them. And just as you walk past, you see a sign on your right that reads:
“3 Handmade Hats for $10”.
What would you do?
Let me guess. You’ll be tempted to walk to the shop with the sign and maybe even make a purchase.
The second shop made you an offer, but the first shop didn’t. Was the offer irresistible? That depends on the target market. If you were in the target market, you perhaps know that these hats cost $10 per piece. You know that getting three hats for the price of one is an irresistible offer.
If you made handmade soap for sensitive skin for mothers with newborns, an example of an irresistible offer would be:
“Get ‘Homemade Skincare Rituals for Sensitive Skin Video Masterclass’ Access with Every Yearly Subscription of Our Handmade Soap!”
What about the mushroom coffee?
Well, it would be a shame if I told you that was clickbait. Because in mushroom coffee lies the sixth tip (and a bonus). If you’re looking to turn your side hustle into a full-time business, don’t forget the current trends. Mushroom coffee is a trend as I type this post.
Use tools like Exploding Topics or Google Trends to find out things that are trending. Trends are a great way of fine-tuning your offers, pricing, content, and so much more. It’s a topic in itself, and I’ll hope to write about how to leverage trends in a future post.
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