Do You Know What It Takes to Run a Successful Side Hustle?

The process of finding financial security has gone through some dramatic changes over the last few decades. As recently as the 1980’s, conventional wisdom suggested following a career path that went something like this: Go to school. Get a good job. Work for one company for 20 years or more. Collect a pension. Retire in relative comfort.

If that approach sounds completely foreign to you, you’re not alone. On his personal finance blog, 20SomethingFinance, G.E. Miller observed, “Most twenty-somethings have never and (unfortunately) probably will never sniff the sweet security provided by a pension plan.” So, if there’s almost no hope of finding financial stability by following same path as previous generations, how can set yourself up for success? Two words: Side. Hustle.

What Does “Side Hustle” Really Mean?

With more and more people realizing that working a single job leaves them living paycheck to paycheck, side hustles are experiencing a considerable spike in popularity. Since we’ve already used the phrase twice in this article, you may be wondering exactly what constitutes a side hustle. Is it a second job? An online business?  In his new book (conveniently titled Side Hustle), Chris Guillebeau provides some much needed clarity. “A side hustle is not a part-time job. It is an asset that works for you.” This definition reveals a crucial distinction between trading hours for dollars, and building something that pays dividends for years to come.

Side Job vs. Side Hustle

Thanks to a surging economy and advances in technology, finding a side job is easier than ever. From Etsy to barista gigs and seasonal retail, potential work opportunities are plentiful. But if Guillebeau is right, the additional income you can earn from these jobs might not give you the long-term security you want. So, are they even worth pursuing? Do they offer any asset-building benefits? Absolutely. You just have to adjust your motivation for doing the work.

Rather than focusing on the job itself or the hourly wage it provides, entrepreneur Jeremiah Dew recommends looking a little deeper. “Find an endeavor that makes you become a better person—something that requires you to build a skill set that will help you in future ventures as well.” Sell crafts on Etsy in order to get better at e-commerce and digital marketing. Become an Airbnb host to upgrade your customer service skills. You get the point.

Success Requires a Different Perspective

When you’re trying to earn additional income, it can be tempting to jump at the first opportunity that offers real money. And while a traditional side job isn’t necessarily a bad thing, be careful not to confuse it with a legitimate side hustle. You may be able to earn extra money, but if your income is still tied to your ability to show up and perform a specific set of tasks, you’re not developing an asset. However, if you utilize those opportunities to gain experience and lessons that transcend a specific job or industry, you may be on your way to developing a successful, sustainable side hustle.

You Won’t Win Alone

Now, before you rush out and start a supplemental career, it’s important to remember the value of a good mentor. As the old saying goes, “A smart person learns from his mistakes. A wise person learns from the mistakes of others.” If you’re going to be wise about building your business, it pays to develop a relationship with someone who has experience running a business of their own, someone who made mistakes you can learn from. Whether you find them yourself or ask for suggestions from people you trust, the impact of a business mentor can be priceless.

From a financial standpoint, business ownership requires money management skills you won’t learn as an employee. Fortunately, your local credit union is an outstanding resource where you can find the knowledge, expertise, and programs to help you navigate the often-confusing early stages of your side hustle. By relying on their services and recommendations, you’ll be able to sidestep potential pitfalls and put yourself in a position to succeed. To learn more about the Business Services at First Financial, click here.

Down to Business: Remember Way Back When…

business man hand use mobile phone streaming virtual business ne

Remember way back when, what life was like before the advent of the Smartphone just 20 short years ago? Do you remember waking up to the voices on an alarm clock radio? You just knew that today was going to be a good day when that song happened to be playing when you woke up!  Speaking of clocks, do you remember when people actually forgot to manually turn their clocks back and arrived an hour late?! Getting lost was both fun and a great excuse for being late, is it even possible to get lost now?

I could go on and on, and I will!  Dating is so easy now, you can just Google your date and find out where they live, where they work, who their friends are, if they’ve been arrested, if they owe anyone money, plus no one can lie about their age anymore!  Remember when researching a topic meant reading chapters of books or encyclopedias written by legitimate experts who had spent most of their life devoted to that subject? Now we have comments, blogs (can you even cite those??) and news articles that we see on the internet – because obviously if you see it on the internet it must be true.

The mobile phone has had quite an impact on the business world as well.  Consider the near extinction of camera stores, watch manufacturers, movie rentals, record stores, print media, and book stores to name a few.  Travel agencies are the new pay phones and the USPS is the new UPS.

You can earn a master’s degree, find a job, work that job, grocery shop, even get married, and raise virtual children right from your couch.  Thanks to your mobile phone, you can conceivably live your entire life without ever seeing the light of day.  The mobile internet certainly has changed the world as we know it!

In the Business Development department at First Financial Federal Credit Union, we use mobile internet banking to make doing business with us extremely easy. We are literally a call, click, or text message away – providing personalized attention to each and every business member.  To help save time and money, we offer the latest in mobile technologies, and we have no monthly maintenance fees.  Getting started with a business account at First Financial is also extremely easy. If you are thinking of starting a business or are tired of the fees on your existing business account, email business@firstffcu.com today.

 

Marketing and Sales for Business Tips

DSCN0292Recently, Jack Gottlieb – President of The Total Solutions Group, Inc. presented an information packed seminar, which covered significant marketing and sales for business tips.  If you missed the session but would still like to gain some useful insight in marketing or sales for your business, keep reading!

  • The core of a business is the identity of it, its purpose and values.
  • Two important keys for great service are follow through and follow up. If you are doing these two things, it’s not about large quantities of customers – just stay the course and you’ll see results from your follow up.
  • How you deliver your product or service and the way in which it’s used becomes the customer’s experience – this is very important!
  • Create a sense of community with your business – it forms a connection, sense of pride, and refer-ability for your customers.
  • Marketing at its best is fulfilling a need customers didn’t know they had, or answering a question before it is even asked.
  • Marketing is also about creating value for your service and that unique customer experience.
  • It’s not about how much money you make in your business, it’s about how much you keep and re-invest back into it (literally and figuratively).
  • People open their wallets for your service due to the impact it will have on their lives, so be conscious of this at all times.
  • In order to focus on your results – be clear about what you are really providing, not what you are promoting.
  • As a business, you need to market internally to your staff – the same way in which you do outwardly to your customers.
  • Don’t solve a problem, validate a concern! Key sales tactic: If someone says your product is too expensive, validate their concern and ask them what kind of value they are truly looking for.

DSCN0295Here are some important questions you need to ask yourself as a business owner in regard to marketing and sales:

  • How do you connect the value to your customers outside of your products and services?
  • What are customers thinking when looking at all aspects of my business? This includes website, marketing collateral pieces, articles written about the company, etc.
  • How do I gear my website in a way in which I can extend the customer’s experience and still grow sales?

Always remember – don’t just work in your business, work ON it. 

For any business owners out there reading this article – what are some of the key marketing or sales tactics that have worked (or not worked) for your business?  If your strategies were not initially successful – how did you change them into success stories? Comment below – we’d love to hear from you!

 

Jack Gottlieb is the President of The Total Solutions Group, Inc. a strategic consulting, training and coaching firm committed to driving a sustainable increase to an organization’s results, value proposition and culture. Jack brings 14 years of proven high level success along with the collective capability of his team and advisory board. Jack has also been one of the highest ranked speakers at various state wide SHRM (Society of Human Resource Managers) Annual Conferences as well as the New Jersey Organizational Development Annual Conferences for the past 7 years. Jack also serves on the Executive Board Collegiate Empowerment which is an educational firm committed to driving systemic change and impact for Colleges and Universities. Jack also is actively involved with two universities. The first is Kutztown University where he is one of the key leaders of the College of Business Advisory Board to support their efforts in further development and expansion. The second is with Rider University with their Center for the Development of Leadership Skills.