• Barbara L. Ciccarelli, PhD

5 Ways to Get a Grip on Your New Side Hustle

Don’t give up before you’ve given it a real go

Like a Boss

Like many people, I got the idea to start a business when in between jobs years ago. I thought — what do I have to lose. Armed with nothing but my gut feelings, a family tradition in business and a penchant for ideas, I dove in with a free website. The creativity process took over, and things like a business plan or targeting customers escaped me. Aside from the right step of following my dreams, I made every mistake in the book. In fact, I tried to build the business backwards. Let me share the dos and don’ts of starting up.

1.Dont try to start up without a business plan. Even the Dummies version is a good place to start as it provides a decent template and example you can follow. The plan helps you to think about competitors and positioning in the market as well as customer demand and demographics. Don’t think about it. Just do it. It may take several hours, but it’s worth it. I did a business plan for the first time five years after my first attempt to start a business. Some business people told me it was a waste of time, just a personal exercise with no other use to it, but I would argue that it helps with brand clarity, something very much in need these days. Furthermore, Entrepreneur.com emphasizes the investment purposes: 

“Many, many great companies had their starts on paper, in the form of a plan that was used to convince investors to put up the capital necessary to get them under way.”

2. Don’t have a hiring spree and hire dozens of freelancers or employees before you even know your business model works. You might with optimism think or worry that there might be an avalanche of customers after your launch but just have candidate info on hand as your customer numbers increase.

3. Don’t bloat your number of products and services at the start as if trying to satisfy, reach or appeal to the most number of customers for the greatest profit. Quality might be better than quantity and the trend now is focus and brand clarity. Find your niche.

4. Don’t skimp on the website and overlook the power of claiming your own domain. Your domain is a large part of your brand. In fact, it is the key that unlocks the brand.

5. Don’t give up if you can manage it financially and in terms of time commitment. Maybe you just have to tweek something like the brand image or marketing campaign or like i did recently maybe you need to apply a total facelift. In my case, it was like a huge relief. The old version of my company never sat quite right with me. The new version gives me a sense of freedom with my brand in terms of the image, possibilities for services, marketing and customer segmentation.

Remember, aside from the dos and don’ts, the process should be a fun adventure as much into the market as into yourself. If all goes well, one day the paths of personal and global brand will meet. You will be fighting off customers who are stampeding your digital doors while having a business set up that can handle them.


email: barbara@thewaylearningworks.com

EU: +31 (0)63 808 4519 (WhatsApp)

US: +1 610-726-1262

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