How To Level Up As A Side Hustler, Freelancer, or Business Owner
Resources for optimizing your finances, business operations, content, and company culture.
It's Quarter 2--That means it's time to level up!
Whether you’re interested in creating an additional stream of income or becoming a full-time business owner, here are resources for new business owners, creatives, and side hustlers looking to level up.
Turning Your Passion Into A Freelance Business or Side Hustle
Do you want the freedom to run your workday? Are you tired of missing family events because of work? Do you want to take command of your career? Becoming your own boss is the dream of many, however, taking that leap of faith can be overwhelming.
More and more people have made the switch to working for themselves throughout this past year. Freelance sites such as Upwork.com and Fiverr.com have seen increases of 50% registration volume according to data from 2020.
When you are working full-time, turning your passion project into your new source of income may seem out of reach. You are constantly busy with your 9-5 job, so how can you set aside any time for your side hustle?
Try scheduling a few hours a day after work or on the weekends to get your side hustle going.
Start with the small steps and you’ll be surprised with the progress you can make in just a month!
Identifying your “why” is the first step to developing your brand and your brand’s story. Before you make content, outsource any tasks, or book a client--outline what you do, who you serve, and what problem you solve.
Need guidance crafting your brand’s story?
If you have already tried setting aside extra time outside of work for your side-hustle and you still can’t seem to get everything done that you want to, you can offload your work to others. Don’t go about building a sustainable brand alone! In a recent survey on entrepreneur.com, 72% of respondents started their side-hustle with someone else.
Think about the future, would you rather work a little more now so you can be happy with your position later in life? When starting this side hustle alongside your full-time position it is important to remind yourself of your future goals to stay motivated.
Remember, when you are starting out it is key to take it slow. According to entrepreneur.com, the entrepreneurs stated they worked on their side hustle for 19 months before they felt comfortable quitting their full-time position.
There is no need to rush into starting your business, take it slow and make sure you accumulate enough income from your side-hustle to support yourself.
How to Level Up a New Business
If you have already taken that leap of faith and are looking for ways to be more efficient with your time, you can pay others to do the busy work so you can focus on the important things.
Below are some websites where you can outsource help:
Taskseveryday: Hire remote workers on taskseveryday.com. They offer services such as internet research, spreadsheets, presentations, database creation & management, CRM & CMS support, and admin & social media tasks.
IVAA: The International Virtual Assistants Association hooks you up with virtual assistants from all over the world each with different prices tailored specifically to your needs. The membership fee is relatively inexpensive and is open to anyone - even those who are just starting out!
Upwork and Fiverr: These freelance websites allow you to hire anyone for any of your needs. Ranging from graphic design to data entry, Fiverr and Upwork offer services for any of your needs as an entrepreneur.
It’s generally inexpensive to use these sites and it allows you to focus on more important aspects of your business and leave the busy work to others.
Try to focus on scaling slowly rather than rushing into starting your business. For example, if you can’t afford to outsource you can hire interns looking for experience in exchange for college credit.
Do what you can, then do better when you can.
Why New Businesses Fail
When you start a new business you will be faced with many trials and tribulations, and it is easy to be caught off guard. Avoid these 3 reasons why businesses fail, identified by entrepreneur.com, in order to stay ahead.
🆇 Failure to optimize conversions. Be sure to address your conversions early on to ensure that there is a positive ROI on any ads you run. Without a strong conversion optimization plan, the money will eventually run dry.
Our suggestion: Don’t run ads until they’re absolutely necessary and hire a professional!
🆇 Lack of authenticity and transparency. When you are worried about the wrong things as a business it is easy to lose your authenticity and transparency. Making sure your business is authentic will ensure that you have the customer’s full trust. Without a customer’s trust, your business will no longer have anyone willing to pay for the service/product.
Our suggestion: Nurture your audience through your brand’s website and social media pages (owned and shared media). Engage with your customers before and after posting, comment on your peer’s posts, share tips and other brand content often!
🆇 Failure to create an effective sales funnel. An effective sales funnel is key to making sure the business is running efficiently. Having a sales funnel will allow you, the entrepreneur, to focus on other aspects of the business such as traffic sources or educating consumers through social media. It will also create a relationship with the customer allowing them to relate to your brand’s journey while also attempting to get them to buy your product/service.
Now Let's Level Up
Whether you’re a freelance creative, a side-hustler, or a full-time business owner you should remain in a state of learning. You should always seek to level up.
"Leveling up" could refer to revamping your brand identity, adding new team members, or removing a signature service offer that no longer serves you.
It could mean ditching the free versions of your favorite apps and getting your finances together. Whatever it means to you, we've got you covered.
At BRVC, we believe that it's more important to progress than to be perfect. Take your time and scale your business in a way that aligns with your goals.
Here are some tips for leveling up your business in 2021!
Level up your operations by reading "Operations Management is Essential to Brand Growth in 2021!"
Level Up Your Brand
🎯 It’s time to get a website! You can’t always rely on social media to be the representation of your brand. What happens if Instagram updates their algorithm again? What if Twitter suspends you?
You need one space where customers and potential customers can find out more about your brand.
Do what you can:
Create a free site using Card.co, Wix, or Weebly.
Buy your business name domain and link it to a Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress site.
🎯 You need an email list. Don't get overwhelmed by the idea of a weekly newsletter just yet, but even a monthly broadcast will help. This is an important way to communicate with your audience on your own terms. You can tell your audience about sales, changes in your policies or offerings.
🎯 When you can, hire a brand strategist to help you identify any risks and opportunities in your current brand. They can help you develop messaging for your media appearances and help you restructure your services.
Level Up Your Content
Many business owners consider their social media content to be a necessary evil for increasing brand awareness, building community, and express their value. It can be scary to create quality content, consistently on behalf of your business.
Content doesn't have to be difficult.
The recipe for success = understanding your brand voice and offering + understanding your audience + engaging and building community + staying consistent + evaluating your performance.
Understanding your brand: We've said it before and we'll say it a million times--you have to understand your brand before you can do anything else. You have to know why, how, and for whom your business exists. You have to
Understanding your audience: When you first start your brand it may be hard to zero in on your ideal customer. Truthfully, your target audience is supposed to change as you grow anyway. Start with an educated guess based on who interacts with your content and who could benefit from your services. Then, ask them what they feel they need and give it to them. Wash, rinse, repeat!
BONUS: CREATE A SURVEY OR FORM IN GOOGLE FORMS TO ASK YOUR AUDIENCE ABOUT THEIR WANTS AND NEEDS
Engage With Your Community: Take time before and after you post to engage with your audience. Like your customers' posts, share videos from your industry peers, and reply to comments on your own posts.
Stay Consistent & Evaluate Your Performance: Stop trying to come up with content ideas on the fly. Give yourself time by creating a content calendar, creating and editing your content, then scheduling your content.
Tools We Use To Create Content:
🎯 Canva, iMovie, GarageBand, G-Suite to create content.
🎯 Hootsuite, Buffer, Anchor,YouTube Creator Studio and Planoly to schedule ahead of time.
🎯 Dropbox and G-Suite for file sharing and collaboration.
🎯 We use the in-app insights as well as reporting from Planoly to create monthly Digital Performance reports.
Level Up Your Finances
How you handle your money can make or break your brand regardless of your stage of business. Freelance creatives aren't always paid on time; you'll need to put some money aside for a rainy day. Side hustlers and business owners need to be able to pay their teams,
Raise your prices to match your worth! It can be scary to charge what you think you deserve, but it’s well worth it.
When you can, open a checking, savings, and credit account in your business’ name. It’s important not to “co-mingle” funds by sharing your personal and business finances in one account.
Account for 20-30% taxes in your prices and set that tax money aside in your business’ savings account.
Level Up Your Customer Relations
Customers make your business, so why are so many businesses lacking in the customers relation department? As a business owner, you should prioritize the customer experience from social media engagement to crisis management.
Write out your brand policy/expectations (ie. refund policy) and make them visible on your website. Repeat them in your contracts, so there’s no confusion.
Address your customer concerns ASAP!
Keep your customers updated on any change in your business via social media and your email list.
For more tips check out our video and level up your customer relations!
Feeling like you need to level up your whole business?
Pivot to your dream business with our ‘Power of the Pivot” toolkit which includes a webinar, 2 worksheets, 1 checklist, AND a year’s worth of content campaign ideas. Let us help realign your business mindset, craft your brand’s story, develop your content strategy, and restructure your business operations.