BOOK REVIEW / SIDE HUSTLE
One of my goals this year was to spend less time on my phone at night in order to read more books. I especially want to read more books about business and creativity. I've never thought of myself as an expert in business, but since starting Weekend Creative I've realized just how much I have to learn and how many amazing resources there are out there, I just have to make the time to take advantage of them.
It's only taken 6 months, but I finally finished the first book on my list, Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau. Chris is also the author of The $100 Startup and hosts a daily podcast called Side Hustle School. This book was recommended to me and I would definitely recommend it to others who are interested in starting a side hustle or even a larger business.
Basically this book is a guide to creating an idea and bringing it to a profitable place in just 27 days. Most of the beginning chapters didn't really apply to us since we already have an idea and have completed the steps necessary to get our business up and running, but I did gather a lot of really good tips from the later chapters.
Here are six things that I learned through reading Side Hustle:
1. Understand Your Ideal Customer
If you don't know who your ideal customer is, how will you be able to market your products or services to them effectively? I think a lot of us get caught up in wanting to appeal to everyone, but that's just not realistic, and you will burn yourself out in the process. Chris points out that when you focus on that one perfect customer, you actually end up serving others as well.
2. Everything is Figureoutable
Don't forget that most people don't really know what they are doing, or have all the necessary skills right away. The ability to be resourceful and do things for yourself is essential when you're just starting out. The amazing thing about the time we live in is that directions on how to do almost anything can be found with a simple google search. We got our business license, built our website, formed our LLC, and wrote our contract all through resources we found on the internet. Most things aren't really that hard to figure out, you just have to buckle down and make it happen.
3. Spend More Time on the Most Important Tasks
The important things to focus on are the things that provide more value to your customer and help you to make more money. I know I can get caught up in things that are urgent but not important, or are just fun but not really providing much value. Chris talks about how to focus on improving the experience for your customer by underpromising and overdelivering, responding to unspoken needs, and highlighting positive results. Clients are the only way that your business works, and it is much easier to have repeat customers than to try to get new ones. He also recommends accomplishing one task every day that has nothing to do with running the business but everything to do with growing the business. When you are working on a business on the side, you have very limited time and so make sure your time is being used in the best way possible to help your business succeed.
4. The Best Time to Start WAS YESTERDAY
Chris suggests starting your side business before you feel completely ready, because lets face it, who ever feels completely ready? Perfectionists and procrastinators do not make good business owners or hustlers. No one will ever be perfect, no one will ever know exactly what to do or how to do it, sometimes you just have to jump in and figure it out as it comes. Arabela and I literally started Weekend Creative on accident. I always thought that if I ever owned a business it wouldn't be until years into my career and when we decided to become an official business it was really intimidating. I felt really incompetent and like I had no idea what I was doing. Truthfully I still feel that way most of the time, but I'm really grateful that we didn't wait and decided to go for it.
5. Ask for Help
Because you won't know how to do everything, you will need lots of help from people around you. Get advice from lots of different people who have experience in a variety of areas. Chris lists four types of people that you should involve in your hustle - supporters (general cheerleaders), mentors (guides or experts who give specific feedback), influencers (people who have connections), ideal customers (people who can give honest opinions on your products or services). Be specific with your questions and don't be afraid to ask for more details. There are certain things that definitely require expert advice such as legal documents and contracts, but even having ideal customers look at your website and provide feed back can be invaluable.
6. Don't Forget to Pay Yourself
It's tempting to want to put everything back into the business, but paying yourself even a small amount will help you stay motivated. Celebrate the small victories and reward yourself for your hard work. It seriously feels so good to write yourself a check even if its small because it makes it all feel real. I love what Chris says about this, "Your hustle exists to pay you, not the other way around. Don't just invest back in 'the business.' Invest in yourself."
Overall I found Side Hustle to be really helpful even though the beginning didn't really apply to my situation. It's straightforward, easy to read, and definitely made me feel motivated to work harder and make some changes in our business. If you read it, let me know! I would love to hear what you think.
Is it the weekend yet?