Work From Home

  • Gifts For Bloggers and Entrepreneurs

    Perfect Gifts For Bloggers

    If you’re looking for the best gift for the blogger, writer, or entrepreneur in your life, then look no further. Seriously. I’ve been working from home in the online space for almost a decade y’all and everything on this list is the best thing you can buy any blogger, new or veteran. (And I’ve tried and purchased A LOT of products smh) I’ve done the work for you, now all you need to do is pick one (or a few of these investments), attach a card, and voila! All done. *dusts hands* I only share the services, products, etc that make the cut. Things I LITERALLY use ALL THE TIME. This isn’t a post stuffed with nonsense affiliate links to make a quick buck. I abhor wasting money on crappy services and products and you wont find any of that rubbish here.

    Youtube Premium

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    This subscription will allow the blogger or entrepreneur in your life to have an even better listening experience on the go. i can guarantee you that youtube has nearly ever answer or tutorial your blogger will need, and the lack of ads will be a very much welcomed experience.

    Domain & Web Hosting 

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    Every blogger should have their own website. Having this will allow them to monetize from the start and have the best start possible with a site and domain they own. Instead of building their business on another companies platform. 

    Canva Subscription

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    Canva is an easy to learn program created for non-designers. However, don’t let this throw you off because this program can make anything and everything a blogger could need to monetize and develop products. 

    Picmonkey subscription

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    This is similar to Canva. It was created for anyone, including non-designers, to create the products they need to fast. i find that Picmonkey can be a smidge more challenging to learn with more capabilities and control over images, etc. is created. 

    Laptop

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    Having a powerful laptop will make blogging a breeze. 

    Phone

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    Despite what most bloggers believe, you can blog solely from your phone if you needed to. How can I be so sure? Because I do it! If you have a reasonably new smartphone, there’s so much you can do with it. Even if you don’t or choose not to blog solely from your phone, you’ll be able to get so much on the go!

    Planner

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    Honestly, it doesn’t matter whether you choose a physical or digital planner. Only that you plan! And every blogger will need a planner, and a specific planner geared towards blogging is incredibly helpful. 

    Apple gift card

    Google play gift card

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    This gift is a fantastic idea because it’ll allow your loved one to purchase blogging tools or snag the subscriptions of their choice! Like canva, adobe spark, or even MS Word. 

    Local cafe gift card

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    This gift is unique because it’ll allow the blogger in your life to get the opportunity and workspace to, you know, blog! Focused uninterrupted working can be difficult for many entrepreneurs whether or not they are work at home moms, and now they can have the funds to get free coffee and snacks!

    Chair

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    Having a good quality chair is a wise investment because bloggers will spend a significant amount of time sitting down. This isn’t the best for our spine, neck, or body overall, and so a good chair will aid in proper posture. 

    Portable desk

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    Every blogger and writer should have a desk or desiccated workspace, but a portable can be useful, especially in small flats and apartments! They can literally move the desk around their home with ease and have a space to work. 

    Webcam

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    This isn’t completely necessary, especially for newer bloggers; however, bloggers or those with a heavy focus on video marketing will want it. It’s great to up the quality of your videos, even if you have a MacBook! Its auto-adjust light features are priceless.  

    Headphones

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    The type of headphone you purchase will depend on your loved one’s needs. I have every kind of headphone because, well, I need them, LOL. The most common option is wireless headphones. These are my favorite because nothing is standing in your way when you’re out and about. I can cook and easily listen to a podcast at the same time.  

    External charger

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    This is a must for new and veteran entrepreneurs because we all experience low on battery at some point. Also, this is something everyone should have in the arsenal! my two favorites are these: 

    One is strong enough to charge your phone and other mobile devices. While the other is powerful enough for a laptop! The worst feeling is running on a 2 percent battery with no outlet or cord around!

    Post-it notes

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    So, this is a personal fave, and most people either love or hate this method! HAHA, Juvenile or not, post it can transform the way an entrepreneur plans. Seriously. And because they are one-time use, they will need an endless supply. Do your blogger a favor and buy a ton worth!

    Trello premium

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    I can’t mention post-its without mentioning Trello. I am a planning freak, I mean guru, LOL and Trello is pretty much the digital version of post-its. So if you’re keen to save our planet or prefer digital resources and like post-its, this is your answer. 

    Appsumo gift card

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    If you arent already familiar with Appsumo, you should be. This is a well-known, reputable company that every blogger needs in their arsenal. They offer a ton of access to many tools and services for LTD (lifetime deals)! And have a generous 60 day (unheard of) return policy with fantastic customer service. I know because I tested them. Vetted and verified, check!

    Laptop riser

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    Alright, similar to a quality chair, your blogger needs a laptop riser. The best option for THEM. It doesn’t need to be expensive but effective. Using a laptop riser ensures that their computers will remain at eye level, which is essential for bloggers spending an obscene amount of time behind a screen. This ensures their posture is straight, and neck strain doesn’t occur.

    Blue light blocking glasses

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    Another important one is blue light blocking glasses. This protects their eyes and is so so important. Read this article, my blogging friend shared about her experience. Now, her experience may not be common, but it isn’t something you want to dismiss! If they wear glasses, I love using Zenni.com to purchase affordable options with blue light blocking features! The prices and styles are excellent. If you don’t care about fashion or don’t wear glasses, consider these you can have delivered to your home in a day, right from amazon. 

    Screencast-o-matic

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    This subscription is great because it allows an affordable and easy beginner to create and edit video content. They also have an app that I love, which makes filming and editing on the go easy.

    Krisp

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    Krisp is another one of my TOP favorite subscriptions! They appeared on Appsumo first, and I am totally bummed, I missed on the offer. This service allows bloggers to record and listen to content without background noise! Imagine the blogger in your life attempts to record a video for their website, podcast, or course…and the dog won’t stop barking, the cat continues purring, and the kids decide to play karaoke for the millionth time?! Well, with this service, you can continue to record without the fear that these sounds will make an appearance on your videos!

    Loom subscription

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    Loom, similar to screencast but much easy to use for non-techy bloggers and not as robust, makes it easy to quickly screen-record content and share. I use both loom and screencast because I love the simplicity of loom when I’m in a rush. But need the editing tool options in Screencast-o-matic for complicated videos.

    Grammarly subscription

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    Let’s stop and take a break here for a moment. If your blogger isn’t already using Grammarly, sign them up RIGHT NOW. Grammarly offers a free version, and it’s a wise service to use. Even the most experienced writers make mistakes, and this helps to proofread a ton. The premium subscription version is great because it has many features bloggers can use that aren’t available otherwise.  

    Omm writer

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    Omm writer has a soft spot in my heart. This program is incredibly cheap and offers wonders to those writers that want the total ambiance experience. This program eliminates all distractions, has proven effective calming backgrounds and music to support your writing sessions. 

    Privacy camera cover

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    This simple item is more for conscious than anything else, really. Everyone should have one, just in case to support and provide an extra sense of privacy. 

    VPN service

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    Another tool to protect your privacy is a VPN. Using a VPN will not only protect your online activity but allow you to view websites and use services from areas you otherwise would be unable to do. 

    Music brain.fm subscription

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    Going back to “ambiance,” this service is scientifically proven to enhance your productivity. It’s an extremely effective way to get “in the zone” fast! 

    Books for bloggers

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    As a self-proclaimed neek, I love a good book. Check out this post to read some of my favorite books for bloggers.

    Sendowl

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    Sendowl is a service that will allow your blogger to sell and deliver digital products and services! So they can start making money! The only negative here is that this service doesn’t allow one to purchase annual subscriptions, so you’d need to gift one month only or provide the funds for the whole year.

    ESP subscription

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    ESP= email service provider. Every blogger needs to focus on building an email list. It’s one of the best ways to remain in control of your income as you own your list. You can contact them anytime, and it’s one of the easiest ways to make money fast. An annual subscription to a service like Mailchimp, Mailerlite, or Convertkit is best.

    Social bee

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    Socialbee is an excellent scheduling service that can manage all of your blogger’s social media posts and strategies. Full disclosure, I snagged this one on app sumo with a lifetime deal, and it’s so worth it!

    Toggl

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    Every blogger needs to KNOW where they spend their and how long it takes to complete a task. It’s so easy to think. We only spend 1 hour on social media or a half-hour editing our web design, when in reality, it’s around 3 or 4 hours. This service is a great way to monitor your tasks so you can plan better. 

    Dropbox

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    Online storage can be a lifesaver to many of us, and frankly, we should also use some sort of “cloud” service. Dropbox is an excellent option for bloggers as it allows them to save and access their work from any device! And depending on the plan you gift, they may have the ability to “share” links, which is great when sharing products with their readers or collaborating with others. 

    Theme

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    I probably should have listed this way up top, considering that nearly every blogger will need a theme for their website design if they aren’t designing it themselves. This gives them a pretty look without tech headaches. 

    Plugins

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    If your blogger is using WordPress, they will use plugins for sure! at some point or another, they’ll need some. Read this post to gauge an idea of the best plugins to use. 

    Web security subscription

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    Unfortunately, hackers are an inevitable part of blogging, and all bloggers will bear this fight at some point or another. 

    Blogging courses 

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    I’ve taken more blogging courses than I care to admit. Wayyyy too many to list here. So, I’ll list a few of those most impactful ones below for every blogger at any stage. If you want to read reviews of all the courses I’ve taken and blogging ebooks, click here.  

    Tailwind

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    Theres a ton of chatter going around about whether or not tailwind is still useful or worth it. Personally, I say yes. If you are genuinely strapped for time or are forgetful like ahem, myself, this tool makes scheduling Pinterest pins and Instagram posts a breeze. 

    Tens unit

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    If you aren’t aware, a tens unit is a small device that uses a mild electrical current to provide pain relief. they come in all price ranges, and you can purchase them from practically anywhere. Now, you absolutely should, not must consult your doctor is using one. Some people cannot use these due to certain conditions etc. However, I use one (because it’s safe, i can, and got the okay from my doctor first) because it helps immensely with neck and back pain.

    Step tracker

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    This is one of my best recommendations because it’s so easy to lose track or put your health on the back burners. Bloggers spend a considerable amount of time behind a computer screen, which doesn’t allow for much blood circulation. A step tracker is a fun, encouraging way to keep track of your steps to ensure you meet that 10,000 a day goal!

  • How Bloggers Create A Profitable Business With Their Passion

    We all have things that we absolutely love to do. Maybe you love to write. Maybe taking photos makes you feel like a million dollars. Or maybe you love crafting hand-made signs. It’s the thing that makes you feel alive. That creates a fire in your bones. 

    But you don’t think you could ever create a profitable business from your passion. Surely, you think, I can’t make money doing [insert your passion]. Nobody would pay me to do that. It’s too much fun and I love it too much. No way could I make money doing that. That’s where you’re wrong.

    Thanks to the internet, almost any passion can be turned into a profitable side hustle. 

    Did you catch that? 

    You can make money doing the things that you love the most. Yep. You can turn your passion project into a profitable project. 

    Let’s be honest. We all could use some extra cash in our lives. We’ve got bills to pay, kids to send to school, car repairs to make, and a dozen other expenses. Some extra cash could be really useful and go a long way toward making our lives easier. 

    How would it change your life to make an extra $1,000 per month? Or double that? 

    You can easily make that if you know how to create a profitable side hustle. In fact, if you know what you’re doing, you may be able to turn your passion project into your full-time job. 

    Can you imagine how rewarding it would be to get to do what you love for your job? Your quality of life would drastically improve, and your overall life satisfaction would go through the roof. 

    A side hustle isn’t just about money in the bank, as helpful as that can be. A side hustle really can change your life. When you build something for yourself, even as you continue to work your day job, you become empowered. You gain confidence. You create security, both in the form of that extra cash and also in the fact that you’re opening up future opportunities for yourself.

    Chris Guillebeau

    Of course, all this raises the critical question: how do you start a side hustle? 

    Because, honestly, there are a lot of questions that come with starting a side hustle. 

    • What products or services should you sell? 
    • Where should you sell them? 
    • How much should you charge? 
    • How do you market yourself? 
    • How do you determine if your side hustle will actually make money? 

    Well, I’m going to give you a roadmap for turning your passion into a profitable side hustle. I’m going to guide you, step-by-step, to making money doing what you love. By the end, you’ll know exactly what you need to do in order to start making money on your side hustle right away. 

    Ready? Let’s get started! Prepare Yourself 🙂

    If you’re interested in get rich quick schemes, then this post isn’t for you.

    Because here’s the reality: creating a profitable side hustle takes a lot of time, diligence, hard work, blood, sweat, and tears (well, hopefully not tears!). 

    If you want to succeed with your side hustle, prepare to put in some work. You shouldn’t expect to start working and immediately have boatloads of cash pouring in. You need to be ready to put in many hours of work over the long haul. 

    How do you create the motivation needed to put in all that hard work? 

    Take a look at your life as it currently is. Are you living your best life now? Are you completely fulfilled with your day job? Are there other things you would love to do to make money? Do you see others doing what you want to do? 

    If you’re not living your best life now, let that serve as a motivator for your side hustle. You really can make money doing what you absolutely LOVE. You can generate significant income doing something that brings great satisfaction into your life. 

    How would it change your life if you were doing work that actually made you happy? 

    How would it revolutionize things for you if you actually enjoyed the work you do every day? 

    To increase your motivation for your side hustle, envision what a successful outcome would look like for your side hustle. Paint a picture in your mind of what your best life will look like. 

    Get very clear on:

    • How badly you want to succeed in your side hustle
    • The benefits you’ll experience 
    • How the extra cash will help you
    • The joy you’ll experience in doing what you love

    If you’re not highly motivated to make your side hustle a reality, it won’t happen. Because here’s the truth: your side hustle is going to take you away from other good things that you could be doing. 

    You may need to give up:

    • Television
    • Hobbies
    • Some time with friends

    You may even need to sacrifice some time with your family, although obviously I don’t recommend doing this over the long haul. 

    The point is simply that you’re going to have to make sacrifices in order to make your side hustle a reality. You’re going to need to do the hard work necessary. You have to be willing to give up some good things in order to achieve a great thing. 

    What most people don’t realize is that it usually takes a significant amount of time and work before you start making good money from your side hustle. 

    Success happens over the long haul, not overnight. If you want your side hustle to be truly profitable, you need to be willing to make sacrifices again and again until you’ve finally reached your objective. 

    Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.

    Pele

    If you want to succeed, you must be willing to work hard and persevere. The good news is that if you persevere, you almost certainly will succeed. 

    All that being said, you must be confident that you can do it. If you’re constantly doubting yourself, you’ll have a hard time getting traction. But if you have faith in yourself and believe firmly in your abilities, you truly can achieve great things. 

    The best time to start a side hustle is right now. Don’t wait any longer. There will never be a perfect time to get started. Start working on your project today and simply adjust as time goes on. Identify Your Passions and Interests

    So how do you identify what your side hustle should be? How do you know what you should give your time to? How can you determine the best activities to focus on? 

    You start by identifying the things you’re most passionate about and interested in. 

    See, a side hustle is the intersection of passion and profit. In other words, it’s all about taking the things you love and are good at and turning them into a profitable gig. 

    So, the first step is to identify what you love to do AND are good at doing.

    Both elements are required. If you want your side hustle to be sustainable, you must love doing it. If you don’t, you’ll burn out quickly. When hard work and sacrifices are needed, you won’t want to. A successful side hustle involves an activity that you love doing. 

    You must also be good at your side hustle. In other words, you must have the necessary skill set to make it a reality. If you’re not good at creating your product or performing your service, others simply won’t want to pay you for it. 

    Ask yourself these questions:

    • What do you absolutely love doing? 
    • What have people told you that you’re good at? 
    • What do you lose track of time doing? 
    • What valuable skills do you have that people would pay for? 
    • What needs can you meet? 

    These questions will help you find the intersection of passion and profit. They’ll help you determine both your skillset and what you love. When these two things combine, you have a viable side hustle. 

    There is a psychological concept called “flow.” It’s when you find yourself so immersed in an activity that you lose all track of time and are simply focused on what’s in front of you. Your mind isn’t distracted at all. Rather, you simply “flow” with your activity. 

    When do you find yourself in the “flow” of things? Pay attention to these moments. It’s these activities that could turn into viable side hustles. Validate Your Side Hustle

    Once you’ve determined what you think your side hustle should be, it’s important to validate it. In other words, be able to demonstrate that people will really pay you for what you offer them. Determine if there’s a “market need” for the product or services that you will offer. 

    After all, it won’t do you any good to start your side hustle, only to discover that no one actually wants what you’re offering. You’ll end up spending hours and hours on things that won’t generate any extra income. You’ll also become discouraged and probably want to give up. 

    Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that people will want what you have to offer, even if it’s just a few people. 

    So how can you do that? Where can you find an audience on which to test out your idea? 

    Some simple ideas include:

    • Ask your friends on social media if they would be interested in what you have to offer.  
    • If you have an email list, send out a poll to them, asking who would be interested in what you’re going to offer.
    • Create a sign-up list where people can get more information. If numerous people sign up, it’s a sign that your idea has legs. 
    • Offer to let people pre-purchase your offer. If a number of people purchase from you, you know that you’re onto something good. 

    Your goal is to avoid wasting time on ideas that won’t get any traction. If your polls, emails, and sign-up list aren’t getting much of a response, it may be time to move on to a different side hustle. 

    It’s really important that you not get discouraged at this point. If you can’t get any traction on your side hustle, that doesn’t mean you have to give it up altogether. It simply means you may not be able to make a sustainable income from it. Or, you may simply need to adjust your approach to your product.

    There are dozens of ways to make money, and you can certainly find a side hustle that allows you to do what you love. 

    Determine What Sets You Apart From Your Competitors

    Unless you’re building something completely new and revolutionary, you’re going to be competing against others. Whether you’re selling a widget or offering coaching services, there are going to be others against whom you’re competing for business. 

    If you’re going to succeed with your side hustle, you need to find a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. In other words, figure out how you’re going to stand out from the crowd. How you’re going to attract customers. How your offer is different from what others are offering. 

    How can you differentiate yourself from your competition? There are numerous ways, including:

    • Better quality products or services
    • Better customer service
    • Faster delivery
    • Less expensive products or services
    • Aggressive sales tactics
    • Higher or lower profit margins
    • A noble cause that you support with profits from your product

    For example, let’s say you’re selling soap online. You could create a unique soap that is better quality than most other soap out there. Because your soap is better quality, you can sell it for a higher price and make higher profit margins. 

    Or you could sell your soap at a discount and sell a higher volume of soap. Or you could create an aggressive online marketing campaign where you’re trying to get your soap in front of more eyeballs than anyone else. 

    If you don’t find a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors, there’s no reason that customers should purchase from you. You absolutely must find a way to stand out in the crowd. 

    Define Your Goals

    Once you’ve determined what your side hustle will be, have validated that idea, and determined how you’ll stand out from the crowd, it’s time to define your overall goals. Defining clear goals will help you know what steps you need to take in order to turn your hustle into a reality. 

    Consider laying out a set of goals that sequentially follow one another.

    For example, if you’re going to sell products on eBay, your first goal may be to create an eBay account. Your second goal may be to research the products that sell best on eBay. Your third goal may be to source the products to sell and your fourth goal may be to list those products. 

    When setting your goals, ensure that they are realistic. 

    Your goal is to get traction, not reach your end goal right off the bat. Setting a goal of selling 1,000 bars of soap is a great goal, but there are probably a dozen smaller goals that need to be achieved before you can reach your final goal. 

    Each goal should be realistic and achievable. If your goals aren’t realistic, you’ll again find yourself getting discouraged when you don’t meet those goals. The more discouraged you get, the more inclined you’ll be to give up your side hustle. 

    So what are some small goals you can set that will give you traction on your hustle? These small goals should all contribute to your big, overall goal. 

    Do you need to…

    • Research your market? 
    • Research the desires of your ideal customer? 
    • Create a website? 
    • Send out an email to your list, letting them know about your offer? 

    Start taking small steps that will lead you to your overall goal. Try to set goals that will move you forward on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. 

    Create Milestones

    One of the great temptations with a side hustle is to put off actually launching. You can get so caught up in trying to make things perfect that you never actually get your side hustle off the ground.

    Eventually, you just need to get started. Yes, you need to reach the small goals that will lead you to your big goal, but eventually, you just need to get your idea out into the wild and evaluate the response. 

    Side hustles are iterative. In other words, you launch, refine, fix problems, and then keep going. With each iteration, your side hustle gets better and better. The more iterations you do, the more highly refined your hustle becomes and the more revenue you generate. 

    In order to launch, set milestones that will force you to take action. Setting milestones for yourself will ensure that you actually take action and don’t delay. Each milestone should be tied directly to a date. 

    For example, let’s say you’re launching a coaching program. Your first milestone might be to create your website within the next month. Your next milestone might be to send out an email to all the potential clients you know. Your third milestone might be to advertise your coaching practice on Facebook. 

    Think of it this way: 

    Milestones equal movement. 

    When you set milestones for yourself, it forces you to move forward and prevents you from trying to get everything perfect. 

    Like your goals, your milestones should also be realistic and achievable. For example, it’s probably not realistic to think that you can get a website designed in a day (unless you’re an amazing web designer). Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to achieve your milestone. 

    The more you reach your milestones, the more encouraged you’ll be about your side hustle. The more encouraged you are, the more you’ll want to reach more milestones, which will keep your project moving at a rapid pace. Avoid making excuses when it comes to meeting your milestones. Hold yourself to deadlines, and if you need to get friends to hold you accountable, don’t hesitate to do that. 

    Determine How You Will Sell

    Before you can launch your side hustle, you’ll need to determine how you’re going to sell your product or service. 

    Thankfully, there are dozens of ways to sell products and services, such as:

    1. You can always sell in person.
    • If you’re selling a product, you can take it to trade shows and markets.
    • You could even go from door to door if you have the courage.
    • You can sell directly to your friends or host parties where you show off your product.
    • You can meet one-on-one with potential customers and tell them about the benefits of the service you offer.
    1. You can also sell just about any product or service online as well.
    • For example, if your product is crafty (like soap), artisan, or vintage you can sell on Etsy.
    • If you’re getting products from thrift shops, you can sell them on eBay or Poshmark.
    • If you’re trying to break into the freelance world, you can find jobs in dozens of industries on websites like UpworkFiverr, or Thumbtack.
    • If you’re selling eBooks, you can list them on Amazon.
    • If you’re promoting a course you’ve created, you can sell it through HeightsTeachableShopify, or Thinkific.
    • If you’re handy, you can find hundreds of jobs on TaskRabbit.
    • If you’re a coach, you can use Tailored.coach to connect with your clients.
    • And, of course, you can build your own website (or blog) – your business’ home on the web.

    No matter what you’re selling, there is an online platform to sell it. 

    A simple way to find the platform that’s best for you is to Google “Sell [PRODUCT/SERVICE] online”.

    This will bring up dozens of results and allow you to find the best place to sell your product or service. 

    Start Selling

    This point is short and sweet. Once you’ve done the initial work up front, you simply need to get started. 

    Your side hustle will not be perfect when you first launch it. You’ll make mistakes. You may have trouble landing your first customers. Regardless, at some point, you must launch your side hustle if you want to make any money from it. 

    As noted above, building a successful side hustle involves a lot of tweaking, refining, and making changes on the fly. If you try to get everything perfect before you launch, you’ll never get started. 

    In the initial launch phase, it may take some time for you to gain significant traction. You’ll have to work hard to promote yourself. But it’s worth the work. If your side hustle is valuable, people will eventually buy into it. 

    Avoid getting discouraged if you don’t have massive success right off the bat. Keep working, refining, promoting, and selling. Eventually, you’ll hit on the right combination and the customers will start coming. 

    Market Yourself

    To make your side hustle as successful as possible, it’s essential to consistently market yourself. You’ll need to promote your hustle, so it gets in front of as many people as possible. 

    Don’t be modest on this point. If you truly believe in what you’re doing, then go for it with all your might. Market yourself hard and relentlessly. 

    What are some effective ways to market your side hustle? 

    • Ask your friends and family to spread the word.
    • Hand out flyers telling others about what you offer.
    • Give out free samples (if you’re selling a product).
    • Tell people about it on social media.
    • Build an email list and regularly promote your product or service to the list.
    • Start a blog and consistently talk about pain points your customers feel.
    • Create a YouTube channel specifically dedicated to giving loads of value to potential customers.
    • Start a podcast in which you talk about elements of your industry and business.
    • Appear as a guest on other’s podcasts.
    • Do webinars where you teach valuable lessons and then promote your product or service at the end.
    • Use paid advertising to drive people to your website.
    • Consistently apply for jobs on the platforms mentioned above.

    Generally speaking, the more value you can give potential customers for free, the more likely they are to pay for your product or services. 

    For example, let’s say you’re a health and fitness coach. You could create a YouTube channel in which you teach people exercises and workout routines. This is giving free value to people. 

    The more you do this, the more people will see that you’re an expert in your field and the more they’ll want to hire you as their health and fitness coach. 

    Again, don’t be afraid to market yourself. You’ve put in hours of hard work to get to this point. You’ve created a product or service that you truly believe in. You know that you truly can help people and really want to make a difference in the world. 

    So, try to get yourself in front of as many people as possible. Don’t worry about what others will think. If you want to succeed with your side hustle, you must market yourself constantly. 

    Get Feedback From Your Customers

    After you’ve launched, keep improving. If you want to achieve the kind of success that will change your life, you need to constantly better the product or service that you’re offering. 

    After all, some people will buy an okay product or service. A LOT of people will buy an outstanding product or service. 

    This is where customer feedback is invaluable. Your customers can honestly tell you what is and what isn’t working. They can help you see past your blind spots and identify areas for change that you never would have seen on your own. 

    So, ask your customers these important questions:

    • What do they like about your product or service?
    • What features do they find most valuable and which ones could use improvement
    • How has your product or service benefited them and what benefits would they still like to see?
    • Which pain points could you more effectively solve?
    • What features could you add that would make your offer even more valuable to your customers?
    • How can you create the absolute best experience for those who have bought into what you’re selling? 

    Asking customers for feedback is a way of being transparent and authentic with your customers. It shows them that you really care about them and their opinion and that you want to offer them the best possible product or service possible. 

    The more authentic you are with your customers, the more they’ll support you over the long run. As they see how dedicated you are to constant improvement, they’ll want to continue working with you and using your product or service. 

    Provide Amazing Experiences For Your Customers

    One of the best ways to get new customers and keep your existing customers is to create amazing experiences for them. These experiences don’t need to be anything crazy. Your goal is to show them that you care deeply about them and want them to be incredibly happy with what you have to offer. 

    How can you create incredible experiences for your customers?

    There are literally dozens of simple ways:

    • Provide amazing customer support
    • Send a handwritten thank you note with every product
    • Include an extra surprise with your product 
    • Dedicate extended time to helping your clients work through their challenges
    • Send a card on the anniversary of their first purchase 
    • Create short, custom videos thanking each one of your clients or customers
    • Call each customer just to say thank you

    The list goes on and on. The goal is simply to make your customers feel special. You want them to feel like they really matter to you and aren’t simply a way for you to make money. 

    The more you can delight and surprise your customers, the more likely it is that they’ll tell their friends and colleagues about you, which will generate referral business. If you really go over the top with the way you treat your customers, you may even get exposure in prominent publications. 

    But ultimately, it’s not about getting referral business or big exposure, although those things are certainly valuable. It’s about treating your customers like real people who you actually care about. 

    Build Sustainable Cash Flow

    Eventually, if all things go well (and they will!), there will come a point where you have to decide whether or not you want to quit your day job and make your side hustle your full-time job. 

    Isn’t that exciting to think about? You really could turn your passion project into a full-time, income producing job! 

    So how do you do that? 

    The final step is to get to the point where you have sustainable cash flow. In other words, you need to have a relatively stable amount of money coming in every month. If you have consistent cash flow, this gives you the option of quitting your day job. 

    How much sustainable cash flow should you have? Ideally, you want your side hustle to be generating at least 75% of your income. This will give you the flexibility to decide whether or not you want to quit your day job. 

    When thinking about your income, remember to take into account expenses. You’ll have to pay self-employment tax at the end of the year. You also probably have expenses involved in keeping your side hustle up and running. Take all these things into account when deciding whether to make the plunge. 

    One important thing to note when it comes to quitting your day job. There will probably be a sense of fear and apprehension around quitting your job. After all, your job offers you stability. 

    Avoid allowing fear to keep you from following your dreams. 

    Fear is a big dream killer. If you’ve gotten your side hustle to the point where you’re generating significant income, then it’s time to seriously consider whether or not you should focus on doing it full time. 

    And consider this. If you’re only doing your side hustle part time and you’re making enough money to consider quitting your day job, think about how much more you could make if you were doing it full-time! Going full-time with your side hustle could actually produce significantly more income for you. 

    When that time comes, ask yourself, “What is keeping me from taking the leap? What is keeping me from pursuing my dream full-time?” 

    If the answer is fear, that might be a signal that it’s actually time to go all-in on your side hustle. 

    Side Hustle Your Way To Freedom

    The beauty of the side hustle is that, when done properly, it can create freedom for you. If you’re working a day job, it can give you additional income that can set you up for financial freedom. If you’re not working a full-time job (like a stay-at-home mom), a side hustle can provide valuable income to your family. 

    And eventually, you may be able to take your passion and turn it into a full-time job. That’s the real power of the side hustle!

    Over the course of this book, you’ve learned a lot!

    We talked about:

    • Preparing yourself for the hard work of the side hustle
    • Identifying your passions, desires, and skills
    • Validating your side hustle
    • Defining the goals that you want to achieve 
    • Creating milestones that will keep your side hustle moving
    • Determining how you’ll sell your side hustle products or services
    • Starting the actual process of selling
    • Marketing yourself effectively
    • Getting feedback from your customers
    • Providing amazing customer experiences
    • Building sustainable cash flow

    You now know what you need to do in order to start making money with your side hustle. You even know what you need to do in order to transform your side hustle into a full-time job. 

    The only question now is, “What’s stopping you?” Nothing is holding you back from getting your side hustle up and running. 

    So, don’t wait any longer. Get hustling!

  • How to make money with your passion

    We all have things that we absolutely love to do. Maybe you love to write. Maybe taking photos makes you feel like a million dollars. Or maybe you love crafting hand-made signs. It’s the thing that makes you feel alive. That creates a fire in your bones. But you don’t think you could ever make money from your passion. 

    Surely, you think, I can’t make money doing [insert your passion]. Nobody would pay me to do that. It’s too much fun and I love it too much. No way could I make money doing that. 

    That’s where you’re wrong.

    Thanks to the internet, almost any passion can be turned into a profitable side hustle. 

    Did you catch that? 

    You can make money doing the things that you love the most. Yep. You can turn your passion project into a profitable project. 

    Let’s be honest. We all could use some extra cash in our lives. We’ve got bills to pay, kids to send to school, car repairs to make, and a dozen other expenses. Some extra cash could be really useful and go a long way toward making our lives easier. 

    How would it change your life to make an extra $1,000 per month? Or double that? 

    You can easily make that if you know how to create a profitable side hustle. In fact, if you know what you’re doing, you may be able to turn your passion project into your full-time job. 

    Can you imagine how rewarding it would be to get to do what you love for your job? Your quality of life would drastically improve, and your overall life satisfaction would go through the roof. 

    A side hustle isn’t just about money in the bank, as helpful as that can be. A side hustle really can change your life. When you build something for yourself, even as you continue to work your day job, you become empowered. You gain confidence. You create security, both in the form of that extra cash and also in the fact that you’re opening up future opportunities for yourself.

    Chris Guillebeau

    Of course, all this raises the critical question: how do you start a side hustle? 

    Because, honestly, there are a lot of questions that come with starting a side hustle. 

    • What products or services should you sell? 
    • Where should you sell them? 
    • How much should you charge? 
    • How do you market yourself? 
    • How do you determine if your side hustle will actually make money? 

    In this post, I’m going to give you a roadmap for turning your passion into a profitable side hustle. We’re going to guide you, step-by-step, to making money doing what you love. By the end, you’ll know exactly what you need to do in order to start making money on your side hustle right away. 

    Ready? Let’s get started!

    Prepare Yourself

    If you’re interested in get rich quick schemes, then this book isn’t for you. Because here’s the reality: creating a profitable side hustle takes a lot of time, diligence, hard work, blood, sweat, and tears (well, hopefully not tears!). 

    If you want to succeed with your side hustle, prepare to put in some work. You shouldn’t expect to start working and immediately have boatloads of cash pouring in. You need to be ready to put in many hours of work over the long haul. 

    How do you create the motivation needed to put in all that hard work? 

    Take a look at your life as it currently is. Are you living your best life now? Are you completely fulfilled with your day job? Are there other things you would love to do to make money? Do you see others doing what you want to do? 

    If you’re not living your best life now, let that serve as a motivator for your side hustle. You really can make money doing what you absolutely LOVE. You can generate significant income doing something that brings great satisfaction into your life. 

    How would it change your life if you were doing work that actually made you happy? 

    How would it revolutionize things for you if you actually enjoyed the work you do every day? 

    To increase your motivation for your side hustle, envision what a successful outcome would look like for your side hustle. Paint a picture in your mind of what your best life will look like. 

    Get very clear on:

    • How badly you want to succeed in your side hustle
    • The benefits you’ll experience 
    • How the extra cash will help you
    • The joy you’ll experience in doing what you love

    If you’re not highly motivated to make your side hustle a reality, it won’t happen. Because here’s the truth: your side hustle is going to take you away from other good things that you could be doing. 

    You may need to give up:

    • Television
    • Hobbies
    • Some time with friends

    You may even need to sacrifice some time with your family, although we obviously don’t recommend doing this over the long haul. 

    The point is simply that you’re going to have to make sacrifices in order to make your side hustle a reality. You’re going to need to do the hard work necessary. You have to be willing to give up some good things in order to achieve a great thing. 

    What most people don’t realize is that it usually takes a significant amount of time and work before you start making good money from your side hustle. 

    Success happens over the long haul, not overnight. If you want your side hustle to be truly profitable, you need to be willing to make sacrifices again and again until you’ve finally reached your objective. 

    World famous soccer player Pele said:

    Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.

    If you want to succeed, you must be willing to work hard and persevere. The good news is that if you persevere, you almost certainly will succeed. 

    All that being said, you must be confident that you can do it. If you’re constantly doubting yourself, you’ll have a hard time getting traction. But if you have faith in yourself and believe firmly in your abilities, you truly can achieve great things. 

    The best time to start a side hustle is right now. Don’t wait any longer. There will never be a perfect time to get started. Start working on your project today and simply adjust as time goes on. Identify Your Passions and Interests

    So how do you identify what your side hustle should be? How do you know what you should give your time to? How can you determine the best activities to focus on? 

    You start by identifying the things you’re most passionate about and interested in. 

    See, a side hustle is the intersection of passion and profit. In other words, it’s all about taking the things you love and are good at and turning them into a profitable gig. 

    So, the first step is to identify what you love to do AND are good at doing.

    Both elements are required. If you want your side hustle to be sustainable, you must love doing it. If you don’t, you’ll burn out quickly. When hard work and sacrifices are needed, you won’t want to. A successful side hustle involves an activity that you love doing. 

    You must also be good at your side hustle. In other words, you must have the necessary skill set to make it a reality. If you’re not good at creating your product or performing your service, others simply won’t want to pay you for it. 

    Ask yourself these questions:

    • What do you absolutely love doing? 
    • What have people told you that you’re good at? 
    • What do you lose track of time doing? 
    • What valuable skills do you have that people would pay for? 
    • What needs can you meet? 

    These questions will help you find the intersection of passion and profit. They’ll help you determine both your skillset and what you love. When these two things combine, you have a viable side hustle. 

    There is a psychological concept called “flow.” It’s when you find yourself so immersed in an activity that you lose all track of time and are simply focused on what’s in front of you. Your mind isn’t distracted at all. Rather, you simply “flow” with your activity. 

    When do you find yourself in the “flow” of things? Pay attention to these moments. It’s these activities that could turn into viable side hustles. Validate Your Side Hustle

    Once you’ve determined what you think your side hustle should be, it’s important to validate it. In other words, be able to demonstrate that people will really pay you for what you offer them. Determine if there’s a “market need” for the product or services that you will offer. 

    After all, it won’t do you any good to start your side hustle, only to discover that no one actually wants what you’re offering. You’ll end up spending hours and hours on things that won’t generate any extra income. You’ll also become discouraged and probably want to give up. 

    Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that people will want what you have to offer, even if it’s just a few people. 

    So how can you do that? Where can you find an audience on which to test out your idea? 

    Some simple ideas include:

    • Ask your friends on social media if they would be interested in what you have to offer. 
    • If you have an email list, send out a poll to them, asking who would be interested in what you’re going to offer. 
    • Create a sign-up list where people can get more information. If numerous people sign up, it’s a sign that your idea has legs. 
    • Offer to let people pre-purchase your offer. If a number of people purchase from you, you know that you’re onto something good. 

    Your goal is to avoid wasting time on ideas that won’t get any traction. If your polls, emails, and sign-up list aren’t getting much of a response, it may be time to move on to a different side hustle. 

    It’s really important that you not get discouraged at this point. If you can’t get any traction on your side hustle, that doesn’t mean you have to give it up altogether. It simply means you may not be able to make a sustainable income from it. Or, you may simply need to adjust your approach to your product.

    There are dozens of ways to make money, and you can certainly find a side hustle that allows you to do what you love. 

    Determine What Sets You Apart From Your Competitors

    Unless you’re building something completely new and revolutionary, you’re going to be competing against others. Whether you’re selling a widget or offering coaching services, there are going to be others against whom you’re competing for business. 

    If you’re going to succeed with your side hustle, you need to find a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. In other words, figure out how you’re going to stand out from the crowd. How you’re going to attract customers. How your offer is different from what others are offering. 

    How can you differentiate yourself from your competitors? There are numerous ways, including:

    • Better quality products or services
    • Better customer service
    • Faster delivery
    • Less expensive products or services
    • Aggressive sales tactics
    • Higher or lower profit margins
    • A noble cause that you support with profits from your product

    For example, let’s say you’re selling soap online. You could create a unique soap that is better quality than most other soap out there. Because your soap is better quality, you can sell it for a higher price and make higher profit margins. 

    Or you could sell your soap at a discount and sell a higher volume of soap. Or you could create an aggressive online marketing campaign where you’re trying to get your soap in front of more eyeballs than anyone else. 

    If you don’t find a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors, there’s no reason that customers should purchase from you. You absolutely must find a way to stand out in the crowd. 

    Define Your Goals

    Once you’ve determined what your side hustle will be, have validated that idea, and determined how you’ll stand out from the crowd, it’s time to define your overall goals. Defining clear goals will help you know what steps you need to take in order to turn your hustle into a reality. 

    Consider laying out a set of goals that sequentially follow one another.

    For example, if you’re going to sell products on eBay, your first goal may be to create an eBay account. Your second goal may be to research the products that sell best on eBay. Your third goal may be to source the products to sell and your fourth goal may be to list those products. 

    When setting your goals, ensure that they are realistic. Your goal is to get traction, not reach your end goal right off the bat. Setting a goal of selling 1,000 bars of soap is a great goal, but there are probably a dozen smaller goals that need to be achieved before you can reach your final goal. 

    Each goal should be realistic and achievable. If your goals aren’t realistic, you’ll again find yourself getting discouraged when you don’t meet those goals. The more discouraged you get, the more inclined you’ll be to give up your side hustle. 

    So what are some small goals you can set that will give you traction on your hustle? These small goals should all contribute to your big, overall goal. 

    Do you need to…

    • Research your market? 
    • Research the desires of your ideal customer? 
    • Create a website? 
    • Send out an email to your list, letting them know about your offer? 

    Start taking small steps that will lead you to your overall goal. Try to set goals that will move you forward on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. 

    Create Milestones

    One of the great temptations with a side hustle is to put off actually launching. You can get so caught up in trying to make things perfect that you never actually get your side hustle off the ground.

    Eventually, you just need to get started. Yes, you need to reach the small goals that will lead you to your big goal, but eventually, you just need to get your idea out into the wild and evaluate the response. 

    Side hustles are iterative. In other words, you launch, refine, fix problems, and then keep going. With each iteration, your side hustle gets better and better. The more iterations you do, the more highly refined your hustle becomes and the more revenue you generate. 

    In order to launch, set milestones that will force you to take action. Setting milestones for yourself will ensure that you actually take action and don’t delay. Each milestone should be tied directly to a date. 

    For example, let’s say you’re launching a coaching program. Your first milestone might be to create your website within the next month. Your next milestone might be to send out an email to all the potential clients you know. Your third milestone might be to advertise your coaching practice on Facebook. 

    Think of it this way: Milestones equal movement. When you set milestones for yourself, it forces you to move forward and prevents you from trying to get everything perfect. 

    Like your goals, your milestones should also be realistic and achievable. For example, it’s probably not realistic to think that you can get a website designed in a day (unless you’re an amazing web designer). Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to achieve your milestone. 

    The more you reach your milestones, the more encouraged you’ll be about your side hustle. The more encouraged you are, the more you’ll want to reach more milestones, which will keep your project moving at a rapid pace. Avoid making excuses when it comes to meeting your milestones. Hold yourself to deadlines, and if you need to get friends to hold you accountable, don’t hesitate to do that. 

    Determine How You Will Sell

    Before you can launch your side hustle, you’ll need to determine how you’re going to sell your product or service. 

    Thankfully, there are dozens of ways to sell products and services, such as:

    You can always sell in person. 

    If you’re selling a product, you can take it to trade shows and markets.

     

    You could even go from door to door if you have the courage.

     

    You can sell directly to your friends or host parties where you show off your product.

     

    You can meet one-on-one with potential customers and tell them about the benefits of the service you offer. 

    You can also sell just about any product or service online as well. 

    For example, if your product is crafty (like soap), artisan, or vintage you can sell on Etsy.

     

    If you’re getting products from thrift shops, you can sell them on eBay or Poshmark.

     

    If you’re trying to break into the freelance world, you can find jobs in dozens of industries on websites like UpworkFiverr, or Thumbtack.

     

    If you’re selling eBooks, you can list them on Amazon.

     

    If you’re promoting a course you’ve created, you can sell it through KajabiTeachableUdemy, or Thinkific.

     

    If you’re a handyman, you can find hundreds of jobs on TaskRabbit.

     

    If you’re a coach, you can use Tailored.coach to connect with your clients.

     

    And, of course, you can build your own website – your business’ home on the web.

    No matter what you’re selling, there is an online platform to sell it. A simple way to find the platform that’s best for you is to Google “Sell [PRODUCT/SERVICE] online”. This will bring up dozens of results and allow you to find the best place to sell your product or service. 

    Start Selling

    This point is short and sweet. Once you’ve done the initial work up front, you simply need to get started. 

    Your side hustle will not be perfect when you first launch it. You’ll make mistakes. You may have trouble landing your first customers. Regardless, at some point, you must launch your side hustle if you want to make any money from it. 

    As noted above, building a successful side hustle involves a lot of tweaking, refining, and making changes on the fly. If you try to get everything perfect before you launch, you’ll never get started. 

    In the initial launch phase, it may take some time for you to gain significant traction. You’ll have to work hard to promote yourself. But it’s worth the work. If your side hustle is valuable, people will eventually buy into it. 

    Avoid getting discouraged if you don’t have massive success right off the bat. Keep working, refining, promoting, and selling. Eventually, you’ll hit on the right combination and the customers will start coming. 

    Market Yourself

    To make your side hustle as successful as possible, it’s essential to consistently market yourself. You’ll need to promote your hustle, so it gets in front of as many people as possible. 

    Don’t be modest on this point. If you truly believe in what you’re doing, then go for it with all your might. Market yourself hard and relentlessly. 

    What are some effective ways to market your side hustle? 

    • Ask your friends and family to spread the word.
    • Hand out flyers telling others about what you offer.
    • Give out free samples (if you’re selling a product).
    • Tell people about it on social media.
    • Build an email list and regularly promote your product or service to the list.
    • Start a blog and consistently talk about pain points your customers feel.
    • Create a YouTube channel specifically dedicated to giving loads of value to potential customers.
    • Start a podcast in which you talk about elements of your industry and business.
    • Appear as a guest on other’s podcasts.
    • Do webinars where you teach valuable lessons and then promote your product or service at the end.
    • Use paid advertising to drive people to your website.
    • Consistently apply for jobs on the platforms mentioned above.

    Generally speaking, the more value you can give potential customers for free, the more likely they are to pay for your product or services. 

    For example, let’s say you’re a health and fitness coach. You could create a YouTube channel in which you teach people exercises and workout routines. This is giving free value to people. 

    The more you do this, the more people will see that you’re an expert in your field and the more they’ll want to hire you as their health and fitness coach. 

    Again, don’t be afraid to market yourself. You’ve put in hours of hard work to get to this point. You’ve created a product or service that you truly believe in. You know that you truly can help people and really want to make a difference in the world. 

    So, try to get yourself in front of as many people as possible. Don’t worry about what others will think. If you want to succeed with your side hustle, you must market yourself constantly. 

    Get Feedback From Your Customers

    After you’ve launched, keep improving. If you want to achieve the kind of success that will change your life, you need to constantly better the product or service that you’re offering. 

    After all, some people will buy an okay product or service. A LOT of people will buy an outstanding product or service. 

    This is where customer feedback is invaluable. Your customers can honestly tell you what is and what isn’t working. They can help you see past your blind spots and identify areas for change that you never would have seen on your own. 

    So, ask your customers these important questions:

    • What do they like about your product or service?
    • What features do they find most valuable and which ones could use improvement?
    • How has your product or service benefited them and what benefits would they still like to see?
    • Which pain points could you more effectively solve?
    • What features could you add that would make your offer even more valuable to your customers?
    • How can you create the absolute best experience for those who have bought into what you’re selling? 

    Asking customers for feedback is a way of being transparent and authentic with your customers. It shows them that you really care about them and their opinion and that you want to offer them the best possible product or service possible. 

    The more authentic you are with your customers, the more they’ll support you over the long run. As they see how dedicated you are to constant improvement, they’ll want to continue working with you and using your product or service. 

     Provide Amazing Experiences For Your Customers

    One of the best ways to get new customers and keep your existing customers is to create amazing experiences for them. These experiences don’t need to be anything crazy. Your goal is to show them that you care deeply about them and want them to be incredibly happy with what you have to offer. 

    How can you create incredible experiences for your customers?

    There are literally dozens of simple ways:

    • Provide amazing customer support
    • Send a handwritten thank you note with every product
    • Include an extra surprise with your product 
    • Dedicate extended time to helping your clients work through their challenges
    • Send a card on the anniversary of their first purchase 
    • Create short, custom videos thanking each one of your clients or customers
    • Call each customer just to say thank you

    The list goes on and on. The goal is simply to make your customers feel special. You want them to feel like they really matter to you and aren’t simply a way for you to make money. 

    The more you can delight and surprise your customers, the more likely it is that they’ll tell their friends and colleagues about you, which will generate referral business. If you really go over the top with the way you treat your customers, you may even get exposure in prominent publications. 

    But ultimately, it’s not about getting referral business or big exposure, although those things are certainly valuable. It’s about treating your customers like real people who you actually care about. 

    Build Sustainable Cash Flow

    Eventually, if all things go well (and they will!), there will come a point where you have to decide whether or not you want to quit your day job and make your side hustle your full-time job. 

    Isn’t that exciting to think about? You really could turn your passion project into a full-time, income producing job! 

    So how do you do that? 

    The final step is to get to the point where you have sustainable cash flow. In other words, you need to have a relatively stable amount of money coming in every month. If you have consistent cash flow, this gives you the option of quitting your day job. 

    How much sustainable cash flow should you have? Ideally, you want your side hustle to be generating at least 75% of your income. This will give you the flexibility to decide whether or not you want to quit your day job. 

    When thinking about your income, remember to take into account expenses. You’ll have to pay self-employment tax at the end of the year. You also probably have expenses involved in keeping your side hustle up and running. Take all these things into account when deciding whether to make the plunge. 

    One important thing to note when it comes to quitting your day job. There will probably be a sense of fear and apprehension around quitting your job. After all, your job offers you stability. 

    Avoid allowing fear to keep you from following your dreams. 

    Fear is a big dream killer. If you’ve gotten your side hustle to the point where you’re generating significant income, then it’s time to seriously consider whether or not you should focus on doing it full time. 

    And consider this. If you’re only doing your side hustle part time and you’re making enough money to consider quitting your day job, think about how much more you could make if you were doing it full-time! Going full-time with your side hustle could actually produce significantly more income for you. 

    When that time comes, ask yourself, “What is keeping me from taking the leap? What is keeping me from pursuing my dream full-time?” 

    If the answer is fear, that might be a signal that it’s actually time to go all-in on your side hustle. 

    Side Hustle Your Way To Freedom

    The beauty of the side hustle is that, when done properly, it can create freedom for you. If you’re working a day job, it can give you additional income that can set you up for financial freedom. If you’re not working a full-time job (like a stay-at-home mom), a side hustle can provide valuable income to your family. 

    And eventually, you may be able to take your passion and turn it into a full-time job. That’s the real power of the side hustle!

    By now, you’ve learned a lot!

    We talked about:

    • Preparing yourself for the hard work of the side hustle
    • Identifying your passions, desires, and skills
    • Validating your side hustle
    • Defining the goals that you want to achieve 
    • Creating milestones that will keep your side hustle moving
    • Determining how you’ll sell your side hustle products or services
    • Starting the actual process of selling
    • Marketing yourself effectively
    • Getting feedback from your customers
    • Providing amazing customer experiences
    • Building sustainable cash flow

    You now know what you need to do in order to start making money with your side hustle. You even know what you need to do in order to transform your side hustle into a full-time job. 

    The only question now is, “What’s stopping you?” 

    Nothing is holding you back from getting your side hustle up and running. 

    So, don’t wait any longer. Get hustling!

  • How To Help Your Blog and Business Survive Challenging Times

    It May Be Hard, But Don’t Give Up 

    Running a small business isn’t easy, even during the best of times. According to the United States Small Business Association:

    • 30% of small businesses fail within two years
    • 50% fail within five years
    • Only 25% of businesses last 15 years or longer

    Any small business owner will tell you that running a small business is challenging. You have to manage a thousand moving pieces, ensuring that you stay on top of cash flow, employee performance, sales, marketing, and many other factors. Many owners struggle to manage all the different elements, and their business struggles as a result. 

    When circumstances get tough, running a business becomes an even greater challenge. Throughout the years, many events have occurred that placed a squeeze on businesses:

    • The Great Depression
    • World War I and World War II
    • The Cold War
    • The 2008 housing market collapse
    • The 2020 coronavirus pandemic

    During these difficult times, many small businesses folded under the pressure. They simply weren’t able to keep going. 

    But many businesses have survived these incredibly challenging circumstances. Some of them have even thrived. In the early 1920s, Prohibition prevented the sale of alcohol in the United States. As you can imagine, this made things really difficult for producers of alcohol. 

    But many companies adapted and came up with creative ways to save their businesses:

    • Yuengling made ice cream
    • Pabst made cheese
    • Coors produced dinnerware
    • Schlitz churned out chocolate
    • Stevens Point Brewery went into the soft drink business

    The point is that your business can make it through hard times. You’ll need to get creative. You’ll have to take decisive action. And you’ll need to make tough decisions. But you can do it! 

    The signature of the truly great versus the merely successful is not the absence of difficulty, but the ability to come back from setbacks, even cataclysmic catastrophes, stronger than before. Great nations can decline and recover. Great companies can fall and recover. Great social institutions can fall and recover. And great individuals can fall and recover. As long as you never get entirely knocked out of the game, there remains always hope.

    Jim Collins

    Don’t give up. There is always hope!

    In this small business survival guide, you’ll discover effective steps to take that will help your business thrive in the midst of difficult times. Doing these things won’t make things “easier,” but they could be the difference between your business surviving or dying. 

    Ready? Let’s dive in. 

    Manage Your Mindset

    If your business is struggling, it’s absolutely essential to manage your mindset. When things get tough, it’s really easy to enter a downward mental spiral. 

    You start thinking about all the circumstances that brought you to where you are. You second guess yourself, wondering whether you would be in a better place if you acted differently. You begin to doubt your abilities and whether you can ever succeed. The more you engage in these thoughts, the worse you’ll feel. 

    As you work to stabilize and turn around your business, it’s important to maintain a positive mindset. Now, to be clear, this doesn’t mean that you pretend everything is okay or bury your head in the sand. It means that you maintain faith in your ability to bring about positive outcomes. 

    A positive mindset also means that you are resolved to not give up. Keep striving to improve things and bring your business to a place of health. 

    If you’re struggling to maintain a positive mindset, remember that almost every great business leader has endured struggles similar to yours:

    • Thomas Edison failed thousands of times before he was able to develop a fully functioning lightbulb.
    • Apple almost collapsed under bankruptcy when Steve Jobs was president.
    • Bill Gates’ first business was a complete and total failure.
    • Henry Ford’s first automobile business went bankrupt within a year.

    In spite of all these difficulties, these individuals experienced great success. Why? Because they persevered and were incredibly resilient. 

    I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard and you pour so much of your life into this thing, there are such rough moments in time that most people give up. And I don’t blame them, it’s really tough.

    Steve Jobs

    If you want your business to succeed, you need mental toughness. You must be able to persevere in the face of difficulty and keep going even when things look bleak.

    Follow these steps to overcome a negative mindset: 

    Pay attention

    It’s easy to let negative thoughts swirl in your mind without putting up a fight. If you’re going to overcome these thoughts, you must be aware of what you’re thinking. You need to be able to identify unhelpful mental patterns as they occur. 

    Question

    As negative thoughts arise, question them. Is what you’re thinking really true? Most likely, it isn’t. Mentally push back. 

    Silence

    After you’ve questioned and answered your negative thoughts, begin to silence them. Avoid letting the same thoughts steal your mental energy. You know they’re not true, so shut them down at the start. 

     Imagine that you have a remote and that you can mute your inner critic with the touch of a button. 

    Replace

    As you shut down your inner critic, fill the silence with positive, helpful dialogue. Regularly remind yourself that you are strong, are able to overcome challenges, and are growing in the midst of difficulty. 

    As you push through problems and challenges, remember why you got into business in the first place. 

    What big problem were you passionate about solving? What motivated you to take the risk of starting a business instead of playing it safe and taking a corporate job? 

    Seek to tap into the emotions and desires that originally pushed you to create your business. They can be the driving force that helps you make tough decisions and get things back on track.Clarify the Problem

    Before you can identify a solution, it’s important to first clarify the problem. Why is your business struggling in the first place? If you don’t have clarity on the specific challenge you’re facing, you won’t know what steps to take to save your business. 

    Take some time to think about how you got to where you currently are. What happened that you didn’t anticipate? What things went wrong?

    Some common problems businesses face are:

    • Market changes. Economic factors, new technology, emerging competition, and many other things can cause the market to change. Survival requires the ability to adapt to changes as they happen. 
    • Failure to understand the target customer or market. If people aren’t interested in your product or service, there’s a good chance you don’t understand your customers or market. Dig deep to understand what people truly want and what motivates them to buy 
    • Poor pricing strategy. If your prices don’t match the customer demand, you simply won’t sell much. It’s crucial to understand what customers are willing to pay, as well as where your product sits in relation to your competitors. 
    • Insufficient funds. Not having enough money on hand will quickly tank your business. You must pay close attention to cash flow, financing, sales, and more. 
    • Too much growth. Growth is a good thing except when there’s too much of it. If your business grows too fast, you might not be able to keep up with demand. 

    Identifying key problems within your business can be a painful exercise. No one likes to be reminded of ways they’ve failed. But if you want your business to thrive during challenging times, you must be able to put your finger on the primary problems. 

    If you’re feeling sick and go to the doctor, what’s the first thing they try to do? Determine what is causing the illness. Only then can the doctor prescribe the proper treatment. If the doctor has you start taking random medications in the hope that one will work, you likely won’t get any better. 

    The same principle is true in business. You must identify the cause of the problems before you can determine the proper solution. The sooner you identify the problems, the better.

    I’ve come to see institutional decline like a staged disease: harder to detect but easier to cure in the early stages, easier to detect but harder to cure in the later stages. An institution can look strong on the outside but already be sick on the inside…Focus on Your Customers

    Jim Collins

    Before I get into details about specific actions to take, let’s look at the big picture. 

    What is at the heart of every business, including yours? Customers. 

    If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business. When deciding what actions to take to strengthen your business, always keep your customers front and center. If you make changes that end up hurting your customers, you’re ultimately hurting yourself. You’ll lose the people who are at the very center of your business. 

    Airlines are an example of what happens when you forget about your customers. Over the last decade, airlines have gone to great lengths to cut costs and increase profits. Service declined and customers were hit with various fees they never had to pay in the past. 

    The result? Customers are getting increasingly frustrated and fed up. It seems that everyone has an airline horror story. Flying, which was once seen as a luxury, is now often considered a necessary evil. 

    The moral of the story is to always keep your customers at the top of the priority list. 

    Before making changes, consider how they will affect the customer experience. If customer experience is one of your key competitive advantages, be especially careful about changes. If you destroy one of your competitive advantages, you may end up dealing a death blow to your business. 

    If you do make changes that will directly affect the customer, communicate those clearly. Explain to the customer why you have to make the changes and the outcomes you expect. The more transparent you are with your customers, the more understanding they’ll be. 

    Neil Patel is a good example of this kind of transparency. For a number of years, he made a particular software available for free. Eventually, however, the costs became too high and he was forced to start charging for portions of the software. 

    He sent a letter to his customers, clearly explaining what was happening. He detailed his costs, making it clear that he simply didn’t have the resources to continue making everything available for free. Then he laid out exactly what would happen moving forward. 

    You would be wise to follow Neil’s example. Explain why changes are happening, when they will take effect, and how the changes will affect customers. 

    During times of global crisis, it is especially important to keep the focus on customers. 

    People will remember the actions you take. If you seek to serve your customers, even at the expense of profit, you will build up a huge amount of goodwill. 

    For example, during the coronavirus crisis, many companies sacrificed financial gain for the sake of their customers:

    • Many educational companies made their resources free to parents who were suddenly forced to homeschool their children. 
    • Audible gave away free audiobooks for kids.
    • Moz provided free courses on search engine optimization to help businesses strengthen their online presence.
    • Loom offered significant discounts on their video recording platform so people could stay in touch with family and friends.
    • Bill.com made its platform available for free for 90 days to anyone affected by the coronavirus.

    All of these companies are losing out on potential profit by giving these things away for free. But customers will remember the actions taken by these businesses and will be much more likely to support them in the future. 

    It’s about building your brand by doing good for others, instead of focusing on the bottom line.

    Bottom line: If you keep the focus on customers, there’s a much greater chance that your business will weather the tough times.

    Conduct A SWOT Analysis

    If you want to succeed as a small business owner, you must be willing to honestly evaluate how things are going. You can’t ignore problems. You can’t just hope that things get better. You must take a long and hard look at your business and then make changes based on what you see. 

    A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis provides you with a framework for analyzing your business. It helps you identify what is and isn’t working, spot potential growth opportunities, and prepare for external threats. 

    Let’s look at each aspect. 

    Strengths

    These are the things you have control over and are working well in your business. Focus on and try to develop these areas further. For example:

    • Effective sales team
    • Proprietary technology
    • Proven marketing strategy
    • Powerful systems/processes
    • Strong customer base

    Weaknesses

    These are the things that aren’t working well in your business. Your goal is to change or eliminate these things so that they don’t continue to damage your business.

    For example:

    • Ineffective marketing strategy
    • High production costs
    • Low profit margin
    • Poor customer retention
    • Ineffective internal processes

    Opportunities

    These are external factors that have the potential to benefit your business. The more you can capitalize on these opportunities, the more success you’ll have.

    For example:

    • New technology
    • Less competition
    • Fewer taxes
    • New markets
    • Improved economic environment

    Threats

    These are external factors that could possibly hurt your business. Either avoid these things or adapt to them.

    For example:

    • Increased competition
    • Changing customer preferences
    • Worsening economic conditions (recession)
    • New regulations
    • Significant technological changes

    Performing a SWOT analysis is hard work. It’s essential to be honest about the current state of things and acknowledge areas where you’re struggling. This clear-headed analysis will help you overcome your weaknesses, capitalize on your strengths, and take advantage of unique opportunities. Create Objectives and A Plan

    Once you’ve done a SWOT analysis, take what you’ve learned and put it into action. Determine the objectives you’ll pursue and create a plan for achieving those objectives. This will give you the clarity you need to move forward. 

    Start with your strengths

    How will you double down on the things you’re already doing well? Does your sales team have a high close rate? Focus on getting more prospects to the team. Do you have a large email list? Work on converting them from readers to buyers. 

    Then look at your weaknesses

    How can you change, minimize, or even eliminate these areas? Is your profit margin low? Create a plan for reducing production costs. Do you have trouble keeping customers? Develop a customer retention strategy. 

    Move on to opportunities

    Is there a new market you can move into? Can you implement a new technology that will help you be more efficient? Determine the greatest opportunities for your business and the steps you’ll take to capitalize on those opportunities. 

    Finish with threats

    How will you avoid or adapt to those things that could hurt your business? Do you need to take steps to adjust to new customer preferences? Do you need to change your pricing strategy to keep up with the competition? 

    Remember to create both objectives and a plan for how you’ll meet those objectives. It’s not enough to say, “I want to increase my profit margin.” You also need to determine the specific steps you’ll take to make that happen. 

    Your objectives need to be:

    • Measurable. You must be able to determine whether you’ve hit your objective. 
    • Achievable. Be realistic in your goal setting. Aim for things that you can actually achieve. 
    • Timely. Set a specific date by which you’ll meet your objectives. This will give you a sense of urgency. Reduce Costs

    If you want your business to survive and thrive during difficult times, you’ll likely need to reduce your costs. However, be careful and precise as you do this. Cut costs too much and your business may have a hard time recovering. Cut costs too little and you won’t free up enough cash to keep your business going.

    Follow this process to reduce your costs: 

    Start by cutting discretionary costs

    These are costs that aren’t necessary to run your business. Business lunches is a good example of a discretionary cost. 

     Yes, it may be helpful to meet clients over lunch, but it’s not necessary. You can meet them over coffee or in your office and save quite a bit. 

     Other discretionary costs include:

    • Coffee/tea for the whole office
    • The highest speed internet (switch to a lower speed)
    • Magazine subscriptions
    • Off-site events
    • Advertising

    Next, look at ways you can reduce costs but still achieve the same outcomes. For example:

    • Can you reduce travel costs by using videoconferencing technology?
    • Can you cut IT costs by using less expensive cloud software?
    • Can you reduce utility costs by finding ways to use less water or electricity?
    • Get creative when looking at these costs.

    Next, consider your office space costs

    Your landlord may be willing to lower your rent or even create a new lease for you. Explain the challenges you’re facing and the possible outcomes if you don’t make significant changes. If your landlord won’t reduce your rent, consider moving to a less expensive building.

    • If your business is small enough, you may want to think about running it out of your home, at least temporarily. This can significantly reduce insurance costs, taxes, utilities, and more.

    Also take a close look at your supply chain

    Some of your suppliers may be willing to give you discounts, especially if you’ve been a good customer and always paid on time.

    • If your current suppliers don’t offer discounts, explore alternatives. If a new supplier offers you a discount, you may be able to leverage that with your current suppliers.

    At some point, you’ll need to think about reducing staffing costs

    This is hard for every business owner. No one wants to put someone out of a job or reduce someone’s income.

    • However, if you want your business to survive, you have to be willing to make these hard decisions. Cutting staffing costs today ensures that you’ll still have a business in the future.
    • Before you lay people off, look for ways you can reduce employee hours or compensation. Obviously, you’ll need to communicate clearly with your employees. Explain why you’re cutting these things and how long you expect these measures to last. If a reduction in hours or compensation isn’t enough, you’ll have to reduce your workforce.

    Cutting costs isn’t a fun thing. You and your employees will have to make sacrifices. You’ll have to give up perks and luxuries. But it’s important to look at the big picture. 

     The actions you take today will produce results long into the future. 

    Sacrificing in the present increases the chances of your business surviving for years to come.

    Manage Your Cash Flow

    Your cash flow is what will ultimately determine whether your business survives. Every month you have cash come into your business in the form of payments from customers or clients. You also have cash going out of your business for expenses like rent, supplies, and salaries. 

    Now, to be clear, when we say “cash”, we don’t necessarily mean actual cash. We simply mean money going into and out of your bank account. 

    Not having enough incoming cash is one of the biggest reasons small businesses go under. 

    When you run out of cash, you can’t pay your bills, purchase supplies, or any of the other necessary tasks to keep things running. 

    This means you need to pay very close attention to your cash flow.

    Here’s a quick way to evaluate your cash flow:

    1. At the end of the month, add up your total sales.
    2. Total all purchases that you still must pay for.
    3. Calculate the difference.

    For example, let’s say you have $10,000 in sales. You still owe $6,000 for purchases. Your cash flow is approximately $4,000. If you have negative cash flow, you’ll need to make up the difference in the next month. The more you fall behind, the harder it is to make up the difference. 

    If you have accounting software, you should be able to create a detailed cash flow report relatively easily. 

    If you find yourself struggling with cash flow, you do have some options, such as: 

    • You can sell assets to bring in additional cash. For example, you could sell a company vehicle or a piece of machinery. 
    • You can get a working capital line of credit. You are given a set amount of credit from which you can draw when cash is tight and pay back when you have surplus cash. You only pay interest on what you borrow. For example, if you have a $10,000 line of credit and borrow $5,000, you only pay interest on the $5,000. 

    As much as possible, stay abreast of your cash flow. Send out invoices in a timely fashion and follow up with customers who fall behind on payments. Pay your own bills on time and try to plan accordingly for purchases. 

    Cash really is king.

    Meet With An Accountant

    As you work to stabilize and strengthen your business, you would be wise to meet with a certified accountant. There are a number of reasons for this. 

    First, they can help you implement money-saving tax strategies. Taxes are complicated, especially when you’re running a business. There are a number of specific actions you can take to reduce your tax burden.

    For example, you can:

    • Change the depreciation method used on your assets
    • Defer income to the following year
    • Restructure your business 
    • Maximize expense deductions

    Because tax laws are so convoluted, many of these strategies are not intuitive. An accountant can help you know what actions to take. 

    Second, an accountant may be able to help you secure financial assistance from the local, state, or federal government. 

    Because small businesses are good for the economy, many government agencies are willing to provide financial aid for struggling businesses. 

    For example, the Small Business Association offers low interest loans and grants to qualifying businesses. Some state and city government organizations also have relief programs designed to strengthen small businesses. An accountant can help you find and secure government funding for your business. 

    Finally, an accountant can help you think through critical financial decisions. 

    Many business owners struggle to absorb all the financial details about their company. This is common and nothing to be ashamed of. However, if you struggle in this way, it can make it challenging to stay abreast of important numbers like cash flow. 

    An accountant can crunch all the numbers for you and then provide you with relatively easy-to-digest reports. They can also give you guidance as you make important decisions like what costs to cut. 

    Use Low-Cost Marketing

    Marketing is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it costs money to get your company name out there. Obviously, money you spend on marketing can’t be spent on essential things like payroll and bills. On the other hand, if you stop doing marketing, you connect with fewer customers, which also decreases available funds. 

    So, what should you do when your business is struggling? Should you cut your marketing budget? Should you double down on marketing? 

    Answer: yes. 

    Use low-cost marketing to simultaneously cut your budget and increase your efforts. Traditional advertising methods such as television, radio, and billboards tend to be pretty expensive. You don’t need to use these strategies to get in front of customers. Other techniques can be just as effective at a fraction of the cost. 

    For example:

    • Regularly ask your existing clients for referrals. If you’ve provided your clients with great service, they’ll be glad to send people your way. 
    • Local business networking groups are a great way to connect with potential clients in your community. 
    • Trade fairs or business meetups allow you to connect with key individuals in your industry. 
    • Write guest blog posts for websites in your industry.  
    • Appear on podcasts that your audience listens to. 
    • Develop strategic business partnerships that foster cross-promotion (you promote them, and they promote you). 
    • Build an email list and then consistently send out valuable information to your subscribers. 
    • Sponsor local events (charitable, sporting, and more). 
    • Maintain a consistent presence on various social media platforms. 
    • Create highly targeted online advertisements. This can be done for just a few dollars per day. 
    • Develop a cold calling strategy and make calls each day. 
    • Develop relationships with influencers who may be willing to promote your products. 
    • Create an affiliate program that rewards those who promote your products. 
    • Host events or classes (locally or online). 
    • Offer to speak at local business groups, community colleges, libraries, and conferences. 
    • Create a YouTube channel where you consistently deliver valuable information. 
    • Run online contests using a platform like Gleam.io or King Sumo.
    • Offer a free trial of your product and create a process to turn those free trials into paying customers. 
    • Livestream from your workplace to show others what happens behind the scenes. 

    When it comes to marketing, you’re only limited by your imagination. 

    Get creative and step outside your comfort zone. Reach out to people you normally wouldn’t. 

    Thanks to the internet and smartphones, marketing is easier and cheaper than ever. Take advantage of the connected world in which we live. Be Persistent, Be Creative, and Pivot

    What separates businesses that fail from those that thrive? Persistence and creativity. Successful businesses persist through challenging times and come up with creative solutions to difficult challenges. They don’t give up in the face of adversity. Sometimes they even pivot to a completely different business model. 

    Polaroid is an example of a company that didn’t approach problems with persistence or creativity. They failed to pivot when it really mattered.

    As digital photography began to take over in the late 90’s, Polaroid executives continued to insist that people wanted hard copy photos. They ignored the massive issue that was staring them in the face and wouldn’t consider any other business model. 

    As a result, they were forced to file for bankruptcy in 2001. The once-great company was largely destroyed. 

    Yelp, on the other hand, used creativity and persistence to overcome difficulties. The service started as a platform for getting recommendations from friends. Even though they managed to get $1 million in funding, they couldn’t seem to get much traction. 

    They noticed, however, that people enjoyed writing reviews of local businesses. They pivoted to focus on making it easy to write reviews and the rest is history. 

    Even in the worst circumstances, there are still options.

    During the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, many companies pivoted in big ways:

    • Anheuser-Busch began manufacturing hand sanitizer.
    • Hanes started producing medical masks.
    • Lyft used their huge fleet of cars to deliver medical supplies.
    • Ford used its infrastructure to make ventilators and medical face shields.
    • Farmers Restaurant Group shifted to delivering food supplies to customers.

    How can you pivot in your business, so you stay afloat and meet the demand of your clients?

    There are numerous ways you can pivot your business:

    • Utilize new sales channels. If you run a brick-and-mortar business, consider also selling online.
    • Segment your customers. 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers. Instead of trying to please everyone, focus on the 20%. 
    • Focus on a feature. If you sell a product that has one particularly popular feature, focus much more heavily on that feature (like Yelp did with reviews). 
    • Change your revenue model. Historically, journalism relied heavily on subscriptions for funding. As we’ve moved into the internet era, many have pivoted to relying on advertising. 
    • Change your pricing and positioning. If you can’t compete with someone on price, compete on quality, or vice versa. 
    • Adopt new technology. New tech can help you reach more customers. For example, if you’re a tutoring company, using a platform like Zoom allows you to communicate with people virtually. 

    The reality is that every business faces challenges. Technology is constantly changing. The market is always in flux to some degree. New competitors regularly emerge. 

    These difficulties don’t need to sink your business. Don’t give up. Persistence produces success.

    The path out of darkness begins with those exasperatingly persistent individuals who are constitutionally incapable of capitulation. It’s one thing to suffer a staggering defeat – as will likely happen to every enduring business and social enterprise at some point in its history – and entirely another to give up on the values and aspirations that make the protracted struggle worthwhile. Failure is not so much a physical state as a state of mind; success is falling down, and getting up one more time, without end. 

    Jim Collins

    If you fall, get back up. Again, and again. Take Action Today

    If you want your business to survive the storms, you must take effective action immediately. Avoid just trying to wait it out, hoping things will get better. As is commonly said, hope is not a strategy.

    It is the doers who are successful: those who confront the challenge head on, map out a strategy for change, and begin acting on that strategy. 

    We’ve talked about numerous steps that will strengthen your business:

    • Manage your mindset.
    • Clarify the problem.
    • Focus on customers.
    • Conduct a SWOT analysis.
    • Create objectives and a plan.
    • Reduce costs.
    • Use low-cost marketing.
    • Be persistent and creative.

    Each of these steps requires work. You must be willing to dig into your business to figure out what isn’t working. Create a clear plan of attack that you will diligently follow. You have to make hard decisions about what costs to cut and get creative with low-cost marketing. 

    If you take action on these things, you will dramatically increase the odds of your survival. You will tip the scales in your favor. 

    ..never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

    Winston Churchill

    It was that never-say-die attitude that helped Britain stay afloat in the face of incredible difficulties. 

    The same attitude will keep your business afloat as well.