How to Get Your Part-Time Business Off to a Successful Start
A part-time business requires as much passion and determination as a full-time business. Balancing it with other responsibilities may seem tough, but take a look at these ways to help get your side-business off the ground without driving yourself into it.
Stop thinking, start doing
Setting up a part-time business is no mean feat. It requires time, money and – most importantly – expertise. Tapping into the advice and anecdotes of other business owners is invaluable if you’re lacking experience; however, there’s only so much research you can do. Once you’ve found what you’re looking for, begin work on getting your own venture up and running rather than overthinking it.
Obviously, planning is essential, and you should draw up a solid business plan before embarking on your launch, but spending too much time researching could be holding you back. You might never feel 100 per cent prepared to take the leap and finally get started, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly you learn to tackle each problem as it arises, rather than preparing in advance for every eventuality.
Build your portfolio
If you’re running your business part-time, you might not have the sufficient time to market it properly. How to tackle that without sleepless nights and compromising on your personal life? Get some more experience – a good reputation will speak for itself.
Building trust in clients and potential leads will help get your business moving, and nothing builds trust like a glowing reputation and a strong portfolio. If you’re just starting out, winning new business could be your biggest challenge, and it’s made even trickier by the fact that you have little experience to show off to prospective customers.
Create a name for yourself locally by volunteering your services or products for free or reduced prices, in support of groups and events in your area. There’s no endorsement like word of mouth, and having people hear about you from happy customers will help you establish a strong reputation. You don’t need to invest in massive projects; if your business is in baking, offer your services for friends’ parties, or local charity events (for extra brownie points).
In addition to making a name for yourself, you’ll build up a database of contacts who have expressed interest. Practice makes perfect, and trialling your business in your free time gives you the opportunity to test the water and discover where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
Reap the benefits of outsourcing
Nobody’s perfect. There will be certain aspects that just don’t come naturally to you. Maybe you’re terrible with numbers, or you break out in a cold sweat just thinking about HMRC, or perhaps you just hate having to provide customer service. It’s also likely that, as a part-time business owner, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything yourself.
If you’re juggling your part-time business with other responsibilities, you’re not going to be able to pick up the phone every time it rings. But, (un)fortunately, your business won’t stop just because you do. Current and potential customers will still need to get in touch with you, and if they can’t, they’re likely to go elsewhere.
Hiring another person to take on the things you don’t have the time or inclination to do yourself probably isn’t feasible, but your customers don’t have to know that. Outsourcing lets you delegate without adding new staff to your payroll. From call answering and PA work to customer service helpdesks, outsourcing keeps your business connected even when you aren’t.
Create engaging content
Getting yourself and your business out there, gaining experience, and showing off your expertise will let your immediate audience know who you are and what you’re good at, but what about reaching new customers and getting them to trust you? Creating interesting and useful content will prove to potential customers that you know what you’re talking about.
By publishing content online, you can boost your reputation within your industry while educating your audience.
Building a blog for your website is the simplest way to publish your content, but you can also work with other relevant websites by providing guest posts and opinion pieces to partake in industry-wide conversations. If you’re not confident writing your own content, look at working with freelance content writers, who can help you get your ideas down in ways that will appeal to your target market.
Pick yourself up
Starting your own business requires more than financial investment; it demands energy, time and resilience. Possibly the most important thing you can do to ensure your success is to pick yourself back up and carry on when things go wrong.
Stop counting your mistakes as failures, and think of them as lessons learned instead. With a part-time business, it’s understandable that things won’t go right all the time, but try not to be disheartened when that happens. Think about how you could’ve done things differently and apply changes next time – it’s all about trial and error.
Keeping your business on the go when you already have other responsibilities is not for the faint-hearted, but people will respond if you show genuine passion for your industry, your business and your products. If you’re feeling a bit lacklustre in your new start-up, don’t put in a half-hearted effort; remind yourself why you started and how far you’ve come, and give it your all.
Check out our blog to discover more tips for growing your part-time business, and to learn how outsourcing could help get you off the ground.