A Mom to Mom show (or Mom to Mom sale) is basically a large indoor yard sale. The organizer rents a large space such as a school gymnasium and rents out booths (floor space) to moms (or dads) to sell their gently used baby and children’s clothes and items. The organizer would also charge a small admission fee to enter the sale.
How To Get Started
I would suggest starting out with one local mom to mom event near you ( or in the nearest larger town or city).
Once you have it down pat you could branch out and run multiple shows in different towns. If you eventually do run multiple shows, my one tip would be to run the shows on different weekends, that way you give people the opportunity to hit up multiple shows.
First find a venue, somewhere large, school gym or even an empty arena in the summer. Determine booth size (9×5 feet was the size of the booth I rented at a mom to mom show) and how many booths you can have in your venue.
Get the necessary permits and/or insurance. The requirements will differ based on where you live, look into these things with your local municipality. Do your due diligence, you don’t want to be getting shut down before you even get started.
Finally advertise! Advertise that the show will be happening and advertise for moms to rent booths at your show.
Mom Booth vs Vendor Booth
You can rent out the typical mom booth at a sale, for one of these booths you can usually ask around $25-30 a mom. You can also rent out tables, a typical table rental company rents out folding tables for $8-10 a table $2-5 for folding chairs, you offer to have a table and two chairs at each moms booth for an extra $20.
Then there are vendor booths. A vendor booth is a booth space rented by a local maker (think handmade items like baby blankets, soaps etc..) to sell their items and advertise their business. These booths typically go for $120-$140, more if they want a space with electricity. One incentive I suggest for vendors is to have a goody bag with some free samples etc to give out to patrons at the show , for vendors who don’t get a table they can pay $5-$10 to have their freebie or business card added to the goody bag.
How Much To Charge And Where To Advertise
We’ve gone over what to charge moms, what to charger vendors, now what to charge the moms that just come to shop. This cost should be kept pretty low, think $2-$3 for entry. Your real income comes from booth rentals and the more people you have coming to shop at the show the more money your booth renters will make, they will then share how much money they made and you will soon be selling out your booths! You might want to even consider offering free admission to your first couple shows.
Put out the word in some local mom groups about your upcoming event. Start a facebook page and keep your followers up to date on what local vendors will be at the show etc.. Run some contests for free admission tickets. Finally don’t underestimate paid facebook and instagram ads.
How Much Will You Make?
Once you are up and running and if you advertise right you shouldn’t have any problem selling out a space. Because lets be honest everyone has loads of baby and kids clothing and gear to get rid of! Who can resist the ultimate indoor yard sale?
If you sell 40 to 50 tables to moms and vendors you can easily make $1500 on a Sunday morning! Not to bad for a little side hustle, and all the organizing can be done right from home!
When most people think about selling items from sites like Amazon, Wish or AliExpress they think dropshipping. While dropshipping is a great way to make some income, that is not what this blog is about! If running and promoting an eCommerce is to intimidating right now then this blog is for you, it will show you how to use these sites to sell items locally for a profit.
How Will It Work?
This is something I have done for years with great success! You choose a category ( I typically go with basic technology or baby and children’s clothes and home decor items), you find out whats hot right now and then you find the inexpensive equivalent on the sites mentioned above. You order the items you want to sell and then sell them on local buy and sell groups and websites for a small mark up.
How Come Buyers Don’t Just Buy Directly From The Websites?
Couldn’t anyone just buy the items you are going to sell for the low price you paid directly online? The answer is yes they absolutely can. So then why would they buy from you instead? Short answer is convenience. Buyers see an item listed for sale and they want it today, they don’t want to wait for shipping, so despite the fact that they could buy it online for cheaper they would rather pay more and have the item today.
What Are The Categories?
You can certainly sell a little bit of everything if you want to however I find that if you want to make yourself known locally then sticking to one or two specific categories is the way to go. Here are a few examples of categories you could choose from:
Baby items and clothes
Kids items and clothes
Womens clothing and accessories
Home decor items
So How Will It Work?
Let me break done one popular item that I start selling every spring summer that always does very well. A hot item that always sells well is the messy bun hat. This is the one I buy with my amazon prime account
This one for my American readers
I purchase a two pack of hats for $19.99 CAD and free shipping, then I list the hats for sale on Varagesale as well as local buy and sell groups on Facebook for $20 each, each time I list the hats for sale they are all gone in 1-2 days for a $10 profit each, easy money!
Everyone has something they are good at. Are you great at floral arrangements, crochet, styling hair or anything else? Chances are that other people would love to be good at it to but need some guidance. This gives you, the expert, the opportunity to share your skill and make some money doing it!
What Types Of Workshops Are There?
The list of potential workshops topics you could host is really endless. Any skill you can have that you could share with others can be turned into a workshop.
There are a few different formats that these workshops can have.
First you can hold one on one workshops. Just you and your student, sharing your skill one on one. This format is great because the student can learn more in a shorter period of time then in a group setting. When I host a one on one workshop ( I offer workshops for people in how to use hot tools such as flat irons to style their own hair) I charge more to the individual student. My rate for a one on one workshop is $50 for one hour.
Next there are group classes. For this format I rent a space in the community that offers the amenities I need for hosting ( usually in my case that is just tables, chairs and outlets) and I advertise in local community groups in Facebook etc… These workshops usually run 2 hours and are offered for $25-$30 per person. Your class size will depend on what you are teaching, if your students are going to need a decent amount of one on one attention you probably want to max out your class size at 6-8 people. If you are able to more front of class teaching then you can host more students in your class.
The final, most popular in my experience, workshop format is what I refer to as “girls nights”. I offer my my services in someones home, advertise that it is a fun night for friends. They bring the snacks and wine and their hair tools and I teach them all how to style their hair while they have a great time! I’ve also had friends do this with floral arranging and cookie decorating. Usually I charge the same as the group workshop price but in this format I don’t have the overhead cost of renting a space.
Things To Keep In Mind
Always be prepared. Don’t show up to a workshop without everything you need to run smoothly. Get there early and be sure to be set up and ready before your first student arrives. If you are running a workshop in someone’s home advise them that you would like to arrive 5-10 minutes early so that you are set up and ready to go on time, not getting ready when you are supposed to be starting the class.
Charge enough but don’t overcharge. Make sure that you are charging enough to cover your cost and make a profit for your time. Don’t charge to much or no one will sign up to take your class.
Make it fun. Try and find a way to make what everyone is learning fun, everyone will have a good time as well as learning a new skill and you will get rave reviews!
Have a take home. Having something for your students to bring home to remind them of what they learned is great and will foster great reviews of your course. A pamphlet with key points or a small booklet work great.
Collaborate with other small businesses. Find out if any boutiques or other small businesses in your city are having open houses or events that could benefit from you offering mini workshops or demonstrations. Typically you would do this for free and have information available for your paid workshops.
My favorite part of the workshop business model is that it is so easy to scale into a larger business! Hire some teachers, train them to teach your workshops and you can be running multiple workshops at a time in cities all over your province or state or across the country. Just look at models like Paintnite or Plantnite!
Even if you decide to keep it small, running workshops is a great way to make a bit (or a lot) of extra cash simply sharing something that you love!
Clothes are expensive, especially children and maternity clothing. Buying preloved (second hand) clothing is very popular right now, rising cost of clothing and the rising popularity of sustainability makes it a more and more inviting option. The options of preloved children and maternity clothing are the most popular because of the short amount of time the clothing is typically worn for. Children grow so quickly and maternity clothes is only used for a short time. Everyone wants nice, brand name clothing for themselves and their children, so why not pay a fraction of the price if you can?
Selling On Consignment
There are generally two ways that second hand clothing stores go about acquiring clothing for their inventory.
Some stores buy the clothing from patrons who bring their used clothing into the store, they typically pay a very small amount and then sell the clothing and keep the full profit. The main pro to this system for the store is higher profits, the main pro to this system for the patron selling their clothing is money upfront. The main cons of this system to the store is having to make an upfront investment in buying the clothing, as well as having to take a loss on any clothing that is not sold. The main con to the patron selling their clothing is that they will receive much less money for this way then selling them on consignment.
The second way second hand clothing acquire clothing for their store is through consignment. Consignment is when patrons bring their items to the store and sign a consignment contract agreeing to specific terms (I will attach an example of one of these contracts further on). They then leave their items at the store to be sold, once the items are sold a percentage goes to the store and a percentage to the seller. The main pro of the consignment system to the store is that there is no up front investment, as well as no risk of loss on items that are not sold. The main pro to the patron selling their clothing is that they get much more money for their items that are sold. The main con to the store on consignment is that they typically make a smaller profit per item. The main con to the patron is that they don’t make any money up front and may have items that do not sell at all.
I typically recommend new stores starting up go with the consignment model to begin with, that way there is no financial investment or risk up front. Once the business is growing you can revisit and decide if you want to keep with the consignment model or change to a buying model.
Step By Step; It’s Easier Than You Think
Once you’ve decided if you are going to take clothing on consignment or purchase clothing the rest is pretty simple. I will list the steps here in short form if that is your thing and expand on them below if you would like more in depth information.
Name your business. Make it something memorable and unique but also something that lets people know what your business is.
Research the competition.
Decide where to sell your clothing. (Varagesale, your own website, Poshmark)
Write up a consignment agreement.
Create an inventory system.
Build your inventory.
Build your website and social media presence.
Set up your online store.
Lets Expand …
Name Your Business
Having a catchy memorable name is important so that you stick in peoples minds, however you want to still make sure that your name is relevant to what you are selling. Is your clothing only upscale brands? Only children’s clothing? Only maternity? Your name should reflect the vibe you want your business to give off, your brand, and should let people know what you are all about. For example my clothing store sells brand name second hand children’s clothing and baby items. Its called Reloved Kids Consignment Boutique.
Research The Competition
Researching your competition isn’t malicious, you are not trying to one up other local businesses. Researching is about offering the public something they are not getting elsewhere. Find out what other businesses locally or online, who may be your direct competition, have to offer and build your ideas from there. For example the second hand clothing stores in my area are all brick and mortar stores, I wanted to offer an online experience where shoppers could see the stores entire inventory online without ever having to step into the store. Because lets be honest, while one of the most fun parts of thrifting is finding something great, one of the most frustration parts is taking the time to look through the store and walking out empty handed. So while I chose to only offer local pick up and delivery on my items (I do not ship anywhere) having my store exclusively online allowed me to offer my customers something that my direct competition couldn’t.
Decide Where You Are Going To Sell Your Clothes
You have a few options when it comes to what platform you want to use to sell your clothing.
Option one, you can go really simple. Something like Varagesale, or Facebook buy and sell groups can be a great platform for selling preloved clothing and items. Keep in mind the drawbacks to this platform is that in these areas customers expect to pay very little for items and it is hard to showcase your inventory clearly and efficiently.
Next you have platforms such as Poshmark. Now I do not have personal experience with this as I am Canadian and we don’t have Poshmark here nor can we sell on it. However through my research it looks like a great starting off point to build a client base reputation before branching out to your own site, especially if you plan on shipping your items to customers, which with the low shipping rates in the USA I don’t know why you wouldn’t! (Unfortunately for us Canadians shipping can be a little more complicated, but you can go down to your local post office to discuss flat rate shipping options, it’s definitely doable, just a bit more pricey then our neighbors to the south). The biggest downside to Poshmark is they take a decent commission off of your sales, however the way I see it is that percentage they take acts as your advertising budget building your loyal customer base.
Finally you can do what I did and build your own website. There are many really simple options for just about anyone to build themselves an online store these days. If you want to go the monthly fee route there are many platforms you can use such as Wix, Shopify or Squarespace (among many others). A quick google search will produce many blogs that compare the different eCommerce platforms for you. Do your due diligence and figure out what is the right fit for you and keep in mind many of the blogs suggesting one platform over others gain an affiliate commission for doing so.
I went with a Squarespace store (and no I don’t make a profit from suggesting them!) I chose them simply because it was the quickest and simplest option for me. The platform offers nice clean themes and is easy to navigate. There is also no monthly fee to run the site, instead Squarespace takes a small percentage from each sale (works out to less then a dollar on a $50 sale). Check out my site here; Reloved Kids.
Write Up A Consignment Agreement
A consignment agreement is a set of terms agreed upon between you are your cosigner. You want to cover things such as condition of items, your liability while their property is in your possession, how much of a percentage of the sale goes to each party etc… Below is a copy of my consignment agreement. This agreement ensures that the customer bringing you their items to sell understands what you will be doing for them and protects you in the future. I am always sure to send potential customers the agreement right away before I accept their items so that they can read it over thoroughly.
You will need to come up with a system to keep all of your inventory organized, make sure you know who’s clothes you are selling and keeping track of how much money you have for each consignor.
Of course everyone will figure out what system works the best for them but here is how my system works. Each of my patrons who consigns with me is assigned a number (for example, 1003) then as I photograph all of their items I attach labels to each item with their number on it. Then when I sell an item I simply open the file for the client with the corresponding number and mark that item as sold.
For keeping each individual clients items organized it works like this: When a consignor first brings me their items I go through them all, I organize everything by size and separate our items I do not wish to sell for them. From the items I intend to list for sale I then fill out a form I have pre-made for this. I fill in a short description of the item, the items size and the list price for the item. Once the item is sold I change the text colour to red, once I have paid the consignor their percentage from that sale I change the text colour to green. Here is an example of the form I fill out for inventory from each consignor.
Get active on social media, set up a Facebook page and Instagram account and star making your presence known! Post often to make sure you stay on everyone radar and running contests on your social media pages is a great way to build a following.
Get your website up and running. Make sure your site is well organized and professional, as well as easy for customers to navigate. I like to have my items organized by size, since when shopping for clothing that is how most people search.
Having great photos of your items is going to be one of the keys to selling lots of inventory! Bright clear photos that appear professional and show off the like new quality of the clothing is going to be important to making sales when the customer cant see the item in person. Not to worry, taking professional quality photos is a lot easier then you would think. My typical set up is a large white Bristol board on the floor by my back door that gets tons of natural light. I use my cell phone to snap the photos and use Facetune to brighten and crop.
For shoes I simply tape one end of the Bristol board to a chair to create a soft bend in the paper, I always show the bottoms of the shoes as well as the top to show their condition. Once cropped the photos look as though they were taken in a professional studio!
If you do not have a suitable place to take pictures it is still pretty simple and inexpensive to set yourself up anywhere. Using a natural light system like this one does limit when you are able to take photos, as business has picked up and I have gotten busier, having the flexibility to take photos at any time and not only when the light is right is important to me. I have recently purchased a white backdrop (use this link for my american friends) off of amazon and a light (Use this link for my american friends). I could have gotten away with just the light but I decided to go with the backdrop as well since the small size of the bristol board made photographing outfits and some larger size items a bit tricky.
No matter what way you choose to go make sure your pictures are clean, bright, professional and consistent.
Most importantly have fun while preparing your inventory and building your online presence. You can share your journey on social media and have people just waiting for you to launch!
Set Up Your Online Store
Once you have a fair amount of inventory on hand and photographed you can begin to set up your online store. Try to once again keep it professional and consistent, know your brand and let it show through in your store just as it does on social media.
Finally Have Fun!
Setting up an online consignment store is very quick and can be done for very little money invested up front. As I stated at the beginning of this blog, second hand clothing is all the rage right now, so if you market your business well you will be selling like crazy in no time!
Do you have any special skills? Make a list of things you are good at, then narrow that list down to ideas that could potentially be useful in a business. From that list of narrowed down skills choose a few that have the potential for growth, are there any courses you can take? Online workshops or eBooks that can help to develop those skills into something that can be grown into a business?
What are you passionate about?
You can just be skilled at something to make it a business, you need to at least have an interest in it, better yet be passionate about it. Most of my businesses have centered around fashion or creative outlets as those are the two areas I am very passionate about. Choosing a business idea that revolves around something you enjoy and have a passion for will make the day to day work of building a business exciting and enjoyable.
Turn your hobby into a profitable business.
This is really a no brainer. If you have a hobby then its safe to say you are likely skilled in this area and you are passionate about it. Take some time to explore how you might turn that hobby into something that makes you money instead of just costing you money. Do you create something you can sell? Do you have a skill you can share with others that they would pay to learn? Whatever your hobby may be take some time to get online and see what other enthusiasts are up to, if anyone else is turning a similar hobby into a business. Get inspired.
Build a plan but be flexible.
Once you have figured out the potential “what” of your business, now it is time to figure out the “how”. Write yourself up a rough timeline for your business, a plan. Refer to the basics steps of starting a small business from home post. At this point you are still in the early stages of mapping out your ideas so keep an open mind, let your business evolve. Don’t get to stuck on exactly how you think your business should look quite yet. Through all of your planning and research and testing you will begin to figure out what will work and what wont. Not being to married to one idea will help make it feel less like a failure if an idea does not pan out and help you focus on a new direction that will work a whole lot better.
Keep moving forward.
When you first get going down the path of starting your own business at home the prospects are all very exciting. It is going to be hard work, at some point you will loose steam and wonder if it is all worth it. Sometimes when you are starting out with a new idea the end goal feels so far away that it seems almost easier to just give up. Don’t give up, keep moving forward, because if you do you will eventually get there!
Find a mentor.
Do what you can to connect with other like minded momtrepreneurs , places like Instagram and Facebook are great places to network with others just like you. If you can, find someone who has been in business for themselves for a while, someone who isn’t your direct competition and find a way to affiliate yourself with them. Having a mentor who has been down this road before will provide you will invaluable first hand knowledge. Blogs, books and social media are great tools, but nothing beats a person relationship cultivated between two individuals. Find a way for your relationship to be mutually beneficial, you wont regret having a great mentor in your corner!
Most importantly believe in yourself.
It may sound completely corny but that doesn’t make it any less true. There will always be people who don’t have that entrepreneurial spirit, who like to play it safe, who will tell you it wont work. If you truly believe that you have a great idea and you are ready to put in the work, then don’t worry about what anyone else has to say. Some of the biggest businesses out there today started in someones garage with everyone around them telling them they were crazy. The biggest difference between someone who fails and someone who is successful is the successful momtrepreneur is the one that doesn’t let failure or negativity stop her, she finds a way to overcome and keep moving forward to reach her dream no matter what.
The excitement and anticipation that comes along with the decision to start your own small business is exhilarating. This feeling is something I am very familiar with.
Over the years I have had many different small businesses on the go. All have ranged in sizes and varied in success. This success often depends on how much time and effort I put into the business. This time and effort depends on if I am running this business full time or just on the side for a bit of income on the side.
Each of these businesses has had the potential to be scaled into something much larger and full time. Why so many then you ask? Well I love the fun of starting up something new, venturing out and learning a new market. There is so much excitement involved in this journey.
Making a career out of your business vs having a side business
That being said there are a few that I have made full time careers out of. My biggest and most lucrative businesses have been my current business as a self employed hairstylist, followed by my current side business running an online children’s consignment store. Next is my work as a bridal up-do stylist, hair extension technician , glamour party birthday host and birthday party helper business.
The possibilities are endless, here are 25 GREAT ideas!
Read on for a list of 25 ideas for starting your own work from home business that is full of potential for massive success. Most of these business I have experience in and will provide tutorials in. Some will eventually feature guest momtrepreneurs who have started up these businesses with great success.
Online consignment clothing store
Face painting/temporary tattoo artist
Glamour birthday party organizer
Birthday party helper
Crochet or knit items for sale on local vendor sites or etsy
Crafting for items for the home for sale on local vendor sites or etsy
Kids clothing maker
Reselling items purchased on wish and aliexpress
Hair extension technician
Eye lash extension technician
Bridal/special occasion up-do stylist
Cookie baking and decorating
Cake baking and decorating
Hand painted shoes
Homemade soaps and body products
Tutus and headbands made custom
Handmade baby accessories
Holiday decor items
Mommy and me t-shirt shop online
As tutorials for these business ideas go up they will become clickable. Tag us on Instagram (@the_work_from_home_mom) so I can see what your new business is up to and feature you on the blog!
When people find out I work at home they always say the same thing “Wow you’re so lucky!” Don’t get me wrong, I am lucky but that isn’t really what they mean.
When most people think work at home, they think relaxing at home, cup of coffee, children entertaining themselves while the money rolls in without the inconvenience of ever having to leave the house or the burden of paying for childcare.
This is not the reality, not for me at least. I’m a hairstylist. I built a salon in my home. While I love working at home and all the conveniences it comes with, it is still hard work and my kids are definitely off at school and daycare all day while I am working.
This is just what working at home looks like for me. Over the years I have also often had some sort of small side business on the go and those work from home gigs can look very different.
Some of these business have ranged from weekend gigs to a few hours of work a week in the evenings with the kids are in bed.
What Will Being a Work from Home Mom Can Look Like for You
Notice the title is “Work From Home Mom” and not “Work at Home Mom”. This is because while all of the business ideas outlined in other posts in this blog can be run from your home, some of them will require some time out of the home. It all comes down to what exactly you are looking for in a work from home job or small business.
When will you work? Is this going to be a side hustle you do around your job as a full time stay at home mom? Will you be building this business in addition to your full time job? Deciding when you want to work is important when finding a side hustle that will work for you. Do you want to work on it on the weekends? Evenings? Or just a couple days a week. This is very important to figure out before getting started.
Will you need childcare? Many people like the idea of operating their side hustle or business from home to cut childcare costs. Seriously consider if this will be realistic. In my full time work from home job it is not realistic for me to have my kids at home while i work, unless my husband is home to care for them. However the majority of my side hustles have been jobs I can operate in the evenings when the kids are in bed for the most part.
Where will you work? Will you need a designated work space or will your laptop and kitchen table be enough? Are you interested in leaving the house to offer services or visit clients or do you want a job that you can solely operate from the comfort of your home.
Will this be a side hustle or something you focus on completely? Will you be doing this job on the side of other work you have at home or at a full time job? Or will this start out as a weekend endeavour and be something you may want to grow into a full time business eventually? When brainstorming business ideas, knowing your long term goals is important since some businesses are much more scalable than others.
Pros of Being a Work from Home Mom
Flexibility : When you work for yourself you have tons of flexibility in your life. You get to decide how much you want to work, when you want to take a vacation and where to work, among many other decisions that are totally up to you. You are the boss!
Endless Growth Possibilities: Being the boss of your little side hustles means you get to decide if it stays small or grows into something bigger. Work from home businesses often come with low overheads that make growing the business easy. What you get out of your side hustle comes down to what you put into it.
Time with Your Family while Still Making Extra Income: Most of the small businesses I outline later on can be operated with little change to your day to day life. At least if you keep it small!
Financial Freedom: We all have things we want to do that aren’t in the budget like go on vacation or have date nights. Maybe the budget is tight and a buffer will help you breathe easier. No matter what the reason for wanting it, everyone can appreciate a little financial freedom. A small business can provide that little (or a lot) something extra.
Cons of Being a Work From Home Mom
Being responsible for generating your own work: No one is going to bring customers or clients to you, you have to generate business for yourself. This can be hard work and can feel overwhelming at first but it is all worth it in the end.
You will need a ton of self motivation: No one is going to do the work for you, no one is going to pick up the slack on days you don’t feel like working. Motivating yourself can be tough sometimes and without a boss over you it can be easy to slack off.
No paid sick days or vacations: While getting to choose when and how often you vacation is great and not having to call and let anyone know you are sick when you need a day in bed is great. No one is going to be paying you for days off so this is something to consider.
Starting something of your own has endless potential. Whether you want a small side hustle to pay for a yearly vacation or to start something small that you can scale to something larger one day when the kids are in school all day. Working on something that is just yours is incredibly rewarding.
Just always remember to think long and hard about what you’re really looking to get out of your side hustle and to do your due diligence before jumping in head first!
Read here for some of the steps you should take to get your hustle started.
*Note that depending on the business you are pursuing, some of these steps may not be applicable.
Decide on the business that you want to start.
It seems so simple but deciding on a business that is going to produce the type of money you want and be the right fit for your life can take a lot of thought and research. Here is a list of 25 ideas for you
Do your due diligence.
Since you plan on working or running a business from your home you need to find out what restrictions may be in place where you live. Look online for your local by laws and what types of restrictions there may be on running a business from your home. For example where I live I can run a personal small business from my home without any special permits or zoning as long as I do not have any employees. This is very important as you do not want to incur any fines or be shut down by not following the rules.
Research the market and competition.
Once you have decided on your business, take some time to research what is lacking or oversaturated already in the market. Check out your competitors, see what they are up to and if there are gaps in their offering that you can fill. The best way to make money is to provide your customers with something they need and don’t feel like they can get elsewhere. The more saturated the market already is the more you will need to find ways to be unique and set yourself apart from your competitors.
Make a list of start up materials and costs.
Knowing what you need to get started is very important. Being prepared helps you run things smoothly and professionally. Putting your most organized and professional foot forward is important no matter how small your endeavors may be and is especially important when you are getting started.
Test your product or service.
Once you are set up and ready to go, give out a few of your products for free or offer your service free of charge (or for cost). This gives you a real idea of how potential customers will respond to what you are offering and provides extremely valuable feedback. It is also a great idea to ask these customers to provide you with a review for your Facebook or website or to recommend you to their friends and family.
Get your website and social media set up.
In this day and age people want to be able to find you on the internet, even if you are just small and local. Start with a Facebook page for your business (make sure it is a business page and not a group). It serves as a platform where you can keep your customers updated on your products and services as well as share articles or blog posts that enforce why they want or need what you have to offer! It also offers a space where they can easily contact you through Pages Messenger. Instagram is next and is a great way to visually entice people and share products or images of what you do. Instagram also makes it easy to really engage with others in your market globally, connect, network and share. If you generate a good following you can even collaborate with other local businesses. Finally a website. For some of my smalI businesses I have had a website and for others it has not seemed necessary. For many of my small side hustles, a Facebook Page and Instagram provide my customers with everything they need. Once again research what others are doing in your market and let that help you make your decision. One piece of advice about a website, always buy a domain, having a website that is free and adds the host onto the end of the name makes you look unprofessional and can hinder the growth of your business.
Through your market research you can find out where your customers are and the best way to promote yourself. For example when I was first growing my client base as a hairstylist in the suburbs, I turned to the local “mom groups” on Facebook. I would run a contest offering a service for free. I would get hundreds of local women entering which was amazing exposure. The winner would get their free service and often become a new client going forward and each time the contest was over I would get 10+ new client inquiries, all for no cost to me but my time! Another example would be when I’ve had a side hustle that is crafty such as making tutus or undermade dolls, I would buy vendor tables at local handmade shows. These shows would give me a chance to not only sell some of my product but to also expose hundreds of other potential future customers to what I had to offer first hand. Then there is paid advertising. Running paid ads on Facebook or Instagram are great because you can start with a small and inexpensive, targeted campaign. Once your ad has finished running you can review the insights on how well the ad did which makes it easy to know what to do the same or change up for your next ad.
Review and Tweak.
This is not something that you should only do in the start up phase but instead all along. Frequently sit down to take a look at what you offer, is it all working? Are there new needs to fill that you didn’t previously anticipate? Tweak what you do based on experience and add where you can. This is crucial to growth.
One of the most important things for any business, whether you are a small side hustle or a big national business, is your customer relationships. Make sure what you are fulfilling your promises to customers and producing positive reviews, a 5 star rating on your Facebook rating goes a long way, especially when you are starting out.
Most importantly have fun. It is so important that you enjoy yourself and what you are doing so that you can stay motivated and not lose that passion that made you get started in the first place!