Side Hustle Toolkit: Tips and Tools for Starting and Growing Your Side Hustle | Emma Folz | Skillshare

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Side Hustle Toolkit: Tips and Tools for Starting and Growing Your Side Hustle

teacher avatar Emma Folz, Business Coach and Brand Strategist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Define Your Motivation and Vision


    • 3.

      Talk to People Who Have Done It


    • 4.

      Game Your Financials


    • 5.

      Assess Opportunities for Growth


    • 6.

      Define Your Brand Purpose and Personality


    • 7.

      Talk to Your Customers


    • 8.

      Last Class Yeah!


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About This Class


This class is for anyone who has a side hustle or is thinking about starting one.

The primary focus of this class is to help you take a step back and look at your side hustle strategically. In it, I’ll share some original tools that can help your assess your business and empower you to develop plans for (profitable!) growth.

After taking this class, you will:

  • Be more clear on your reason for your side hustle and your vision
  • Have a better understanding of what financial success looks like for your business
  • Understand opportunity areas in your business that you can focus on addressing
  • Have developed a clear articulation of your brand purpose and personality 

If you want to learn a little more about me and my work, check out my business Side Hustle Sidekick! You can also follow me on Instagram @sidehustlesidekick 

Meet Your Teacher

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Emma Folz

Business Coach and Brand Strategist


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1. Welcome!: Hello, welcome to class. My name is Emma Folz, and I'm excited to be talking to you today about starting and growing your side hustle. Now, you're probably wondering, who is this girl, and why does she think she can help me? Well, last year I started my own side hustle which is the business coaching and consulting agency called Side Hustle Sidekick. Through this work, I've helped many people grow their side hustle, whether they have a coaching business, they are a photographer, or they're launching a homemade pasta company, you name it. I've learned a lot about what it takes to have a successful side hustle. This work is really meaningful to me, because it allows me to take the skills I've developed in the corporate world, whether it's the quantitative skills I learned from my past life in retail, or the qualitative skills I use in my current role on brand strategy, and share them with people who are pursuing their passions. For me, there's nothing more important than pursuing our passions. Today, I'm excited to share with you some of the original tools I've developed, as well as tips I've learned along the way to help you start and grow your side hustle. I hope you'll join me. Are you ready? Let's go. 2. Define Your Motivation and Vision: Hello, welcome back. In this first video class, we're going to be talking about your motivation and your vision for your side hustle. By being clear on both of these things, it's going to be much easier to figure out how to grow your business to get to where you want it to go. First, let's talk about your motivation. By definition, a side hustle is something that you do not have time for. It's something that you'll be doing in your free time, which means other things that you enjoy doing in your free time, you're going to have less time for. If you're clear on your motivation for why you're side hustling, it's going to be much easier to stay committed to your hustle. Now, once you know your motivation, it's important to think about what your vision is for your business. What ideally do you hope to achieve. By knowing why you're doing it and where you want to go, it's going to be much easier to figure out the appropriate steps to grow to where you want to go. First, let's talk a little bit more about motivation. After spending a lot of time with side hustlers, I've observed that there are three main reasons why people side hustle. The first is to pursue a passion. Many side hustlers are doing it because they love it. Side hustlers who are motivated by passion are often people who don't get to do something they love during their day job and are seeking a new outlet. The second main motivation is to build a skill. This type of side hustler is in it to learn and demonstrate their ability with a particular skill set. Maybe they've always wanted to learn photography, so they're taking a class and creating an Instagram account to show their work. Or maybe they're looking for a transition in their careers. In order to get a new job, they needed to side hustle to acquire a skill they don't currently have. The third motivation is to earn money your own way. These side hustlers are seeking a new way to make income. They could just simply be trying to earn extra money, like a student who drives for a lift in between classes. Or they could want to start a new business that they eventually want to do full time, but are starting it as a side hustle. While the ideal side hustle will be a mix of all three, we are going to walk through some case studies of a few friends and a client who all had different primary motivations for side hustling. You'll be able to see how their motivations for side hustling influence their ultimate visions for their side hustle, and because of that, you'll see that their visions are very different. Our first case is an example of someone side hustling to pursue a passion. One of my friends is a lawyer during the day, fighting the good fight and wrapping the people. Despite loving her job, she's also a huge foodie and loves social media. In order to have a creative outlet, she started a food blog on Instagram documenting her food journeys in New York. Now, given that this was a passion project, her ultimate goal was to have enough engagement that restaurants invited her to eat for free. Simple as that. Our next case is an example of someone side hustling to build a skill. My former co-worker, who is now a friend for life, had worked in Quant focused roles in retail, and wanted to switch into a role that was more creatively oriented and focused on the product. However, because her resume was all numbers, despite the fact that she is super stylish, there was no other evidence to show potential employers that she had the taste or creative ability to have a job like the creative one she wanted. She started a design blog where she blogs about her original home decor designs in crafts. She also had a job as an apprentice for a floral arranger, but that's another story. Anyway, for her, her motivation was to demonstrate her creativity and her goal was to get a job, which spoiler really, she did. The final case is someone who is side hustling to earn money her own way. One of my clients started an Executive Coaching Agency. Her motivation is to be her own boss doing work she loves. She wants to take her agency full time, which includes hiring employees and getting real office space. Now, as you can tell, she has to be much more focused on ensuring her business earns money in a sustainable way, while the women and the first two examples could be less concerned about income because of their particular motivations and visions. Now that you've seen some examples of the three main motivations for side hustling and how they can impact your vision, let's talk about some things to think about and prioritize as you grow your business based on your motivation, of course. Let's talk about growth considerations for passion businesses first. If you have a passion side hustle, passion is your primary guide. This means your projects should be fun and exciting for you. If it isn't, it's totally okay to put your passion energy somewhere else. Because it's a passion project, time and money can be less of a concern. You aren't relying on your side hustle for income, so you can grow it as slowly or as quickly as you want, and you can monetize much more opportunistically. If you're side hustling to learn or demonstrating a new skill, get very clear on what that skill is, and be sure that your business activities help you develop it. If you are building a skill for a potential future employer, remember that professionalism will be important. While maintaining an online presence you are proud of is relevant for all side hustles, it is probably most important for skill building side hustles because those businesses are essentially a supplement to your resume. Finally, spend only as much time and money as you need to get to your desired skill level. Only you can decide how much time and money that is. But if you're spending more money on the skill than the outcome you seek is it worth it to you, you should maybe consider some other ways to learn the skill instead. If you're side hustling to earn money your own way, you must consider your financials as you look for ways to grow. Determining profitable avenues for growth is your number one guide. This side hustle really needs to be treated like a real business, which means that getting clear on your business model, brand, and revenue targets is critical. As your side hustle grows, if you are trying to turn it into a full-time hustle, it's important to consider the trade-offs between earning money at your full-time job versus how much faster you could grow if you quit and dedicated your full time and attention. Here is a quick recap of the three main motivations for side hustling and the things you should consider as you develop a plan for your business. Please feel free to take a screenshot if you like. One last thing before we finish up. In addition to thinking about your ultimate goal for your side hustle, it's important to think about the time-frame you're okay with for achieving your goal. This could be as long or as short as you like, but especially if you are looking to take your side hustle full-time, knowing your time-frame for when you want to be making enough money to be full-time, will be a very important factor to consider as you are developing your growth plan for your business. Now that you know the three motivations for side hustling and the growth considerations for each, I'd encourage you to fill out the first worksheet in your class project. I'm super excited to see what you guys are working on, and I'd love to provide any feedback or insights that I can. Go do your homework, and I'll see you in class two. 3. Talk to People Who Have Done It: Hello again. If you did your homework from last class, you're now going to be much more clear about your vision, and your motivation for a side hustle. You'll also have brainstormed some steps to help you get there. Now, the question is, which steps are the right ones? The best news about side hustles is that often, you're starting a business that someone else has started a similar business before. By that, I mean, there are many other photographers, there are many other coaches, there are many other Etsy shop owners in the world, and you are now joining their crew, and bringing your own perspective into this job. The best thing that you can do, especially early in your side hustle, and especially if it's a side hustle that you're trying to turn into a full time job, is to talk to someone who has done it before. It, meaning the thing that you want to do, and ideally they're quite successful at it. Let's talk about an example with a travel photographer. There are a lot of different ways to make money via photography, especially travel photography. You could work for a travel magazine, you could freelance. You could live the ultimate dream of becoming Instagram famous and having brands pay you to go across the world. The best way to figure out which way you want to monetize your travel photography business is to talk to successful traveler photographers, ideally, if not just generally photographers. There are two things that you're trying to learn from them. Number one, is the lifestyle of a travel photographer, everything that you want it to be. It's very easy to imagine that a job is perfect until you've actually done it, and lived that lifestyle. If you can talk to someone about what their lifestyle looks like, you'll be better able to know if it's the right lifestyle for you. Let's say you do talk to them. You love it, you're on board. You want to be in that grade. The next step is to figure out how did they grow their business to where it is, and what steps can you take to get the same financial success so that this passion business can become your full-time job. Let's talk about another example now about an Etsy shop owner. Now, let's say you want to start selling jewelry on Etsy, but you don't know any other jewelry designers. The great news is, there are lots of people who sell on Etsy lots of different products. If you're talking to an Etsy shop owner, you're going to learn the ins and outs of that platform, and what you can expect from any dividends on that platform. That is just as valuable as talking to a jewelry designer. Very small piece of homework for this class, you're going to be thinking about people who do what you want to do, reaching out to them and recapping some of the key insights and learnings that you want to apply to your business. Once you do that, meet me in the next class, and get excited because we're talking about everyone's favorite topic, money. 4. Game Your Financials: Hi, at this point you should have spent some time talking to someone who's running a business similar to the type of business that you want to start, and doing so with financial success. That will be very helpful for this class as we begin to dig into your numbers. Before we start, I want to share a quick story of why this exercise we are about to learn is so important for your side hustle. I recently started working with a new client. She's this amazing girl, super high energies, super creative, super ambitious, and she's going to be starting a magazine. In our first meeting, she was going on and on about her creative ideas for the magazine content, what impact this magazine would have on the world, how great her team was and it was all awesome. She also mentioned that she wanted to make this magazine her full time job, and that she wanted to do so relatively quickly. I asked her, that's amazing, how are you going to make money? To which she paused, and replied that she actually hadn't thought about it. We spent the next 20-30 minutes doing the exercise I'm about to show you, and the next morning she texted me that she had completely rethought her launch plan and timing for the magazine, completely rethought our distribution model and now had this very clear plan about how she could actually turn this wonderful creative idea into a financially viable business. The exercise I'm going to be taking you through today is one that I call the back of the napkin plan. We all know that all great businesses start with two friends at a bar with a napkin doing some math, and today I'm going to show you what numbers and what math they're doing to quickly assess the financial viability of their business idea. If you're not a numbers person, don't worry, neither am I. I've tried to make this as simple as possible, so let's get started. The first step in this process is picking your financial target. What you are going to do is pick a goal for how much money you'd like to earn from your side as well in a year. If you're unsure of a number to choose, let's look at a few ideas. The first is your current annual salary, especially if you want to take your side hustle full time, it will be interesting to see what your side hustle will need to look like financially in order to earn the same amount as your current salary. Maybe you love your full time job and you're not looking to quit, and you really just need some extra money on the side because you spent a lot of money on travel. Maybe for you, it makes sense to figure out how much money is spent on travel a year, and set that as your target. Last idea, I'm in a networking group for creative entrepreneurs, and one woman in my group said that her goal for her side hustle, is to earn enough income to cover her child's tuition. Now, before we go any further, I'd like to introduce you to our new imaginary friend, Ella. In order to bring this process to life, we are going to be using numbers from Ella's imaginary apron business on Etsy. To start, her goal is to earn $20,000 in a year in order to save money for a down payment on a house. The second step is establishing your revenue. We are going to begin by just looking at your revenue per unit. All you need to do is write down what you sell and how much you sell it for. In Ella's business, this is pretty straightforward. Ella sales each apron for $50. If you don't sell physical units, that's okay, you can write down your hourly rate, or if you're a coach who sells packages right down your package rate. Or if for example, you're a jewelry designer who sells multiple products at different prices, assuming they're all within a similar range, pick an average selling price to make this easier for yourself. The third step is figuring out your variable costs. These are the costs associated with each unit you sell. For Ella, this includes the cost of materials per apron as well as the Etsy transaction fee. I want to show you how I came up with these costs in order to show you how comfortable you should feel using estimates in this exercise. Since I have never done an Etsy business, let alone a clothing business, I took some guesses and assumed it will take about a yard of fabric to make an apron and then did some googling to figure out the cost of fabric plus some nice driven and latches. From there, I estimated that the total cost per apron was about $20 for the transaction fee, I checked it out Etsy charges a 3.5 percent fee based on the selling price. For each apron Ella sales, she needs to pay Etsy a $1.75. This means that her total cost per apron is $21.75. The fourth step is establishing your fixed costs. Fixed costs are costs you pay regardless of how many units you sell. For this exercise, we'll want to see our fixed cost on an annual basis. For Ella, she clearly does not live in New York City like me, and she is able to rent a studio for $300 a month to do all of her selling out of, annually this means she pays $3,600 in rent. Well, every business will have its own unique fixed costs, another common one is the fees you would pay to Wix or SquareSpace for your website. Again, regardless of how many things you sell off that website, you're going to have to pay the same monthly fee. Step 5, time to do some math. As a reminder, our target is to earn $20,000 in profit for this year. First, we'll want to calculate our profit per unit to then be able to determine how many aprons we need to sell to achieve our financial target. Our profit per apron, is our price per apron, minus our cost per apron. We learned that for each apron Ella sales, she earns $20.25 in profit. How many aprons does she need to sell to earn $20,000. To find this out, we'll take her profit target divided by her profit per apron, and we'll say she needs to sell 788 aprons per year. But wait, we can't forget about her fixed costs. This means she'll needs to earn another $3,600 to cover her fixed costs. We'll take her fixed costs divided by her profit per apron to determine that she's still needs to sell an additional 127 aprons to meet her financial target. In conclusion, Ella we'll need to make 835 aprons to earn $20,000, before we start analyzing these numbers further, I want to emphasize that these numbers are directional. We definitely have not taken into account taxes here, and our costs are probably not exact since I researched them in 30 seconds on Google. So when you do this yourself, obviously the more accurate your numbers are, the better. But it's also totally okay to have estimates that are directional, and you'll see why in the next slides. So now we have some numbers, but how does this really help us? The most important, and in my opinion, most fun part of this exercise, comes in when we begin thinking about the implications of these numbers. By doing this exercise, we now have some tangible numbers we can assess and further validate. We'll do that by asking ourselves some questions based on two different perspectives. The first is the market perspective. We need to know if the numbers we have come up with makes sense in terms of whether or not people will buy the number of units we want to sell at the price we wanted to sell them. The second is the personal perspective. Price is a big reflection of brands. So will definitely need to make sure our pricing is aligned with our brand and our core customer. Also, especially a side hustle is of limited time, we really want to know if these numbers make sense based on how much time we are able to commit to our business. Let's start by assessing our units. First I want to ask ourselves, does 835 aprons seem like a reasonable number of aprons to make and sell in a year? Well, I really have no idea. Let's first try to validate this number from the market perspective. From the market perspective, we need to know if they'll be enough demand for 835 apron brands. There are a few ways we can determine if this level of demand sounds reasonable. The first is to look at last year's sales If you have them. Your sales this year will probably be very similar to your sales last year, unless something about your business changes or something about the market changes. If the units you need to meet your financial target are drastically greater than your unit sales last year, it doesn't mean these new units are unachievable, it really just signals to you that you're going to need to come up with some new ideas for driving that many new sales. If you don't have sales from last year. This is where talking to people who've done it before really makes a difference. If they are willing to share with you how many units they sell a year, as well as their price and costs, you're going to get a better idea of whether your numbers are probable. In Ella's case she is a new business owner, so she does not have actual sales, and she didn't do her homework, so she hasn't gotten any information on what she can expect her sales to be from someone who has had a similar business. But it's okay. Ella can ask herself the same question and this time she can assess it from the personal perspective. To understand if these numbers are feasible from her personal perspective, she'll want to know if she has the personal capacity to produce 835 apron a year. How is she going to know? A great way to think about it is to think about units in terms of time. If Ella makes 835 aprons a year, she will need to make 16 aprons a week. Assuming each apron takes two hours to make, that means she'll need to spend 32 hours a week making eight brands. Now, while this seems okay, if Ella is already working a full time job at 40 hours a week, adding 32 hours in apron making to her week means she'll probably be working all day Saturday and Sunday, as well as some week nights. So even though we don't know what the market demand is in terms of units from the personal perspective alone, Ella is realizing she really does not have the capacity to make 835 aprons a year, especially because she has really committed to making all of the aprons herself. But no need to fear yet, let's see if there's any way Ella can adjust her selling price so she can still meet her financial target. Again, let's take the market perspective first. We want to assess if there will be a demand at the price she has set. How will we know? This one is a little easier. You can simply see what your competitors are charging. If you look at five competitors selling similar products and your prices on the high end, there's probably not much room to increase your price. However, if you look at five competitors and your prices at the lower end, then you probably can raise your price. Ella makes her aprons out of premium chambray, and she notices other Etsy retailers selling similar products for $75. That is great news. But before Ella go and raises her price, she'll need to assess this price increase from the personal perspective and ask yourself if this price increase makes sense for her business. In order to know whether it makes sense for her business, Ella will need to ask herself if it makes sense for her brand and her customer. This means if Ella is selling a premium product to customers who are willing to pay more for higher quality, then it totally makes sense to raise her price. But if Ella wants her aprons to be accessible to everyone, she may need to think twice before increasing her price. So here is where it really gets fun because we got to do it all over again. What if Ella now decides to sell her aprons at $75 instead of 50, does this change her financial picture? Don't worry, I've done the math for you. At $75 per apron, she only needs to sell 443 apron per year to meet her financial goal. That's 90 apron a week, for 18 hours a week, which sounds pretty reasonable. But before Ella starts celebrating, there are still a few things she needs to validate. From the market perspective, Ella needs to validate if there's enough demand for her to sell 443 units per year. From the personal perspective, maybe Ella has 18 hours a week she could commit to making aprons, but she needs to ask yourself, is this the way she really wants to spend her time? The questions continue. Don't worry, I'm not going to make you do it again, take some deep breaths. One of the most important things to take away from this exercise is that the numbers are almost less important than the questions, the numbers force you to ask yourself about your business. By getting clear on your financial target and asking yourself the right questions about what the numbers really mean for your business, you'll be able to quickly and easily assess the financial viability of your side hustle, and make smarter decisions about your pricing, costs, and business model. Now before you go, I just want to again emphasize that the numbers in this exercise are directional intentionally. This exercise will help you get a quick glimpse at your financial so you can begin setting realistic expectations for your business. However, in order to have a truly robust financial forecasts, very early financials, you're going to need to do some real financial modeling in much greater detail. Congratulations, you've made it through math class. Yeah. For your homework, you now get to do this exercise for your own business. To help you out, I've put together a quick Excel spreadsheet that should make playing around with their numbers a little easier. Once you're done with that, I hope that you join me in the next class where we'll be walking through an original tour developed that can help you take a holistic approach to assessing opportunities for growth within your business. See you there. Bye. 5. Assess Opportunities for Growth: Hello again. Now that you've spent some time assessing your financials, we're going to take a step back and look at your business a little bit more holistically. The process we're going to be going through today as an original process I developed called the side hustle activator. Now, depending on who you talk to, a few of my friends and clients have given this process their own name, including the business we love Glory and the pinwheel have prosperity. If you to feel so inspired to come up with an original name for this process, I would love to hear it. Anyway, this process helps us do two things. First, it allows us to take a bird's eye view of our business and quickly and easily assess opportunity areas for growth. Next, it allows us to articulate and define our brand purpose and personality, which I believe is the core of every business. Now, if this sounds like a lot of work, that's because it is sub split it up into two classes. In this first class, we're just going to be focusing on assessing the state of the state of your business and figuring out where we can prioritize your time and energy to maximize growth. Ready to get started, let's go. Here it is, the side hustle activator today. Before we begin going through this exercise, let me give you the lay of the land. As you can see, this is a wheel and each section of the wheel is a different area of your business. On the right, you have everything that has extra north facing or the areas that your customer experiences when they interact with your business. On the left, you have the internal functions are the things that happened mostly behind the scenes. In the center, you have your purpose. Like I said in the intro video, your purpose is at the core of everything you do. The reason I have mapped all of these areas on a wheel is because at the day, even if we think of things like our finances and our marketing as unique and separate functions in order for a business to run, all areas of our business need to be working together in harmony. This exercise is going to show us the current state of our business. So we can then easily see if there are any areas that are out of balance with the others. Then make strategic decisions about which areas to prioritize in order to have the greatest impact on our business. Let's talk about how this exercise works. You'll have a chance to do this on your own for your homework. But for now, let me show you the steps, and then we'll walk through an example. The first step is to go area by area and rank each on a scale of one to ten. An area that you think would need the most improvement is a one and a 10 is something you're feeling great about. It's important to call out that this is a judgment free activity. You are simply taking an assessment of the current state of your business and this will help you make your business even better. The second step is to place the dot in each sector that corresponds to the number you've assigned that area. Ones are at the center of the circle and tens or all the way on the outer edge. If you're having a hard time visualizing this, don't worry, you'll see how it looks in the example we're about to do. The final step is connecting the dots and that's where the party really starts. What I mean by this is by connecting the dots, you'll see the current shape of your business. I have yet to see a business that is perfectly balanced with tens all around. Then we'll have some fun assessing which areas to prioritize to get you to an even more balanced wheel, which in turn translates to a balanced and successful business. It's example time. But before we go into it, I want to note that this process works for both new businesses and businesses that have been operating for a while. It's almost best for businesses that have already been started because then you'll have actual experience to know what is and isn't working. For this example, we're going to revisit our friend from last class Ella. Since we last saw her, Ella has just recently started her apron business on Etsy. Let's see how the business is going. We're going to go section by section, starting with the external side first. The first section as product. Now these categories are intentionally broad, which allows you to really surface the unique aspects of your business for each one. For product, this is any and all things related to the theme that your business offers. Some things you can ask yourself are, how do I feel about the quality of my product? If I'm offering a service or an experience, do I have a clear understanding of what that is or am I still trying to figure it out? For Ella, she's very happy with the denim apron she sells, and she does like the simplicity, but she feels that there's something she could do to make the design have a little more personality, but she isn't sure what. Because of this, she gives her product a five. The next section is price. This is simply, do you feel good about the price you are charging? You can consider if your price is too high or maybe you think you are under selling your product and wonder if you should increase. For Ella, she just gained her financials in the last class, and she fields great about her $75 price point, so she is going to give this section a nine. Next, promotions. This is anything related to how you market or communicate your product. This could be whether or not you think you are advertising on the right platforms. If you are getting enough engagement, or if you are clear on your main message. For Ella, she has an Instagram and likes the bringing out her FC shop, but she's often conflicted about what to post or what to say about her products. For example, should she talks about how their homemade or how denim is really durable so it's great in the kitchen. Because of this uncertainty should give some promotions of foreign. Last external spoke placement. This is about where you sell your product. If you sell a physical product, this is what locations do you sell it in, online, in a store? Are those the right places? If you're an online business, this will probably be your website. Then this section gets a little closer to promotions as you think about where you advertise your product in order to drive the right people to your site. Ella currently only sells on Etsy, but would love to sell in a store one day, but has no idea which stores she would want to sell in or how to go about doing that. Because of that, she gets her placement of five. Now moving right along to the internal strokes on this wheel. Again, these are the things that help your business ran behind the scenes. First, we'll talk about innovation. This is about the products and services you'll offer in the future that build off of what you have today. Do you have a clear idea of the ways you want to innovate new products to offer? New ways of doing business? For Ella, she definitely wants to sell things other than denim aprons, but she has no idea what. Maybe, she'll make aprons of a different fabric, or maybe, she'll design oven mitts and table linens so she can have all of the kitchen textiles covered. Anyway, she feels so unsure about future products, she gives this as three. Next is People. This category can sometimes be hard for a side hustlers, so let's think about it in two ways. If you, one day, want to hire or have currently hired employees, how do you feel about the way you are managing employees and all of the various logistics associated with having a team? If you're always planning on running your business yourself, you can think about this as a personal skills assessment. Let's say you feel great about your ability to deliver an awesome product, but online marketing's super overwhelming. Then, maybe, this is a skill you need to work on developing to make yourself a better business owner. For Ella, she is new to running a business but feels very confident in her abilities, so she gives herself an eight. Next is Operations. Operations are the activities that make your business run. This could be calendar management, your production and shipping process, how you take orders, et cetera. For Ella, she knows her production process is pretty straightforward and shipping is easy enough, and she manages her time pretty well. She knows, in some ways, she could probably be more efficient though, so she gives her operations a six. Finally, last category, Finances. This is how you manage your money and your profits. Some things to think about: Do you have a separate business account? Do you do your own accounting? How are your margins looking? For Ella, she's very into her financials now, so she is all set with her QuickBooks and business bank account. She gives this an eight. Now, the fun really begins. Let's connect the dots. Wow. Definitely not a circle, but that is totally fine. Most people will have some sort of spiderweb-like shape, and that is okay. Now, this really gets exciting. Let's start figuring out which areas of her business she can focus her attention on to drag the biggest amounts of growth. First, let's look at the areas she feels best about. She is feeling good about People, Operations, Finances, and her price. But I think it's actually most important to observe that for three of the four internal spokes, she is above average; whereas, only one spoke on the external side as above a five. This is looking like a clue that she should be focusing on the external-facing parts of her business. But wait. Let's look at her lower scores. Her lowest score is on Innovation at a three. But let's think about this for a second. Her Product scores at a five because she is uncertain about if her current product is optimal. So of course, she's going to be confused about Innovation. Let's continue on and look at some other scores. Another low score is Promotion, also at a four. But again, if she's uncertain about her product, then, of course, talking about it to her customers is going to be tricky. Same for Placement. Can't know where to sell something if you are still refining what it is. Now, let's pick her priority areas. Even though she was lowest on Innovation, if she were my client, I would recommend she prioritized her product, Promotion, and Placement in order to strengthen the external side of her wheel, and since we know that Innovation is very tied to Product, I feel confident that as she improves her product, she'll be able to get much more clear on Innovation. Now, before you go do this yourself, I wanted to show you one more quick example of a surprising outcome you may get. I did this exercise with the founders of Startup Island, a great company that does retreats for entrepreneurial-minded young people. Anyway, when we did this exercise, their activator looked something like this. Wait, it's a circle. But it's a circle in the middle of the circle and not all the way out at the tens. What does this mean? Well, when it came down to priority areas, I realized, when I was reviewing their answers, that their issue wasn't a certain functional area. It was actually time. They were truly doing a great job thinking about their business in a balanced way, but because it was just the two of them running the business, there were lots of projects they wanted to work on to improve their company that they just didn't have time for. This activity showed them that in order to grow, they needed to start thinking about hiring employees, and they needed to start thinking about it soon. Next, after diving into the Purpose exercise, we realized that each founder had a slightly different idea of what the purpose of their company was, and even though the difference was small, it was big enough that it was making decision-making very challenging. By getting on the same page about their purpose, they were able to drive some big and impactful changes in their business very quickly. So super-fast, some key takeaways. First, remember that this part of the exercise helps to identify opportunities in your business that you can then prioritize in order to help you maximize growth. Which brings us to our second point, which is to embrace the opportunities you find. This exercise really is a gift to yourself and a tool that empowers you moving forward, so remember to let go of any self-judgment as you do it. Finally, remember to think beyond the numbers when figuring out what to prioritize in order to have the biggest return on your time and energy. Like we saw with Ella, the lowest number on your wheel won't always be your top priority. Make sure to think about how everything is connected. Like we saw with Startup Island, the answer may not be what's on the circle. Constraints and time and resources are very real barriers to growth as is an unclear understanding of your purpose and your brand. All right. Now, it's your turn. There's a blank Side Hustle Activator tool in your project worksheet for you to fill out. Now, in the next class, we are going to be going to the second part of this process, which is defining your brand purpose. I hope that doing this first activity will help you assess opportunity areas to prioritize in your business. But the real power of this process comes from defining your brand purpose, and then, using it as a guiding light for all business decisions going forward. Are you curious to learn more about what I'm talking about? I hope that you'll join me in the next class. 6. Define Your Brand Purpose and Personality: Hi. Now that you've taken the time to assess opportunity areas in your business, it's time to talk about my favorite topic, brand purpose. I believe that this is the most important class in the series, so I'm very excited that you're here. Now, I know that some people when they hear the word brand, their guard just immediately goes up and they're like brands are these superficial themes that marketers just put on a business to try to sell me stuff and unfortunately, I can't 100 percent disagree with those people. There are a lot of marketers who take an external approach to branding and this really offends me because I know that brands do not begin on the outside, they begin on the inside and they begin with a brand purpose. Now what a brand purpose is, is an articulation of why your business exists, why your business offers what it offers and why your business serves the people that it chooses to serve. Think about it, I'm sure that there is someone in your life, whether it's someone you know personally like a friend or someone you're just aware of, like a celebrity who is driven by a purpose. People who are driven by a purpose greater than themselves are able to be incredibly powerful and have a very big impact. Businesses should also be driven by purpose and purpose to me is not just a say of the world type of purpose. It could be as simple as wanting to make people happy or to help people gain control over chaotic situations. I've intentionally placed purpose at the center of the side hustle activator tool because once you have articulated your purpose, this why should show up in every aspect of your business, not just your marketing. All right. As you can see, this class is going to start off a little conceptual but I promise by the end, you will have tangible examples of how defining your brand purpose can then serve as a very powerful tool for making decisions in all areas of your business that allow you to grow in a way that is consistent and impactful. Let's get started. This visual should be familiar. I wanted to again bring back this image of the side hustle activator to reinforce that your brand purpose is the thing that connects and drives all aspects of your business. When you have a strong understanding of what your brand purpose is, you can then be sure it is activated throughout all functions of your business to really drive growth. Before we dive into looking at the different elements of your brand purpose and personality, there are few things to keep in mind. First, your brand purpose is not your personal purpose. By the end of this exercise, you will have defined a purpose and personality for your brand that is separate and distinct from your own. Your brand will be it's own living and breathing person. I know this sounds a little strange, but by the end of this class, you'll see what I mean. Now you're clearly running your business because it is aligned with something that is meaningful and important to you and obviously your personality and beliefs will influence the business you start. But at the end of the day, it's important to remember that you are not the essence of your brand, you are instead the steward of your brand. You are responsible for growing and guiding your brand as it moves through the world and you're in charge of making sure it grows in a way that is consistent with its unique purpose and personality. For some people, a parent-child analogy is helpful, think about it. Your parents obviously have great influence on what you believe in and how you act and when you're growing up, they're responsible for you. However, ultimately, you are independent and distinct from them, same thing applies for you and your business. In order to help us to find our brand purpose, I've developed a framework. Let's go through each part and then we'll go through an example to bring this framework to life. Your brand purpose starts with your whys, the whys of why this business is important and why it is motivated to exist. Your why is made of three elements, your brand's core belief, purpose and antithesis. In order to have a purpose, you must have a strong belief that influences your purpose. Your core belief is the truth, that is at the core of everything you do, that your business acts upon. Now, like anyone who believes in something strongly, your business always has an antithesis belief too. This is something that is the polar opposite of what your business believes in positively. I will say to some people, it seems weird to include a negative, but think about it. It's just as important to know what you believe in as it is to know what you are against, these two values together then influence your purpose. Your purpose is the why behind why your business is motivated to exist. Once you'd have your whys, you can now move on to your what, who and how. Your what is what you offer. This is simply what are the core elements that your business provides and offers to the world. Your who is who you are for. This is who are your customers your business exists to serve. Some people may call this category your ideal client or customer, but it's all the same thing. Finally, your how is your unique qualifications. These are the things that make your business unique from other businesses doing a similar thing, this is what makes you special and credible. Okay. This may be seeming a little lofty, how are you supposed to identify your brand purpose? As you may have guessed, this simple framework is not so simple to fill out, it requires a lot of deep thinking and reflection. When I do this purpose work with my clients, it takes about 3-4 hours of intensive interviews and collaborative refinement until we're able to articulate their purpose and that amount of time doesn't include any of the behind the scenes work I do in between sessions. In order to mimic the flow of those interviews and to replicate what this process will most likely look like as you go through it yourself, we're going to go through it a little bit backwards. Let's go through an example with Ella and you'll see what I mean. Let's pretend I'm interviewing Ella. I'll start by asking her to tell me about her business and she will inevitably start with her what, who and how. She'll say, "I sell simple stylish aprons, I sell them to fashionable women who love to cook and my aprons are all homemade and super high-quality." I'll be like, "This is great, but why is it so important to you to sell these homemade aprons to these women?" That's when she'll get into the good stuff. She'll tell me she's from a big family and when she was little, her whole family would pitch in and do household chores together. Even though they were doing chores, her mom would always find a way to make them fun and exciting. Ella always had the most fun cooking and baking with her mom and her mom would always wear a denim apron she had sown for herself when she cooked. For Ella, she knew if she ever saw her mom getting out that apron, it was a sign that they were about to have a fun cooking experience together. Her mom's attitude has inspired Ella as she has grown up. It's incredibly important for her to find ways to stay positive and always find joy, even when she's doing tasks that could be seen as simple and mundane. Now we have some whys to work with. For Ella's apron business, her core belief is that joy can be found in every activity. It sounds like her antithesis is accepting tasks and chores as tedious and boring. Together, these beliefs inform her purpose, which is to transform household tasks into joyful experiences. Now that we have a really strong picture of her whys, let's look at how we can modify her what, who, and how to be stronger and more aligned with her purpose. Her what was originally simple, yet fashionable aprons. However, this doesn't sound very joyful or transformative, does it? Looking at it through her new purpose, let's change this to simple yet fashionable aprons designed with a little bit of magic. Her who was originally stylish women who bake and cook, but with her new purpose, she's realized she really wants to help busy women who have lost the joy for cooking and help them bring that joy back into their lives. Finally, her how. Before she was all about homemade aprons and high-quality. Now she definitely needs to add in a little bit of love into the equation because she does infuse so much love and emotion into each apron she makes. Now that she has a purpose, let's talk about personality. Just like a person, brands have a personality which is how they express themselves in the world. We are going to think of brand personality as two components. The first is personality characteristics. These are the attitudes and traits of your brand, we're going to pick our top four. For Ella, she decides her brand personality will be positive, enthusiastic, approachable, and kind. The next thing to think about is how your brand makes people feel. Just like when you encounter someone and they can make you feel something great, like inspired or happy, or maybe they make you feel something bad, like inferior. You'll want to think about how your brand makes people feel too. Again you're going to pick your top four. For Ella, she wants her brand to make people feel stylish, fun, special, and powerful. The final component that will help guide you as you bring your new brand purpose and personality to life is your brand inspiration. Here you'll create a mood board that visually represents your brand purpose and personality. For Ella, this is going to be simple. She realizes that Mary Poppins is the perfect representation of her purpose and her brand. So she'll now use Mary Poppins as her inspiration as she brings her purpose to life throughout her business. Now that we have our purpose, personality, and inspiration, a few words of advice before we see ways Ella can bring hers' to life. First, your brand purpose should influence every aspect of your business, not just your marketing. As you look to bring your brand to life, you'll want to review all sectors of your business on your side hustle activator wheel, not just your opportunity areas. Most of my clients start by bringing their brand purpose to life in the places that their brand is most visible, like their product, websites, social media channels, etc. Simply activating your brand purpose is going to make a huge difference in your business and then you can go back to your opportunity areas if needed. Next, implementing your brand purpose is not just a one time thing. Going forward, be sure to refer to your purpose, personality, and inspiration sheets before making any business decisions to ensure you're making decisions from a consistent place. Let's go through a few examples of Ella. First example, apron design. Ella's original product is a simple denim apron, but if she is all about making ordinary tasks more fun, she's going to need to spice things up. She thinks about Mary Poppins and how she's usually wearing a dark coat, but then has unexpected accessories like a bright red flower in her hat. By looking at the details, you can tell Mary Poppins is no ordinary woman. So Ella thinks she can keep her denim aprons, but add fun and unexpected details like ruffles to add an element of fun and personality. Another idea, maybe instead of adding details to the front, she can add a colorful back liner or to each apron. That way from the front, the apron may seem simple and functional, but really it's built with a secret splash of excitement. Next, shipping packaging. With this example, I want to show you that no element of your business is too small to not be infused with your brand purpose. Currently, Ella is shipping brown boxes. She bought them in bulk and doesn't want to increase her costs with expensive new ones, but she wants to think about how to make the experience of receiving one of her aprons more magical. She realizes that she can keep her brown boxes, but add an unexpected fun tissue paper to make opening the ordinary boxes and extraordinary experience. If she really wants to get into it, she can even change the tissue she uses for a shipments each week so that way if a customer reorders, it will always be a fun surprise for them to see what tissue paper design they get because it will always be different. Now, to get into an even more unexpected territory, let's talk about Ella's return policy. A customer reaches out to Ella and tells her that her apron has ripped. Now, Ella has never thought about having a return policy before, so she thinks about her brand purpose and asks herself how she can make this mundane experience more joyful. She could give this customer a full refund, getting money back is always exciting, but then she remembers hearing about Patagonia's lifetime repair warranty. Patagonia will repair any of their products for you because their brand is committed to sustainability. When Ella thinks about her brand, she realizes that since she is creating aprons that she wants women to love and cherish, a lifetime repair warranty makes sense for her business too. She decides to implement a lifetime repair policies so she can guarantee that her customers will always be able to wear their favorite apron. Now for a few thoughts before you go. First, keep your brand purpose, personality, and inspiration sheets in a prominent location. You'll want to do this, that it will be easy for you to reference them and use them as a guide every time you make a business decision. Eventually, this will become second nature. Next, remember that you are the steward of your brand and only you can decide what does and does not match up with your brand's purpose. Finally, remember that all aspects of your business should align with your brand purpose and personality. Like we saw with some examples in Ella's business, no aspect of your business is too small to ignore. I hope you've enjoyed this class on brand purpose. Like I said in the beginning, this is a topic that I'm extremely passionate about and I'm actually planning on teaching a second class that dives even deeper into the subject. For now, this is a great introduction and should serve as a good foundation to help you articulate your brand purpose and use it as a tool for growth. So go do your homework, and I will see you in the next class where we'll talk about learning from your ideal customer. See you there. 7. Talk to Your Customers: Hello again. In this class, we are going to be talking about a very important group of people, and those people are your customers. Now, without them, your business could not exist, so engaging with them and learning about what they like and do not like about your product will be incredibly helpful as you grow your business. I was recently reading an article about Krave Beef Jerky. At the beginning of their company, they went through the lean startup process. As a part of this process, they were required to talk to 10 customers a week. Now, I was obsessed with this requirement because what that means is that they built a culture of consumer feedback into their business right from the beginning, and they were forced to get curious about their customers opinion, not just their own. In today's class, we're going to be talking about ways to build feedback into your business model and to get curious about your customers. Ready, let's go. Before we go into specific ways to learn from and engage with your customers, there are a few things about feedback we need to keep in the back of our minds. The first is that you need to prioritize feedback from your ideal customer. While feedback from your friends and family may be insightful in its own way, the best people to talk to are the ones you've identified as your ideal customer in the brand purpose exercise you just did. This tip may be obvious, but let's say you're a jewelry designer and your best friend doesn't wear jewelry. Asking her whether or not she would wear your product isn't the most helpful because if she didn't know you, she would never even consider purchasing it. Instead, think of the people you know, who have the style or characteristics of your ideal client, and then go ask those people for feedback. The second thing to keep in mind is that while customer feedback can give you some great perspective, you are still the one running your business and only you can decide what feedback you should act upon to best advance your business strategically. My tip here is that you don't need to immediately make an update as soon as you hear a piece of feedback. But if you hear a certain piece of feedback more than a few times, it's probably worth making a change. For example, I was showing my business cards to my friend who didn't immediately understand my tagline. I had shared my tagline to many other people and ever announced had loved it, so instead of having an immediate reaction and making an immediate update, I am putting that piece of feedback in my back pocket and keeping my ears open to see if other people are similarly confused before I change it. Finally, it's very important to remember that feedback is not personal, it's power. What this means is feedback on your business is powerful information that can help you have the best business ever. It should not be viewed as a personal critique. Especially if we have a passion business, it can be really scary to send it off into the world to be judged. But the more you can view feedback objectively, the more you will feel comfortable asking for it, and the more you'll be able to implement it strategically. Now that we have these tips in the back of our minds, let's talk about the two main ways you can engage with your customers to gain feedback and insights for improving your business. The first is formal feedback on your business. This is where you solicit feedback directly from your customers. A perfect example is the customer feedback survey. The second is gaining insights via interactions with your customers. This means you're learning about your ideal customer simply by interacting with them as you conduct business. This way of learning about your customer is much more about getting curious and making observations, instead of directly seeking their opinion. Now, since we are side hustlers, and we definitely do not have money to spend on market research, let's take some time to go into each of these methods of gaining customer feedback a little more in depth and talk about some specific strategies you can use. First, let's dive into formal feedback. Formal feedback is the most direct way to learn about how your customers feel about your business. Well, it can be especially helpful as you're starting your business. It is also really important to make formal customer feedback a regular part of your business process. Before you launch your side hustle, take some time to seek feedback on any and all parts of your business. This means your name, logo, website, etc. Now, I am not suggesting you get so focused on feedback, you become unable to make a decision without talking to your future customers first. But I am suggesting you to check in with a few people once you're reaching the final stages before you launch to see if they have any feedback that could help make your launch even more successful. As an example of how to seek this feedback, let's say you've put together your website and you want some input. Even if your best friend is your ideal customer, instead of asking their opinion, ask of thing or anyone who fits the profile of your ideal customer, of course, who would be willing to review your website. This way, you are probably going to get even more objective feedback. Next, let's talk about seeking continuous formal feedback. Once you've launched, it's important to think about ways you can build formal feedback into your regular business process so you are constantly aware of how your customers are feeling about your offering. I have two examples for this one. The first is pretty simple. You can create a feedback survey for customers to fill out once they have purchased or experienced your product. For the second idea, let's say you have a pretty healthy email list that you regularly engage with. You could think about creating a quarterly survey to send out. On this survey, you could include the same questions each quarter to track improvement, or maybe each quarter you prioritize one specific topic, such as a growth area you've recently identified and want to improve, or maybe a new product you're thinking about launching. For the second one, this is much less formal. Gaining insights via interaction really means that every time you interact with the customer, you have the opportunity to learn more about them, so you must be curious and observant. Let's go through two examples to bring this idea to life. The first example is my very first paying client who was an awesome business cards for creative entrepreneurs. She has become a star at listening to and learning from her clients. A really powerful way she does this is during her free one hour inter-call that she has that potential clients before they sign up for coaching. During the call, she is obviously very focused on helping them, and then after the call, she always takes time to reflect upon what she learned and what she could improve. The first question she asked herself is, was that person an ideal client? If they are her ideal client and they sign up for coaching, she then reflects on what they responded to in the call and keeps it in mind for client calls in the future. If they are her ideal client and didn't sign up, she tries to think about what the barrier was. For example, did they balk at the price, was something not right about the offering, or did they have something else going on that was personal to them, like they didn't have time to commit. Whatever it is, she tries to figure out if it's something worth addressing. The next example is my friend who started a jewelry company called Curves and Edges. When she has a new design and isn't sure how it will sell, she wears it around town and sees how people react. When her ideal clients give her compliments, she knows she has a winner. Another cool example from her, she was recently home wearing her jewelry, and one of her mom's friends really liked the piece she was wearing. Before, she had only thought that her ideal customer was going to be a younger woman, but now she's considering updating her marketing distribution to include an older demographic as well. Now, for a few key takeaways before you go. The first is to talk to your customers early and often. Your business cannot exist without them, so the more you can get in the habit of seeking their feedback, the better. The second is to remember that at the end of the day, only you can decide what feedback you act on. Getting customer feedback helps you make smarter business decisions, so you will need to assess feedback strategically and implement it in the way that you feel best helps your business improve. Finally, again, remember that feedback is not personal, it's power. The more you ask for feedback, the easier it will become to treat it objectively and use it as a powerful tool for growing your business. Congratulations. You've made it through the last piece of content in this series. Now, before you're done, there's still a little bit of homework for you to do. Go ahead and do it, and then join me in the last class for some closing thoughts. See you there. 8. Last Class Yeah!: You've made it to the last class. I'm so honored that you've watched this entire series. I'm beyond grateful to SkillShare for giving me this platform. I'm so thankful to my friends and family who have provided the feedback, and support, and creative assistance that has really made putting together this class possible. If you liked it, which I hope that you did, please comment, share it with people who have a side hustle, like it, do any in all of the social media things you need to do. If you didn't like it, I would love to hear your feedback because I really would like to improve. Finally, if you're curious about any of the businesses I mentioned during this course, or you'd like to learn more about my work with side hustle side kick. I've included a document called "Businesses and Acknowledgments", and it's attached to the course. With that, I send you off with love and encouragement. I'm very excited to review your homework and provide any help that I can. I am so proud of you for pursuing your passions and I wish you the best of luck. Go get them.