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Drum up demand for your side business with these marketing tips.
29 June, 2020
- If you want to attract customers, then you'll need to be proactive about telling the world what makes your products or services special.
- It's hard to point to just one issue that's holding 89 percent of people with side businesses back from earning more than $1,000 per month, but failure to drum up significant demand likely plays a significant role.
- To start, you'd do well to experiment with social media marketing, maximizing customer reviews, receiving referrals, making the most of the marketing real estate you have at your disposal, and pay-per-click ads.
<p>Moonlighting with a side gig is growing in popularity as a way people are supplementing their income. The gig economy is thriving, and people are eager to <a href="https://bigthink.com/coronavirus/online-learning" target="_self">acquire new skills during the pandemic</a>, so there's arguably never been a better time to experiment with working for yourself.</p><p>Once you've chosen your business niche and <a href="https://bigthink.com/how-to-finally-bring-your-side-hustle-idea-to-life" target="_self">set up your side hustle</a>, it's time to spread the word. This is the downside of how easy and popular it's become to run your own micro-business – if you want to attract customers, then you'll need to be proactive about telling the world what makes your products or services special.</p><p>The harsh reality is that if you fail at building this buzz, then your side hustle is likely to fail altogether. You might dream of striking it lucky and seeing your side hustle grow into a multi-million dollar company that allows you to quit your day job and focus on the business you love (hey, it worked for Steve Jobs with Apple – and a whole lot more examples). But most side hustlers only make small change.</p>The average income from a side hustle is <a href="https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/side-hustles-survey-june-2019/" target="_blank">$1,122 per month</a>, or $13,464 per year, which is nothing to sneeze at. But focusing on the average hides the fact that the vast majority of side hustlers make nowhere near this amount.
<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQyNDczOS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2NTE1NTgyMH0.R9vf1IZFwD56eBK1VRjusv1a_8_os1namrBkvBBgf4M/img.png?width=980" id="c795e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2843c72bc90638d41773b99884b9d581" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Side hustle monthly income chart" />
1. Ask for referrals<p><a href="https://bigthink.com/ideafeed/how-word-of-mouth-works" target="_self">Word of mouth</a> is the single most effective way to let people know about your side hustle, and it's the best way to get started. It doesn't need to cost a cent, although it will require you to spend some time reaching out to your friends and family to ask them to share the news about your business.</p> <p>It's a good idea to write a few template messages and posts that you can ask people to share on their social media profiles and in WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger chats. </p> <p>The easier you make it for people to share information about your side hustle, the more likely they are to do so. And using a template also increases the likelihood that they'll describe what you do accurately.</p>
2. Use the real estate you have<p>Sometimes the best marketing assets don't need to be built from the ground up. To draw an analogy from the big brand advertising world, posters in front of restaurant urinals are arguably more impactful than setting up new highway billboards – and they require a fraction of the regulatory and engineering hurdles, too.</p><p>Try to think about what you're already doing that can be leveraged to draw attention to your side hustle. For example, you probably don't even realize how many emails you send. An estimated <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/456500/daily-number-of-e-mails-worldwide/" target="_blank">293.6 billion emails</a> cross the world every single day, and despite what people say about messaging platforms, that isn't about to drop any time soon. In fact, it's predicted to rise by 18 percent in the next year.</p>
<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQyNDc1MS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NjM3OTU5OX0.SudpBe4yu51e5r6McaPG_giRqwd-YBVgEYpcZq9WNvM/img.png?width=980" id="9a7b3" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e07ee2f65bdc9a2be61c1c51bf5356cc" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
3. Gather positive reviews<p>BrightLocal's data indicates that <a href="https://www.brightlocal.com/research/local-consumer-review-survey/" target="_blank">86 percent of consumers</a> read customer reviews before they choose a business to patronize. That's a pretty big majority.</p>
<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQyNDc1Ny9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNjk4OTYxNX0.GvI-7fwl0I8N01K9QyC8VzhFCBqO18phD-stA17jCVQ/img.png?width=980" id="7883c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d7520c716a66c8544a60688dbe5b5f8e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
4. Get strategic about your social media marketing<p>Social media is a valuable marketing channel, but when you're running a side hustle, it can be overwhelming. When you're short on time, you can feel like you can't make a dent in the crowd.</p> <p>That's why you need a strategy:</p> <ul><li><strong>Choose just one or two channels to get started</strong>. Either focus on the ones where you already have a following, or choose the platforms best suited for your niche (e.g., Instagram if you're a photographer, Pinterest if you're running children's birthday parties, etc.).</li><li><strong>Automate your social media marketing</strong> with tools like <a href="https://hootsuite.com/" target="_blank">Hootsuite</a>, which offers a reasonably powerful free version. Use them to prepare and schedule a week or month's worth of posts in advance, to save you time. </li><li><strong>Connect with micro-influencers</strong>, people who have 1,000 to 100,000 followers, as sponsoring their posts is generally more affordable than those from bigger influencers. What's more, as a whole, <a href="https://buffer.com/resources/micro-influencers/" target="_blank">micro-influencers have higher engagement levels</a> and a higher levels of trust and authority among their followers. Choose micro-influencers in the relevant niche for your side hustle, e.g. beauty and style influencers if you're selling cosmetics on the side. </li><li><strong>Track both your side business brand and your specific niche</strong> with social listening tools like <a href="https://mention.com/en/" target="_blank">Mention</a>. This is especially <a href="https://www.fool.com/the-blueprint/ecommerce-marketing/" target="_blank">important for ecommerce marketing</a>, where tracking influencer mentions can be so important. What's more, a quick response to someone on Instagram looking for sparkly high heels in emerald green, for example, can redirect a potential customer to your online store and score a sale. </li></ul>
5. Experiment with paid marketing<p>Paid online marketing is definitely not for anyone who's just beginning with a side hustle, but it can be effective if your business is established, you've acquired a reasonable sales volume, but now you're stuck and don't seem to be able to increase your revenue further.</p> <p>You may be surprised to learn how affordable clicks from Facebook ads can be. Although these rates are consistently rising, <a href="https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2019/11/12/facebook-ad-benchmarks" target="_blank">here are some benchmarks</a> from a few months ago that can give you a sense of what you might want to budget, based on your side hustle's business vertical.</p>
<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQyNDc2NC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNzQ3MzE2OX0.VkJOZzFHX9M6pgohDuJsAqY1Er9GfKBUYzFxRe5SvOg/img.png?width=980" id="df6ea" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f33e62359f4f0dd66ab1f02049963398" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Effective promotion is your key to side hustle success<p>Your new side hustle is really important to you and you want to make it a success, but you can't do that if nobody knows about it. Social media marketing strategies, reviews, word of mouth, email signatures, and paid ads should all have a valued place in your side hustle marketing toolbox, to help you see success from your new business venture. </p>
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Here's something to think about the next time you see a filthy Abe Lincoln on the sidewalk.
14 December, 2016
If there is a penny on the ground, is it worth your time to pick it up?
<p dir="ltr">What if the very act of picking up a penny is more financially valuable than the one cent gained? In other words, is the value of a penny so minimal while the direct value of our time so great that it makes more sense to leave the penny alone?</p> <div dir="ltr"></div> <p dir="ltr"><span>For many of today’s freelancers and members of the gig economy, the answer is YES--spending a few seconds to pick up a penny would be a financially unwise decision. More potential pennies would fall out of one’s proverbial pocket than be placed in one’s actual pocket. The penny is so nominal in value that just a few seconds of time commitment spent picking one up would be financially unsound.</span></p> <div dir="ltr"></div> <p dir="ltr"><span>Let’s break it down:</span></p> <div dir="ltr"></div> <p dir="ltr"><span><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODQwOTIyNC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NjI4ODMyMn0.390zlcRNOqcyw9Pcwn57hw9Zq2vPHsWa97dvmKUvXyw/img.png?width=980" id="05747" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="460c467fde6b9ca3240e54e035e6deda" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>How many seconds is too much of a time commitment to make picking up a penny worthwhile? Use your per hour income as a freelancer to see what your break-even point is. For example, a freelancer receiving $18/hour has a break-even point of 2 seconds. </em></p> <div dir="ltr"></div> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Picking up a penny every second for an entire hour would give you a grand total of $36. </strong></p> <div dir="ltr"></div> <p dir="ltr"><span>So for a freelancer or anyone else able to command over $12/hour with their “free time,” three seconds used to bend down and pick up a penny is a losing proposition. A freelancer making the current minimum wage ($7.25) would find their time better spent leaving the change on the ground if the act would take five or more seconds. </span></p> <div dir="ltr"></div> <p dir="ltr"><span>This isn’t just an idle thought.</span></p> <div dir="ltr"></div> <p dir="ltr"><span>According to a recent study the </span><a href="http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/employment-and-growth/independent-work-choice-necessity-and-the-gig-economy" target="_blank"><span>McKinsey Global Institute</span></a><span>, almost a third of American workers now participate in the gig economy. Whether it is done on a full-time basis or more an act of supplementing income, the rise of the gig economy makes the value of “spare time” highly relevant. </span><span>For many participants in the gig economy, retrieving a penny would be negligible at best and negative at worst. </span></p> <div dir="ltr"></div> <p dir="ltr"><span>We have a problem, of course. The dilemma is created by a rise in the direct value of our time within the gig economy, combined with the continuing devaluation of the penny. Applying any free time to generate money is becoming more achievable through on-demand platforms and freelancing sites, while the relative value of the penny decreases with inflation. The average Uber driver, for example, was making $19/hour in the top 20 US markets according to a </span><a href="https://techcrunch.com/2015/01/22/uber-study/" target="_blank"><span>2015 study</span></a><span>. For that average Uber driver, two seconds picking up a penny outside of their car would be less valuable than two more seconds driving. </span></p> <div dir="ltr"></div> <p dir="ltr"><span>Why pick up a penny when you can pick up your phone? </span><span>The ease of generating income in the gig economy may be making orphan pennies a mere nuisance. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span><span id="docs-internal-guid-13303ac0-ff5d-f0ee-7135-d0f89f93dfb8"><span><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODQwOTIyNS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NDQ0Mjc5N30.KQ3Zxmg5RXzX54azgum-O6lcpHobg07iZSInnyWxciM/img.png?width=980" id="f3a6c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c00522472da944cb233fdb117105c653" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image"></span></span></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-13303ac0-ff5e-e70f-6489-9387e2882289">Are you losing money by picking up money? Use your average per hour income as a freelancer, along with the time used to pick up a penny, to find out! Being in the blue is a gain, while being in the white is a negative. </span></em></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Perhaps the penny is destined to stay on the ground </span><span>and </span><span>in circulation. The one-cent has been a part of our currency through private mints since the late 18th century, and made legal tender with the Coinage Act of 1864. The US half-penny was eliminated in 1857. Despite some passionate advocacy for the United States to eliminate the one-cent piece, the penny shows little sign of death. But whether the lowest denomination of currency has been reduced to wasting our time is another story. </span></p> <div dir="ltr"></div> <p><span>There are some who find picking up a penny good luck. Others insist that the one-cent pieces add up, and can send you over some great stories like the </span><a href="http://www.fox5ny.com/news/40726693-story" target="_blank"><span>Louisiana man who collected pennies</span></a><span> for 40 years and cashed them in last year for $5,000. But for those in the gig economy making a decent wage, that may be penny wise and pound foolish. </span></p> <p>Persistent as the penny is, there's no doubt its days are numbered – like all our bills and coins. To find out about where money is headed, we talked to <a href="http://bigthink.com/experts/kabirsehgal">Kabir Sehgal</a>.</p> <p class="flex-video"><span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="08ec87b519efd5d357bfb7a1a0053288"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dt4wh6qhekg?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span></p>
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penny gig economy time is money freelance Uber money income free time coins cash McKinsey Global Institute finance