Got a Side Gig? These Are the Tools, Techniques and the Attitude You’ll Need
The nine-to-five is dead. It seems everyone has got a side gig these days. Whether they are driven by financial necessity or motivated by the pursuit of a passion, a side gig can be, for many, the first step on a hugely rewarding entrepreneurial journey.
Talent on the Side
When I look at my own circle of friends, many have side gigs. A marketer friend makes money on the side working as an artist, selling prints and giving painting lessons. Another friend, an electrician, plays bass guitar in a cover band and can boast he’s played Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club. If you have a talent, you have the opportunity to earn a little on the side. I’ve even know a man who works as a bus driver during the day and a stage hypnotist at night.
Then there are many more — people who may not even realize they have a side gig — buying and selling at flea markets or on online marketplaces like eBay. These micro-retail businesses help many people pay for vacations, fund a hobby or just make sure there’s a little left in the bank at the end of the week.
Small and Sophisticated
Just because your side gig is small, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of some of the tools and techniques big businesses use every day to engage their customers.
The good news is, many of these options are suitably priced for your side gig enterprise.
So, we’ve compiled a list of five tools, techniques and attitude your side gig needs to succeed.
- Your Blog: Even as someone employed by an email marketing company, I will tell you that your marketing strategy (including your email marketing) begins with your blog. WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (CMS). It powers approximately 25 percent of the world’s websites, including the one you are reading now. Use your WordPress blog to share news and information, drive traffic, encourage social media engagement and build your email marketing lists.
- Your eCommerce Platform: Shopify is the current eCommerce platform of choice for many small businesses, with more than 500,000 online retailers currently selling via the platform. The complete eCommerce platform comes straight out of the box with its own free credit card payment gateway — meaning you don’t even need to have a PayPal account. Shopify has a number of extensions allowing you to sell both online and in your “real world” retail environment (a brick-and-mortar store or a car trunk) — helping you sell everywhere and manage your inventory professionally. While many small businesses start by selling on platforms like eBay, Etsy or Amazon, having your own eCommerce store will help you avoid expensive acquisition costs and take ownership of your own customers, allowing you to re-market to them via email.
- Your Email Marketing Platform: With your blog and eCommerce platform readily sending you new email subscribers, you’ll need an easy-to-use email marketing system to keep customers and clients engaged and repeat business coming in the door. Remember, email marketing works best when it is relevant, timely and engaging. Don’t sit on email contact details — hit them when they are fresh, and they will stand a better chance of delivering a positive return. Good email marketing software should grow with your business. Start by sending regular newsletters, and as your business grows and you become a more sophisticated sender, you’ll find yourself taking your first steps into marketing automation.
- Your Social Media: There are too many social channels to try and engage with them all, so focus on the ones your audience uses and loves. Facebook, with its 2 billion active users, is a no-brainer. Seriously, if you cannot find a niche in an audience of 2 billion people, that niche probably doesn’t exist. If your side gig is particularly visual, you’ll probably want to also look at Instagram or Pinterest. Remember, it’s called “social media” for a reason, so don’t just post to advertise your business — get social and join the conversation.
- Your Live Video: Got a smartphone and an idea? Congratulations, you’re now a broadcaster on channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Live video presents an amazing opportunity to put your products or ideas in front of the people who count — your potential customers. The secret to successful live video broadcasting is to turn up regularly, deliver authentic content and try and engage your audience by asking lots of questions. In the social age, broadcasting is more of a conversation than a one-way presentation. If you cannot quite face the idea of live video, remember to use your smartphone to take lots of pictures and, in the words of Gary Vaynerchuk, document everything on social media.
- Your “A” Game: OK, it’s not all about technology. Sometimes you’ve just got to bring your “A” game to work. And the one thing that will make your side gig stand out from the competition is your passion — so don’t be afraid to show the world how much you care.
Remember, a side gig is something you do in your own time — so it should be something you enjoy doing. And who knows, if that side gig really takes off — it might turn into something you enjoy fulltime.
Have you got a side gig? Share your story below.