As a side gig entrepreneur, creating a professional image might seem a like tough undertaking with limited resources and little disposable funds. Nonetheless, there are fool-proof methods that can give your target customers a better impression of your part-time business.
The list below explains the methods on how to make your side gig business look professional, with many of them requiring little to no funding but lots of creative bootstrapping.
Businesses without a website are often perceived as less credible and unprofessional. Unfortunately, a lot of freelancers and small business owners skip this critical online presence possibly with the belief that it is expensive and time-consuming.
Take note that a good number of web builders today are geared towards side hustlers and small business owners who typically have little disposable funds and very limited technical skills. Some solutions even have drag-and-drop designs complemented by a massive collection of templates, images, video clips, and icons.
In essence, you don’t have to be extremely techy and artsy to come up with a professional-looking website nowadays.
Keep your personal and business accounts separate in the public arena, and avoid sharing personal information or posting anything too political or controversial as doing so can ruin your professional image. Ideally, your personal accounts should have strict privacy settings and should be monitored from public views. You can do this by searching your name in quotes from an incognito or private browser. What you see is what others can see so make sure you update your settings on each of your social posts to avoid sharing too much.
With the proliferation of social media, make sure that you only use platforms that make sense for your side business. For instance, if photography is your side hustle, you might want to use image-focused platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest.
Moreover, only post materials that are related to your business and ensure your portfolio showcases the quality of your product or service.
Every piece of communication you use, including invoices and quotes, must support your brand and professional image. Fortunately, there are many invoicing solutions (with an extensive collection of templates and other helpful features) that you can use that are either cheap or even free. See the bookkeeping and invoices page for a list of tools we like.
You should have a dedicated phone number and a business email address. To reiterate, you must separate your private and business life so your side hustle can maintain its professional image.
For a bonafide bootstrapping side hustler, Google Voice numbers are the way to go. Not only is it cheaper than the traditional way of getting a dedicated cell phone number, but it also offers online storage for your voicemails and allows all of your devices to operate under a single phone number. More good news: It’s free.
Meanwhile, you can obtain your business email address through Gmail and other similar sites, although it is important that you use your freelance company’s name or your actual name without any silly add-ons.
Client testimonials, aka word-of-mouth marketing, are often perceived to be reliable by customers who are more willing to trust their peers than a business bragging about its service or product.
A great way to filter customers by their level of satisfaction is to send an email asking about your service and offer a happy face or sad face. Link the happy face to a review website, but for the sad face, link it to a customer service form so they can voice their opinion to you as opposed to public-facing review sites.
Thanks to new technologies such as card readers and mobile payments, even freelancers and small businesses can now accept different modes of payment. Not only do they support your professional image, but they also allow your customers to pay on the spot, which means better cash-flow for your side hustle.
Whether they actually bought your product or simply subscribed to your newsletter or tutorials, following up shows that you have their best interests in mind, and you are serious about delivering what you have promised.