Build Your Side Gig for Scale

Author: Zach Dilworth Wednesday July 21, 2021
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Maximize the value you’re delivering without leaving your full-time gig. If you have responsibilities such as kids or student loans, it might make it scary thinking of risking everything to launch your business. It’s not necessary to go this route – you can just as easily ramp up your business while working full time – it’s a low risk, long term approach.

Define Your Mission & Vision
A mission statement is a brief description of why a business exists, it’s an overarching goal, and how it expects to achieve it. What is your purpose of the business? Not why be a side gig entrepreneur but how does this business add value to your future customers? Your vision statement determines the direction of your business. It’s these statements that will serve as the foundation for your marketing messaging.

Refine Your Offering
Even if you’re a jack of all trades, no one can do everything exceptionally well. Not only that, if you have a unique set of skills that you cannot teach others, it’s not scalable. Refine your offering to what makes the most sense for your customers – not necessarily what pays the most. If you’re a starting up a bakery and you offer all custom orders, it’s going to be harder for your customers to trust that you do everything well. However, if you focused just on cupcakes, consumers know that you’re specialized and they will seek you out for that. Think about it this way, if you had a heart problem, would you prefer to see a general physician or a cardiologist?

Iron Out Your Processes
For the most part, new customers follow the same onboarding process. Document each step required from the initial conversation to becoming a happy customer. Prepare a simple process flow (check out draw.io – it’s free) or a document with each step (step 1, step 2). Repeatable processes contribute to a business’s ability to scale. When there’s a process in place, it’s much easier to guide prospects through your process and train others how to do it for you.

Create Templates
Now that you have your mission and vision statements, refined your offering, documented your processes, it’s time to bring it all together and create templates that reduce the amount of time you spend per customer. Templates streamline your customer onboarding process and provide customers with professional customer experience. These don’t have to be fancy, but they have to be reusable to some degree.

Get Ready to Scale
When it comes time to scaling, it doesn’t mean it’s time to leave your full-time gig. You can still scale without losing your primary income. Think about it – you have a repeatable process with templates. Now you just need to train a virtual assistant to support you on this. I am against hiring full-time employees at this stage, but you can start by hiring someone for 5 to 10 hours per week. This greatly reduces your burden, but it puts more hours into your business that you didn’t originally have. Help another side gig startup by supporting their side gig virtual assistant business.

Once your assistant goes full time, it’s still not time to leave your job. As things ramp up, hire another virtual assistant and/or someone to help you deliver your product or service. At this point, you become more of a manager who manages a business on the side without leaving risking your primary income.

Plan to Succeed
Set a goal – it’s different for everyone. For me, my side gig has to be earning the equivalent of double my current income to feel comfortable to make it my full-time gig. On the other hand, I don’t have to ever make this my full-time gig. If done right, I could manage the side gig startup on the side while building yet another side gig. That way, I can use this as my primary income and prepare another company for launch as my new side gig startup. This model is low risk and makes the 4-hour workweek achievable. Set up multiple side gig income streams and let the money flow in!