by Camilla Hallstrom
When I first started building my business, there was one big thing that kept me back: Time. It felt like I never had the time to grow my business so that I could take it from a side business to a full-time venture. In hindsight, I know I could have done a few things more effectively and achieved my goal faster. Here they are:
To be able to quit your job as fast as possible, you need to focus on the right type of business. What do I mean? Compare an e-commerce store and a service-based business. With an e-commerce store, you need to make more money to make it profitable because you need to pay for inventory and shipping. A service-based business (like a freelance business) doesn’t come with these costs.
When you’re building your business, focus on a skill you already have so that you don’t have to waste time learning new skills. I first got started with a translation business and later a freelance writing business because those were skills I already had. This way, I could focus on getting clients (rather than acquiring new skills) from day 1.
One of the biggest mistakes side business owners make is to focus on the wrong things: Building a website, setting up social media accounts, blogging, and podcasting. I made this same mistake and it set me back many months. You see when you’re first starting out, the ONE thing you should focus on is getting clients and the easiest and fastest ways to get clients. This includes tapping into your network and directly pitching clients to work with you.
You might be thinking: “But it’s so hard to find the time to work on my side business!” I hear you. I used to think that way, too. But then I realized just how much time I was wasting on things that weren’t really that important to me, like hanging out on social media. In fact, you can easily waste hours on these activities every day. Track your time for a few days to find those things you waste time on.
To build a business, you need to get clients. Unfortunately, all the time you spend on marketing and sales is unpaid. A great solution? Get as many recurring clients as you can, so clients who hire you every month, by focusing on projects that clients need help with on an ongoing basis. In my business, I focus on blog posts rather than one-off projects because this is a service clients need every month.
In the end, building your side business does take time and work. But being able to hand in your notice is well worth the effort. After all, you’re building a business for life.
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