by Tanea Smith
From the diary of a Side Hustler: How to run your side business like a fortune 500 company
Monday through Friday you can catch me in a comfortable pair of footwear, one hand with a death grip on my handbag and a cellphone to my other ear doing bobbing and weaving through a swollen NYC crowd doing my very best to get.it.done. There are illustrations to approve, articles to write, prices to negotiate, partnerships to nurture, mentors to consult, and oh yes, paper to sell! My 8-year-old stationery company She’s Got Papers is like a sibling to my 21-year-old son Brandon and my 8-year-old daughter Jada. Like the 2 of them, it’s had its share of growing pains but it also makes me happier than a felon on a furlough. And on any given day whether the sky be blue or gray one thing remains constant. I approach the operation of She’s Got Papers as if it’s listed on the Inc 500 list. And believe me, one day it will be.
Over the course of my 20-year existence in Corporate America, I’ve been fortunate enough to work alongside some of the smartest and most astute business people in New York City. I’ve studied the best and taken their cues. Here are a few for you:
Presentation is Everything. Not some of it, but all of it. Every piece associated with your brand from your website & packaging to your Social Media must be done professionally. If your budget is slim and you have to do things piecemeal so be it, but you must observe the golden rule. Thou shall never skimp on quality. Do not launch anything to the world that is not top-notch. Cross all of your T’s and dot every single I with one of your good pens. If you don’t have one, borrow one.
- Manage your time: At my day job, I take my lunch break at 2 pm. Come hell, high water, or cockroaches, at 2 pm I’m out. Why? I’m I’ve scheduled calls, meetings, skype interviews, you name it. Every single second of your day matters. Often the “side hustle” is treated like a “hobby”. Don’t do it. Time costs, literally. Not only must you plan your time, but you also have to execute those plans. Before your day job begins, get an hour in. Utilize your time after work. If you have the best cookies in your city but you can’t get them to market because you’re watching “The Real Housewives of Las Nevermind” forgive me but, that ain’t baking!
- Over-deliver. Every single time. I go above and beyond in order to exceed the expectations of my clients. A Fortune 500 has gotten to that level because they’ve mastered the art of keeping a client. Getting one is the most difficult thing you’ll ever do and you need to do everything under the sun as permissible by law to keep them. Once upon a time one of my clients ordered 25 sets of our notecards to give to friends on a girl’s trip to Vegas. She needed them delivered the next day. I didn’t blink or swallow, it was just Because I went above and beyond that, she took a set along with her on a trip to the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport and declared that “everyone should know about She’s Got Papers”. Take care of your clients and they will take great care of you.
The key to moving your side hustle to your main business is treating it as such. Remember, your actions dictate the perception. Period
Tanea is the Owner & Creative Director of She’s Got Papers, a lifestyle greeting card company which features designs that are as powerful as they are witty and life-affirming. As New York City’s Side Hustle Expert & Inspirational Business Speaker she teaches women how to launch their own businesses while working full time and maintaining their sanity.
Tanea has been featured in Essence, More, About.com, American Express Forum & The Wendy Williams Show.
Tanea has spoken at St. John’s University, City College of New York, New York University. She has a PhD. in Thriving Despite The Odds. She is an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Psi Fraternity.
See the stationery collection at: www.shesgotpapers.com
Get free side hustle tips at www.taneasmith.com