251: How to Lay the Foundation of Your Business When You’re Just Getting Started

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251: How to Lay the Foundation of Your Business When You’re Just Getting Started

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It’s May! And that means it’s time for a rewind. Every week this month, I’m resharing a Best of Side Hustle Pro episode. In this first episode, I talk about how when I started my side hustle, I didn’t read business plan books or follow a business plan template. I just started. Shocking, I know!

I share the six steps you can take, now, to start building your business as a side hustle. Let’s jump in!

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Nicaila Matthews Okome 0:03

Focus on what you are excellent at, or you can become excellent at, not what you're just good at, because people don't want to pay for just good want to pay for excellence.

You're listening to side hustle Pro, the podcast that teaches you to build and grow your side hustle from passion project to profitable business. And I'm your host, and Nicaila Matthews Okome. So let's get started.

In this episode, I am talking about how to lay the foundation of your business, when it is still a side hustle. Yes, still a side hustle. But we're setting up this business. Now to be honest, this episode took me a bit longer to outline took me incredibly long to outline actually, because I felt this pressure to have a super buttoned up approach to laying the foundation of your business. When the reality is, when I started my side hustle, I didn't read business plan books, and I didn't follow a business plan template to get started, I just started and started to figure things out as I went along. And that's not to say I didn't consult, research learn. And I'm going to talk to you about that process as I get into the steps. But I did not go through a by the book process. I just did what I encourage everyone to do in the last episode, which is to push past your fear and start exploring my interest. So I know that some people expect me to talk about business plans and such, but that would not be authentic to how I personally grew my side hustle into a business. So that's not what I'm going to do. The whole reason I recommend starting your business as a side hustle to begin with is because of the mere fact that you can take that pressure off of yourself, that pressure, that everything needs to be perfect, or everything needs to be done by the book or, you know, everything needs to be done a certain way. And I need to check boxes. And instead just experiment. It's just a side hustle, right? So you have the freedom to experiment, mess up, then test, learn, test some more, then just keep on learning from those results and allow yourself to keep going. So I've decided to ignore those thoughts that I originally had about what I think this episode is supposed to be. And instead, go back to my roots of how I lay the foundation of side hustle Pro.

It's so funny that I even have those failings still to this day. And that just goes to show you how hard it is to kind of push yourself out of societal norms. Because for so long, we're taught and we're made to believe that we have to do things a certain way. And even when we start doing things a different way. I know speaking for myself, even though I've started to live outside of these boxes, I still find myself defaulting to them a lot of times. And I have to actively work to say, No, who says you have to do it that way. Who says that's how you have to break down how to start a business or how to turn your side hustle into a business. So that is something that I go through all the time. So just sharing that with you guys. And by the way, if you haven't listened to the first part of this series, that was Episode 159. Make sure you do go back and listen to that one because I share how to not let exactly those kind of thoughts that I just talked about how to not let fear cripple you when you're starting your side hustle. And if you go to side hustle pro.co/159 I provided a recap for you there, which includes clarity questions to help you get out of your own head and into action. And also helpful advice to avoid those mental roadblocks that you come across when starting out. So make sure you start with part one of the side hustle series before listening to this episode.

Now, let's get into part two, how to lay the foundation of your business when it's still a side hustle. Step one is going to be narrowing down what it is you want to do. What do you want to focus on? What kind of side hustles? Do you want to start? Yes, you may have multiple interests. But you're not good at all of these. Let's just be real, you're not good at all of those interests. And remember what I said in part one, focus on what you are excellent at or you can become excellent at not what you're just good at because people don't want to pay for just could want to pay for excellence. Okay? And you can get help narrowing down your side hustle. This is what I did. So I told you in part one of the series how I graduated with my MBA and with no job, moved back to DC with oil and had to do some soul searching to figure out what I should do next. One of the things I did to kickstart the process of narrowing my side hustle was to reach out to friends for their help. I was in such a low low space that I just no longer felt good at anything. I was in a slump. I couldn't see my strengths. I could only see my weaknesses and you know

When you're going through an experience of failure, sometimes it's hard to look at that failure itself as just a circumstance and a failed event. And instead, you end up projected it onto yourself as I am the failure. No, it's a failed event. And even as I was thinking of those things about myself, in my subconscious, I knew, okay, I've got to snap out of this, I cannot keep feeling this way. And the first thing I thought of is, I need to see myself as others see me, I need to remember that girl, I need to remember what it is that I'm good at. And I know my friends are always telling me how smart I am, how creative I am, and how I'm going to be the next this and that. But I didn't see it in that moment. In that period of time, I didn't see these things. I thought maybe if I just ask them, then I'll be able to see. So that's what I did. I said my friends, a quick survey, because I was having trouble remembering what it was that were my strengths. And these are the exact questions I sent to them in this survey, back in the summer of 2015. And by the way, guys, don't worry about writing these down, because I actually created a downloadable freebie for this episode. So it has a sample survey that you can send to your friends to narrow down your side hustle, it will include all the questions I'm about to share, plus a few more that I wish that I had asked them. So visit side hustle pro.co slash 160 to get this sample survey. All right. Now back to the questions. So here are the exact questions that I sent to my friends. Number one, describe a time when you have seen me thriving and at my best. Okay, what was I doing or working on? Two? What are three adjectives that best describe me? What is something you think that I do? Well, number four, what is something you think I do not too? Well. Number five, what is something that you admire about me? And finally, number six, what's something that you've learned from working with me or by observing me, so not too long, right. But just enough for me to have a quick insight into what people felt were my strengths and my weaknesses. I made this survey completely anonymous, by the way, so my friends would be able to write their honest opinions without feeling stifled. I actually went back to this survey the other day as I was outlining this episode, and I looked up some of their responses, and I want you to hear one of them. So you can see how much it helped me. So here is one of the responses. Quote, when you were blogging is a perfect example of you thriving, you're doing something you enjoy. So you do it at a very high level. I've enjoyed reading your writing, and think you should definitely continue this no matter where the future takes you. This response was so helpful. And by the way, I got many more responses. But I'm just highlighting this one because responses like this was so helpful, because blogging is something that I had ignored while I was in grad school at blog before and you know, after college here in there, but I really didn't take it all that seriously. Seeing this feedback from the survey helped me realize that I needed to start blogging again. And I needed to write and this time, take it seriously, even if I didn't immediately know how it could be a career, or how I could make any money from it. The fact was, that when I was writing, I was in my element. I was thriving, I was in my zone, I felt capable, I felt just on it. Pay attention to those moments in your life. Pay attention to the moments when you feel like you are thriving. I'm being candid and sharing these things. Because I want you to connect how the feedback I receive help something to click in my head and help me to take action. And that's what will happen for you as well. When you implement and share this survey and get feedback yourself. I really hope it does the same for you. So again, get your survey template at sidehustlepro.co/160. So you too can get help narrowing down your side hustle. So that was step one narrowed down your side hustle.

Step to start your research. Once you have narrowed down your side hustle, the next step to lay the foundation is to start that research. So the way I approach research is to reverse engineer people. And I'm going to share the exact dictionary definition of reverse engineering. So we are perfectly clear. The dictionary definition of reverse engineering means to examine the construction or composition of another manufacturer's product in order to create a duplicate or similar product. So to me my interpretation now So Nicaila's definition of reverse engineering means seeing was currently working and trying to get to the bottom of why it's working. You need to get to know who is currently doing what you want to be doing.

And also get to know your audience. That is what research is about in this phase. So ask who is doing something close to what you want to be doing. And you can also find out who to ask what courses to take, what conferences to attend, what platforms and tools to use, even marketing techniques, by studying your industry leaders. Please let me just take a second here too, and say, Do not confuse studying with copying. Okay, that's not what we're talking about. Do not confuse studying with copying, you are unique. Simply by being yourself by who you are, you have a different perspective, you think differently, you were made to be one of a kind. So do not feel like this is about copying. This is about understanding what is working, studying is what all the greats do. When you go to business school, for example, you study cake, we study case studies, to learn where businesses went right and where they went wrong. So we can avoid these mistakes, and succeed in the future. It's literally what they train you to do as MBAs To give you an example outside of business to when a basketball player, for example, is trying to grow as a player. What do they do? They watch the game, they study other players techniques, they try to adopt these techniques and get better at their own game, and they practice constantly, I can tell you that you cannot find an NBA player who has not studied just hours and hours of footage of other players. Alright. So that's the same approach you should take with your research research with the intent to implement though not just to gather information research with the intention of implementing so research what's already out there, find out who is a leader in the industry you want to get into evaluate them? what's currently working, what are they doing well, how do they market? What tools are they using? And then also evaluate What's missing? What would you bring to the table that's not currently out there? What do people need? Where is there a gap? Look at the products that you currently use to look around your house, look around what you use every day, and ask yourself what's missing what's needed. Plus, look up the contact info on these products. If you want to make a better version. If you want to fill in a gap. Start with looking at that contact information, looking at these labels, finding out where they're manufactured. And then also turn to online forums. Start asking questions there where people are discussing your industry, including Facebook groups, don't just assume that no one will answer your questions that everyone's going to be competitive and not want to give any kind of information. Ask first and be open to being told no. But continue to ask. One know is not the end of it. One know is not a closed door forever. All it is is one know. So know that and then also know that hey, sometimes, you might just have to pay for the answers. Meaning you might have to invest in a program from your expert to learn even more, you might have to invest in training from industry leaders to learn more. So all of these answers are not necessarily going to be free.

If I told you how I got help narrowed down my side hustle to a blog. Now I'm going to share how I research once I was ready to take step two. So step two was to start researching the blogging industry. I started following people who were blogging, people like my aeleus, Emily Dela Cruz, Katherine Solis, Ray, Courtney Sanders, all women that I've had in the guest chair, by the way, so just scroll on back to their episodes to hear what they have to say. I started inspecting their content, what's working? And why? How are they so good at these blog posts. One of the first people I came across was Maya, and she's in Episode 37 of side hustle Pro. So I dove into her content, particularly because she was one of the first black women I saw who were blogging and openly sharing her income reports. I was able to see from these reports, the different revenue streams for blogger, things like putting ads on your websites using affiliate links, having affiliate partnerships and offering your own programs that people could pay for or your own products that people could pay for. So that allowed me to start planning revenue streams for my own business and starting to think through how I would want to monetize and what lanes I would want to explore. My guest on the podcast often share a similar experience, whether they are an entrepreneur that offers a service, or an entrepreneur that has a physical product. Just listen to Episode 155. For example, that was the recent entrepreneur in residence the first episode with Lisa Pegram, the creator of Bell 51, and the soul a laser. So Lisa talks about this she talks about her research process how one day she and her friend went in search of a product, a laser for dark spots, but she couldn't find one for her complexion. She saw that gap in the market right?

That right there is a gap, aka what was missing. So she decided to fill that gap and create a laser for darker skin tones. Through that she had to do some deeper research, she had to find out how does Laser Hair Therapy, even work was currently on the market, what's FDA approved, where they be manufactured. And then she got in touch with a manufacturer and she got busy testing and improving on her own product, and her boxes and the whole website everything until it was finally ready to go to market. So you can do the same thing. The other part of researching is researching your audience as well. First, you want to get very clear about who you want to serve. And you want to understand as much as possible about this person, so you can continue to provide the most value. This can look like having discovery calls, calls where you get on the phone with people and ask them a bore about themselves, their needs, their pain points. This was one of the techniques I use. As I prepare to launch side hustle Pro, I got on the phone with people identified as potential listeners. And I did listener research, I had these phone calls, and I worked to learn about who my future listener really was. A lot of people don't do that. They just start podcasting. They just start talking at people, they don't even know what people want to hear. And by the way, that's what I teach my students about a podcast mogul. So if you want to know more information on research calls for your listeners go to podcast moguls calm, because you need to understand who you're serving and creating for instead of just assuming, or just creating things based on your opinion, what you like what you want to see, create with your audience in mind. For example, with side hustle Pro, I fall into my target audience, I could have easily just created a show based on what Nicaila wants to hear. But instead, by getting on the phone and doing my audience research, I was able to learn about potential topics and angles I wanted to cover that I didn't previously think about like my listener research they gave me they opened up my eyes. And one thing that's really, really critical here too, is make sure you're actually speaking to your target customer though, do not take advice and feedback from every and anybody. As you do your research, you start out thinking that you want to serve everybody that's common if you feel that way. But that's not the right approach. The truth is, you need to be identifying one person, one person, creating what's called a customer Avatar and learning them so well, that you create your product or service with them in mind. Because what happens when you do that is your audience grows that much quicker, because they're able to see themselves as the customer for that product, you're talking directly to them, you're speaking their language and how you market and how you write all of your ads, your captions on Instagram, everything. So your audience grows more quickly, because they immediately connect with it once they see it. And they share it with other people as well who are also in your audience. So if you try to cater to multiple kinds of people, you will water down your message, you really won't be talking to anybody. And worse, your target customer will not be able to recognize that your product or service is for them. So make sure that you research your industry. And you research your customer and you talk to your customer. That is step two.

Now let's get into step three deciding on a name. Alright, so now it's time to plant that seed in the ground by giving you a side hustle a name. I know you're probably thinking, what should I trademark my name? What should I do? In my experience, I have found it more beneficial to work on your side hustle first, and get into the world before trying to spend all this money on a trademark. And when you go to get a trademark, they do ask you for proof of first use anyway. So start using and start working on your business. Of course, this is not to say you shouldn't find out if the name is taken. Alright, you don't want to do all this work, only to find out that it's already trademarked. So first of all, google it see if any website comes up, go to the domain that you want to purchase, see if anything is there. Or if someone has it parked, meaning that they bought it even if they haven't put up the website yet that the domain is not available. Then also go over to the U S T p o.org. website. That's the website for the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Now, go over there search for the name that you're intending to name your business. If it's not taken, meaning someone hasn't trademarked it, then you go ahead, buy the domain and start to use it and also grab up the social media handles of the same name. Now, if this is something you know, you're going to stick with, then explore trademarking. Now. That is something you do later on down the line when you've been doing the work and you're short. It's something you're going to stick with but most

People who are super focused on the trademarking process in the beginning, don't even end up doing that much with that brand and with that business, so do the work first, invest your time first, and then explore, okay? Where do I want this to go and then export trademarking.

Step four, create your logo and website. So all of that talk about deciding on a name obviously leads me into this step. And I recommend keeping this entire process all of Step four, very low cost when you are first starting out, because it goes back to that, what I was just saying before, when you're just starting, you really don't know where it's gonna go, you're excited in the beginning, things could happen, you could end up changing your mind, you could end up finding out you know what, this is not the industry, I want to be in based on learning how the industry actually works, based on learning how hard it is to make money in that industry, for example, or maybe some laws and regulations that you didn't know about before. So keep this part low cost, because you're still learning. No matter who you are, and what you're doing, your business is going to need upgrades. And there's no way you can know all the ways you want to revise your brand when you're first starting out. So keep this low costs, and also keep the process short. A lot of people get stuck in this part. They tell me they're still working on their website and logo. Six months later, I checked back in with them, and they're still working on this website. And they haven't done any work on their side hustle. Don't let this be you. Let's not let this be us. actually be willing to put out something ugly, like we said in part one. And do not let putting up a website keep you from your goals. You can create your own logo using services like Canva 99 designs, or hire someone on upwork.com or Fiverr to create it. And I will link to these in the show notes. You can create your website yourself also using WordPress or Squarespace. Now these do it yourself platforms make it very easy to drag drop and put up a website very quickly. So you could actually find tutorials for how to do all that on Skillshare comm which I always talk about because it's so bomb, and it has so many lessons where people walk you through exactly how to do this. And that's exactly what I did. I use video tutorials like the ones on Skillshare to learn how to set up my blog on WordPress. Then when I transitioned the blog to a podcast, so this was also why it was important. Remember, I had a blog and the name was Kayla Kay speaks. Imagine if I'd gone down a rabbit hole of all want to hold this name I want to trade market and all this stuff. After doing the blog for a few months, I realized I wanted to focus on side hustles. And I came up with the name side hustle Pro. And then I ultimately ended up focusing on side hustle pro only about the domain and all of that good stuff. So number one, it was easy for me to set up a brand new website because I had already practiced by watching those tutorials and putting up my own WordPress site. And also, it was easy for me to not be tied to a name. If I had spent too much money in steps three and four, I probably would have been tied to a name that was not good for my brand. And that's another thing if you're holding on to a name that's not good for your brand, just let it go. Just let it go. It's a sunk costs and what you pay for it, but we have to do what's best for marketing. Okay.

Hey guys, it's Nicaila here with a quick word from our sponsors.

Many thanks to Skillshare for sponsoring this episode. No matter what 2021 brings, you can spend it creating something meaningful with Skillshare online classes. Because time is what we make of it. Skillshare is an online learning community that offers membership with meaning. With so much to explore real projects to create and to support our fellow creatives. Skillshare empowers you to accomplish real growth. You can explore classes on marketing, freelance and entrepreneurship, graphic design, and so much more. I just checked out this really cool class called creativity unleashed, discover home and share your voice online. It was what I needed because it guides you through how to determine your individual value as a creator, how to overcome those insecurities that hold us back from creating content and how to establish your core theme and more it was right on time guys. And also important as I grow as a content creator. With Skillshare you can find inspiration as well and learn how to express your creativity. Explore your creativity@skillshare.com slash hustle and get a free trial of premium membership. Again, side hustle pro listeners head over to skillshare.com slash hustle to get a free trial of premium membership.

So I host my website on Bluehost and WordPress is my content management system. And I have a hack

About websites for all of you to make this process even faster and even more straightforward. You ready? Alright, listen up. And again, this will be in the recap, sidehustlepro.co/160. So this will be in the recap. But here we go. If you are on somebody's website and you're admiring it, you're like, Oh, I like this website, I want my website to look like this. Then copy the URL, and go to the website, built with.com all one word built with.com. Again, I will link to this, then paste in the URL of the website you like, built with calm will tell you what that site is built with what is the back end. So if it's a WordPress site, it will tell you that then if it's a WordPress site, you can do another thing, hop over to WP theme detector.com. So WP as in WordPress, WP theme detector.com. And once again, paste in the URL of the site you like. And you will find out what WordPress theme they're using. Then you can go ahead and purchase that WordPress theme and add it to your own WordPress site. And by the way, WordPress provides clear instructions on how to do all this, you do not have to be a techie, it makes it so so easy. And then you begin customizing from there. This is exactly how I built my first two websites myself using WordPress and I use the word built a very, very lightly because I'm not a graphic designer, I'm not a coder, all I did was use that process that I just said and then drag and drop to customize. So obviously, if you go to a major brands website, or someone who has a custom website, those most times go beyond the basics of having a drag and drop template, a theme of WordPress, but you never know built with calm still provides great insider information on how to create a similar site. And this all goes back to the theme I said before of reverse engineering. I love to just look at what people have going on and try to figure out what they're using. You know, when I see someone do a really bomb Instagram story. Sometimes I just ask them directly. Sometimes I just research it like what are they using to make these graphics that looks awesome. You can do the same thing. When I was getting ready to put up a website for sales Pro. I spent some time reviewing the websites of other podcasters. And I didn't even have to email them to say hey, what do you use to make your website because I found what I liked. I plugged in their URL into built with calm, found out it was built on WordPress. Then I plugged in the URL at WP theme detector.com found out what WordPress theme they were using purchased the same WordPress theme, boom, applied it to my website and customize it with my colors and content. So our websites still drastically different because we had different content, we had different colors. But the user interface was the same because of the WordPress theme we apply. So don't reinvent the wheel, you will still stand out. Don't spend too much time on putting up a website or creating a logo either nowadays, but WordPress themes like Divi and all of that you can create beautiful, responsive sliding mobile ready websites in minutes. So do not wait to launch or let the website or logo be what's holding you up.

Step five, start building your email list. So let's get into this step. Once you set up your website, start growing your email list immediately. The reason you want to grow your list is because this is your direct line of communication with your audience. Make sure that as soon as you have your website up, you have a form on your website where people can sign up to get email updates from you, and you are collecting email addresses and make this enticing guys, nowadays, people get so much email, don't just say join my list or sign up to get my newsletter. Invite them to be a part of something greater. Let them know the awesome community, they will be a part of by joining your email list and let them know what they can expect to receive. Name your community even name your tribe, give them a name and invite them to join him be a part of that group. You should also offer something in exchange for an email. So in the same way that I offer you guys, PDFs, recaps, free templates, things that will help you you can do the same thing. This ensures that you are building your email list in your community with people who actually want to hear from you with people who it's a reciprocal relationship, you're giving them much needed information, they actually want to be a part of it and you actually want to talk to them. So you should offer something in exchange for an email. This is commonly referred to as a lead magnet. And it's a free resource that you offer with valuable tips or getting started steps that people can actually use, you know, emphasis on making sure it's something people can actually use and find value in and you offer this and I

Change for them given you their email address and them joining your email list. And once they do that, this freebie then gets delivered to their inbox. So when I started, I offered freebies, such as episode recaps, or an overview of my exact process for growing my social media following. Anytime I do an episode that's more tactical that involves steps, I tried to do a free before it, because it's providing a service because Who has time to write down every single thing I'm gonna say in this episode. And you know, also it is growing my email list. So I offered when I was starting out my cold email templates, and I think I need to do that again. Because my cold emails are good, y'all, I'm not gonna lie. And I offer things like my productivity system, and more. So this was how I started to grow the side hustle pro email list with resources that I gave away as freebies. And I think the freebie Queen, who I really learned a lot of these techniques from Is Amy Porterfield. If you haven't heard of her, definitely check out her website, excuse me, her podcast as well. I have learned a ton about how to come up with great ideas for lead magnets via her podcast, and it would be wrong of me to keep that from you guys. So that's a resource, I'm happy to share with you all as well. So identify what knowledge you have to share, learn about how to create compelling freebies, and also learn about what others want to learn from you, or what they need in relation to your business. And create a quick PDF. You can do it in Google Docs, or in Canva. And boom, that's your first freebie. And just focus on one for now. Don't think you have to create one, like a million freebies one for every single day and thing that you do just start with one. Again, since everything is a test. See how that does. See if people respond to it. get feedback, even. You can even ask someone who downloaded it. Hey, was this helpful for you? What would you like to see more of, so you can use that data to inform future freebies. So big tip for you there. Alrighty.

So now let's get into Step six. Now that you have narrowed your side hustle, started your research, decided on a name, developed a logo and website started building your email list. Let people know what you were doing. Start to post on your social media pages about your side hustle, tell your personal network that could lead to your first client. So I have a friend who slowly started her side hustle. And she didn't do a big website launch right away. She was working up to that. But what she did was she started to let people know what she was doing. So her first client came from her network who they know her qualifications better than anyone. Your network often is the one that thinks like, Oh my God, you're so great at this. And so when you tell people, hey, I'm now offering these services, personally, they're so excited for you. And they have you in mind when they know someone who is looking for a consultant, for example, or someone who's looking for those services. So make sure you let your network know what you're doing. Remember, always that everything is a test. Remove that pressure, from your mindset about all of this, when you start telling people and you're like, oh, they're going to look at my website, and they're gonna wonder, they're gonna think I'm not professional enough, or Oh, they're gonna go to this or remember, everything is an experiment. Everything is a test, take that pressure off yourself, you can get better. But most importantly, people cannot be your customer. If you don't let them know what you're doing. So let them know what you're doing. Now, after listening to all of this, you're probably wondering, where do I spend my money first, here's what I recommend when you're just laying the foundation. Number one, invest in an email service provider, I started with MailChimp, but I now use and love ConvertKit. So this is how you build your email list. Number two, invest in a website host. That is for me Bluehost. But that's basically that service that hosts your website to make sure your files stay online, they don't go down they can manage everything, all the traffic to your website. Number three, invest in training from a leader in your field or programs of people who you want to model. So when I was doing these side hustle chats this past summer, earlier this summer, people would ask me about mentorship. How do I find a mentor? And my question, my response is, you find your mentor, when you go out there and you proactively learn from them. Your mentor doesn't have to be someone you call up and say hey, can you be my mentor? your mentor can be people who you invest in learning from and after an over time you find that you develop a relationship with people who you have spent time learning from and you make an appoint to tell them what you've learned. you email them I took this program and I really

love what you had to say about this, that or you email them, your testimonial, you know how much people love being able to share a testimonial from someone who took their program. Or once you've been listening to their podcast, you go see them at a live event. And you say, hey, I've been listening to your podcast. And you know, I really enjoyed this episode when you shared X, Y, and Z, and you touch base with them on a few occasions. So this is how you start to informally get that mentorship relationship without asking anything of them. Because when you approach someone first with an ask, you haven't shown them what you're willing to give. So it's not about oh, I want you to be my mentor, and I want to take from you, it's you already proactively sit down and start to learn from them, and implement. So that's how you get mentorship. And I say, select 123 courses slash conferences, Max per year, that's combined, because I'm into just in time learning. And by the time you have taken a course that's, you know, multiple modules, and you start implementing it yourself, that's like a good three to six months that have passed by. So you can't possibly be taking three, four or five courses a year 123 Max, and then also throw in a conference in there. And here's a big tip to when you go to a conference and you really do the work of networking, you do the work of following through with whatever homework you took away from the speakers, you probably don't have to go to it again the next year, you probably don't. In 2016, I went to I would say three conferences. I don't think I took any courses that year, I think I took courses in 2015 and 2017. So 2016 was my conference here. And after that, I didn't need to go back to those same conferences The next year, because I got what I needed to get out of them. So be wary of feeling like you're going to miss out if you don't go back to that conference, or you're going to be behind people if you're not seen and in the places to rub shoulders and all that no, go in with a strict goal to learn what you need to learn to further your side hustle. And then save your money, save your money and invest that into then grow in your hustle with what you have learned. Again, I'm big on just in time learning every time I've taken a program, I then go through module after module and start implementing what I have learned. So those are the six steps to laying the foundation of your business when it's just a side hustle. Step one, narrow your side hustle. Step two, start your research. Step three, decide on a name. Step four, develop your logo and website. Step five, start building your email list. And step six, let people know what you're doing. You may notice that I didn't get into what kind of business entity you should form. Why? Well, because these are the kind of things that keep you from starting. I know it may seem controversial to some but I firmly believe that it is more important to start with this foundation that I outlined above, then to decide on your business structure when you're starting out. After you have spent some months learning how to make money, then shift your focus to what business entity makes sense. How can you start a business entity when you don't even know if you're going to commit to this, and how and if you will actually make money. So here's how to decide on when to establish your business entity. One, when you're sure you're going to stick with it to when you are ready to accept payments from clients and customers. At that point, go ahead and separate your business income from your personal banking. Now at this point, people are going to reach this point at different timelines. Okay, so I can't give you a hard time line of when to do it. But those are the two signs to watch out for when you're sure you're going to stick with it. And when you are ready to accept payments from clients and customers. I established my business bank account and business entities six months into running my side hustle, right as I was about to start earning income. That's when I had studied, mastered, understood how to pitch sponsors. And I'm like, Alright, I'm about to start landing sponsors, let me go ahead and set this up so I can accept their payments. And it took me that long to get a handle of revenue streams and to test. It took me that long also to feel confident to start selling things to be confident to start launching programs. And when I knew that I was getting ready to launch a program I said, again, I need to separate this from my personal money. So I'm going to go ahead, set up my entity and set up my business bank account. And when I knew I was going to start making money, and I wanted to keep that money separate I decided to establish an LLC. The legal structure of your business, though, know that it has an impact on what you pay in taxes know that it has an impact on the amount of paperwork you do each year. And also know that in a Nicaila Matthews Okome is not an attorney. I like to emphasize that that I am not an attorney and I do not consider myself an expert in the legal aspects of entrepreneurship. That said I do have a resource for you. If you have more questions about forming a business entity and tax implications, check out episode 49 of side hustle Pro with attorney art steal. I had her on to talk all about that and also check out her own podcast. She has a podcast called Inc secure. That's INKSECUR e again, I will link to that, where she breaks down the fine print of law for us entrepreneurs. I will link to all of this in the show notes. Okay, guys, so scroll up in your podcast app to see all the notes in the episode description, including the links, or visit side hustle pro.co slash Part Two for all of the show notes from this episode. Thank you guys so much for listening to part two of the side hustle series. Remember to head over to side hustle pro.co/160 for the full recap from this episode, including your free survey template to narrow down your side hustle. Alright, stay tuned for part three of the side hustle series next week. And there you have it.

Hey, hey, thanks for listening. Now stay connected in between episodes by texting side hustle pro 244222. You will get my weekly six bullet Saturday newsletters where I share what I'm up to what I'm reading my business Tip of the Week and resources to help you grow your side hustle, and I'm working behind the scenes on some live events, which my email list will get access to first, so make sure you're in the loop text side hustle pro 244222 or visit sidehustlepro.co/SBS

Meet the host:

Nicaila Matthews-Okome

Hi! I’m Nicaila, the Creator and Host of the Side Hustle Pro Podcast. I started Side Hustle Pro when I was a side hustler myself. I was a digital marketer at NPR by day, side hustler by night. Through the powerful stories shared on this show and the courage to launch my own initiatives, I was able to quit my own job and go full time with Side Hustle Pro.

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