Six Ways to Ensure People Take Your Side Hustle Seriously
Have you ever felt like clients (or potential clients) won’t take you seriously if you tell them you have a day job? YOU WILL ONLY BE TAKEN AS SERIOUSLY AS YOU TAKE YOURSELF! If you act professional and take yourself and your business seriously, so will your clients, regardless of how many hours you happen to be able to put into your business.
Here are a few practical tips for service based business owners:
1) Have a website. Seriously I can’t say this enough. Having your own corner of the internet, your own acre of land as it were, not only guarantees you a place to share your business with the world (even if, for instance, your Instagram profile gets hacked and erased), it automatically increases your professional appearance and starts building trust! If you’d like a DIY friendly, basic option start with Squarespace! For a completely custom, high power option, check out Showit. (It offers endless design options and also integrates seamlessly with WordPress blogs so if you’re planning to blog regularly, this is the option I would recommend from the beginning.)
2) Respond to emails professionally and as promptly as you can (preferably within 24 hours). And above all – SPELL CORRECTLY. If spelling and grammar aren’t your strong suit, try https://www.grammarly.com/! A prompt, informative, grammatically correct email not only exudes professionalism, it signals to your potential client that they are important to you!
3) Deliver more than you promised, sooner than promised. (Underpromise, overdeliver.)
This is a best practice in general but even more vital when you’re growing your side hustle. Not only does it cement your professional vibe, it can help you earn referrals.
4) Show yourself to be an expert in your field. There are several ways to do this.
First, answer questions before clients ask. Include an FAQ section on your website or on your price list. Second, guide your clients through the process. For instance, photographers could send a style guide or “here’s what to expect” email or pdf during the planning process. Third, blog (or post to Instagram regularly). If you’re going to have a blog (or social feed), don’t just blog recent projects. Post tips for your clients, behind the scenes processes, and industry insights.
5) Have a system for online contract signing and taking payments. (Or at least a consistent contract/payment system in place).
I use a CRM because it helps me keep all of my client communication and invoicing in one place. Looking for that all-in-one solution? Try Honeybook or Dubsado ! If you’re on a budget, try keeping track of your clients in Google Docs and sending them contracts (essential for service based businesses) through Agree.com. Square is a great option for running payments electronically.
6) Be honest when people ask.
Many times I’ve had clients create conversation during a shoot by asking if photography is my full time job – and they’re often surprised when I say no, not yet! Because I’ve been professional throughout the experience, they don’t think anything of it. I also mention my day job on social media occasionally because it’s a huge part of my life time-wise. One thing I do stay away from is saying anything critical about my day job OR my side hustle on social media, no matter how hard of day I had. Being honest doesn’t mean sharing everything!
Bottom line: The more you treat your business like a business, the more you’ll believe in it and in yourself and the more people will respect your confidence and passion.
Did this help? What have you found helpful as you grow your side hustle? DM me!