Learning - Training

How to get a side hustle on the map

(NC) For many of us, one of the few silver linings of living through the pandemic was that we had the time to focus on our passions. Some of those passions became profitable side hustles or have the potential to become one. Here are some simple tips to help your side gig thrive:

Get networking

Raise awareness of who you are and what you do simply by introducing yourself. Reach out to related businesses on social media and in real life to collaborate or support initiatives and have a presence at events in the community. Having a presence drives awareness and is a great way to meaningfully network your business without a pricey sponsorship.

Know your audience

Successful businesses invest in market research – knowing who your customers are guides decisions on how to market, plan for expansion, determine pricing, etc. The good news is, you don’t need a big budget to do this if you know where to look. Up-to-date census data can be a great resource for new insights about your target audience and areas of interest. Find information on demographics, localized income levels, migration patterns, population growth, and employment for a specific area. Then, equipped with data, look for opportunities and how you can capitalize on them.

Digital intelligence

Many businesses rely on a wide range of digital tools to get the job done. For example, if you plan to sell directly to consumers, you’ll need a website with a secure financial portal.

There are also online tools to draft communications, organize scheduling accounting and payment-processing. These useful tools can help you work smarter, not harder, while managing your business. You can start with the free versions of many of these programs, but, as your business grows, you’ll need to invest in technology.

Honest feedback

Most online shoppers will read at least a couple of reviews before they buy a product or commit to a service. Personal reviews or recommendations from the consumer’s friends and family hold even more credibility. Encourage your happy customers to help your marketing efforts by sharing a review or testimonial on your site and other platforms where your product or service appears. Don’t forget to thank them for doing so!

Learn more about how you can use census data and free online data tools at