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Getting Real with Your Side Hustle: Turning Your Gig into a Legit Biz

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There’s more to a business than having a website and social profile. This is despite what you’ve read with these “side hustle” blog posts you’re seeing everywhere. These two items are fine if you’re selling services or one or two products. But, even then you’re not truly operating within best practices.

What happens when your effort meets an IRS audit? What happens when a customer got injured at your mom and pop shop? Or, what happens when you lack essential privacy policies?

These little side hustles become a troublesome experiment.

What do you do for the startups? Or, really businesses of all sizes? You invest in the right set of tools and services — the investments that’ll help smooth the operation and turn it legit.

Tools & services like:

Payment processing

There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel with online payment solutions.

There are hundreds of reputable companies servicing online payments. You’ll find aggregate companies combining popular payment types, too, for better integration. This lets you accept orders from all over. And, without restrictions from your customer’s preferred payment method.

Why use these payment services? They provide:

  • Online security when processing transactions

  • Include easy embedding to quickly set up without heavy configuration

  • Extra features to improve sales and customer satisfaction

These companies have strict, legal compliance. Their application of best practices eliminates the potential repercussions if you had decided to use an in-house shopping cart.

Branding

Social media is free and an easy way to build brand awareness. Though it’s likely you’ll want to explore the market by expanding to physical locations. Or, not spending all day doing the social to stay focused on research, development, and operations.

This is the time to hand branding to designers and its outreach to marketing professionals.

What do you pass to these professionals?

  • Signage, brochures, and business cards

  • Banner ads, media kits, and documentation

These professionals will rework your amateur design. They’ll create a congruent look & feel with your branding to build hype and market impact. Then, marketers will apply these items to all own offline/online properties to generate better brand awareness.

Logistics

Launching an online store works well while sales are low. But, what happens when you’re taking on 1,000+ monthly orders? What about 10,000+ orders? Not only are you lacking storage space but you’d have no time to run the business since all of it goes toward picking, packing, and shipping!

What do you do? You use fulfillment services.

Companies in this area include:

  • Fulfillment by Amazon

  • ShipWire

  • VelocityShip

… and a dozen+ reputable services.

You ship inventory to these companies and they handle the logistics. This frees you from warehousing and passes the task of shipping in their hands — allowing you to focus on the business stuff you enjoy.

A fulfillment service works for businesses of any size. These services supplement talent and/or help get the business in new markets by reducing international shipping costs.

Talent

There’s a conundrum with our shift to e-commerce:

  • We can start anywhere and reach anyone

  • We may become restricted from a lack of local talent

Imagine your dismay of limited growth because you’re in a small town. Options could include cutting back to manage demand or invest heavily in moving to a better location. The latter isn’t always possible.

There are ways to grow without these restrictions:

  • Freelancing — ┬áHandles design and development

  • Outsourcing — Handles customer service and legal

  • Automation — Handles routine tasks

Consider using platforms like UpWork or head-hunting on LinkedIn for quality talent. This removes most (if not all) restrictions you have when shifting from a side gig to a legit operation.

It’d be nice if operations could stay agile and lean throughout the startup process. But, things change and businesses grow. Before long, they’re in need of the essentials to operate competitively.

LewisHumphries

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