Take Your Business to the Next Level by Doing These 5 Things
There comes a point when your "side hustle" starts becoming profitable. For me, that was last year. When my little business starting gaining traction I knew that it was time to take things to the next level. But I wasn't 100% sure what to do next, so I jotted down a list of what I thought my weak spots were, and one by one, I started to fix them.
In this guide I am going to give you a list of the top 5 things I did that took my business to the next level:
Let's get started!
I Created a Website that I was Excited for People to See
How it worked for me: The only thing worse than not having a website, is having a really bad one. I remember when I was just starting out and a potential client would ask me "Do you have a website I can check out?" Being a web designer, you'd think I would have had answered this question with a peppy attitude, but, at the time I was so busy trying to gain traction that I neglected putting time into my own website. I didn't have the right photos, or portfolio, or a bio - so I just let it sit. One day I finally woke up and realized that in order to get higher profile clients I needed a website that would show I was up to that caliber. I spent months putting together my portfolio, getting photos and writing copy for it - and when my website was up and running, I can't even being to explain how happy and excited I was to send potential clients to my website!
Why it will work for you: Customers trust businesses who have a solid and professional looking website. Whether you're selling products or services, being able to send your customer to your website is crucial. With all of the trust issues people have with the big World Wide Web these days, no one is being fooled by funky URLS or clanky shopping carts. If you currently have a website but it's not something you love to share, it's time for a make-over. If you don't have a website, and if every time someone asks you if you do and saying "No" makes you feel embarrassed, then it's time to take your business to the next level and get a kickass website that you're proud to share.
Step Two: The Power of a Business Card
How it worked for me: Before I had a business card when people would ask for my card I would awkwardly say "Oh shoot, I just ran out!" ...and that was my excuse. Being able to hand someone a business card not only shows a higher level of professionalism, but it can also help set boundaries with clients. For example, if you just offer to put your contact info into someones phone sometimes that blurs the professional lines. Keeping it profesh always saves you in the long run.
How it will work for you: Being able to hand out a business card will show your customer that you take your business seriously. A business card is also a way to tell more about your business through the design of it. But, even if you start out with a simple black and white card with your name and phone number in it (and your amazing website URL!), it's much better than squirming when you get asked the question "do you have a card?" by a potential client or colleague and having to respond with "Oh shoot, I just ran out!" Don't be the old me.
Step Three: I Finally got a Business License
How it worked for me: Getting a business license will give you a higher sense of legitimacy. I finally hit a point where I needed it (legally) and getting one made me feel legit and extremely professional. When people asked what I did I could confidently say "I own a business!" (and I had proof!)
Why it will work for you: If you're starting to make an income with your business, it's time to start sorting out the financial side. Don't wait too long on this. Things like taxes start coming into play and the last place you want to be is up ship creek come April. I promise you getting a business license will make you feel like a total badass and motivate you big time! (I also promise it might make you shed a tear or two when you see how much small businesses have to pay in taxes.)
Step Four: R.I.P GMAIL -Get a Professional Business Email
How it worked for me: In all honestly up until a few months ago I was still using my free gmail account and, oddly enough, switching to a professional email help me snag even more clients. I finally made the move when I was made fun enough times by a colleague of mine (James, if you're reading this, know this is all your fault) for my email address being WEEKSHAN@GMAIL.COM (most pronounced it WEEK-SHAN). That was when I knew it was finally time to say R.I.P to my old email and start a new era. My new email address, that matched my website URL, brought a new sense of confidence to my business life.
Why it will work for you: Having an email that matches your website URL solidifies two things: one, that you have the means to invest in your own business and two, that you have a professional website. No more email@example.com, it's time to move on down the road! My email costs me a latte per month - that is a very low cost to take your business to a higher level.
Step Five: Network till You're Exhausted
How it worked for me: I can't speak highly enough about how networking in my local community has drastically changed my business. Plugging into my community has quadrupled my clientele and has helped me make great friends and colleagues.
Why it will work for you: Networking will get you more customers, help you make genuine connections and find mentors as well. I can't stress enough how important networking is. If you don't know where to start, Google "networking events near me". If you have a local WeWork check out their events also. Try setting a goal of one or two Networking events per month.
I hope this guide has inspired and motivated you to take your business to the next level! If you feel overwhelmed or have further questions, please don't hesitate to comment on this post or send me a message or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org