You’re crushing your side hustle but this is not the time to slow down. Many Solo Hustlers find that after the first rush of success, they hit a plateau and struggle to grow their customer base.
You probably already know the fundamentals of drawing attention to your business—social media, emailing current customers, etc. Let’s walk through some additional ways you can show prospective customers the value of your business without breaking the bank.
Free content—with a gate
You’re in the position to run your own business because you have expert knowledge in what you do. Share it. Free content not only establishes you as an expert in your field, but also provides an opportunity to acquire contact information for people who have a vested interest in your services. For example:
- If you’re a photographer, share tips for prepping for a family photo shoot, including best practices for coordinating outfits, finding a meaningful location, etc.
- If you offer bookkeeping or accounting services, offer easy to use templates for creating a family budget or recording tax deductions for a small business.
- If you provide creative freelance services, make easy templates available for social media posts, content calendars, simple color palettes, or anything else that users might find helpful in their work or personal lives.
The key is offering something that is useful, but does not tap into your own special services. To make this content work for you, “gate” it by requiring users to fill out a simple form before downloading or accessing your free tools. Some things to keep in mind:
- Keep the form as simple as possible, requiring only essential information. (Name and email only is optimal.)
- Include small print explaining that by filling out the form they are agreeing to receive email communication from you in the future.
Make friends—the right ones
Building your network requires you to make connections, and the easiest way to do that is by finding people and organizations that need your services. Look for local (or national if your budget can handle that) organizations that serve the needs of your target audience and join as an associate member or vendor. Local chambers of commerce is a good start, but also search for associations that serve the needs of particular industries. Get inspiration from current customers—ask them what kinds of professional associations or organizations they find valuable.
Most associations are desperate for content and value-adds for their members. Use this to your advantage. Submit content to their newsletters and journals. Attend local meetings and outings. Tag them on social media. Place their logo on your website and emails to show your membership.
It’s important that you make these connections valuable and purposeful, but never predatory. Don’t simply start cold calling their directories. Your roll is to bring expertise and assistance to their members, which in turn establishes you as a reliable provider of services for which their members will pay.
Make yourself easy to find
Take advantage of free spaces to make people aware of your services:
- Set up a Google My Business account so people can locate you, your hours, your website, etc.
- Participate in social media outside the norm—such as Nextdoor. This is especially helpful for Solo Hustlers offering home services such as lawn care, handyman work, or cleaning.
- Remember next-generation “yellow pages.” Get listed on Yelp and other online ranking/review sites.
We’d love to hear what has worked for you to attract customers in easy and cost-effective ways. Drop into our Facebook or LinkedIn pages and share your best tips with other Solo Hustlers!