👋🏾 Sanjay and Natasha here, We've created a list of 3 investments that can be made at any stage of your side hustle journey. These are investments in your knowledge and experience, areas where most entrepreneurs fail because they haven't invested in themselves first.
The 3 investments for the checklist are your very own toolbox of resources written to grow your knowledge and sharpen your skill sets. Whether you're just getting started or looking to take your side hustle to the next level, this jam-packed blog post will help take you there.
Entrepreneurship is about being in the trenches: it's about trial and error, taking action, learning from mistakes, and making adjustments. This guide is the first step to joining the successful side hustle of that equation. This is a short course on strange investing, with no promises and no guarantees. However, there are three ideas all aspiring entrepreneurs must invest in for the opportunity to present themselves.
Talk to your future audience
The key of a startup is talking to the customer, the product owner and the market needs. Based on experience, most aspiring entrepreneurs delay interacting with the customer for as long as possible, usually until the product is released. But why do they do so? Because this interaction requires a lot of effort to gain trust and build up relationships. Any entrepreneur knows very well that it's hard to reach customers, it's hard to get any feedback, and it's a slow process. Besides, we might not have anything precious or valuable to give as payment for any feedback.
While getting feedback from your customers is important, it's even more important to make sure you are getting feedback from potential future customers to help you create the product. For example, if you're looking at creating a product around a solution for a huge problem and urgent need, your future customers can be your mentors, investors and board members.
- Is this a wise investment of our limited resources?
- Should we do something different?
- Will we be in business next year if we don't develop this product?
For example, many entrepreneurs will spend two or three years spending a large number of their resources building a product and maybe writing a business plan and conducting customer development interviews. However, no real interaction with customers happens until the product is released. The talk at this stage is always about what features to include in the release. None of the entrepreneurs we've met or know interact with future customers during this period until they're ready for launch.
Build a loyal fan base
The group you are building now is crucial to the survival of your startup. Building a tribe of loyal and useful fans who believe in your mission and can help you make it succeed will be one of your most important tasks. Side hustles need customers, and they also need fans. By creating quality content that provides thought leadership and expertise, you are actively building a loyal fan base of potential customers, investors, and partners.
Create a strong presence online by building a dedicated website, blog and social media profiles. Promote your startup space through free and paid online advertising, networking events, speaking engagements at organizations that have your target audience, helping current community members, and building relationships with influencers who can be great spokespeople for your cause.
Connect with your tribe can be as simple as listening and empathizing with their pain points. From here, create content that adds value to the customer, generating raving fans. Finally, make sure to connect online and engage with your audience through in-person events and online communities.
The best way to build a loyal fan base is to share your expertise and learnings. It's no secret that this is a great marketing tactic for startups as it allows you to be seen as the go-to person in your field."
Find a Mentor
Mentorship is crucial to success. Having a mentor is one of the single most important ways to accelerate your career. A mentor helps you find a mentor. Distinguish yourself by building a profile that helps top industry professionals connect with you and understand what you're looking for in your role and career, and offer guidance tailored specifically for you.
Posting your questions in an online community does not count as mentorship. For mentorship to work, the mentor needs to know you and your goals and background. Providing general recommendations without learning your skill level, weaknesses and resources significantly diminish the power of mentors' advice even if they have all the experience you need to overcome your challenges.
A mentorship is a form of apprenticeship in which you learn from someone already good at something. So choose a mentor whose existence complements the resources you're learning from. That's what we did with Find Your Mentor, an interactive experience that helps you find the right mentor for your situation and goals. Part web app, part social networking site, Find Your Mentor was created to help people get exactly the kind of advice they need.
The Aspiring Entrepreneur Mindset 101 Bundle offers four educational guide booklets to help examine and solve entrepreneurship. The first guide, "Entrepreneur Mindset 101 Guide", examines some of the myths people believe about entrepreneurship or make excuses not to enter into business ownership. The second booklet, "Optimize your routine, schedule your time, and talk to people (networking)", provides some action steps on how one can start networking, build a social media presence, and optimize their schedule.