If you’re thinking about starting your business for yourself and taking advantage of the booming gig economy, you should stop thinking about it start building your business. Solopreneurs and entrepreneurs are starting successful small businesses all over the country by providing short-term and freelance work. All you need are marketable skills, ambition, and a few of our tips to start on the path toward getting your gig-based business off the ground.
By Lucy Reed
1. Put Your Passion to Work
Most people who consider taking the plunge into business ownership do so because they hate their job, need more flexible hours, or don’t feel like they are living their best lives. That’s why some of the most successful gig-based business owners are those who put their passion to work for themselves.
For example, if you love to write, you can become a freelance writer or editor. Freelance writing and editing is a booming industry, because companies of all sizes and across nearly every industry need writers who can research, create online content, and meet deadlines. The better your writing skills, the more high-paying gigs you’ll get. It helps to start your own blog and website so you can post samples of your writing and attract clients. The more writing work you get, the stronger your new gig-based business will become. Eventually, you’ll likely be able to hire more writers to meet your clients’ content demands.
Other gig-based businesses that let you put your passion to work include freelance photography, consulting, baking, crafting, woodworking, quilting, and on and on. Just be sure that your passion includes skills that you can market to others and that there is a need for the products or services you provide. Entrepreneur offers more advice for turning your passion into a career.
2. Wisely Spend Money to Build Your Business
Cash flow often is the bane of small business owners’ existence. To manage your cash flow and stay afloat, you need to spend your money as wisely as possible. It can seem nearly impossible to stick to a budget and manage expenses when you’re trying to get a business off the ground, but there are a few ways to make sure your investments and expenses are the wisest choices for growing your business. First, keep your overhead low by setting up a home office instead of renting a space. Investing up front in good office furniture and upgraded phone and internet services can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Next, consider looking into a small business loan, whether it’s a term loan, business line of credit, or financing for the equipment you need to get up and running. Not only can this give you the startup capital you need, but you’ll start building credit for your business (which will be invaluable as your company grows and expands) and it will be easier to keep your personal and business accounts separate. Taking out a even a small loan that you know you’ll be able to pay back in the first few years you’re in business can help take some of the pressure off of you, since you won’t have to dip as deeply into your own savings account, if at all. It can also be a great tool to help you create and stick with a budget; knowing you’re responsible for paying your creditor back will help deter you from needless spending.
Another way to spend wisely is to use free or low-cost advertising. According to OPEN Forum, you can promote your business online and free of charge in a number of ways. One of the best is to use social media and create a profile for your business on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. You can use the power of your own social network to spread the word about your business and then build more followers. Take advantage of the low-cost advertising offered by these networks to grow your business, or look into using tools from a site like Oberlo, which offers free business name and slogan generators, traffic calculators, and logo makers.
3. Create and Follow a Business Plan
All successful business owners have one thing in common: a business plan. Don’t be fooled by the gig economy. It may be different from traditional businesses and give you more flexibility and control, but it still is a business that requires a plan. You should be as detailed as possible when creating your business plan. Write down what you hope to achieve and include your mission, vision, and message to customers. Once you get everything on paper, you can start focusing your plan and creating specific goals for your business.
Now is the best time to get your gig-based business off the ground. Start by putting your passion to work. Then, take steps to ensure you spend money wisely. Finally, create and stick to your business plan so you can set and meet your goals.
Lucy Reed has been starting businesses since she was a kid, from the lemonade stand she opened in her parent’s driveway at age 10 to the dog walking business she started while in college. She created GigMine because she was inspired by the growth of the sharing economy and wanted to make it easier for entrepreneurial individuals like herself to find the gig opportunities in their areas.