How to transition from side hustle to full time gig

Are you one of those people stuck in a 9-5 but dreams about being your own boss? Or maybe you have an unrelenting passion project that’s begging to take centre stage. Either way – you’re curious about running your own show.

According to the team at SEEK Business, the decision to start a business can present a significant financial risk and can be stressful when you don’t know where to start.

A great way to begin making the transition from employee to business owner is to start off small and build slowly. In order to do that, you need to understand how to market and promote your product or service, which successful Bridgestone Select franchise owner, Damien Meneguzzo explains with these tried and tested tips.

  1. Contribute to your local community

One of the biggest advantages of supporting your local community and putting in the work to help it succeed, Meneguzzo says, is that it helps customers learn more about your product and service without having to advertise.

Meneguzzo says he supports local sports teams and schools and carries out regular local letter box drops. “Being involved in these types of events has helped us to engage with our community and attract customers to our franchise.”

Doing work for local businesses, leaving flyers on local notice boards and offering freebies to good causes are all great ways to get your name out there.

  1. Gather reviews and testimonials

Positive word-of-mouth from your customers is still one of the most powerful methods of marketing your business and has become even more so with the rise of the Internet, Meneguzzo says.

Bridgestone Select stores ask customers to complete a ‘Post Purchase Survey’ seven days after their tyre purchase. According to Meneguzzo, this is an important tool to gather feedback directly from the customer in order to help improve customer experience and service.

In addition, receiving written feedback from customers or suppliers can be used as marketing content down the track – testimonials on your website, on flyers and as references for other businesses you may want to collaborate with in the future. 

  1. Build a website with a strong brand

A strong brand can give your business credibility and an identity that can help you remain recognisable as you grow. It can encompass anything from look and feel (logos, colours, fonts, imagery) to tone of voice (how you speak to your customer).

At the heart of a good brand is the customer so always consider who you’re talking to when building your website and whether the online experience is giving them what they want.

  1. Gain customer advocacy through excellent customer service

Ultimately good old customer service is one of the most powerful ways to market your business and gain customer advocacy, says Meneguzzo.

While time-poor employees building a side business may not have the capacity to focus undivided attention on their customers in the early stages, there are initiatives that can run independently in the background to keep customers engaged.

You may like to consider building a loyalty program or discount offerings into your online shopping experience.

Building a business from scratch can be a challenge, especially when you may have a day job. But by coming up with creative ways to engage with your customers and remembering to put customer service at the heart of everything you do, you will ensure your customers keep coming back, which will ultimately help your business grow.

For more guidance on business ownership and getting started, visit SEEK Business.