A three-step approach to launching a side business

Collaborative post – may contain affiliate links

In an era where millions of people contemplate either quitting their jobs or switching careers at a record pace, online searches for “side hustle” and “passive income” are growing exponentially. 

If you’re one of the millions wondering if a career move is right for you and weighing the benefits and risks of starting your own online business, it can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, a large percentage of online companies fail after just one year, an even larger percentage struggle to ever return to their “day job” salary figures. 

So what’s the secret to making it work? Consistency, hard work, planning, and the right digital tools are at the core of every successful entrepreneur’s journey. One of the biggest mistakes aspiring business owners make is starting with a product they want to sell without knowing if there is a market for that particular product. 

Those who take this simple, three-step approach will find greater success in the long run.

Solve a problem first

Before launching your genius product into the world and your target market, it’s essential to take a step back and determine the problem your product solves. For example, if you’re manufacturing an analog planner for business owners, you probably have first-hand experience and knowledge that the product was helpful for you. 

However, you must find out if your analog product solves a problem for others, too. To do this research, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Why did I need to start using an analog planner? 
  • What was I unhappy about when using a digital planner? 
  • What is it about my particular niche that makes this analog planner necessary?

Once you begin to dig deeper beyond the product features and uncover the why behind it, you’ll better understand who needs the product and how to craft a sales message that resonates with them. 

Validate and test

Even for those who have a deep understanding of their product’s use and benefits, some mistakenly go right to production and live sales. Unfortunately, this misstep can result in a large, unsold inventory and failed dream. 

Instead, take the time to validate your offer and test it first. Then, if possible, create a digital version of your product and offer a beta-test sale to your email list. Explain the benefits, provide a generous promotional price for the digital version, and measure your conversion rates.

For those who opt not to buy, ask meaningful follow-up questions about their decision so you can use the responses to understand the market and buying decisions better. Then, you can refine the product or message and try again. 

Start small if you can

Once you’ve done the research, validated and tested your idea with a real market, and secured some initial sales, start with a small run of products if you can. 

Finding an online platform like Podia to sell your digital products reduces your overhead expenses and gives you plenty of flexibility to create attractive and compelling sales pages. 

Once you’re established and have some social proof in hand, you can move to a bigger platform like Amazon. Explore using professional services to help you improve your listings and boost sales (find more info about Amazon Consulting and Managed Services here).

There’s never been a better time to explore new career opportunities and evaluate how you’d like to spend the rest of your working years. Then, when you find something that combines your passion with your expertise, embrace the journey and make it happen.

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