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Seven out of 10 Americans live paycheck to paycheck.
Since money affects every area of our lives, that means that seven out of 10 people around you are stressed, strapped and strained every day. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
You can break free from barely surviving by decreasing your spending and increasing your income. You may have already cut as much as you can from your monthly expenses, but when it comes to making extra money, there’s no limit to what you can do!
I coach women all over the country to help them start side businesses to do just that. You can turn your hobby or talents into a business that will create additional income for your family. Now, with platforms like Etsy and PayPal as well as free social media marketing, there is easier access to the marketplace than ever before. Hundreds of side businesses are popping up every day, and people just like you are breaking free from living paycheck to paycheck with the extra income they are earning.
If you want to start a side business, you first need to make sure that your side business is a real business and not just a hobby. The difference between a hobby and a business is that a business makes you money and a hobby costs you money. This may seem obvious, but many people are out there running "businesses" that barely break even.
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Related: The First Step to Turning Your Hobby Into a Business
So if your side business is going to help you get ahead in your finances, it has to make a profit for you. The best way to make a profit, aside from getting orders of course, is to keep your expenses way down. Here are three easy things you can do to keep costs down as you build your business:
1. Use Your Skills
What are you naturally good at? What education or experience do you have? Maybe you worked at a florist in high school, so you can start a side business arranging flowers. Maybe you are gifted at music, so you can start a side business teaching lessons.
I was always very natural at doing hair updos, so I did contract work for weddings and proms during college to make extra money. But it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to start a side business selling handmade art, since I have no skills or experience in art. I would have to start from scratch and take classes to develop even a basic knowledge . . . and I would still be significantly behind the competition.
Instead of starting something entirely new, think of your skills, talents, experience, education and natural gifts, and birth your business out of that. You’ll not only keep expenses down, but you’ll be more successful and enjoy it more also!
2. Start With What You Have
People quickly get overwhelmed with the idea of business because they think of all of the things they "need" to buy to even get started. But you really don’t need to buy that much. What do you already have that you can use?
When I moved to a 40-acre farm in my early 20s, I needed to earn more money than my entry-level salary at a nonprofit provided in order to pay rent on such a big place. I had an 11-stall barn on the property, so I decided to start a horse-boarding business. I didn’t have to buy anything new other than some feed for the horses, and I was able to bring in more money than I even needed for rent.
Start with what you have and you will keep expenses down and launch your business quicker.
3. Use Free Marketing
With the countless free ways to spread the word about your business out there, there’s no reason to pay for advertising when you’re just starting out. You can avoid any marketing expenses by simply using social media platforms, leveraging your current network, and incentivizing referrals from your first customers.
When you build your side business by using your skills, starting with what you have and using free marketing, you’re keeping your expenses as low as possible—which means a larger profit. Remember, it’s that profit that provides more personal income for you.
And who knows? Maybe that little part-time side project that you started to pay off your debts may just turn into a lifelong passion and full-time business!
Learn more about making money doing what you love at my Business Boutique event this November!
Christy Wright is a Certified Business Coach and Ramsey Personality with a passion for equipping women with the knowledge and steps they need to successfully run and grow a side business. Since joining Ramsey Solutions in 2009, she has spoken to thousands across the country at women’s conferences, national business conferences and Fortune 500 companies. You can follow Christy on Twitter at @ChristyBWright, online at christywright.com, or facebook.com/OfficialChristyWright.