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When I began my first side hustle fresh out of college, I didn’t know much about how to run a side business. The term “side hustle” wasn’t even a thing! All I knew was that I loved horses and, if I could fill the 11-stall barn on the property I was renting, I could pay my rent and then some. So naturally, I started a horse-boarding business. Totally normal, right?
Back then there weren’t books I could read or workshops I could go to. I just stumbled along and figured it out on the way, picked myself up and dusted myself off (literally)! But now we live in this exciting side-hustle economy where women are making money doing what they love every day. For years I’ve been coaching women who are movers and shakers and making things happen—whether they’re working at their kitchen table or in their spare bedroom or have a brick and mortar shop.
So, what’s their secret? I can tell you that business cards, a website and a new MacBook are all well and good, but that’s not what will turn your hobby into a business! And once you catch that thrill of making your first sale, what will drive your business even further? Whether you’re just starting out with a new business idea or you’ve been up and running for a while now, here are three proven, fundamental things you can do to continue to grow over the long haul.
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1. Know where you are.
You have to be able to evaluate where you are in your journey so you can identify what you need to do from this point forward. In an article from Harvard Business Review, Anthony K. Tjan writes, “ . . . there is one quality that trumps all, evident in virtually every great entrepreneur, manager, and leader. That quality is self-awareness.”(1) As a business owner, awareness isn’t just a nice-to-have—it’s essential.
But believe me, I know how tough it is to wear so many different hats and juggle so many areas of your business. You’re the boss, and you’re also in charge of the marketing department, production, shipping, budgets, scheduling, administration and more! So if sales are down or, just the opposite, you can’t keep up with your customers and are experiencing burnout, you may not even know where to begin to make things better.
That’s when you know it’s time to gain some awareness. Get some honest feedback from a mentor. Survey your customers. Take an assessment, like my Business Health Check. You can’t grow if you don’t know what’s holding you back.
2. Invest in yourself.
Learning and growing is so important, especially when you’re building a business. One thing every leader here at Ramsey Solutions has in common is that they’re constantly reading, growing, refining their skills and learning new ones. They subscribe to industry newsletters, meet with mentors, and attend marketing workshops.
Dave often quotes this observation by Charlie Jones: “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”
Well I don’t know about y’all, but if I’m not intentional about reading—between laundry and writing and cooking and cleaning up the peanut butter one of my boys has strewn across the walls—it just doesn’t happen. If you want to incorporate more reading into your life, try setting a goal to read one nonfiction book every month.
I also listen to podcasts as I do my makeup in the morning, and audiobooks during my commute in the car. And there are countless amazing courses you can take online, so you don’t even have to go back to school to master a new craft.
I kept that in mind as I created the Business Boutique Academy. I wanted to create a place where you can continually learn and grow in a way that fits your busy lifestyle as a business owner!
In the Academy, I roll up my sleeves and work with you every month during a livestream group coaching call. And we have an extensive Video Training Library, where new videos are added each week on topics ranging from email marketing to hiring help to understanding business licenses!
3. Surround yourself with support.
We all need people who are in our corner who want to see us succeed! But feeling alone and secluded is something many business owners struggle with because, as Entrepreneur.com explains: “[They] start out trusting themselves and themselves alone. After all, entrepreneurship generally comes from a product or idea sprung from your head . . . so a company is uniquely yours. It is a part of you.”(2)
When the company is yours, the successes and failures feel like they’re yours alone, too. You begin to feel like you can only rely on yourself. When I was a fresh college grad, running a horse-boarding business all by myself, I sure felt that way! I’ve heard the same thoughts from the women I’ve coached over the years. And friends, it’s a very lonely feeling.
That’s why it’s so important to get plugged in to a community of women you trust. Women who you can bounce ideas off of and solve problems with who are out there killing it! That’s why in the Business Boutique, we are very intentional about providing a circle of trust through our online Community.
If you do these three things—know where you are, invest in yourself, and surround yourself with support—you can succeed in business!
My team and I created the Business Boutique Academy to help you specifically in each of those areas. Here’s how the Academy will help you win:
- You’ll know where you are with the Business Health Check. Take the monthly assessment to identify which areas you are succeeding in and which ones need improvement!
- The Academy also encourages ongoing learning through the Video Training Library, where new training videos are added each week!
- The Community allows women to share feedback, inspiration, and advice, and to just be there to support each other. You don’t have to be alone in business. We have thousands of women on the same journey cheering each other on.
- Live Group Coaching is an exclusive benefit to Academy members. Every month, I’ll be online with Academy members to answer specific questions about your businesses. This is the only place that I do coaching!
I know you can win in business because I see women doing it every day. If you want it bad enough and you’re willing to work hard enough, you’ll eventually get to where you want to be, and, in many cases, even further!