A side hustle is defined as doing something on the side – which means that you’ll be juggling your other life responsibilities. So one of the best things you can do for yourself and your business is to automate, define systems and standard operations that can easily run without your constant attention. Any task that you repeat should be automated so that you can free up your time and attention. Anything that is vital to the health of the business needs to be systematized so that it can be repeated by others you may bring on down the road.
One of my favorite business books, “eMyth Revisited” by Michael Gerber is a fantastic book on why you need to create systems and how to do it successfully. He also details out the pitfalls and burnout that can occur by not creating systems. If you are a new entrepreneur, it’s hard to see when burnout is upon you, until it hits. Automation and systems are safeguards that your side hustle will be healthy for your business and your life.
Here are some things you definitely need to automate in your side hustle:
Lead Generation & Nurturing
Getting customers should be your number one priority, so systematizing your lead generation and nuture process should be a very high priority. Finding a good CRM will be crucial to getting this right and taking hours off your plate.
93% of converted leads are called six times according to Velocify and shockingly, 50% of leads are never contacted after the first call! This means, you MUST make more than one phone call, in fact, you must make at least six. This may seem like a lot, but not if you have a solid plan.
As reported by Propeller CRM, businesses that use marketing automation to help nurture prospects see a 451% increase in qualified leads. So it makes sense to create a plan to set up some automation around nurturing your prospects. Getting customers is the lifeblood of your side hustle – automating as much of it as possible will only benefit your business from the very start. Come up with a schedule to reach out to new prospects (with at least 6 phone calls each) and execute.
In terms of sales, email marketing yields an average ROI of 4,300%. So adding email marketing into your lead nurturing schedule will average out a huge benefit for you.
In terms of branding and awareness, email marketing is a great way to stay top of mind, provide value and keep in touch with your customers past and present. It’s quite easy to reach a lot of people at one time utilizing email. Again, a good CRM can make a world of difference in this area. A platform like GreenRope, InfusionSoft, HubSpot, etc. will handle this for you – and while there might be a learning curve, your commitment to mastering your favorite CRM will have huge payoffs.
Using software to create systems around awareness is vital to your side hustle. Specifically, social media. There are so many SaaS memberships that will allow you to schedule out your social media to start perpetuating brand awareness.
We all know how going down the rabbit hole of social media can waste endless hours – hours you don’t have. Using products like Tailwind to schedule Pinterest and Instagram posts, Social Bee or Hootsuite for scheduling out Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn posts, or Quuu Promote for getting others to share your content.
Take the time to plan out a month’s worth of content, get it all scheduled and let the software handle it for you.
Here are a few things you may want to consider creating systems around:
It’s always a good idea to create systems around content you create. Whether it’s blog posts, client communications, social media posts, etc., you should develop a system of how all of this gets created. The reason for this is because at some point you may have to hand this task off to someone else (what a great problem to have!) and you’ll want to seamlessly do so.
How you craft headlines, develop calls to action (CTAs) and publishing can all be systematized and should be.
Internal communications and client communications can be systematized as well. Creating a system around how you update your team or investors will serve you down the line. That may seem like a bit much when you are just building out a side hustle, but if you start to grow and bring people on, this will be crucial. Even creating an operations manual on yourself can simplify future communications and make on-boarding much easier.
Putting a system to your client communications can really streamline your efforts if you are strapped for time. Pulling reports, updating on projects, etc., can take massive amounts of time away from your day if you don’t have a plan. Batch these updates, create a system for pulling reports and if possible, outsource this to an assistant if need be. But it’s hard to delegate if there is no system around it.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, just a simple step by step of how you get a certain task done is all you need in the beginning.
Invoicing & Billing
It may be tempting to handle invoices and bills as they come in, but you may want to refrain from doing so. Do your best to put a system to it so that you aren’t task switching and wasting the precious hours you do have. Set up a twice a month schedule, or if you’re really inundated with this – once a week – and handle it all at once. Write out your system for invoicing clients, paying bills, setting aside money for taxes, etc., and follow the system.
If there is anything in your business that you repeat over and over again, it’s time to figure out if you can systematize it so that you can delegate it, or automate it with software. Remember, not doing this can lead to burnout really fast. If you are a new entrepreneur, if this is your first side hustle – don’t try and do it all yourself!! Just having a good CRM system will take a big load off of your work pile.
Next, we’ll be talking about money! How to make it, keep it, and manage it.
The Ultimate Guide To Starting A Side Hustle – 7 Part Series:
Part 1: Passion Is Not The Way
Part 2: Narrow Your Niche
Part 3: Managing Your Time
Part 4: Automation and Systems
Part 5: Making Money
Part 6: Marketing
Part 7: Recommended Reading