Give Yourself a Raise by Starting a Side Business

November 12, 2015

5:00 pm

How much of a pay raise are you expecting this year? We have all struggled with getting a pay raise at work. You show up on time, and do a great job. You are doing all the right things, but when the time comes for a raise you are let down, once again.

Employers know that it is a tough job market and they play their cards accordingly. If you are lucky if you might get a measly 3 percent pay raise. As a side note, inflation is currently about 2.1 percent. Essentially, you are settling for a 0.9 percent raise. And, you should be grateful for that?

You can get frustrated, or you can give yourself a raise. And, the best way to do that is by starting a side business.

I know you might be thinking that you are not an entrepreneur. But, no one is born an entrepreneur. The good news is anyone can become an entrepreneur, yes even you.

Here are some steps to get you ready to start your side business:

  • Carefully assess your skill set. You have skills you learned at work, in school, or in your spare time that are marketable.
  • The good news is that service businesses require almost no startup capital. The list of possible service businesses is mile long. From writing, to consulting to tutoring to home remodeling, the list goes on-and-on.
  • If a service business is not your thing, you could create a product. The drawback is that it requires a lot more time and startup capital to start a product business. You have to think about product design, testing, and manufacturing.
  • Consider how many hours you want to dedicate to your business. If you have two kids and a third on the way, you can still start a side business, but you have to be a master time manager.

According to the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, 69 percent of businesses now start in the home, and 59 percent of mature businesses continue to operate from homes.

When it comes to success in business preparation is everything. Most businesses that fail are started by people who are ill prepared. I don’t want that to happen to you.

The following steps can help you prepare for your side business:

  • Get your friends and family to support your idea. You are more likely to succeed if your loved ones are on board. If your spouse is not cool with you working evening and weekends on your business, it will put strains on your relationship.
  • Understand your niche. Whatever business you chose to start, take time to learn about it. Know the pros and cons. Don’t assume anything.
  • Check out the competition. Every business has competition. The more you understand yours the more effectively you can compete. Find out the good, bad, and ugly of your competition. How do they market themselves? How much do they charge? What do they do well? What do their customers say about them?
  • Talk to those who have been there and done that. The most successful entrepreneurs are not shy about reaching out for help. Find business owners in similar niches. Contact them with your questions. Don’t be too needy. Respect other people’s time.
  • Write down everything. It sounds easy, yet many people fail to write down what to do next. There are many moving parts with a new business from marketing to financing to networking. Write down everything you need to do.
  • Set deadlines. If you say you are going to do something, commit to a specific date. I will create a new logo for my business by December 9th. I will make 10 phone calls by the end of the week to potential clients. A goal without a deadline is just a dream.
  • How much money do you need to get started? Know your options.
  • How are you going to market your business? Do you have to advertise? How much will it cost? What specific marketing tactics will you use?
  • Find a mentor. There are many entrepreneurs who are happy to help. Reach out to them with your questions.
  • Do a test run. Before you get too deep into it, try to serve a couple of customers. See how it feels. This gives you a great opportunity to have a test-run.
  • Expect to fail. Most businesses fail, but that doesn’t mean that you will. Even if you fail at least you have tried. You will learn in the process, and you will be better prepared the next time around.

Starting a side business can be just as much fun as a full-time business. It is less risky than a full-time business because you are not relying on it for 100% of your income.

Image Credit: Pixabay

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George Meszaros is a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of Success Harbor an entrepreneur interview and advice site for small business. Success Harbor is dedicated to documenting the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also a web designer and marketing company co-founder.

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