Picking up extra work on the side is the American way these days.
Have you noticed that ‘side hustle’ has suddenly become a thing in the past few years? Along with ‘disrupt’ and ‘redefine’ it just seems to be one of those words that trendy guys with non-ironic, long hair say in cafes while drinking almond milk lattes.
If you are currently unfamiliar with the term ‘side hustle’, allow me to explain. A side hustle is a business idea (usually involving something you quite like to do), done on the side of a 9 to 5 job. So you’ve got something that pays the bills and the side hustle gives you the thrills… and if you play your cards right eventually the side hustle will also pay the bills.
Did you know that Apple started as a side hustle? And Spanx? And Instagram?
Of course, they weren’t called side hustles back then, they were called ‘small businesses’, and they just happened to be run by people who had other jobs. Whether you have a side hustle or an existing business, the most crucial thing in any market is your website.
It doesn’t need to be the Coco Chanel of websites, but it should be functional, practical, user-friendly and most importantly, it needs to exist.
If you’re having a hard time wrapping your head around the whole website thing, here are a few reasons why your side hustle/business needs one.
1. IT WILL GET YOU SERIOUS STREET CRED
Maybe not serious street cred but it will prevent people from thinking you’re completely dodgy. Imagine you’re trying to woo a potential client. They ask for your website address, and you say ‘Oh I don’t have one.’ That’s like saying you don’t know where you live. It’s weird to not have a website when you’re a business owner. I don’t want to be too forward here, but someone has to tell you. It’s not cool to eat other people’s lunch; it’s not cool to steal dogs just because they’re adorable and it’s definitely not cool to have a non-existent web presence for your side hustle/business.
2. YOU CAN SELL THINGS ON IT
That’s one hell of a perk, isn’t it? Even if your business is a bricks and mortar situation or service based, you can still sell stuff. You can have online bookings available if you’re a hairdresser or personal trainer. It’s beneficial for hairdressers and personal trainers because you’re busy all day and can’t answer the phone. You can have appointments available for coaching services and physical products too. The thing about websites is that they’re like sales assistants that work 24 hours a day for free and they don’t need to do all that utterly pedestrian human stuff like eating and sleeping. You can entirely automate your booking system, so you never have to speak to a client or customer until they’re ready to give you money. Doesn’t that sound like a dream come true?
3. POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS CAN FIND YOU THROUGH IT
Google is a rather glorious thing, and if you publish blog posts on your website with key phrases that relate to your business, that will help people find you. Key phrases like ‘business coach in Brisbane’, ’24 hour dry cleaning’ or ‘Chris Hemsworth impersonator’ will help people find your business when they’re searching for things they need on the internet. Hot tip: There’s a serious lack of Chris Hemsworth impersonators out there, so there’s a free business opportunity for anyone who’s ruggedly gorgeous and keen.
4. IT’S ESSENTIAL FOR LOCAL OR BRICKS AND MORTAR BUSINESSES
Did you know that the search term ‘near me’ grows 130% year on year? This means that most people search for bricks and mortar shops and services in their local area on the internet. If you’re not ON the internet (as in you have no website) then no one will know you exist unless they happen to walk past your store and they probably won’t notice it anyway because they’re busy Googling things on their phones. If you’re a bricks and mortar store, make sure your business address and details are kept up to date. The ‘near me’ search functions depend on it.
5. IT’S THE ONE THING YOU HAVE COMPLETE CONTROL OVER
If you’re a magical unicorn who has over 100k followers on Instagram and you’re all ‘LOL! I don’t NEED a website, I just gram everything!’ well I’m here to tell you to stop using ‘gram’ as a verb and get yourself a damn website. The thing with Instagram (and Facebook, Pinterest and any other platform you use to get people to notice you) is that you have no control over what they show and to whom. One minute, your posts could be receiving Kardashian level clicks and comments and the next minute Instagram is all ‘YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US!’ and then you have to go and sit at the nerd table in the cafeteria. You need to be present on all these platforms but you should be spending most of your time on the assets you own – your website and your email list – because Facebook and Instagram can’t take those things away from you. Yet…
6. ALL YOUR COMPETITORS HAVE ONE
This isn’t a ‘all the cool kids are doing it’ kind of situation, although all the cool kids ARE doing it. I don’t have actual statistics on this because I’m not sure they exist on a scale that large but most people search for most things on the internet. It’s just where all the stuff lives. So if your business has run on word of mouth up until this point, that’s a tiny pool of people you’re swimming around. A (good) website will expand your potential customer base and open you up to a much broader network of people. It will also help your customers to find you and not the other way around. Wouldn’t it be nice to play hard to get for once?
7. IT’S 2020
You might have been able to get away without having a website a few years ago, but it’s past the point of essential now.
Have an existing website you haven’t updated since Britney and Justin broke up
Own the .com for your business but you don’t know what to do with it
Are finally ready to get your website up and running