I could kick myself for this one! The biggest sidehustle mistake is also the most common mistake made by soooooooo many people – and the big problem is that I already knew it and yet I STILL fell into the same trap!
Once I had decided what I was going to do as my sidehustle, I got so caught up in the mechanics of actually doing it that I didn’t stop to think WHO my target customers were.
My next post is going to take you through my personal thought process of how I decided to do what I’m doing but if you’ve been reading these posts in sequence then you might well be charging ahead with your own sidehustle so I thought it’s best for me to get this message out straight away.
As soon as I settled on merchandise (merch) as a sidehustle I sort of went:-
- I need to get around 20 designs together as a starting point
- I need to get these onto a merch platform so that people can start buying them
- I need to push the merch across social media like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
Now this isn’t completely wrong as yes, I needed to do all of that. BUT – I (stupidy) was thinking like all the other people before me that fell into the same trap – I thought I’d push my products to EVERYONE as of course EVERYONE buys some form of merchandise at some point in their life …………….
Seth Godin said it:-
The key to any successful business (and a sidehustle IS a business if you’re in it for the money and not doing it for charity) is building and nurturing a customer / fan base of loyal followers – I knew this already before I started.
But every time I posted a new piece of merchandise, I’d get a couple of likes but few (if any follows) – regardless of the social media channel.
You see the people that liked my content had NOTHING in common with eachother. I was following my passions and making designs related to my interests – which are extremely diverse – from scuba diving to travel to yoga to sarcasm to vintage/retro feel to currently trending topics – you name it I had a design in it.
The problem wasn’t my designs (well, they aren’t THAT bad are they????). The problem was that I wasn’t attracting a community of likeminded people.
It took a post from an account I follow on Instagram to make me realise what I was going wrong and give me the kick up my arse that I needed – I needed to go back to the start and clearly define my target customers.
I did a serious amount of thinking – WHO EXACTLY could I possibly attract and build a community around.
I kept on landing back on “people like me” and then starting at my interests and thinking WHO IS “people like me”.
Then it struck me – “people like me” are hustlers, go-getters, entrepreneurial types, everyday people just trying to make a buck AND those that are looking to build empires. We are typically a bit more adventurous than most and are willing to explore our options. We are the less than 1% of the population that stops talking and starts doing!!
And WE all have diverse interests and passions and I might well be able to interest you in some of my merchandise as a result – but the ONE THING that we ALL have in common is that we are interested in making our SIDEHUSTLE work!
So I changed my tactics – if you take a look at my Instragram feed @plzlook.co you will easily be able to spot the exact point in my journey where I made the switch.
I’m now spending far less of my time on designs and a huge amount of my time on creating content of VALUE to you, my community.
Sure, I’m still posting pics of my merchandise because after all – that’s my actual sidehustle – but I’m no longer spamming my followers with an endless feed that feels like they are just being advertised to. I hope it feels more like an exchange of value and I hope that as a result of that, you’ll take some time out to view the merch I have to offer and if I’m REALLY lucky, you might even be willing to buy some.
Will my approach be successful? Who knows, it certainly can’t hurt! You’ll have to stay tuned for the progress to see how I get on but ……….
Whatever you do, don’t make the same sidehustle mistake that I did!