Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

Is it time to turn your side hustle into a business?

These days, lots of people have a side hustle to help them earn extra income, develop new skills, become a small business owner and quit their day job. Lots of them connect with a SCORE mentor to help them transition their side hustle into a full time business. Here are some of the steps they often need to take. 

Adopt the right mindset 

First, you’ll need to adopt a growth mindset. A growth mindset says that people constantly change, develop, and learn as they work through obstacles. 

When you become a business owner, you will face many challenges… with customers, employees, contractors and suppliers. You will have to handle marketing, sales, financial, taxes, and more. 

A growth mindset will help you navigate these challenges and focus on reaching your goals. 

Make sure your portfolio is strong 

Building a solid portfolio will help you attract new clients or customers. You will need to register a website domain, create a website with a professional theme, and add 2-5 portfolio pieces. For each piece, include a short description explaining the processes and skills you used. 

When choosing portfolio pieces to feature, be sure to select work that demonstrates your strengths and the diversity of your skills. 

Take steps to scale 

As you scale your side hustle into a business, your workload will increase. To manage your work efficiently, you should invest in tools to automate repetitive tasks. For example:

  • Scheduling apps like Trello, AirTable, ClickUp, or Asana
  • Accounting software like Quicken or Wave
  • Payment processing software like PayPal, Payoneer, or TransferWise
  • Grammar-checking apps like Writer.com and Grammarly.com

You could also use business plan software to create a long-term plan to guide your side hustle’s growth. Effective business plans include a financial plan, competitive analysis, market analysis, goals, sales and marketing plans.

Seek financing

If you are hiring employees, investing in software, starting a retail location, or buying inventory for your business, you may have to seek financing. 

Financing gives you the cash you need to invest in solutions that will increase your income long-term. 

There are many ways to seek financing, including:

  • Seeking investment from friends, family, and coworkers
  • Applying for a Small Business Administration loan
  • Starting an online crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo or GoFundMe
  • Acquiring a bridge loan
  • Applying for local, state, or federal government grants

Establish your business. 

You will need to establish an official presence for your company by:

  • Open a business bank account 
  • Register your business with your city, state and Feds.
  • Filing for a Tax ID Number (TIN)

You must establish an official presence online. Research shows that 68% of American consumers research a business on search engines before purchasing anything. To establish your digital presence, be sure to:

  • Add your business to Google My Business
  • Optimize your website with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), so it ranks well in search engines 
  • Start Yelp and Yellow Pages accounts 
  • Start a Business Facebook page 

Start actively marketing your business

As investing in digital marketing for your business can provide a return-on-investment (ROI) between 10% and 43% according to Statista.com, it’s a great way to increase your revenue. There are many ways to market your business, including:

  • Start a blog 
  • Run a social media ad campaign 
  • Invest in Google advertising 
  • Set up Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn profiles for your business
  • Create a podcast 
  • Invest in email marketing 
  • Host webinars 

You don’t have to do all of these things at once. Just pick the ones that make the most sense and add them to your to-do list. To get the most out of your marketing, you can monitor your success with Google Analytics. 

Focus on your customers 

Making sure that your customers are happy is a great way to scale your business. 

To learn what your people want or need, be sure to have discussions with customers or potential customers. Find out what benefits your products or services provide from their perspective. 

Work hard to create a customer-centric culture. 

Get the help you need

As you’re developing your new business, reach out to SCORE to connect with a mentor. SCORE mentors can guide you and provide feedback. With expertise in all aspects of starting and growing a small business, SCORE mentoring is a valuable (and free) resource that can help you succeed.

Ask SCORE: How can I get more customers? 

By Ken Sethney, Kitsap SCORE 

For many years, my business efforts were focused on helping client companies market their products and services. I was an advertising agency creative director for five years. On day one, there were just two of us. Five years later, we had a lot of clients and a team of 36. 

Our sales and marketing efforts worked. When the owner closed the agency for medical reasons, I created a virtual ad agency. Six months later I had seven clients, all on the list of the largest companies headquartered in Orange County, CA. That was my goal, and I reached it. 

Working with companies that were large and small, I learned many things. One of the most important was that entrepreneurs need a bullet-point marketing plan. They need to focus some of their energy on finding new customers and the rest on delivering excellent products and services. 

Short answers to the following questions will give you an excellent marketing plan.

Tips for Driving Small Business Success with Strengths-Based Leadership

The philosophies surrounding business leadership practices have changed dramatically over the past several decades. Years ago, it was common for a single owner to call the shots and dictate orders to his or her employees. Today, the research is undeniable, showing that the most successful companies are the ones with leaders who focus on taking care of the team so the team can take care of the business.

Small business ownership is less about running a company and more about leading a team.

One of today’s most respected business leadership approaches comes from a landmark study on leadership strengths that sought to better understand how successful business leaders lead. Tom Rath and Barry Conchie’s international bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0 distills 30-years of their research on strengths-based leadership into one of the most thorough accounts of what it takes to successfully lead an organization.

StrengthsFinder 2.0 reveals the study’s discovery of three keys to effective leadership: knowing your strengths and investing in others’ strengths, getting people with the right strengths on your team, and understanding and meeting a set of basic needs of those who look to you for leadership. Continue reading

WA State Biz Fair Is Going Virtual 202

This year the event is VIRTUAL for the first time!

Join hundreds of experts and thousands of small business owners and managers from home – or anywhere.

MEET with mentors, advisors, trainers, educators, fellow small business owners, and entrepreneurs. 

LEARN from savvy business experts who will share their knowledge and real-life experiences. 

CONNECT with federal, state and local government agencies to find out about starting a business or contract opportunities. 

FIND OUT how non-profit organizations can help you with funding, legal support, and more. 

NETWORK with Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Authorities and statewide Business Associations. 

CHECK OUT the Digital Marketplace for products and services to help you do business.

NO COST TO ATTEND! – NONE – NADA – ZIP

For more information go to www.bizfair.org        Questions? Email info@bizfair.org

 If you would like to register to attend the 24th Annual
Washington State Small Business Fair, use this link. Register Here

Tips on Successfully Working Remotely With Your Employees

The power of technology has made it possible to do business not only across town, but across the world. Who knows — your small business might not even have an office, complete with rent, a mail slot and utility bills. If your small business specializes in services or digital products, you may never even meet your employees in person!

Teams who work remotely have the flexibility to do great work regardless of location, time zone or method of transportation. Thanks to online collaboration tools and mobile devices, working remotely is just as routine now as using a fax machine was 15 years ago. Continue reading

Top 10 bookkeeping mistakes by small businesses.

couple working on finances

From one-person entities to Fortune 500 companies, no business can escape the dreaded task of bookkeeping. While it’s definitely not one of the more glamorous parts of the job, bookkeeping is at the heart of small business success, which means errors can be crippling.

To avoid the financial headaches that come with bookkeeping mismanagement, it’s important first to be aware of the pitfalls that can ensnare you. Continue reading

Yes, you can manage your time more effectively.

With so many responsibilities as a business owner, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and fall short on what you want to accomplish. If you’re a new business owner who formerly worked for someone else, you may have discovered that managing time has become more challenging. 

That’s natural. After all, you’ve gone from having your work schedule and priorities set for you to needing to prioritize every project and task related to running your business. Time management doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it’s an essential skill that can be developed with some attention and effort.  Continue reading

Business Help for Veterans from Facebook and SCORE.

Welcome Veterans!

We are proud to partner with Facebook to help veterans, military members and their families start and grow their own small businesses. Learn more, and find your mentor today.

How Can SCORE Help Veteran Entrepreneurs?

SCORE is the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. Our 10,000 mentors can meet with you face-to-face in over 300 chapters, through video chat or via email. Continue reading

The Megaphone of Main Street: Startups, Fall 2019

The first year of operations is a critical time for any small business, with decisions made about market focus, finding financing and hiring a team that will have a significant impact on the business’s success or failure in the future.

SCORE’s fall 2019 “Megaphone of Main Street” data report focuses on the challenges facing startups, which are companies in operation for less than one year.

This latest installment of the Megaphone of Main Street is the fourth in a data report series that presents a snapshot of the current American small business landscape. This particular report delves into the world of startup entrepreneurship, sourcing both qualitative and quantitative data directly from a diverse group of roughly 1,000 startup small business owners across the nation. Continue reading