Posted Date: December 20, 2013

31 Things You Could Do Right Now to Grow Your Side Business

The end of the year is almost upon us. It’s time for reflection. Celebration. Charity.

And taking stock of what we *didn’t* accomplish during the previous 12 months.

Alas, we can’t do everything. There is only so much time. (That’s why it’s more valuable than money, which the government can print whenever it wants.) And so, whether deliberately or unconsciously, we prioritize. We do some things, and not others.


If one of the things you didn’t do this year was work on growing your side business (speaking, consulting, coaching, writing, training, babysitting, pipe-fitting, you pick!) here is some uplifting news:

There are still ELEVEN DAYS LEFT in 2013.

Which means you better get started. Below are 31 things you could do right now:

1- Launch your website (with WordPress, a Facebook “business” page, an account)

2- Contact someone you once spoke for / wrote for / babysat for pro bono, explain that you’re starting a side business, and see if they have any paid opportunities

3- Use LinkedIn messages to ask contacts if they can give you referrals

4- Develop a brand brief for your side business — define your target audience and what unique value you offer them, list proof points to support your value, and describe a brand “personality” so your outreach and promotions will reflect your personal brand

5- Write a blog entry that intrigues people about your subject matter. E-mail it to 10 people who could hire you

6- Offer to take a potential client out to lunch for New Year’s, in exchange for sharing some ideas for your business (make sure she gets to pick the restaurant)

7- Find a mentor — ask him to be supportively honest

8- Make some smartphone videos of you speaking off-the-cuff about your topic of expertise. You can do this even if you’re not a speaker. Post them on YouTube and Daily Motion and include keywords your target clients might be searching for

9- Create a survey with SurveyMonkey, Traitwise, or SurveyGizmo about a topic that would be of interest to your target audience and invite people to take it

10- Write up a brief white paper with findings from your survey, with an “ad” for your services at the end. Offer it up to potential clients and partners

11- Use the week between Christmas and New Year’s to write a one-page marketing plan for your side business

12- Set up an e-mail newsletter with MailChimp, Constant Contact, or Pinpointe and deliver some useful resources and ideas to your prospects

13- Print up some inexpensive postcards at VistaPrint promoting your side business. Attend a conference where you know your target prospects will congregate and leave postcards at the bar, on meeting tables, in the business center, and next to couches in the lobby

14- Hire a guy in a gorilla suit to show up at your prospect’s office and sing a song about your unique value

15- Follow a Twitter hashtag that’s relevant to your area of expertise

16- Join a LinkedIn group where professionals search for trainers, speakers, writers, etc. One of my favorites is Need A Speaker/Be A Speaker

17- Look in the mirror. Say, “I will get my side business off the ground in 2014” at least 15-20 times or until you believe it

18- Ask your neighbor, hair dresser, and uncle if they know of anyone who is looking to hire a consultant/trainer/coach

19- Set up an account with a frequent flyer club such as US Airways, Delta, etc. It will get you in the right mood to think about traveling to clients in 2014

20- Sign up for an online training course or webinar to learn how to be an effective coach, speaker, etc. Many of these are inexpensive and you can find them through Google search. Speaking on the Side also lists some good ones

21- Look up the trade association for your target client and go to the “board of directors” tab, where you’ll find several influential people to contact about offering your services

22- Call your first boss (if you are still in touch) and ask him for advice and anyone he thinks you should talk to. Our earliest supervisors often feel a sense of pride toward us and will be flattered to help if they can

23- Use the Google AdWords keyword planner tool to determine what people are searching for that relates to your area of expertise

24- Barter your services with a media company that serves your target audience, such as a trade magazine or conference production company. Offer to do some free work for them in exchange for marketing you to their audience

25- Run a pilot ad campaign on Facebook or LinkedIn. Drive traffic to a free whitepaper or free newsletter registration or free consultation

26- Go through your network and find the most successful person you know who would talk to you. Ask them for 5 minutes on the phone to explain your side business and the type of client you’re targeting. If they like your idea, ask them to refer you to one person they know who you could call on

27- Partner with a fellow speaker/coach/trainer/writer/cowboy to hold a joint webinar where you both show off your capabilities and share ideas

28- Attend a holiday networking party and use it as an opportunity to find out one good business growth idea from each person you meet

29- Make it a goal to add 500 Twitter followers by New Year’s. Use a tool like TweetAdder or ManageFlitter to build your influence strategically

30- Make 10 cold calls on Dec. 23. Sure, some people will be out of the office but those you reach will be bored silly, killing time before their vacations. You may make a friend for life

31- Get organized. Whether it’s setting up a task management system, syncing the calendars on all your devices, downloading an app like Evernote, or cleaning up your desktop, the amount of mental space you’ll clear up in 2014 will drive you to more important activities …like biz dev

And here’s a bonus: you can buy Speaking on the Side for only TEN BUCKS. I’m only doing this through New Year’s and then the discount code will expire. So please use it! Have a great holiday season. -Jeff

Buy the book here:

After you add it to your cart, use this discount code: HKERM4F3

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