A survey by The Hartford in 2018 revealed that 1 in 4 Americans have a side business that brings in income alongside their normal job – that’s a quarter of the population.
With more people than ever before starting their own businesses, there’s never been a better time to take the plunge.
Even if you’re a busy mom (or ‘mompreneur’) with barely any time to work on your business, participating in popups, events, and marketplaces are some of the best ways to generate revenue through finding new customers, building your email list, and getting feedback in real time.
And these things are all important. Why? Because when multiple competing priorities demand your attention all the time, you need a side business idea that will give you maximum return on your efforts – and fast.
So why are markets such a good side business idea for busy people?
- They give you flexibility. You take your stock and people either buy or they don’t. You aren’t spending all your time marketing your business on social media, or trying to attract eCommerce sales. You know exactly what time effort you’re putting in, you already have the stock and all you need to do is show up.
- The audience is ready to make a purchase. When marketing a business online, you’re often marketing towards customers at different stages of the buying process. Much of your efforts go towards building an audience, getting their trust and priming them for the sale. But if you choose a market with the right audience for your product or service, then they should already be much more likely to make a purchase once they see the value in what you’re selling.
So how can you turn a popup event or market into a raving success with limited time to make it all work?
Starting a successful side business isn’t hard if you focus on the right things. We spoke to Deepti Chhatwal, founder of Fiza Fashions to ask her exactly what she did to turn the limited time she has to run her business into a profitable and sustainable venture.
Deepti is a regular on the New York markets and events scene with her one-of-a-kind, customizable handmade crafts from her native India. But she’s also a seasoned ‘mompreneur’ with 2 kids and a full-time job in education.
When we spoke to her about how she made Fiza Fashions a success, and the advice she gave centered around 5 key points:
Step 1: Create a brand message that connects with your audience.
Deepti is proud of Fiza Fashions being ‘by women, for women’. The message of empowerment runs deep into her product and messaging – and this is without a doubt a big factor for customers that buy from Fiza Fashions.
So how do you create a great brand message? It all starts with understanding your ideal customer.
To get a better understanding of who they are, take a notebook and pen (or the Notes app on your phone) write down some answers to the following questions:
- Who is my ideal customer? What do they do, how old are they, what stage are they at in their lives?
- What problems are they having? What do they struggle with?
- How do they want to feel? Is there anything stopping them?
- How can my products meet their needs or solve their problems?
Once you know everything about your ideal customer, you can start to weave messaging that resonates with them into your social media, website, blogs, and other marketing materials.
Step 2: Position your business correctly.
When Deepti came over from India, she realized that people pay thousands in NYC to get items customized. In India however, there’s an abundance of highly skilled artisans who can customize and hand-make items, too. Knowing this, Deepti has positioned herself as a customized service.
When customers visit her at the market, they know they’re getting high-quality custom made goods that support a family or community in India that really needs the help.
Step 3: Make your customers feel good.
Invite them to try things on, talk to them, get them to trust you. Markets allow you to build your tribe and build trust – you’ll reach a point where people trust you and contact you directly. It brings down the barriers and provides supplementary income for an eCommerce business.
Step 4: Use social media to supplement your market activity.
Deepti will be posting to social media exactly where she is and what she’s doing. She knows that even if you’re not liking her posts, she’s getting seen and remembered.
She suggests using it to share images of your stock but also sharing what you’re up to – showing footage from the markets, events, and popups you’re participating in will encourage your audience to join you.
When your audience buys from you, encourage them to share their purchases with special hashtags or mentions of your company – it’s a great way to get more exposure on social media without doing the posting yourself.
Step 5: Remember – your story is empowering!
Your story can be a part of your success – if you let it. Deepti came to New York with a Master’s degree – but found herself having to start all over again. She brought what she loved about India with her and is now using it to empower several groups of women – she’s empowering herself, empowering her customers and empowering the women in India who create her designs and products.
So what’s your story? Why did you start your business, and why did you choose what you do? Could your story be empowering for others?
The wrap up
You don’t necessarily need loads of time or money to start a successful side business. Participating in popups, markets, or events over the weekends means that you can bring your products or services straight to an audience who are ready to buy.
Like Deepti, even if you have several other things to juggle – selling at a popup means you can do lots of things to make money and build your brand all at the same time. You can interact with customers and build a loyal base, but you can also use your story, your journey, and your setup as social media content to build your brand and credibility around your side business.