Have you ever seen the episode of The Office where Michael and Pam are starting the Michael Scott Paper Company? They’ve both quit their jobs at Dunder Mifflin and Pam shows up the next morning to Michael’s condo to start their new business. While she’s ready to get to work, Michael (as usual) seems a bit distracted. It turns out that he’s panicking a little bit about starting his own business and is hung up on making breakfast before they get started. That’s when Pam looks over and sees that Michael’s made a GIANT stack of french toast for the two of them – and didn’t seem to be slowing down.
Have you ever wanted to start your own blog or business or side hustle but become fixated on and distracted by this one thing that has to be perfect first? Maybe it’s the name. Maybe it’s your finances. Maybe you’re just waiting for inspiration to strike. What is your “french toast” when it comes to launching?
free download: business offering brainstorm
So, as you might imagine, Pam steps up and tells Michael, “when I feel overwhelmed, something I like to do is make a list. Make a list of things to do and then start with the easy stuff.” So, they check off eating breakfast, and move on with their day.
As I was watching it this clip, I was laughing because it so accurately captured the overwhelming feeling people have when they have an idea and are trying to figure out how to turn that idea into a company. There are countless things that need to be done and it can be tough to figure out where to even start.
In the same scene, Pam says what’s probably the most important advice for a new small business owner:
“We need to come up with one realistic thing that we could do today.”
If you’ve had an idea in the back of your mind for months (or even years) but never had a plan to make it reality, the time is now. Here’s your list. This weekend plan will help you launch your side hustle or blog in just three days if you remember this: Done is better than perfect. You can refine it later, the important thing is to take action.
So, here we go…
It’s Friday afternoon, you get home from work and are brain-dead. It’s the perfect excuse to push this off until tomorrow, but don’t do it! Take an hour or two Friday night to brainstorm and lay the groundwork that will enable you to take big strides forward the rest of the weekend. Namely, what do you want to create and who do you want to create it for?
(and yes, these can be done with a glass of wine – it is Friday, after all)
1. Brainstorm Your Potential Products and Services
What is it that you want to create, teach, curate, or connect? What strengths and passions do you have that you want to share? Start writing down everything that you have to offer – without a filter. Use this worksheet as your guide!
2. Identify Your Ideal Client
Consider who you want to work with. Who is going to be interested in your content and offerings? Sometimes it helps to have an actual person in mind that is the “persona” of who you’re going to be targeting. For example, I have several friends who have side hustles and whenever I am creating content or refining my services, I always think of them and it helps clarify my message.
This client persona worksheet will help you gather your ideas and put together a full picture of your ideal audience.
Once you have an idea of your ideal client and how you’ll serve them, you can start to see your business take shape. Take another pass at your business offering brainstorm and refine the products and services that your ideal client will be most interested in.
Alright, you wake up Saturday morning energized and ready to take on the day. Today is the day where you truly start to build your business’ identity.
1. Determine Your Business Name
Resist the urge to research similar businesses and use their names as a model as much as you can. It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of distractions once you start surfing the internet for business name ideas. I’ve found that it’s helpful to create a word cloud of words that describe your business, clients, emotions, etc. to kickstart the brainstorming process. How do you want to make clients and followers feel? Is there a special word or symbol that is meaningful to you?
Once you have a list of potentials options, go back through and see which ones feel right. Then, check domain availability, any trademark issues, and social media profiles to see what is available!
2. Develop a Brand that Appeals to Your Ideal Client
Ok, you’ve got your business name figured out. Check that off the list! Of course, branding is much more than your name. You’re gonna need a logo, color scheme, communication style, etc. Don’t panic! At the start, simpler is better. Do not, I repeat, do not get hung up on creating the perfect brand before you launch. Remember, done is better than perfect. Take an afternoon to knock it out and then move on.
The branding module of my Side Hustle Starter Kit is available for free and will walk you through everything you need (including tools and tips) to create a brand that appeals to your ideal client and serves as a great representation of you and your new business(!)
Creating your brand can be draining, so find a little motivation when you wake up on Sunday morning to power through the day and truly launch your new business. I think it’s helpful to put a little bit of pressure on yourself by telling a few people that you’re planning to have everything done this weekend so that you have some accountability to stay focused.
1. Set Pricing + Goals
Use Sunday morning as a planning session for your business and begin to set pricing and goals that will help you move forward. I’m not necessarily talking about goals for the year, but start by outlining what you want to achieve in the next 30 days. Check out this goal setting guide for some prompts that will help you get started.
Then, it’s time to talk pricing. Again, they don’t have to be set in stone, but lay out ranges for your products and services that make sense based on your revenue goals and cost of doing business. If you need some help with the math (don’t we all?), check out this pricing calculator.
2. Create Your Online Presence
Don’t worry, you don’t have to build your whole website in an afternoon, but how about putting together a Facebook page with your new brand? Can you create a landing page that captures email addresses until you have time to build your full site? Can you set up your Instagram account? The answer is yes.
I recommend buying the domain name that corresponds with your business name and setting up a simple landing page that links to your social media accounts and lets people submit their email address to “stay up to date” with your new launch.
I know, It’s a sacrifice to give up a precious weekend of free time to launch your side hustle but it’s so worth it to feel that wave of relief come over you once it’s done. After all, this has probably been weighing on your mind for months! Business ownership is a marathon, but sometimes you have to start with a little sprint to build your momentum.
Pour yourself a glass of wine to celebrate and toast your new business! The work is just beginning.