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7 08, 2018

THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO TURN YOUR HOBBY INTO A BUSINESS

By |2018-08-10T15:49:58-05:00August 7th, 2018|Categories: Blog, Building a Brand, Competitive Advantage, Customer Service, general|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

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More and more, we see a phenomenon expanding in the economy: skilled workers opting to stay at home and choosing to do contractual jobs over the internet. They take on employers based on task-specific contracts, going through several employees one after another. Sometimes, they even juggle several employees at once. They hand in excellent work, the arrangement expires, and they go on to the next contract.

This is the gig economy.

If making, hacking, and creating on the side isn’t enough for you, you may be thinking of taking your hobby legit. However, turning a hobby into a business isn’t just a matter of scaling up. Whether you’re selling creations, ideas, or services, here are three things you need to cut it in the business world.

A Platform
It doesn’t matter how awesome your products or services are if you don’t have a way to sell them. To monetize your hobby, you need a way to get the word out.

One option is selling through established marketplaces, including Etsy and Tindie. These platforms offer the benefit of already existing, so all you have to do is upload your information and list your items. However, with so many makers, crafters and DIYers using these marketplaces, it can be hard to stand out and find customers.

If you’re serious about your business, create an e-commerce website to list your wares. You can drive traffic and gain customers by marketing your business through social media, attending Maker Faires, and networking with your local maker community. Traditional marketing channels not doing it for you? Read Neil Patel’s guide to growth hacking for creative ways to expand your business.

Collaboration
Working from home has its limits. While a home office is great for focusing and cranking out work, it’s not the most creative environment. For exposure to new technologies and fresh ideas, seek a workspace you share with other makers.

Not only does co-working offices and maker spaces provide a place to work, but also these collaborative workspaces host events where you can learn, socialize and hear from leaders in the field. Make the right connection at a networking event and you can land yourself a partner for your newest project or an investor with a passion for your work. Collaborative workspaces expand your social capital and provide access to tools and technology that you might not be able to afford on your own.

To find a maker space in your area, check out the directory at Make.

Financial Savvy
The difference between a hobby and a business isn’t in how much time you commit to the pursuit. Rather, it’s all about how you handle the finances.

If you’re considered a business by the IRS, your business expenses are fully deductible. However, businesses have to check a few boxes, such as keeping financial records, paying estimated taxes and generating profit. You can learn more about the business-hobby distinction at The Simple Dollar.

You’ll need to keep financial records such as business expenses and income, receipts, invoices and inventory logs. How you maintain these records is up to you. While many small-business owners turn to software solutions like QuickBooks, when you’re first starting out, basic spreadsheets may be sufficient. However, some tech solutions are worth the effort.

Two apps that every new freelancer, side-gigger, or small-business owner should have in their pocket are a receipt-tracking app, and an invoicing app. A receipt app collects receipts in one place using pictures, so you’re not sorting through stacks of faded, crumpled receipts at tax time. An invoice app lets you send invoices right from your phone, so you can keep your business running on the go. More importantly, it makes it easy to see which invoices are outstanding so you don’t forget to get paid!

Turning a hobby into a successful enterprise is every maker’s dream. However, running a successful business requires more than passion and a great idea. If you want to see your dreams come to fruition, you need to pay just as much attention to these behind-the-scenes details as you do to the main attraction.

Article by Lucy Reed, lucy_reed@gigmine.co>The Gig Mine, http://gigmine.co/.

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22 03, 2015

Three ways to Build Your Relationships, One Customer at a Time

By |2017-03-03T12:06:53-05:00March 22nd, 2015|Categories: Blog, Building relationships, Competitive Advantage, Customer Experience, Customer Retention Strategies, Customer Service, Reaching the Consumer|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

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Wellness Center

Wellness Center

The world has changed more than we know. I went to my favorite supermarket and saw this sign in front. More businesses are wearing “new hats” so they can compete. Hannaford also has a wellness center that is part of CHPHP and the YMCA in East Greenbush. I still think that’s a slam dunk. I met someone involved in this association, and she said this brings exercise and wellness to people who might not be able to afford the gym. It’s free, and the programs can compete with any of the gyms in town.  They’re trying to build relationships with their customers.

It’s time to think creatively. Many of you are holding events in your stores to bring in customers. Your business should be considered your home and having an event says, “Welcome. “I hear people saying but we didn’t do any business, and we didn’t have many people show up. This is not about doing business, but it’s about building relationships. If you didn’t get many people that you don’t know how to throw a party. If you want people to come you’ve got to tell them why they should come, tell them again, and then go pick them up! I know you’re saying it’s too much work, but building relationships is work. It means showing an interest in someone else and putting your own agenda on the “back burner” as they say.

I remember when we had an event in our store for contractors. Our biggest contractor said he didn’t want to drive the 40 miles to come to the party—I didn’t blame him. I said a car just left and would be there to pick him up at six! He said he was so embarrassed, but he showed up.

Sometimes it just means paying attention. Today in Pilate’s class a woman came up to me to talk about the class. She was very out of shape and said she wanted to talk with me about a weight-loss program I had mentioned. I knew the class would be hard for her, but I suggested her not worry and do what she could. I told the instructor about her who was kind enough to give her a little extra attention without embarrassing her. She felt special and signed up for the weight-loss program after class. I was so glad I took the time to talk with her; I knew she was serious.

  • Show that you care about others. Instead of waiting for people to talk with you, reach out. What do you have to lose?
  • Be genuinely helpful to others. That doesn’t mean doing it for them, it means noticing when someone needs you.
  • Just listen to someone. Sometimes just listening, without providing a solution can be very comforting.

 

Summer is around the corner; what’s next?

 

Lisbeth had been helping businesses build relationships with their customers for the last 20 years. Need some new ideas?

Lisbeth can be contacted at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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2 02, 2015

Nike Offers Personal Training in Store

By |2017-03-03T12:06:53-05:00February 2nd, 2015|Categories: Advertising, Blog, Competitive Advantage, Customer Service, Motivation, Reaching the Consumer|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

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Run, Train, Live

Run, Train, Live

I just read this article and thought I should share it with you. Why has it taken  so long for Nike, or anyone else, to add this concept. “It’s called, try it and buy it.” Notice the new slogan: Run, Train, Live.

I know everyone thought JC Penney was crazy when the offered Yoga in their stores but the concept was solid. It was the execution that was a little off base. This article is from Chain Store Age and thought it was worth the space on my blog.

New YorkFitness buffs can shop and also get in a workout at Nike’s new women’s store at Fashion Island, in Newport Beach, California. The 6,000-sq-ft. plus space combines the best of the company’s women’s products with an in-store fitness studio. The glass- and wood-paneled studio, the first for Nike in a U.S. retail location, features free group or personal fitness training sessions. It also enable customers to try out training and running footwear and apparel. The store offers an array of specialized services, weekly programming and special events. In-store services include run analysis, bra fitting, footwear trials and pant hemming. Programming includes the Nike+ Run Club, Nike+ Training Club and yoga classes. “Our women’s business has never been stronger and this new store is the ultimate expression of our commitment to women who run, train and live the look of sport and fitness throughout their day,” stated Amy Montagne, VP, general manager of Nike Women. I suggest that businesses hold monthly events for their customers but few rarely do. What better way then to show your customer you care then sharing something special with them? Nike is building communities with their customers.

February Heart Month

February Heart Month

February is Heart Month which offers so many ways to engage your customers. It’s about building a competitive advantage PAST your products. It takes more than products to build a competitive advantage. Products are everywhere; the  key is to present your products in an atmosphere that makes them interesting. This is what Nike is doing. Here are three  ideas:

  1. Ask yourself, how many times in my customer’s lifetime will they need my products? If you’re selling homes, it may be very few. Maybe that’s the reason why realtors forget who you are after the sale. If you’re good at what you do, why wouldn’t your customer refer you to someone else? 90% of your business is now referrals; it’s up from 80% two years ago!
  2. Talk with your customers,  what charities do they support and ask if you can help with a fund raiser. This is a great opportunity to bring in other vendors and access their data bases. If your vendors can bring in new customers to see your business, you’ve won the game. Raising money for a charity will also help you be remembered.
  3. This is the age of transparency: don’t worry about how silly or ridiculous your event is. Who knows it might turn into a reality show!
  4. If you need information on how to run and event; let me know and I’ll send you a copy of my book, “50 Events you can Hold to Bring in More Customers.”

I  would  love you to tell me about your event. Lisbeth Calandrino has been a Coach-sultant for the past 20 years helping businesses engage their employees and building strategies to impact their bottom line. Lisbeth lives in Historic Hudson Park in Albany, New York with her cat Rainyday. When not training, she can be found at the gym. Reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.   

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28 12, 2014

Want to Get Noticed? Get a Job in Target

By |2017-03-03T12:06:54-05:00December 28th, 2014|Categories: Blog, Building a Brand, Change, Competitive Advantage, Entrepreneurs, Motivation, Success|Tags: , , |2 Comments

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Whether you’re in the market to sell yourself or your business you will have to build your brand. Your brand is what makes you unique—it’s what makes you.

Mark Zuckerberg in his "hoodie."

Mark Zuckerberg in his “hoodie.”

When I mention “hoodie” who do you think of? Could it be Mark Zuckerberg? He took hoodie to another level.

Don't forget clean underwear.

Don’t forget clean underwear.

My mom used to say, “Your reputation is all you have.” In those days it means a “good” reputation. These days I’m not sure if it has to be good. You just need a reputation!

Alex from Target,  no longer unknown.

Alex from Target, no longer unknown.

Building your brand isn’t easy. There’s lots of competition and everyday there’s a new unknown who’s become famous.  Last week, Alex was a 16 year old cashier at Target, overnight he became a celebrity with 300,000 followers on Twitter. Someone snapped a photo of him, and it went viral. He says he still doesn’t ’ know what has happened but there’s the buzz that it was a PR stunt from Target. It doesn’t matter, 30 days ago he was an unknown, know he is being represented by Shahidi, who is guiding him on next steps. We now have a brand called “Alex.” Alex was wearing a red Target shirt; I don’t think it was the shirt that made him famous. It was probably his innocent good looks. Here’re some ideas for building your own brand.

No matter what you do, you need your own personal brand to be remembered. If you’re in the sales business, you need customers to remember who you are. I remember I had a salesperson that was known as “the really tall, good looking salesperson.” He was 6 feet tall and definitely good looking. It got him lots of repeat business.

Here are some ideas for building your brand.