Savvy Ways to Save your #SideHustle Money
Running my own business at home as made me a bit of a Jill-of-all-trades, discovering skills I never knew I had just to keep things ticking over and the money rolling in. As well as making me a more savvy business woman, growing my business has also greatly developed areas of my personal life – no one drives a bargain like me now!
Here are a few of the nuggets knowledge I’ve accrued in the three years since I started my little cupcake enterprise.
Use Online Freelancers
When I first put my wares on the net, I had even less web development and design skills than I do now (which is still minimal, anyway) so I was completely daunted by the prospect of building a website. As I was on a tight budget, I couldn’t afford to employ the services of a big web design company, so I took the advice of a friend and looked on People Per Hour. This great site contains a lot of freelance professionals across a range of disciplines and I found myself a very skilled and very lovely web developer. He was a first year student (bless him), but did a great job building my website at a much lower price than a big company. We’ve kept in contact over the years and he continues to help when I accidently throw a spanner into the works of the website.
Shop for Couriers
If you’re starting an eCommerce company like I did, one of your biggest expenses will be postage costs. Whether your shipping lots of little packages or just the occasional biggie, keeping postage costs down is vital to ensure your prices remain competitive. Different couriers offer deals for different sized and weighted packages so you can really benefit from using a selection of different services. Rapid Parcel helps me determine which courier service is best for every delivery I make. Also, it protects me against unexpected price increases (which sneakily do happen).
All my friends now expect a special cupcake from me for their birthday or for Christmas, and I believe they’d be upset if I didn’t send them something delicious. When I give these gifts out, I always make sure to include a business card and voucher for whatever deals I have going on at the time. Additionally, I always get them to pose with the sweet treat so I can post it to Instagram and Twitter with accompanying hashtags. It’s amazing how many people just search for #Cupcake on Twitter. I’ve also started sending cupcakes to celebs in return for shout outs, but have so far had a mixed response (I reckon Helen Flanagan’s mum keeps eating all I send to her).
Get an Apprentice
When my little side business grew so much I needed an extra pair of hands, I did the sums and found I was faced with a dilemma: reduce the quality of my cupcakes or increase their price. I didn’t want to do either, so after a little digging I decided to take the plunge on an apprentice. I found an enthusiastic 16 year old fresh from school, David, who was interested in baking. I get 20 hours a week out of him every week at a very affordable rate and even received a tasty £1,500 apprentice grant as part of the Government’s apprenticeship scheme. This money has covered David’s wages for nearly 6 months as we continue to increase our output.
People love the personal touch, especially from smaller businesses. I have included my Skype address on my business card so people can add me as a contact and have a chat to me about cupcakes or anything really. Some of my customers are interested in my techniques and skills, so I let them watch me make up a batch on webcam. This personal touch is something large stores and bakeries will never be able to match.
Do you have advice about saving for your #sidehustle? Let us know! Tweet us @mscareergirl or comment below!