If you’re running a side hustle (whether an online business or a brick and mortar shop), we can agree on one thing – smart sales strategies are what keeps your business successful. Strong sales strategies for side hustles are slightly different than those for full-time businesses since side hustlers like you and I have less time to commit.
Either way, selling is hard and it doesn’t come naturally to all of us. When we look at it from a gender perspective, men typically tend to outperform women when it comes to sales.
It’s not because men are better at it…
Why most women are reluctant to sell
I see it firsthand all the time myself. When I’m not side hustling, I’m a corporate recruiter and I’ve always been astonished by the fact that male candidates tend to sell themselves and their skills (even when they’re not qualified for the job) far more than female candidates during job interviews.
You would think that the more senior the candidates are, the more similar their self-selling skills are right?
Even when I interview senior candidates, there’s still a clear difference between the way men and women sell their skills.
Sheryl Sandberg sums it up well in her book Lean In. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it.
As I mentioned here , I don’t agree with everything she’s written, but this quote from her book really resonated with me:
“Men tend to overvalue their strengths. Women continue to undervalue theirs.“
Society applauds men for being tough, assertive and confident. Without being too simplistic, the reaction to women who have the same characteristics is often the opposite.
So as women, we’ve been trained not to sell and this extends to ourselves. We’re careful not to seem like we’re bragging about ourselves. It’s not that we’re not confident or skilled, we’re just more likely to hold ourselves back from expressing it.
As business women with side hustles that are about to take off (or have already flourished), this is one thing those of us who struggle with sales have to shed.
Don’t let the fear of selling bleed into your business or worse, hold you back from starting one
It’s easy to let the fear of selling hold you back from starting a side hustle. After all, if you can’t sell your product or service, your business is caput. Dead before even getting started.
A lot of people (especially introverts) who have the spirit of entrepreneurship and are just about to explode with the need to do something about it shy away from starting a business because they can’t imagine that they’ll ever be good at selling anything.
In some ways, starting off with a side business is a great way to show you that you will actually be great at selling with less risk.
Why sales strategies for side hustles have to be 100 times better
Whether you’re a currently rocking a 9 to 5, a full-time student juggling classes and assignments or a busy stay at home mom, you likely already have a full schedule with limited time to commit to a side hustle — a side hustle that you know will empower you to financial freedom.
It’s hard enough to find time to build and grow your side hustle, but it is possible to create the one-hour a day side hustle.
What this means though is that every single minute has to be used efficiently.
With such limited time, sales strategies for side hustles have to be razor sharp simply because you don’t have the time to use mediocre sales strategies that fall flat… you don’t have time to fall flat.
So, when should you start planning your sales strategy?
You should start on day one.
Remember when I told you that your first step to starting a side hustle should be registering a domain name and creating a website? The very next step should be determining how you will sell your product or services.
This specific approach to creating sales strategies for side hustles is what you’ll use to design your website and even write the content for it.
Three Sales Strategies for Side Hustles that are so easy they’re not obvious
1. Give more to sell more
Finding a side hustle that will actually make money without demanding too much of your time is hard work.
I tried a few side hustles (and failed miserably) before I started my side hustle writing resumes. It took me a while to figure out that the easiest way to create a successful business was to tie in with skills and passions I already had. Already being a recruiter, helping people with their resumes, and ultimately, their careers was natural fit for me.
As a new side hustler, I thought that if I built it, they would come… they didn’t.
I advertised my resume writing services everywhere (online and offline) and told everyone I knew. It seemed obvious that people should invest in their careers, but it’s wasn’t.
I then came across someone who was miserable at work and desperate to find a new job, but hadn’t updated his resume in years. Can you believe even he wasn’t willing to pay to have his resume written?!
Instead, he asked me for something I will always be grateful for.
He asked me to give him a few resume writing tips so he could write his own resume. I was pissed. I had just made, what I thought was, a killer sales spiel and he was asking for free advice!
That night, I wrote him a very quick email with some basic tips and even offered to look over his first draft. He sent it to me a week later and I sent it back covered with suggestions.
And then it happened…
He replied with the words I was waiting hear –“okay, how long would it take you to write my resume?”
I learned a very valuable lesson – give people something useful and it will result in more sales because of these two reasons:
- When someone gives something valuable, others want to give back – It’s called Psychological Reciprocity. The Hare Krishnas were smart enough to use this sales strategy in the 1970’s- they would give unsuspecting airport travelers a rose before asking for a donation and were often successful because people naturally want to give back when they’re given them something.
- You set yourself apart as an expert – Offering people something valuable related to your services gives people a glimpse into how good your product or service is. Customers get to try before they buy so to speak. This is why you always have food demos at Costco, they’re a successful sales strategy and they can be one of the most successful sales strategies for side hustles.
Do you know what the best way is to offer something valuable that shows your expertise and makes people want to give back?
A website… more specifically a blog.
Blogging about your product or services is the best way to promote them and offering something like a free download or tips is something potential customers will appreciate.
2. Don’t sell the product, sell to the ‘solution’
As a side hustler, you’re excited about your product and you want to tell them world how awesome it is.
Your customer doesn’t care about your product. They care about how they’ll solve their problem. If you can help them understand how your product will solve that problem, they will happily give you their money.
I’ve seen the success of this approach firsthand. My first week as a recruiter, my manager gave me a piece of advice that stayed with me – understand your candidate’s frustrations with their current job. This way, if they’re offered your job and there are any objections, you can go back to showing them how this job is different from their current one.
With a side hustle, the advice here is to get to know your customer. You can’t get to them each one (especially before your first conversation), so create a customer profile that you’re targeting and show them how your product/service solves their problem.
Here’s an example:
If you’re side hustle is a mobile nail salon, rather than selling the actual manicures/pedicures, you would focus instead on selling the convenience of not having to travel to a salon.
3. Show them results
Ever wonder why before/after pictures are effective selling campaigns? People see the results. It’s that simple.
In the first sales strategy, you gave your potential customer something valuable and in the second sales strategy, you showed how your product will solve their problem.
Of the three sales strategies for side hustles, this is the one that closes the deal.
In my resume writing side hustle, I offered a downloadable eBook with tips on how to write awesome resumes. At the end, I included before/after pictures (resumes before I re-worked them). Your ‘results’ don’t have to be before/after pictures, they can be testimonials from previous happy customers/clients you’ve had.
If the fear of selling is what ‘s holding you back from starting a side hustle to give yourself the financial freedom to live life the way you want to, you will be pleasantly surprised by how easy these sales strategies for side hustles are to use.
Don’t allow yourself to make any more excuses and putting off starting your side hustle. If you’re struggling with an which side hustles actually make money, join the Her Side Hustle Community and download this free eBook with a researched list of 19 side hustles that are actually profitable.