School of Side Hustle Lesson 3: Don't Just Build a Website. Build a Business.

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Hustle.

It’s a word that gets tossed around a lot. It’s part of what our Create & Cultivate x Weebly School of Side Hustle is about. And we see you. Working on your passion projects. Juggling a corporate career and your jewelry line.

Or if you’re Kelsey Kelley, founder of KKelly Designs, you’re juggling a 9-5 and your calligraphy biz. “I started KKelly Designs 3 years ago this month,” she shares. “My husband is very supportive of my side hustle and is my #1 encourager when things get hard. I also have a full time day job. I work in a mortgage office 9-5 every week day.”

As someone who has always loved, “drawing, painting, and doodling,” Kelsey says KKelly Designs happened out of a combination of two things: “my talent in art, and being too broke to afford gifts for people.” The struggle is real.

“I started addressing friend's wedding envelopes and painting their houses or pets as wedding/birthday gifts. We really didn't have ‘gifting’ in our budget when we got married,” she says of her time as a newlywed. “We were trying to pay off our student loans as fast as possible. Thankfully the additional income from KKelly Designs allowed us to pay off our loans this March - 6 years ahead of schedule!”

Which is nothing short of amazing. And that brings us to a critical turning point in our Create & Cultivate x Weebly School of Side Hustle series. You shouldn’t simply build a website, you should build a business.

Here’s why and how:

Watch: Lesson 3 Don't Just Build a Website. Build a Business

For Kelsey, KKelly Designs is built upon passion, sure, but she’s constantly learning ways to build her biz and make it better. “The hustle and the determination will set you apart,” she says. “I also believe investing in yourself and in your skill-set is huge. Whether it be by reading a book about your craft, attending a workshop/seminar or just investing time to watch YouTube tutorials! Keep pushing yourself to grow in your craft.”

Beyond growing your craft there’s also some starter business know-how that will help you expand into profitability, and perhaps, take the side-hustle and turn it into a full-time operation.

1. WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN

This is vital first step if you want the business to become something more than a side-hustle. Weebly has some amazing resources for you to checkout on how to write a business plan.  Familiarize yourself with the basics below and then head to their blog where they explore the concept in more depth.

  • The first section is about articulating your business concept.  This is where you explore your industry, your business structure, your product or service, and your plan for bringing in revenue.

  • The second section is about understanding your marketplace. This is where you describe potential customers and their buying habits. This section will describe and explore your marketing plan versus the competition.

  • The last section is about detailing your finances, where you outline your cash flow and income statements, financial projections, and investor details.

2. MONTHLY FINANCE REPORT

You can’t spend money and pretend it’s not happening. This is not your bank account during college years where your overdrawing your account was a monthly occurrence. That’s no way to run a profitable business.

Don’t let a month go by where you don’t examine your monthly spending. From there you can decide what sacrifices you have to make in variable expenses to meet your goal.

Maybe you’re spending too much on shipping. Perhaps you aren’t selling as much as you initially projected. Weebly can help with this. By using the tools already built into a Weebly sites functionality you can save money.

For example, Weebly can help you rescue a sale with an automatic abandoned cart email. Did you know that more than 69% of online carts are abandoned by shoppers? Use Weebly's abandoned cart emails to send an automated message to customers who drop out of checkout after a certain period of time. Weebly can also help you understand why users aren’t purchasing. Weebly Performance Plans allow you to track lost carts to better understand why shoppers aren't making purchases. Knowing this info just might help you close the sale, which, will ultimately shift those monthly finance reports into the green.

3. P&L SHEET 101

There are no guarantees-- that’s the name of business game since you’ve been tracking your monthly finances, you know this and you have an idea of your financial standing. However, you need to be able to track it all. What you’re spending money on. Where you’re not recouping your costs. From there you can adjust your spending for the following accordingly, and ideally, continue to turn a profit.

A Profit and Loss (P & L) statement measures a company's sales and expenses during a specified period of time, traditionally over the course of a fiscal year. The function of a P & L statement is to total all sources of revenue and subtract all expenses related to the revenue. It shows a company's financial progress during the time period being examined.

Kelsey, is confident in her choice with Weebly. “Weebly has been and still is so great for my business. It's affordable, convenient and super easy to navigate from a business owner's perspective and from the customers perspective. Someone once told me that if your website can pass the ‘mom test’ then you've got a good website.”

i.e. if mom or grandma can understand how to check out with no further instruction, it’s a winner. “Weebly,” Kelsey says, “passed the ‘mom test.’”

If your website can pass the ‘mom test’ then you've got a good website.

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And if you’re thinking about the basics of time-value-money, Weebly allowed Kelsey to focus more on her art and “less time creating invoices and going back and forth with the customer about basic information about their orders.” This matters because your time as entrepreneurs is valuable. “I finally had one place where all of my information was gathered and where people could place their orders,” says Kelsey.

And she is committed. “A common trend between many successful side hustlers turned full-time business owners was their refusal to quit,” says the hustler. They don’t give up. “That has stuck with me through the times when it is hard and I feel like I am at a wall.” She relies on her ability to “just keep going forward and get back up when you get knocked down.”

Keep going forward and get back up when you get knocked down.

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Kelsey is at the point where she could focus full time on KKelly Designs. “But,” she says, “I don’t want to be overconfident and go belly up. My end goal is to build a business that allows me to confidently work from home by the time we are ready for a family.”

That’s right. As this Lesson states, you need to build a business-- not just a website. “Nights are hard sometimes,” she says of her tendency to burn the midnight oil for KKelly Designs, “but, they are so rewarding because I can see my end goal in the distance.”

Have more questions, drop us a line below and we’ll get them answered!

Be sure to look back at Lesson One: Building a Brand Online, Lesson Two: From Concept to Commerce, and be sure to check in for Lesson 4: From Market, to Marketing!

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