I was a mom to two little girls when I finally decided to launch my “side hustle” and explore building a business of my own, or at least see what kind of income I could bring in working from home for myself. My youngest daughter was born in December 2015 and I had just returned to my 9 to 5 job in an office doing things that I could absolutely be doing from home, however that job wouldn’t allow it. Any of this sounding familiar?
I spent most of May and June figuring out what I even WANTED to offer to clients. I realized I didn’t have to do #AllTheThings I had been doing in my previous marketing positions, I could really just focus on an area I felt I was good at and that I knew I could help other business owners with. I decided to eliminate all of the marketing services EXCEPT for Social Media Management and Strategy.
During the month of June I spent that time building the pieces of my business I needed to get in place (at least the parts I could figure out based on business coaches I was following on social media and more specifically, in Facebook groups) so that I was in a good place to open my doors and take on my first clients.
In July, 2016 I launched Pierce Social. My goal was to quit my 9 to 5 job and work for myself by my 30th birthday in February 2017. I actually ended up quitting sooner and had no choice but to hand in my notice at my job in October 2016, only 90 days later!! I gave them 4 weeks notice so I didn’t leave until the first week of November, but I did it for them, not for me. It was an amazing feeling. All of the anxiety in me told me to hold onto my job longer but I had already replaced my income and was working two fulltime jobs at that point, something had to give!
So how did I do it?
What brought in the clients so quickly? What was the secret sauce? How did I know it was time to quit my 9 to 5? Here are the things I think contributed THE MOST to quitting my job in 90 days and how I did it!
For me the idea of freelancing or building an agency felt like a lot of moving pieces to manage. Eliminating all of the other marketing services (blogging, email marketing, SEO etc) I was able to build packages focused on just one area of marketing, social media. I could look at just the parts that business owners needed help with when it came to social media and REALLY SHINE instead of feeling like I was all over the place. I was able to create packages that told my clients what they needed even when they didn’t know what they needed.
Make a Budget
One of the most important parts for me when it came to quitting my 9 to 5 was to figure out what I needed to make each month from my clients to replace what I took home in a paycheck. I had to account for new things like taxes, subscriptions for tools I needed to manage social media, graphics, contracts, clients, and lots more.
I went to my local Small Business Development Center and worked with them to create a super simple budget that let me figure out how much I needed to make in order to be able to pay myself and cover some minimum expenses (don’t forget to set aside something to market your business with, even $50/mo!). This was THE MOST HELPFUL thing I think I did when launching my business. It gave me a goal to hit. Mine ended up being about $3,500 per month to be able to quit my fulltime job. It was doable, it was realistic, and it gave me something to focus on.
Systems & Automation
When I first began I knew I wanted to get things set up in a way that would allow me to grow as easily as possible. I knew I needed to have repeatable systems for how I would interact with potential clients, what steps came next, and how to communicate it all with my new clients. This part has taken time to develop but going into my business knowing how important it is was so helpful. It allowed me to implement systems and automate as much as I knew how to as I went. I have built in more systems and automated more parts of my business as I’ve learned how to but I can’t emphasize how important this part is. If you plan to bring on Virtual Assistants or team members you will need to train them. Having systems makes teaching someone how to do something so much easier.
I personally started with Trello & Dubsado as my two main tools for systems and automation. Trello allowed me to organize all of my tasks (I even created a course about it with my Trello board!) and then I created a board to use with each new client. It served as a dashboard of information and a place to share upcoming events and things that needed to be shared on social media.
Dubsado is a client management tool that lets you automate and organize SO MANY THINGS, including your contracts, questionnaires, inquires and invoicing. It can feel overwhelming but it has so much great functionality and it allowed me to set up a contact form on my website that people could use when they needed services and they would recieve an automated response with a link to schedule a call with me. So all I had to do was show up to the call, no other back-and-forth required! I use ot for my contracts and then questionnaires to gather information on new clients. It’s a dream!
Networking & Facebook Groups
I love working with small business owners and other female entrepreneurs. I found myself in some great Facebook groups full of other women with businesses in all stages. It was invaluable for so many reasons. Not only did I learn so much from these communities and get to show off my own expertise by answering questions and helping when I could, but I got so many clients from these groups! When I began participating in the groups by just answering questions and supporting other business owners I began to get tagged in any post someone made looking for social media help. The recommendations began coming in and I had my first client started in August 2016! I see the same thing happening now in our Becoming a Social Media Manager Facebook group and it makes me so happy!
I also attended local entrepreneur networking events and meetups. Continuing to network locally also made me the person so many began to recommend anytime someone mentioned needing social media help. Bring some business cards and introduce yourself!
When I first started making money in my business I reinvested 80% of it because I was still working my fulltime job so I didn’t “NEED” the money (I did but not to live at the time). So while I was still working and able to use the money I earned for my business I invested in courses and coaching. I joined a 6 week group program that helped me focus on specific tasks, get support, and stay accountable. It wasn’t cheap but I was able to make payments which broke it up. I also paid for some in person workshops and a few courses, most all of them business focused, not just focused on social media itself. I needed to learn how to build a business, not just manage social media.
I recommend investing in a program or a course to start that you feel will give you lots of value or tie you to a community that can support you. It’s been invaluable! If you are interested in learning about how to work with me to build your business you can learn more about my coaching programs and courses here!
I can’t wait to see what you build!