The Entrepreneur Forum | Startups | Entrepreneurship | Starting a Business | Motivation | Success

EXECUTION Growing a local service business (side hustle)

rybanez

Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jul 24, 2018
28
87
27
I'm new to the forum, but thought I'd post a progress thread for a local service side hustle I just started.

I currently make 90% of my income online (after switching lanes at the end of 2016 and closing a bricks and mortar store I owned) and with the online business continuing to grow nicely, it's affording me some extra time that I can devote to building a side business for some diversification.

For this project, I'm plunging back into the offline world, but this time around I've ensured that the idea satisfies the CENTS commandments.

GOALS:
  1. $2,500 in MRR by the end of 2018
  2. Buy a better vehicle and have it professionally wrapped in early 2019
  3. Hire our first employee in early-mid 2019
What I've done so far:
  • Market Research: Studied the only local competitor there is and realized there was an opportunity to skew value in many ways. Checked how often the service was searched for on Google with the Keyword Research Tool.
  • Pilot Customers: Reached out to people I knew and offered one month of free service in exchange for testimonials, online reviews, and feedback. They all loved the service - some signed on to be paying customers.
  • Going Legit: Called local municipalities to inquire about any regulations, set up an LLC, insurance, bank account, set up Wave for invoicing and auto-pay, etc.)
  • Branding: Logo, web site, business cards, 1st iteration of branded uniforms, equipment/tools, vehicle decals, set up a branded toll free number using Grasshopper, etc.)
  • Marketing: Set up an AdWords campaign, bought Adwords Course by @Andy Black and studied it religiously, went around to local businesses where potential customers frequent and asked if I could have business cards at the register and/or on bulletin boards, mailed out 1,000 postcards to targeted demographics in laser-focused locations. Listed us on Angie's List, Google Business, Next Door, and registered on some niche-specific sites. I also am working on getting better at marketing via social media (FB, Instagram, Google+, and Twitter).
  • SOP Documentation: Started creating SOPs and customer service template e-mails. This will be an on-going process in preparation for hiring and training our first employee.
So that's where I'm at now. Barely scratching the surface, but have a bit of traction so far.

Why:

I'm starting this thread to share my journey in creating value for my local community so others can learn as I flail around and get dirty. Also, I'm hoping this thread will give me more accountability as I work toward my long-term goals.

Next Action Steps:
  • Create and mail out a new direct mail piece using a targeting method I recently came up with (using Google Maps and a few pots of coffee). It'll be tedious, but I know the competition probably hasn't thought of it (and likely doesn't have the time/energy to implement it). Will report back with my progress/results.
Any questions or suggestions, please let me know. Thanks.
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

Andy Black

Any colour, as long as it's red.
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
8,723
36,821
4,306
Ireland
Following.

How’re those AdWords campaigns working for you?
 
OP
OP
rybanez

rybanez

Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jul 24, 2018
28
87
27
How’re those AdWords campaigns working for you?
So far got a few customers with it. My impression count (and click count) took a nosedive recently, so I upped my bids a bit to test for the next week or two.

Do you know if organic efforts matter much to AdWords impressions? For example, I recently managed to get into Google's Snack Pack and top the local competition there for the higher-impression search terms (even in their particular home town, which I don't yet service). Perhaps my ads might not be showing when I have Snack Pack placement?
 

Andy Black

Any colour, as long as it's red.
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
8,723
36,821
4,306
Ireland
So far got a few customers with it. My impression count (and click count) took a nosedive recently, so I upped my bids a bit to test for the next week or two.

Do you know if organic efforts matter much to AdWords impressions? For example, I recently managed to get into Google's Snack Pack and top the local competition there for the higher-impression search terms (even in their particular home town, which I don't yet service). Perhaps my ads might not be showing when I have Snack Pack placement?
Snack pack? I've no idea what that is! Can you drop a screenshot (that's not of your business of course)?
 
OP
OP
rybanez

rybanez

Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jul 24, 2018
28
87
27
Snack pack? I've no idea what that is! Can you drop a screenshot (that's not of your business of course)?
Sure, here's a screenshot of the Google search results for a random local service. I circled the "snack pack" section at the top of page 1:

snack pack.jpg
 

Fightrepreneur

Contributor
May 5, 2018
35
49
99
I'm starting a service oriented business as well locally. You're process is a great template and very inspiring. There are several competitors in my area but my service isn't their main purpose, as well as come specific-target market competitors that I believe have an inconvenient business structure.

What I'm doing centers on convenience, so I'm focusing on ways to make it more convenient than the local competitors. So far I've found that local competitors either don't service the areas I plan to focus on, or don't offer the convenience I intend to provide.

My first step is to verify the need. I want to do physical advertising with flyers, business cards, coupon deals, referral deals etc because the competitors most likely will dominate the adspace online even though their services are inferior, and I feel an in-person face advertising the service may get more initial traction

I am looking at targeting college students at first (live near a big university, actually the one I graduated from). There is similar services offered by the university, but again, I believe I can skew the convenience factor.

Dorm move in date is coming up so I am trying to prepare for the massive influx of students.

I want to verify my need before dumping money into a website and forming the business entity (looks relatively easy to set up an LLC in my area, but I don't want to buy webhosting until I'm more confident).

Anyways man, wondering if I can PM you to discuss further. Thanks for a great thread.
 
OP
OP
rybanez

rybanez

Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jul 24, 2018
28
87
27
I'm starting a service oriented business as well locally. You're process is a great template and very inspiring. There are several competitors in my area but my service isn't their main purpose, as well as come specific-target market competitors that I believe have an inconvenient business structure.

What I'm doing centers on convenience, so I'm focusing on ways to make it more convenient than the local competitors. So far I've found that local competitors either don't service the areas I plan to focus on, or don't offer the convenience I intend to provide.

My first step is to verify the need. I want to do physical advertising with flyers, business cards, coupon deals, referral deals etc because the competitors most likely will dominate the adspace online even though their services are inferior, and I feel an in-person face advertising the service may get more initial traction

I am looking at targeting college students at first (live near a big university, actually the one I graduated from). There is similar services offered by the university, but again, I believe I can skew the convenience factor.

Dorm move in date is coming up so I am trying to prepare for the massive influx of students.

I want to verify my need before dumping money into a website and forming the business entity (looks relatively easy to set up an LLC in my area, but I don't want to buy webhosting until I'm more confident).

Anyways man, wondering if I can PM you to discuss further. Thanks for a great thread.
I'm glad you're getting value from the thread so far. You may PM me anytime to discuss further. Thanks.
 

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.


Fastlane Insiders

View the forum AD FREE.
Private, unindexed content
Detailed process/execution threads
Monthly conference calls with doers
Ideas needing execution, more!

Join Fastlane Insiders.

Sponsored Offers

Lex DeVille's - Advanced Freelance Udemy Courses!
-- HALLOWEEN SPECIAL STARTS TODAY! Get any of my courses at Udemy's current best price through Friday! Use code: HALLOWEEN Use any of the links...
Top Bottom