In May 2015, Vix Reitano was working at public relations firm PMK•BNC in New York City when she took on her first clients as a freelance marketer creating digital content and doing social media strategy.
Her initial goal was small: “When I first started my side hustle, I just wanted to go to more SoulCycle classes and buy more shoes.” Within weeks, however, Reitano “had matched [her] six-figure salary” at her full-time job and ultimately quit to pursue her side hustle full time.
Now, five years later, Reitano has built her side gig into the creative digital agency 6boro (Social + Studios). The business has continued to bring in six figures every year and has taken on projects for organizations ranging from the United Nations to CKO Kickboxing.
Here are three tips Reitano would give any aspiring entrepreneur to replicate her success in quickly building a six-figure side hustle:
Get a website
“Every single person trying to build a side hustle needs a business website, period, the end,” says Reitano.
A good business website:
- Boosts your credibility. “If [a client searches] for someone and they don’t come up, [is the business] legitimate?” says Reitano of reservations people might have about your credentials without proof from a public website.
- Secures your business platform. “I think a lot of people forget that social media platforms are free tools that we choose to use that can go away,” says Reitano. Having a website can keep you connected to customers and clients regardless of where or how they found you initially.
‘Treat yourself like a client’
When it comes to your attitude toward your side hustle, “treat yourself like a client,” says Reitano. That is, take the same level of care, organization, and detail you would when planning out your side hustle’s activities and setting goals as you would with someone you’re serving through it.
Say you’re selling T-shirts with popular quotes from iconic films and television. Consider how much time you actually have to allot to your side hustle every week, and then build goals around it, including how many T-shirts you can make in that time, how much time you need to promote your product, how much time it’ll take to ship it to clients, and so on.
“I think a lot of people get burned out really fast,” says Reitano. “And one of the things when you treat yourself like a client is that you can monitor that burnout.”
Make your service personal
Depending on what your side hustle is, there are likely ways to personalize it for your customers. Say you’re a dog walker: You might find out the most convenient times for you to walk your clients’ dogs, if there are special treats a dog might like to have on their walk, and so on. That will make clients feel like you care about them, specifically.
“I ask certain questions in my personal onboarding form to get a sense of people’s personality,” says Reitano. That includes some offbeat queries. “I’ll throw in a question along the lines of, ‘If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?’”
Personalization “helps you with your new business acquisition goals,” she says, “and also retains clients because people care about people who care about other people.”
If the difficulties of the coronavirus pandemic have proved anything, she says, it’s that “at the end of the day, a successful side hustle means that you care about the humans you interact with.”