COM0011: Blog Post 4: Sidekicks: Social Media and Part-Time Businesses

In this day and age of economic uncertainty, one thing we are seeing more frequently is the rise of side businesses (often known solopreneurs).

“Soloprenuers” is a mashup for solo and Entrepreneur. BuzzWord defines it as “a business owner who works and runs their business alone.”

Image Credit: Social Media Landscape via Flickr by fredcavazza Some Rights Reserved

Image Credit: Social Media Landscape via Flickr by fredcavazza Some Rights Reserved

Part time business owners/solopreneurs, are like you and me. Many grind out 9 to 5 jobs at the office for which sucks the life out of them, only to work on their passions outside of work. Others, do the same thing during the day, but look towards their part-time enterprise as a way of gaining experience to boost their resume for what they went to school for initially.

Consider, in January, 2015, self-employment lead the way in Canadian job creation, with 41,000 new jobs, according to The Globe and Mail.

Freelancing is becoming the word of the day in the workforce. As full-time steady pay cheques become less frequent, declining technology costs through information technology offers new opportunities for people to wrap up their own brand and skills in a nicely minted small business package on the global stage. As Jeremy Rifkin Says in The Zero Marginal Cost Society the Internet has brought marginal costs of communications to near zero. Rifkin goes further to explain:

“The Internet, however, is a virtual public square here anyone who pays for an Internet connection can gain admission and join the conversation.” (P. 139).

Based on Rifkin’s ideas, social media is not only reducing those marginal costs for advertising for solopreneurs/part-time business owners, but is critical in promoting one’s entrepreneurial activities with minimal cash flow.

Kimberly Palmer, who wrote the 2014 book The Economy of You, the bible for part-time business startups, is a keen advocate of utilizing social media networks in getting the most bang for your marketing dollar. Palmer recommends having a dedicated Facebook page for your business; a Twitter handle for those who are prefer being “tech savy”, and a LinkedIn page for promoting professional services. She also recommends using social media in understanding future customers, and also for those side giggers who are not great schmoozers at networking events.

One participant at a Generation Progress workshop on entrepreneurship in the US last year, suggested having all the money in the world won’t end all concerns as developing solid networks, communities and local supply chains is critical for success.

Building strong networks through social media outlets, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can do this for all aspiring part-time entrepreneurs.

What other advantages do you see with using social media in promoting a part-time business? What challenges do entrepreneurs face when using social media to promote their products and services in a crowded market?

References:

  1. Solopreneur Definition.http://www.macmillandictionary.com/buzzword/entries/solopreneur.html.
  2. Self-employed lead January job growth in Canada. February 6, 2015. Tavia Grant. Globe and Mail. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/jobs/jobless-rate-dips-to-66-as-canada-pumps-out-35000-jobs/article22828865/.
  3. What the Rise of The Freelance Economy Really Means for Businesses. July 1, 2014. Jeff Wald. http://www.forbes.com/sites/waldleventhal/2014/07/01/a-modern-human-capital-talent-strategy-using-freelancers/.
  4. The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, The Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism. Jeremy Rifkin. 2014. Palgrave Macmillan. New York, New York.
  1. The Economy of You. Kimberly Palmer. 2014. American Management Association. New York, New York.
  2. Promoting Entrepreneurship Among Millenials. Sarah Ayres Steinberg. November 10, 2014. Center for American Progress. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/report/2014/11/10/100804/promoting-entrepreneurship-among-millennials/

6 thoughts on “COM0011: Blog Post 4: Sidekicks: Social Media and Part-Time Businesses

  1. I think any small business would need to use social media these days, unless it is a business with a specific geographical limit, and promotion can be done in that site and through word-of-mouth.

    The question that always floats into my mind when I see articles about the move to freelance employment is: what about the advantages of permanent employment (sick leave, vacation pay, benefits, unemployment insurance)? It certainly suits business to be able to drop these expenses, and perhaps freelance workers don’t miss them at first. But in the longer term, our society is going to have to deal with the shift, because the benefits of creating permanent employment are felt by the whole community.

  2. I agree that now the Internet provides many free tools to promote your small local business. I think one of the challenges for the time part business to be well presented on social media is the time. If having a small business you plan to be presented on social media by yourself without specialized agency you have to work hard to use this free tool. Create good content, listen to your customers, learn about trends – all of these will take extra time from the family and personal life. Another challenge is to follow up with new technologies and new ways to run your business – sometimes it is not very easy to change stereotypes and try new roads.

  3. Glad to read this, as I too have a full time job and have started my own business. Trying to learn and use Social Media Marketing in my career, and using Social Media to promote my buiness services in my “spare” time ! My challenge is following all the new technologies and narrow down the right ones that work for my new business – and at the same time knowing and understanding which ones work for my career! Lots to read and learn 🙂

    • Thank you for your response. I guess the challenge is with part time business owners is to keep up with all the social media trends in there spare time. Technology is always changing at a break neck speed and I think that will continue in the social media universe for years to come.

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