Starting a Side Hustle
in the Age of Social Media
With the cost of living on the rise and wages falling far behind, you might be asking yourself “How can I make a few extra bucks?”. Luckily, in the age of social media, it’s actually pretty easy! There are several social media tools available that can help you identify a need, build a solution, and generate interest in your product.
Here is how I was able to start up my patio furniture side hustle and build it into a successful micro-business in a matter of weeks.
Identify a need
Identifying a need can be done in many ways in the age of social media. If you’re unsure what needs people around you might have, you can start by joining your local neighbourhood Facebook group. If you’re thinking “My neighbourhood doesn’t have a Facebook Group”, I challenge you to have a look for yourself! Chances are, there is at least a group for the city you live in. For me, my idea came from a post somebody made in my neighbourhood group asking for recommendations for custom patio furniture. After reading over a dozen negative comments, I came to the conclusion that the overall attitude was dissatisfaction. I knew I was on to something…
You would think that my next stop would be my local hardware store but that’s not how this story goes. In fact, shoppers are more likely to turn to YouTube, Facebook and Pinterest at the beginning of their shopping process when they’re looking for hard facts or general inspiration. (Forbes, 2021). A quick Youtube and Facebook Marketplace search uncovered that the comments I had read were entirely accurate. Most hand-made patio furniture sets were made with low-quality materials making them flimsy, prone to decay and not to mention, pricey. I now knew who my competition was. I joined woodworking groups on Facebook such as Nova Scotia Woodworkers to seek advice about materials, learn some tricks of the trade, and read reviews of tools that I would require. I started a Pinterest board to get stylish design ideas and searched hashtags on Instagram such as #Patiofurniture, #Patiovibes, and #DIYOutdoorFurniture to find free patio furniture plans that I could use to help build my prototype. My prototype had it all: quality materials that would withstand the test of time, comfortable and stylish design and a price tag on materials that left a generous amount of room to make a profit.
My next step was to make the product look good. I purchased some cushions, waited for a sunny day, and posed my puppy on the sofa to snap a few pics. Since Facebook is the most used social media channel for small businesses (Pilon, 2021), I created a Facebook Page. On my page, I posted pictures of previous builds and customers could leave reviews on the products they purchased. Finally, I made an ad on Facebook Marketplace and waited to see if anyone would bite. Once my ad was live, it was quickly apparent that there was an opportunity to make some serious dough as the messages poured in!
So, if you don’t already have a side hustle, what are you waiting for? I’d be happy to hear your side hustle ideas and talk to you about how social media can help you get your ideas off the ground. Please leave me a reply below!
Brooks, R. (Aug 27, 2021) How shoppers are using social media. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/how-shoppers-are-using-social-media
Pilon, A. (Sept 24, 2017) 80 Percent of Small Businesses Use Facebook for Marketing, New Survey Says. Small Business Trends. https://smallbiztrends.com/top-social-media-sites-for-marketing-small-business.html
Your blog has inspired me to look into a side hustle! Great use of social media to reach out to potential buyers for your furniture!
And being honest, that dog is the perfect model to showcase that sofa!
Great work, James!