Episode #42: Listener Q&A – HOW TO SIDE HUSTLE WHILE WORKING FULL TIME & STARTING A LOCATION-BASED BUSINESS WHILE IN QUARANTINE

DRIVEN: A podcast for modern entrepreneurs. Listener Q&A - How to side hustle while working full time & starting a location-based business while in quarantine

In today’s episode, Diane’s tackling listener questions.


Welcome to Driven; a show about business, life, and wellness from two confident, curious women who are pulling back the curtain on what it’s like being an entrepreneur. Each week, join hosts Diane Sanfilippo and Cassy Joy Garcia talk about being your best, showing up for your dreams, and kicking self-doubt to the curb.

Diane is a business whisperer, best-selling author, and plant-hobbyist based in San Francisco. Cassy Joy is the founder of www.FedandFit.com, best-selling author, and casserole enthusiast. She calls San Antonio, Texas, home.

Diane Sanfilippo: Clear is kind. I know that to be a Brene Brown-ism. I think the kindest thing you can do and most generous thing you can do is to be clear with them, if you’re going to continue that. And if you decide; you know what? I think it might be a little too selfish of me right now. Maybe I don’t need to push this thing in this direction, then, create the content though. Don’t stop creating the content. Just bank it and put it somewhere so that when you are ready, you can actually get it out there.

Welcome to Driven; a show about business, life, and wellness from two confident, curious women who are pulling back the curtain on what it’s like being an entrepreneur. Each week, join hosts Diane Sanfilippo and Cassy Joy Garcia talk about being your best, showing up for your dreams, and kicking self-doubt to the curb.

Diane is a business whisperer, best-selling author, and plant-hobbyist based in San Francisco. Cassy Joy is the founder of www.FedandFit.com, best-selling author, and casserole enthusiast. She calls San Antonio, Texas, home.

Diane Sanfilippo: Hey everyone; Diane here. For today’s episode, I’m here all on my own, and I’m going to be answering your questions.

Topics:

  1. What’s on my plate [1:14]
  2. Shop Talk: Working the side hustle while keeping the fulltime job [6:41]
  3. Getting comfortable with video content [18:44]
  4. Hiring social media manager/marketing [22:34]
  5. Working through quarantine to build a new business [25:04]
  6. Tip of The Week: Inspire a deeper conversation on social media [35:42]

1.  What’s on my plate [1:14]

Diane Sanfilippo: What’s on My Plate. In this segment, we talk about what’s happening in our businesses, and in our lives this week. So just me here this week doing a Q&A session. So I’m going to just do a quick couple of notes on what’s happening in my business and life this week.

It’s like week 57 {laughs} of quarantine. We actually found out this week that a lot of things that we were hoping would reopen pretty soon here in the Bay area have been pushed to mid-August. So things like gyms, and salons; things that offer us community and other elements of life. So kind of a bummer. And, you know, trying to absorb that and not let it take us down too far emotionally. I’m super, super grateful to have a home gym. I’ve definitely been struggling, personally, with keeping up with my workouts in a way that feels good and motivated. But hopefully I will find that motivation again. Sunshine really seems to help, and taking some more walks seems to be helpful, so I’ll be working on that.

That’s kind of it on the personal side, I guess. And when it comes to business stuff, super exciting. We have three new limited time spice blends that just launched out yesterday, if you’re listening to this episode when it first launches on Monday. And I’m really excited about those. They are limited edition, limited supply right now. And people are already asking if they do really well, will you keep them? Yes, we probably will. But I don’t know how quickly we will get them back after this initial lot is sold. So if it’s something you’re curious about trying, definitely give it a try. And I would love to see what you’re cooking.

It’s just really exciting. We actually haven’t launched out new blends in quite a while; I think the last new blends we did were what are known as the everyday favorites, where it is Super Garlic, Ranch, Bagel, and Trifecta. And those are some of our absolute best sellers. Super Garlic and Trifecta being really the two that just lead the charge for everything. So I leaned into that.

I know some of you may have heard an episode several months ago where I was talking to Miguel or Mike Garza from Siete foods about how to direct myself, and what to really do with my brand and my business. And he ended up giving me a ton of advice, and one was to really lean into what people love the most. And I was like; well, I guess that will be garlic. {laughs} And I’m with you guys, because I absolutely love garlic. And what a cool upside that nutritionally, it’s such a wonderful ingredient. Really just a great, potent, immune-boosting ingredient, as well. So great thing to have kind of in our kitchens and working for us right now.

And then the last update I’ll give is regarding Balanced Bites meals. We are in kind of the round 2 of development of about 5 new menu items. So the first round, there was one that just wasn’t executing anywhere near what I was hoping it would, so that was a great lesson. I sent in 5 recipes, and it turns out that four of them were pretty darn good on that first test. So hopefully the second test will be really spectacular and maybe we won’t need a third. Maybe the third will just be the final, so we’ll see. But I’m really excited about that. I don’t have dates for that. But we also don’t always announce when those are coming, because I don’t want to hold anyone back. If you’re looking to try meals, don’t wait. Get whatever you want to try because we are going to be rotating things.

And I do plan and hope to have things rotating on a much more regular basis, but it takes some time to build up that library of recipes that the kitchens are executing in a certain way. Because they are cooked every week, because they are cooked by real people. This is not a mechanized process, aside from obviously the ovens and things like food processors and whatnot. But, it’s real people cooking it every week, so I want to make sure that we’ve got recipes that are getting nailed as perfectly as possible. And to have that level of consistency with obviously a little edge of human. But really exciting, so I’m looking forward to that coming up in the coming weeks.

One other thing I want to throw out there is that we sent out our first round of what we’ll call influencer boxes last week. And that was really fun and exciting. I posted about it to my stories. It did not go perfectly as planned. I had ordered a couple of other customized things to hopefully use and include in the box, and it just did not go as planned. Things didn’t all arrive in time to be able to include them in the box. So I had to just let good enough be good enough, and send them out. And I think they look great, and people are really excited getting them, so that’s positive. So that was kind of a first for us in the business.

We sent out these really beautiful; I think they’re beautiful. Really beautiful Yeti stainless tumbler mugs with our new logo, new branding, and that was just really exciting to see people receiving those, and sharing about them, and see their excitement about the new blends. So that was kind of a big; just a sigh of relief that we got that out. And just excited to see people open influencer boxes that I got to send out, instead of just being on the receiving end. It was so much fun to send those out.

2.  Shop Talk: Working the side hustle while keeping the fulltime job [6:41]

Diane Sanfilippo: Shop Talk. In this segment, we talk about topics that are on both our minds and yours. We’ll cover all sides of the issue, and hopefully land somewhere concise, actionable, and helpful. This week it’s a Q&A session, and the we is just me, Diane. I am here on my own. Cassy is still out on her maternity leave. So we will be you and I; listener. You and I will be tackling these questions together.

I want to read this one piece of feedback first. Forgotten Latte says, “I just listened to the episode where Cassy and Diane answered my question. I had submitted under the handle, the C-section Mom, and have since changed my handle. Thanks for answering my question. It was exactly what I was looking for. And, ideas about money mindset versus logistics of keeping a budget; very helpful. Thanks.”

Well yay. I like hearing that. I like that feedback, that we had some helpful answers. So thank you for sending that.

Ok, this first question is from just MCC9, and she asks; “Hi Diane and Cassy. I’m absolutely in love with your podcast, and wait for it to be released every Monday so that I can dig into the content. It’s so raw and gets me thinking outside of my comfort zone. Here’s a question or two that’s been burning inside of me. I’m a month away from graduating the NTA’s NTP certification program. I’ve been consistently adding more nutrition content to my personal Instagram account, so that I can get my followers who, at this point, are really still my friends, used to seeing these kinds of posts. Anything I post about nutrition, lifestyle, even my Beautycounter business, gets way less traction than pictures I post of me, my husband, and my dog. I get it; but it’s annoying.

I currently have a job that I love as a fundraiser for a women’s reproductive health nonprofit in New York City. I’m trying to create more of a presence online to showcase the work I’ll be doing as an NTP, but I’m nervous that I’ll inadvertently sabotage myself in my fulltime job. My coworkers and boss follow me, and I’m anticipating them thinking that I’m checked out of work, that I’ll quit soon, etc. None of that is my intention, especially given the current health crisis. I need to stay in this job. So my question is; how do you properly and gracefully juggle starting a side business that you eventually want to become a full-time gig while also working an energy intensive fulltime job. Does it make sense to create a separate Instagram handle for nutrition/Beautycounter content, and start from scratch? How have you two navigated building something while still giving time and attention to the thing that’s paying the bills? Any insight you can provide is greatly appreciated. Many thanks to you both, and all involved in making this amazing podcast and resource.”

And I will give a quick shoutout to Genny, who edits our show for us, and to Moriah who creates graphics, and we have Amanda who writes our transcripts up, and we have Lauren on team Fed and Fit who runs a ton of the front end of the Instagram, and helping collect questions and all of that. So shout out to all those ladies. And I sincerely apologize if I’m missing anyone in that process, but I think that’s the team at this point.

So a couple of notes. And I think we’ve chatted a little bit about this in the context of not quitting a fulltime job, not being risky, and I know that’s not really the question. But I just want to make sure that I lay that foundation; that, it is really important to me to make sure that everyone listening understands that when we talk about starting something. We talk about a side hustle, or starting a new business, that I truly believe that you will have the best success if you get to a place where you are earning money; really considerable money in your side hustle, and you’re dedicating more and more time to it in a way that takes time away from things like television and Netflix and scrolling Instagram. That’s where your time needs to come away.

Right now, we’re obviously not all out traveling and socializing with friends that much. So while I do think we need to give ourselves grace for just handling this time, and dealing with not being socialized in a way that’s honestly; everyone is handling it very, very differently. But it does give you sort of a way out of that type of engagement where you can say; ok, I don’t have to tell anyone why I’m not coming out to dinner with everyone tonight, because there is no dinner out. So I can spend time and dedicate it to this other thing.

So, I just want to put that out there; that when you have a side hustle; I personally think that if your goal is to make that your fulltime gig, you have to take it seriously. Don’t treat it like a hobby, treat it like another job, and take it really seriously. So that’s the foundation there.

When it comes to what you’re going to do on social media; if I’m going back to my experience and my story, what I was doing on social media. And the company I worked for last was a startup, and I found out about Twitter, what it even was, because our founder was having his Tweets repost to Facebook. So this was before Instagram. And I was like Twitter; what is the Twitter? I didn’t know what it was at all. And so, I started Tweeting about nutrition. I was blogging about nutrition, I was Tweeting about nutrition.

And I think in this day and age for people to assume that their employees or their workers don’t have other interests, or other things they’re passionate about, or even a side hustle, I think it would be really narrow minded and short sighted of a company to assume that.

So then the question here becomes about what type of content to share. Do you share it on the same handle that you have or not? She didn’t share what her handle was, and I don’t know if maybe it is just the handle that she wrote in from. I’m going to guess that and take a quick look. Yeah, it looks like she’s got close to 1000 followers; 700-something. I think there are a couple of things to consider here. One is, I would not give up the following that you have. I think, if it’s your friends and family, people who care about you, perhaps over time some of them may not be interested in what you’re sharing. But I don’t think that totally closing it off is really the right way to go.

I would stick with what you have, and then eventually, maybe, you’re going to change the name of what you’re doing, because right now it’s just kind of your name with some initials and a number. I think it would make sense to have something that is a little bit more branded.

I don’t know how to tell you what will be the right way to navigate with the people that you work with and what they can see. And I think it’s worth it. I mean, this is up to you. I think the approach of Radical Candor; that’s another podcast and a book written by Kim Scott. She talks about making sure that people know that you care personally, but then you’re going to challenge them directly. And I think that’s usually a construct for giving feedback. But to me, Radical Candor is also about somebody who might be working for me being super honest about their intentions and super honest about; I am committed to what I’m doing here and the hours I spend on this work, I’m really passionate about it and committed to it. And at the same time, I have this other passion for myself. And making it very clear that your time and attention will be focused on the work that you’re doing for and with them when it’s on that, and that having this other thing is actually what helps you stay grounded and continue doing what you’re doing for the women’s reproductive health nonprofit.

And you know, those are aligned, right? It’s not like night and day. It’s not like your day job is for totally antagonistic type of company. Because that would be really, really tricky. But I think you have to decide how that works, and that if you’re worried that that’s what they’ll thing, I think level with them. For me, I’m really about that transparency and honesty. If somebody said to me; look, I’m committed to this. And if you think my work is slipping in any way, please address it with me directly. I would really respect that.

You also have to know that if you do want to be really honest, you have to be in a place where you’re willing to accept the consequences of that. And if you’re not, then you may need to make a new decision.

So, I don’t think there’s one right answer. I think your gut will tell you the right answer on this. And that might be; you know what, maybe curb it a little bit. Especially right now. And that doesn’t mean curb creating content, but maybe not sharing it in the same way. Maybe you create it and you bank it somewhere to share later. So maybe if you’re creating posts, or graphics, or what have you. And right now you just feel like it’s not the time to be everyday posting a new graphic about some education piece and it’s going to really alienate these coworkers and your boss and they’re going to think something. Then maybe don’t, right? If you’re really nervous about that, and you don’t feel comfortable having the conversation, then don’t do it.

But if you want to do it, I personally think that being honest about it is the best way. I mean, clear is kind. I know that to be a Brene Brown-ism. I think the kindest thing you can do and most generous thing you can do is to be clear with them, if you’re going to continue that. And if you decide; you know what? I think it might be a little too selfish of me right now. Maybe I don’t need to push this thing in this direction, then, create the content though. Don’t stop creating the content. Just bank it and put it somewhere so that when you are ready, you can actually get it out there.

Now, the other question about creating a separate handle; I don’t think so. Because I think you’re really going to be losing. That’s hundreds of people. So I wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t create a separate account. And then aside from that, I know that the engagement on an educational piece of content that you share might be less. Look; it’s human nature to double tap when we see a picture of another person. We’re always going to be more motivated by; I don’t know, a picture of cookies or your face. Those things just naturally; we are drawn to that. So, I would keep doing that.

I would perhaps consider sharing more photos of yourself, and then share educational content in the caption. And then if you want to share a photo of food, and also have educational content in the caption. I personally think that as people follow more “influencers” online, I think the depth of what you do to educate and help and support people is valuable. I know for me, when I tap on someone’s profile, if what I see of them as a “influencer” is really just very superficial; if they’re not educating, if they’re not providing value, if they’re not creating a space for honesty and transparency. If they’re not doing these things that are more meaningful amongst the product photo, or whatever else it is. The fashion photo. I feel like it’s just not the kind of depth that if you are a nutrition professional, you want to be able to offer. So I would not shy away from that just because a certain type of photo gets more engagement than another. But maybe use that to your advantage.

And I see people do this a lot, where they use a photo of themselves, because they know that the selfie is going to get a little bit more engagement or attention. But use that to speak about something important to you in the caption. And I think that will lead you in a new direction for some of those, where it’s not just about maybe your makeup in the post. Even though you want to talk about makeup, maybe the post with the selfie that you know people are going to engage with, maybe you actually share some deeper content, and then you share about the makeup in another post. Or maybe it is another one of your face. Anyway. You can consider all of that together.

3. Getting comfortable with video content [18:44]

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, we’ve got a similar but slightly different question from Read.Write.Thrive. She asks; “This is a question for Diane,” she says. That’s me. {laughs}. “I’m wondering about being present on social media; i.e. posting pictures and stories of myself. I’m just starting a small online business using an outside platform to sell resources, so I’ve started an Instagram account and love connecting with others. At this time, I don’t really want my identity out there, since in my day job, I’m a manager and it just feels off to have a side hustle that is directly connected to my day job. I’ll no longer be at my current job in June, and plan to get more personal on my Instagram then, but need to get over the fear of showing my face/talking to the camera and putting myself out there. Any advice? Also, I think it’s important to note that these insecurities have nothing to do with the way I look. It’s more about feeling vulnerable and corny, for a lack of better words.”

So similar question but different, and by the time this episode airs, we will basically be in June. So I guess it will be a bit of a moot point. But, listen. We all feel super corny and vulnerable when we first do that whole talking to the camera thing. And it feels very, very silly. It kind of feels; I don’t know if I would say pointless, you know, when you’re first starting and not that many people are watching. And it’s like; why am I doing this? It’s so awkward, so painful. I don’t know where to look. I don’t know how to handle all of this.

I will say; talking to the camera and talking to the people who are watching your stories. It is the absolute best way to connect these days. I think there’s a part of creating video content that is also a bit more raw and real and just down to earth in something like Instagram stories that is so, so valuable. I absolutely love it for making those strong connections. And advice on the fact that it feels vulnerable and corny; honestly, just keep doing it. Because it does not get any easier until you practice more. And that’s just the only way to get better. And I think to feel less corny.

And I do think that remembering that, even if one person is watching; then one person is watching. And there’s a reason they’re watching; you’re helping them. And to take it seriously. If people do give you their attention, I think that’s something to really consider. If you have people who are watching your Instagram stories, that is such valuable attention. It’s such a valuable asset. It’s people’s most valuable asset, I would argue, their time. Someone’s health and their time are just really, really valuable assets that we have. So I would take it seriously; not in a way that you beat yourself up to do things perfectly, but in a way that you show up consistently and do your best to deliver something of value or something inspirational or something supportive, etc. And see it as such a wonderful window and gateway to directly helping people. And I think that you can start to look at it a little bit differently as you get more used to it.

And, if you’ve got some peers who are also doing this type of work, see what they’re doing. See what people with larger followings are doing. See what stories you love and engage with the most. And start to figure out ways you can incorporate some of those approaches. Maybe you do some polls. Maybe some things you share are graphics. Some things that you share are you talking to the camera, etc., and keep changing it up. But I do think that talking to the camera and putting yourself out there. That is the way that you build the connection. And I think you will get over it as you do it more. Nobody is used to it from day one. So hopefully you can rest assured knowing that.

4. Hiring social media manager/marketing [22:34]

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, Maria T. Higgins asks, “Any advice on hiring for social media/marketing? Our brand new only online business just won a grant, and the money is for growing the business.”

Well, that’s a good question, Maria. I personally feel that hiring an outside agency for marketing and social media; it does not strike me as the best approach for a very small business. I know there are obviously very large ad agencies out there that can do this for big businesses, and then there are some medium-sized agencies that can do this for medium-sized business. The type of work that we had done that was supportive for things like social media and marketing was really more around visual assets, and helping us to create sort of a look and feel of what we’re going to be putting out there.

I personally feel that connecting with your audience, connecting with your customers and marketing. I feel that that’s an inside job. Unless you are Coca-Cola and you need the brains of new creative agencies all the time; you’re selling the same product all the time, and you have so much money that you can spend it on these ad agencies, I really do feel that marketing is an inside job. I feel that you’ve got to have someone who can consistently keep up with social media that has the voice of your business that understands your customer, your consumer, your client, etc., in a way that I don’t know an agency is going to be able to manage that.

And I’m assuming, of course; we’re talking about a pretty small business. So knowing that that’s who I’m talking to, that’s my take on it. I really think it’s an inside job. And I really think that, if anything, what you can hire out for is maybe a consultant to help with some strategy and maybe help with some directives and some ideas. But I think the person who is going to be maintaining a relationship with your customers really should be somebody who knows your business inside and out. I mean, think about what social media is these days; it’s the front lines of your business.

Even before we’ll have a customer who will write in to our support email, they’re DMing our brand. So I can’t have a random agency running my brand page; that just would not make any sense. I have an actual team member who is there doing that. She knows about the products. She’s intimately tied to it. She knows what goes into it, how to use it, etc. So that’s my two cents on that.

5. Working through quarantine to build a new business [25:04]

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, our last question for this week, this one is from Michelle Vanderwarp. And she asks, “I’ve been loving this podcast, and it’s become a regular part of my week, so thank you. I do have a business question if you have a chance to answer in a future episode. For context, I’m a work from home mom with two in tow and now a third on the way.” And she writes, “Shh”, I guess it’s a secret. Well, I guess now people know, because I read your handle. I don’t know if we should blur or bleep that out?

She says, “Right now I’m doing Beautycounter, but tinkering on my passion project, and my timeline has been thrown by quarantine and now baby number three. In short, I’m wanting to create a coworking space here in San Diego that includes childcare onsite for working parents who need full time help. I’m thinking people will be really craving a place like this once quarantine is lifted. But there’s no way I could open something before this baby comes. Which will be November,” She says.

“So, my question is really; how can I best use my time during this ‘waiting period’ until next spring when I can buckle down and work on opening a physical location. I’m thinking I need to create a social following, as I don’t have one. Would you agree? Am I trying to create a personal brand? Or a business account with the actual name of the future business? Is it worth creating some kind of online business or service or education program as a means of creating a following of local people that will help set up a demand for my future space? Sorry if that was a lot, I’m trying to ‘go ugly early’ and ‘creating something resembling anything.’” {laughs} She’s quoting When Harry Met Sally.

The account was born a couple of weeks ago, and she put it on here. “Thanks for any thoughts you’d be willing to share.” And she says she was born in the East Bay and had her babies in San Antonio, and is now in San Diego. So I guess Michelle, that’s your nod to both of us here in the Bay area, and Cassy who lives in San Antonio.

Ok, so this is a lot. This is a couple of big questions in here. So I think we’ve got two big questions in here; one is, what do I do now? I have this idea and this thing that I want to do, and obviously I can’t fully start it right now. And the second one is; is there something I could or should be doing now to kind of raise awareness and raise interest for this business that I want to open in the not so distant future. So two things.

One, I think there’s a ton of leg work to be done on what you’re going to be opening potentially in the spring, or maybe later next year. And I think there’s a lot of that that can be done on paper and with phone calls, and potentially seeing some real estate and seeing what’s out there. I don’t know if that’s totally closed off. I know people are still moving, so I don’t know that that’s a total no-no. Maybe there’s a way to do a social distance commercial real estate viewing. I think the commercial real estate market is extremely low right now, meaning you will have a pretty good opportunity if you are able to open a business after this. That kind of stinks to say that there are going to be a lot of businesses who can’t go through this whole process and make it out the other side, but it might be a really good time for you to be ready with your money saved and ready to sign a lease on a space at that point in time.

I don’t know what the future holds for people wanting to be in that kind of space, and I don’t know what the very near future holds, or the distant future. Had you said this 6 months ago, I would have been like; that’s amazing. For sure people want that. I think coworking is such a fantastic thing; these shared spaces that we can rent for short periods of time. Create some community despite the fact that we’re working pretty independently and in very small teams. I think coworking is such a fantastic thing. And obviously having childcare there, that sounds amazing. So that’s such a wonderful idea. I have no idea what will come, you know what I mean?

I think what you can do is keep moving forward with all of the ideas, all of the planning, all of the anticipating. And any little pieces that you can actually check off. Like, maybe you really do open a bank account. Maybe you incorporate the name. Do all the paperwork. Because if you’re really serious about this thing, the on-paper cost of all of those things is pretty low. Most of your cost is going to be a time investment. But really legitimizing it and having it ready to go ahead of time, knowing; where am I going to get furniture from. Am I going to be leasing it? What am I going to do? Having all of those things planned out; what I found, when I was doing that with my business, is that it ended up opening up doors for me and creating a path that I never anticipated in the best possible way. Because I thought; I’m going to do this thing. And then I started planning for it, and then this other path emerged, and that might happen for you.

So I would just move ahead with your plans. Obviously, you’re not going to rent a space that you’re going to open next week or anything. But I think everything you can write down; all the things you need to cross off and get done. I bet a ton of it can be done without ever going anywhere. Without interfacing with people. And then some of those things that you can do in a socially distant way, you can do. And some of it you’ll just plan and say; ok, when I go to purchase these things or rent these things, here’s where I’m going to go. So that’s my advice on that side.

Now, the other side was this question of creating a following, or a personal brand, or some kind of online education program, etc. I’m not really sure about that. I actually think where you might have better success is; I do think you could create an account and maybe it has the name, if you know what the name is going to be. And you have an intention. I love the idea of you having an account where you share light content about coworking. Maybe you share the benefits of coworking. Maybe you share how much money it saves. Maybe you share about what the community aspect; what’s great about that. Maybe you’re asking questions of people, even though “people” won’t be anyone to start out. You’re not really going to have a huge following where you can poll people. But maybe you find out what people would want. But who are those people, right?

I think using that account to get out there and network with people in the local area. And this is where you can spend a good amount of time being proactive and using Instagram and social media in a way that will build anticipation of your business. Connect with some nutrition consultants in San Diego. There are probably a lot of them that would love a coworking space. And you can reach out to them and be like; “Hey, I’m Michelle. I have this idea. I want to do this. Is this something you might be interested in when the day comes that we can all actually be in places working together again.” And you know, get their contact information. Or follow them, so you make sure that when you get to a place where you are ready to open, you’ve got a list of people who have said, “Yeah, I’m interested in this.”

And no, you wouldn’t expect all of them to actually sign up and come rent space day 1. But I think you can build that list and build relationships in that way. And maybe you do start an email list. “Hey, do you want to give me your email? When this is email, I would love to tell you about it.” And then ask them for referrals. “Do you have any friends or colleagues in the area?” You could also ask people who aren’t in your exact local area. “Hey, do you know anyone in San Diego or in this area that might be interested in this? Can you send me their account?” But I think you can find a lot of that searching online. You can search the web and then find their Instagram. You can search Instagram for hashtags, etc.

And I see that as a real opportunity to kind of just, from scratch, start to build. Even if they don’t follow you, you can build who your account follows so that you keep that list of people. You’re like; “Great, I’m going to reach about out to her when we’re open.” Right? And I think you can talk to a lot of different types of business owners to get those referrals and build your network. There are so many different types of people who might be looking for coworking space. So, maybe you can look at some profiles, and see who is out there who has a small business who is working from home. And maybe they don’t have an office set up. Maybe it’s somebody who is home during this quarantine, and they’re like; “Man. I really miss going to coffee shops.” So they got used to that life, but maybe for them, they’re going to be building their business and later having a coworking space would be more functional for them.

So I think you can kind of read between the lines and be a bit anticipatory of what people might want and need. And make some really solid connections. And I see it more as a way to be proactive with your account, rather than sitting back and waiting for people to follow and come engage with you. But at the same time, you do want the house you build on your Instagram account. You don’t have to post multiple times a day. You might not even have to post every day. But have a solid showing for what you’re all about. What this business is about or what you want to talk about when it comes to coworking. If it’s stories a little bit here and there, and you just kind of talk about the benefits of coworking and everything else.

But really, your account is there to serve as a grounding for who you are and what you’re going to do with your in real life business. So that if I go look at your page; I’m like, ok this is a real business. I can take it seriously. It’s not just a bunch of memes being reposted, unless it’s a super relevant meme, right, about working from home. But your sharing a combination of education, inspiration, etc. That’s totally related to what it is that you’re planning to do, so then I can take you seriously when you’re like; hey, here’s what I want to open next year.

Alright, I hope that makes sense. That was a really fun question for me to answer. I feel like you have a lot of opportunity in front of you. And I think there’s a lot you can do with your planning time. And you can kind of execute behind the scenes, and get things really ready. And I think what you might find as well is your ideas might evolve during this time in a different direction than they would have if you were able to just kind of step on the gas and go day one. This is giving you a lot of time to think and plan. And I’m not the biggest plan ahead person, I really do love to execute. But creating this plan is the execution. So making these decisions, and whittling things down, and doing your internet research; that is the execution right now. And I think this is a great time to take care of that.

6. Tip of The Week: Inspire a deeper conversation on social media [35:42]

Diane Sanfilippo: Tip of The Week! In this segment, we give you one tip that you can take action on this week to move your business or life forward. I’m going to circle back to the advice I gave early in this episode about using a selfie or using a photo that you know tends to get pretty good engagement to go deeper in the caption, and have a good conversation in the comments. So, if that’s going to be a selfie; which often it is, or a picture of your family, etc. Use that moment where you know that people are going to stop and look and read to have a deeper conversation. Maybe you don’t just talk about what you’re wearing in the picture. Maybe you mention it because they might ask anyway. Frankly, these days, if you want engagement maybe don’t mention and let people ask the question. But use the fact that people will engage with a certain type of post to go deeper with the conversation, and see how that does for you.

That’s it for Driven this week. If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe in Apple podcast, on Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can follow us on Instagram @TheDrivenPodcast. You can find Cassy, my cohost, who is out on maternity leave right now @FedandFit and I am @DianeSanfilippo.

Tune in next week for another new episode. I’ll see you then.

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