How To Run A Side Hustle Without Alienating Your Friends

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How To Run A Side Business Without Alienating Your Friends
Do you need a pair of buttery soft leggings? Maybe a skin care regimen that will turn back time?  Cause I know someone.

Actually, I know a lot of someones, and I’m sure you do, too. Lately, it seems like everyone has a side hustle. I may be in the minority here, but I’m all for it. If you’re running a side business that’s personally fulfilling, brings in a little extra income, or allows you to stay home with your kiddos, I think that’s awesome. Get it, girl! (Or boy.)

I have many friends who are about that life, and while I can’t see myself in that role, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t wearing a pair of extra soft, wildly-patterned leggings as I type this. I’m wearing them for two reasons—I want to support my friends, and also because leggings are my love language. I’m the proud consumer of fancy face cream, fragrant wax melts, and more brightly-patterned clothing than any woman needs. Each of these purchases was made to support a friend’s dream of something more.

That being said, being inundated with party invites and “special offers” every time I get online can be a little overwhelming, or to be completely honest, downright obnoxious, at times. I understand promotion is an important part of business growth, but there are ways to promote your business without making everyone roll their eyes, and unfollow you on Facebook—and none of them involve stalking or spamming your friends and loved ones.

From a consumer (and friend) stand point, there’s a right way, and a wrong way, to drum-up business. At the top of the wrong way list is, blowing up your friends’ newsfeeds with business-related posts. Listen, I love seeing what you’re up to, that’s why I follow you, but 20 posts a day is the definition of excessive. Social media is a powerful platform, and can be paramount in the success of your business, but maybe start a dedicated page or group for your customers. Let friends know about your new page and invite them to join, but don’t add people to a group without asking first. I realize your besties don’t mind at all, but that girl from high school that you haven’t talked to in 10 years (me)—she might not be as jazzed (I’m not).

Speaking of people you haven’t talked to in 10 years—don’t friend request people then immediately send a private message to pimp your business. “Hey! Hope you are doing well! I just wanted to send you a quick message to let you know about this amazing deal!” Just don’t. It feels dirty, and nobody should feel like they need a shower after buying face cream. I understand reaching out to new potential customers is part of business growth, but maybe let the dust settle on that friend request first, or at least like a few pictures of my kids at the zoo, so I don’t feel so used.

The best advertiser in any business is word of mouth. Making your customers feel appreciated is huge. Sending personal thank yous, doing fun giveaways, and being creative with your marketing strategies can help you stand out in the sea of sales pitches, and make those supporting you feel valued. Posting the same scripted advertisements as 30 other business owners feels generic and inauthentic. Your friends want to support you, and see you succeed, so be yourself. They will sing your praises and help you grow, because the love you and the product. It’s always awesome to find a product, restaurant, or clothing store I really love, but if the sales staff sucks, I won’t be back. It’s just as much about you as it is what you’re selling—so don’t be a spammy, thirsty, stalker. (Too harsh? Just saying what I’ve thought 100 times when I get spammed with an unoriginal sales pitch from someone I barely know.)

Be you, be original, don’t be spammy, and I have no doubt your side business will rock.

Photo: Getty