The whole point of a weekend business is that they are low-cost and doable with the right tools and a certain amount of elbow grease. But what if you want to give your word-of-mouth-based business a little bit of a boost without paying for advertising?
With proper communication, you don’t have to spend a cent.
STEP ONE: WRITE YOUR PITCH
An elevator pitch for a weekend business is easier to create than you’d think, and you probably already have one.
Whether you’re a dog walker, window/siding cleaner, or a part-time landscaper, you need to know what services you will offer, how much it will cost and how you want people to contact you.
It should sound something like this;
Hey, I’m John.
I’ll be offering basic landscaping services (mowing, planting, trimming etc.) all summer.
I provide all my own equipment and I can work around your schedule. My number is (xxx).xxx.xxx
STEP TWO: LET PEOPLE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD KNOW
You do not need to start a brand new social media account for your weekend business unless you want to or plan to use it as your primary source of communication.
The whole point is that it should be an easy side project, not another full-time job.
When it comes to small, local-only businesses, Facebook and Facebook Groups are still one of the best tools to get the word out. Especially if you end up doing work for friends or family.
However, you’ll want to join a few community/neighbourhood groups for the best results.
If you’re on a platform like Instagram, mix in a few local-only hashtags like your #city #community #citylife type tags.
You’ll get a much wider net when you post on Instagram but targeting specific areas is essential if you want to make sure people in your community see your posts.
Never count out the humble tear-off flyer taped to a mailbox or telephone pole. It only takes a few minutes to whip up a poster template in Canva and print it off.
Technically, you’ll pay money for the ink and paper, but your overhead will still be minimal if you post your flyers strategically.
Suppose you’re a dog walker, post flyers along routes where people take their dogs for walks. If you live in a suburb with a community mailbox, POST A FLYER THERE.
A lot of this is common sense, but it’s worth repeating just in case.
Additionally, if there are free directories or classified sections for your town or community, make sure to seek them out and add your business information.
STEP THREE: ENCOURAGE REFFERALS
Once you’ve had a few clients, word-of-mouth will become one of your best assets for getting new business.
Research suggests that 83% of satisfied customers are willing to refer others, yet only 29% do, probably because they were never asked.
So, ALWAYS ask if your customers would be willing to refer you to others.
When you’ve done a good job, make sure your happy client has a way to contact you when they need more work done or so they can easily pass your contact info on to friends and neighbours who might want to use your services.
Traditionally, this is the purpose of a business card. But you don’t have to design and print fancy ones or even use a business card at all if you don’t want to.
A vcard your client can use to add you as a contact, a simple friend request or your information written on a sturdy piece of card stock are all acceptable alternatives when you do good work.
If your customers are okay with it, share some pictures on your social media so people can see the work you do.
A freshly mown lawn, clean windows or a happy dog you walk every week are excellent ways to show the benefits of what you do.
And, if your customers have social media, ask if they’d be willing to make a post and tag you in it.
STEP FOUR: BUNDLE YOUR SERVICES
When your business relies on word of mouth, customers will pass along how good of a job you did and how much it costs.
Once you get the hang of the work, it might be worth bundling your services.
A consistent number or way of describing your offer will stick in people’s heads better.
“Ted’s great. He charged me $30/hour for the whole lawn and log removal.”
“Sophie comes by every two weeks to mow and trim the bushes back. I think I pay around $135 per month?”
Will create a specific expectation in people’s heads. It’s an optional step, but it can save you a lot of headaches.
If you have a clear way for people to contact you, do good work and focus on local marketing avenues, a weekend business does not have to be an expensive or time-consuming exercise.