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With the fresh slate that spring 2021 is promising—vaccine appointments on the horizon and better weather finally emerging after a long, isolating winter—now seems as good a time as ever to readdress and rethink our job market.  

Particularly after this past year we’ve faced filled with uncertainty, fear of being laid off or having our hours or pay cut because of economic droughts, many are assessing the options that are laid out before us and are reconsidering their career path, or at least their supplemental means of income.  

Particularly with the need for safe and accessible gigs that can be scheduled around your prior commitments, 2021 is the becoming the year for making your own hours and finding ways to get paid on your watch. 

More and more, people with jobs (part-time, full-time, or freelance) are taking up side gigs or are starting their own businesses to either replace or supplement their income and maintain a bit of stability in recovering from the past year.  

So, if you want to start working on your own terms, whether that’s during hours you have to spare to earn a bit of cash, or whether you need to be able to work from home, you’ll need to know where and how to get started. We’ve got you covered.  

1. Know your customer

If you already have a business idea or side gig in mind, you may be thinking simply of what you have to offer your community, and not who your community is, or what the size of your community is.  

In order to target the right clientele for your products or services, you need to identify who in your community is your audience, and if the population in your area is enough to support you.  

For example, if you’re offering math tutoring, you’ll probably be offering your services mainly to parents who are too busy to help their children with their homework, especially while they learn from home.  

Identifying your market will not only allow you to narrow down your advertising strategies, so you can approach the right people to offer your services, but further, allow you to examine how much business you’ll get.  

This is also important to know if you’re offering a product that you would need to deliver or have shipped by a third-party, as you’ll want to ensure any costs won’t outweigh what you charge.  

You can find information about your demographic by going to your local government census, and finding statistics about your area (like I have found on Statistics Canada about the average age in Toronto). 

With this said, your research on your audience isn’t limited to age range, but also should include any factor that may influence your areas needs and their potential demand for your work, such as average income, occupation, and so on.

2. Set realistic expectations

Let’s say you’re on week one of your business launch—you’re starting your own dog-walking business or you’re starting to deliver food for a third-party delivery service that allows you to pick your hours—and you think that you’ll be able to work from 9-5 at your day job and then 6-9 at your side gig five days a week.  

You think, at this rate, you’d be able to buy save up for a new car, or put money away for a vacation (far, far into the future), or even just to keep up with bills. 

But as the week goes by, your energy wanes, you start to feel run-down and fatigued, or you even just feel so sick of working that you give your gig up entirely.  

It can be tricky to find the right balance, but if you’re set on supplementing your income and taking on a side gig, it’s important you remain honest and patient with yourself, especially because you’ll only be able to give as much as you have left in you after a full day of other work.

Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent (and yes, that’s absolutely a full-time job, believe me!), a student, or have a 9-5 office job and just need a bit of extra cash, there are side gigs that are best suited to your availability and skill set.  

Of course, there are more options for side gigs and owning your own business than ever before with the latest technology allowing us to do so from anywhere and at any time, but you’ll want to measure which jobs are appropriate for your lifestyle and how much time you’re willing to dedicate each week/month/year.  

Between working freelance for driving or delivery companies to owning your own business—big or small—there will always be opportunities for you to find and take advantage of depending on your commitments.   

3. Establish your credibility

Especially if you’re starting your own business, like opening up your own Etsy shop or are offering services like online tutoring, there are verification services that can make you appear more legitimate and certified than your competitors.  

For one, if you were to tutor a child in a language—French or Spanish, let’s say—you’d probably want to prove to your clients that you are able to speak the language yourself, and maybe even teach them if you have a certification of that, too.  

And sure, this isn’t necessarily mandatory if you’re self-employed, but showing your authenticated credentials can be the difference between getting the number of clients you need and your business failing because of its lack of authenticity.  

As well, you could verify other aspects of you as a worker, like references from previous employers or other professionals who could vouch for your abilities as a worker in your industry. 

After all, nothing is more reliable than a testimonial from someone who can truthfully speak about your work ethic and ability to perform in your position.  

Lastly, you can further inform not only your audiences of your abilities and natural predispositions to succeed in your field but also yourself by taking a career fit assessment.  

Packfinder, Workwolf’s exclusive career fit assessment analyzes individuals’ strengths, abilities, and natural tendencies to succeed in certain career paths and job positions ranked on a scale from one to five.  

Packfinder is free to take so you can prove to yourself and your clients with your Packfinder results that you’ve got what it takes to be an entrepreneur in your industry. 

4. Social media and promotion 

Having a social media presence is a must these days, which despite some peoples’ hesitations, is a great thing. You can create free social media handles and pages and promote your brand and business without spending any money on printing, flyer distribution, or even making cold calls the old-fashioned way.  

The great thing about social media, too, is that it can be as polished or as approachable as you’d like—depending on how you’d like to brand yourself.

Usually, the more down-to-earth, the more accessible and human a business will feel, and especially when you’re a new, small, local business, customers would often rather support you than a less ethical big box brand.  

However you choose to market your brand, you’ll want to find the right people to target and follow you and see your posts.  

You can find your target audiences by finding social media groups online whose niche meets your solutions (i.e. Parenting groups for your babysitting or tutoring services, pet parent groups for your doggie daycare services, vintage clothes enthusiast pages for your thrifted consignment business, etc.).  

Target your audiences by finding those whose problems you solve with your business, and offer package deals, discounts on friend referrals, and other promotions you can afford to both spread the word about your business while also making your first customers happy.  

Lastly, don’t be afraid to partner up with others who truly appreciate and enjoy your work. If it suits your product or service, partner with a complementary business owner to offer small freebies for a giveaway to spread word of mouth to both of your businesses.  

As well, if you can, offer free samples or trials of your products or services to those interested to offer them a taste of your mastery. After all, nothing beats an authentic, honest testimonial from someone who can vouch for your work.  

5. Share your verifications with your clients and customers

If you do end up verifying credentials on Workwolf, like your criminal reference check, your certifications or diplomas, or even your COVID-19 vaccination status, you can showcase them to make sure your prospective clients see them to assure them of your qualifications.  

Let’s say you’re trying to advertise your skills as a child-minder on LinkedIn and want to share that you not only have your diploma in early childhood education, but also your criminal reference check and your first dose of your COVID-19 vaccination, you’ll need to be able to stand out amongst other child-minders by sharing access to these credentials in real time with your future employers.  

With that said, access to your data is secure for both you and your employer: you own your data and can allow, revoke, or deny access to employers or whomever is asking to see your credentials at any time, but you cannot tamper with or change any of the information verified in your account. 

Our platform uses bank-level encryption, so your data is safe and most importantly, belongs to only the person who should have a say over it: you! 

Workwolf has recently improved its platform to allow users to share their verified credentials in real-time, so that whoever needs to see your verified credentials can, with your permission, of course! 

Check out how my verified credential link looks on my LinkedIn profile below:

LinkedIn Workwolf badge

When you’re ready to make your professional profile shinesign up for your free Workwolf account and take your complimentary career fit assessment today!  

Conclusion

Working from home and on your own terms is becoming more accessible and more intriguing than ever before with the latest technology allowing us to take our work wherever and whenever. Whether you’re interested in taking up a side gig to bring in some extra cash or starting your own business from home to provide you with the freedom to work whenever and wherever you’d like, verified credentials can be a great asset to have to showcase your credibility as a business owner and professional. Workwolf provides verification services that can provide criminal reference checks, academic and employment histories, licenses and certifications, references, and even COVID-19 vaccination statuses.