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The UPS Store blog
  • 18 September 2020
  • Public Relations

5 Ways to Go from Side Hustle to Small Business

What began in 2017 as a side hustle to pay for her study abroad program quickly turned into Lalese Stamps’s very successful small business, Lolly Lolly Ceramics. Increasing in popularity, her handmade pieces went from selling at local flea markets to selling out online and with major retailers.

How did Lolly Lolly Ceramics work through its growing pains to achieve fame? As part of our small business advice series, Lalese shares five ways she built her business:

1. Determine your small business’s mission and where it fits within your community.
As a ceramics maker, Lalese is adamant about authenticity and creating designs that feel genuine to her vision and style—even as her business grows. In her experience, customers appreciate this approach as anything disingenuous is easily spotted. “I think there are a lot of people who are recognizing their impact, where they put their money—and how important both are.” As a small business owner, it’s crucial to establish your mission and stay true to it, according to Lalese.

2. Invest in a bigger space.
A limited space can limit your ability to get work done, so know when it’s time to upgrade or move things out of the garage. It doesn’t have to be a drastic change, but creating a workspace that is solely for your small business can aid in productivity and professionalism. “I was operating out of my basement before,” Lalese said about shifting to a larger studio, “but now I’m in a situation where I need more space.” She plans to use that space to increase production and meet demand for her handmade pieces.

Lolly Lolly interior studio space

3. Educate yourself.
“I never really thought about a business plan, or even five and ten years down the line,” Lalese said. Her side hustle quickly grew into a small business—something she had not anticipated. When it came to the back-office part of the business, Lalese had a lot to teach herself. Her advice to fellow small business owners is to read and do your due diligence. Creating beautiful ceramics is now only a piece of Lalese’s job. Studying her industry, creating a business plan, understanding financials and legalese have become just as important as the ceramics themselves.

4. Ask for help from the pros.
When Lalese ran into an issue she couldn’t solve on her own, she enlisted help from the professionals. “I've reached out to a business counselor and a financial advisor” said Lalese, “with their know-how I was able to shift priorities.” She is able to focus on creating new inventory, while letting the professionals take care of taxes and accounting. Sourcing the expertise needed, is what allows Lalese to continue growing her business.

Lolly Lolly owner surrounded by mugs

5. Lean on friends or hire help.
Just because you can do a task doesn’t mean you should. Lalese is also a graphic designer, but when creating her website, she leaned on her network of friends who volunteered. “I’ve had to learn to delegate tasks to other people so I don’t get burned out,” Lalese said of the decision. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend for assistance or accept help when they offer. If you don’t know someone with the skills needed, try to hire help. Even if it’s a temporary position or project.

Going from side hustle to small business is a big step, but with the right mission and a little help from others, you can be successful.

For more small business advice , follow us on social media and keep checking back! We have more insights and ways to implement changes coming from small business owners across the country.

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