Starting a Summer Side Business — What You Should Know

Starting a Summer Side Business — What You Should Know

On July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, the Declaration of Independence was signed into law by the Continental Congress after being drafted by Thomas Jefferson and modified by the likes of John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. The Declaration states:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

With the 4th of July right around the corner, we are now 240 years into the birth of the American tradition. America’s free market allows an individual to free up raw gifts provided to them by their Creator, transform those raw gifts into marketplace skills, and supply to the free market the human resources to resolve present-day unmet needs, issues, challenges, and so on, for particular market segments.

With that in mind, if you want to start up a new side business this summer, you can never go wrong with creating a supplemental income stream—for as the world’s greatest investor, Warren Buffett, says: Never depend on a single source of income, make the investment necessary to create a second source of income. There are ways to get cash to start a summer side gig—but you also need to know how to transform your raw gifts into applicable marketplace skills.

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Developing Your Business Infrastructure

In a previous article here on Nav, I discussed the importance of business development within a small business, as business development is the foundation of a successful business enterprise. The process of business development involves strategic management of all areas of the operations, which begins with determining what unique value proposition you’ll bring to the market. Then scale/structure the business in terms of marketing, sales, capital, etc. To create your unique value proposition, you want to answer some questions:

  1. What are my raw gifts, and how can they be transformed into new skills?
  2. What are my current skills?
  3. What market segment in a particular town, state, region, etc., has some sort of unmet market demand that my skills, created products/services could resolve?
  4. Or, what market segment can I compete with, in terms of having more efficient products/services (higher quality or lower cost)?
  5. Or, how can I take away a particular level of market share, due to an innovative way of marketing that lowers my acquisition costs and allows for quicker break-even periods and higher profit percentages?

Once you lay out the unique value proposition, scale the business in terms of making sure you have the needed levels of capital, legal/accounting assistance, marketing mediums, supply chain requirements, and more.

Setting up a Summer Side Gig

Speaking of Independence Day, let’s take a look at a fictional summer side seasonal business called “Joe’s Fireworks Tent.”

Joe decides to set up a fireworks tent—after obtaining the proper permits—in his local town, because his research shows that the fireworks packages he would resell are of a higher quality, higher quantity, and overall a better value than what can be obtained in local retail stores.

Joe would operate the tent for a two-week/14-day period from Monday, June 20th to Monday, July 4, beginning at 10:00 a.m. EST until around 8:00 p.m. EST—which is 10 hours per day, and 140 total working hours, over the two-week period.

For the two-week period, Joe estimates that with the traffic he generates at the great location he’s picked out and been authorized to setup the tent, that he can sell about seven fireworks packages per hour, with an average sell of $50. At 10 hours per day, this comes out to about $350 in sales per hour, $3,500 in sales per day, and about $50,000 during the two-week/14-day time period.

Joe’s fireworks vendor allows him to keep 70% of all sales generated, which is $35,000 of the $50,000 generated. Let’s say Joe’s expenses for the two-week period come out to $10,000 for the cost of the tent, marketing, operational equipment, and hiring his kid to help out in the tent, which leaves a total profit of $25,000 for Joe for a summer business that was in operation for only two weeks.

Not all summer side businesses will be as profitable as Joe’s, but by determining your unique value proposition first, and carefully starting with a few simple steps, you’ll be able to create something just as rewarding.

Getting Started

Determining the best gig: To determine the best type of gig for you to operate this summer, it depends on your skill sets, your identified opportunities within the market, as well as your ability to operate within a sector. The fireworks tent is only one example of a potential seasonal summer business, but there’s a variety of other businesses you could start up as a seasonal summer business to get started in the field of entrepreneurship—such as landscaping, car washing, ice cream trucks, and recreational businesses based on the hot/warm summer weather.

Resources: Networking with your local business associations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, Small Business Development Centers, and other great organizations can provide you with information on local business opportunities within your area. They can also offer tips, techniques, and resources to assist with running your business—including various vendors, suppliers, and creditors.

Managing time: Running your seasonal summer business on the side of your full-time gig, keeping up with hobbies, raising a family, etc., can be challenging. Determine if you have enough time to directly control the business as an owner-operator, or if it might make more sense for you to employ seasonal part-time employees to manage the day-to-day nuisances of the business, after you set up/scale the business with the proper blueprint, financing, vendors, and the like.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Consider using this summer as an opportunity to venture out into the world of entrepreneurship and pursue happiness in our free market system. Even if you lack experience, resources, and “time,” understand that there’s no such thing as a “perfect time.” As the great Napoleon Hill once said, “Do not wait: the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.”

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