This is the second installment in a series of posts in which, as encouraged by Austin Kleon in his book Show Your Work, I let you in on the process of creating my next commercial side hustle starting from the ground floor. In part 1 of the series, I introduced my amended version of inspirational speaker Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle which also starts with defining my “Why”. In this installment, I’ll tackle the next level in my circle: defining “For Who?”.
To set the context, here’s a summary of my “Why.” I want to start a side hustle to:
- Apply and continue to develop business acumen.
- Demonstrate to my girls that they can do many things at once.
- Utilize my unique combination of skills to make a meaningful contribution to people's lives.
- Validate that I have correctly applied the business best practices I've learned.
After having decided why I want to start a side hustle, clearly defining the type of people I want this side hustle to serve comes next. That’s the “For Who?” circle in my diagram. A people-centric approach to generating ideas for my side hustle will ensure I focus on creating value by solving a problem, or satisfying a need or want people have. Having a good understanding of the people I want to serve with my eventual product or service is certainly at the heart of successful marketing. To market means creating the demand for people to trade something they have (e.g., money, time, attention) in exchange for something they wish to acquire (e.g., my product or service).
Individuals or companies who have characteristics that make them ideal users of my side hustle are called my “target market”. Many ventures fail in part because the entrepreneur was so enamored with their idea, they assumed everyone would be willing to part with their hard-earned cash to buy their product. Everything you do as a side hustler should be with a specific person in mind. Marketing is about creating stories in which our target market is the main character.
If a target market is a specific set of people, how do you go about describing that set of people? Marketers use a term called market segmentation which is the task of regrouping people based on aspects of their lives that make them similar. Groupings can be based on various attributes such as:
- Geographic: where people live e.g., urban, suburban
- Demographic: people’s age, family size, education
- Psychographic: personality, lifestyle
- Behavioural: Product usage rate, typical loyalty to a Brand
- Digital consumption patterns: shop online, social media, search and browse.
The more dimensions and attributes the better refined the definition of the target market. Remember the purpose of market segmentation isn’t to exclude most people from benefiting from your side hustle. Of course, you’ll be elated if everyone sees value in what you have to offer. The point of the exercise is to pinpoint an ideal customer so that you can focus your attention on making at least them happy. Anyone else is a bonus! In addition to specific common attributes, a real target market must have the ability and the desire to buy my product or service. Here, ability is defined as the combination of authority, the time, and the money to buy my product or service. Desire pertains to a willingness to take some form of action to address a need, a want or solve a problem.
I took some time to think about the specific group of people I want to serve with my side hustle so I could answer the question “For Who?” in my diagram. Based on my market segmentation analysis, a target customer “persona” has now emerged 😉. A persona is a fictitious character who embodies the characteristics of the perfect customer for my side hustle. Meet Jonas, my ideal customer:
- Geographic: lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- Demographic: 40 years of age, in a relationship, has a university degree
- Psychographic: introspective, high achiever, career oriented, interested in self-improvement
- Vocation: office job, middle management, information worker, tech savvy, communicator
- Behavioural: highly brand loyal, seeking certainty and affirmation, relationship oriented, risk averse
- Digital consumption: frequent online shopper, frequent video consumer, moderate social media user
- Purchasing process: slow decision maker, researcher, evaluator, comparison shopper, review reader
- Pain points: self-conscious, concerned with public perception and reputation, aspiring for more
- Purchasing power: high discretionary income, in debt e.g., mortgage, car loan, student loan
Alright, we’re making progress. Now that I have clarity on why I want to start a side hustle, and the type of people I want to serve, people like my new friend Jonas above, I am ready to answer the next question “For What?”. Remember, If you want to quickly see and read all my posts on this process in sequential order, just look for and click on this tag: About Side Hustles.
See you soon for Part 3 in this series.