I’m your host manager wall. And today I’m talking with the best selling author, audio book producer, entrepreneur, Kimberly hobscheid about how every beginner entrepreneur can get started on building a fun side business from scratch, and building it into a profitable business. So welcome, Kimberly, So Kimberly is an expert entrepreneur and has graciously consented to this interview to share with us the beginner’s guide in this area, so that every entrepreneur or professional can understand how they can get started on building a fun business side business. Kimberly, we are very happy to have you here. So we’ll just dive in.
So the first set of questions that I’m going to ask you will be about your background, your education and experience, just so that the viewers and listeners in our audience can get to know you, and understand where you are in your journey. And they can relate better to you. So can you tell us a little bit about your experience and background and how you got started in entrepreneurship?
Absolutely. So my dad was an entrepreneur, he was in business, and working in corporate for a period of time and then became an entrepreneur. And when I entered the business world, I actually started in corporate as well, and did very well there. And after about 20 years, I was kind of finished with that. And I had a couple of things on the side as a side hustle as many people do. And one day I decided that I’d sort of had enough, they were doing great. And I was going a different direction. And they were going to do just fine without me. And I was going to do just fine without them. So I decided to leave, as one of my friends said, Kimberly, you fired your boss that was must have been really fun. And I thought oh, that’s a good way to put it fire your boss. So I guess I did, I had an opportunity to do that and launch full time into a business on my own that I had been creating on the side. And over. Yeah, over my career. I’ve actually had now six businesses, which I have sold and three, which I currently still have.
Nice, nice. All right. Um, so have you had any formal training or education in business?
A good question. So my degree was actually in communications. And I think that helped a lot. I think that the key really is connection and relationship building with customers and joint venture partners and being sort of a real human being that people can identify with it that part right, the rest of it is much easier, I think.
Awesome. All right. So tell us a little bit about your journey, like you know, was it very easy for you to get started? Obviously, you come from an entrepreneurial family background. So that generally helps, right? But tell us, you know, how you got started? Was it easy? Was it were you an overnight success, or you had hardships along the way?
Definitely hardships along the way. I think the stories that tells it the best is actually not quite about me, it’s about me and my son. So the reason that I think I connected with you. And I was just because we had talked about how two summers ago, my son was entering summertime, and it was he was 15 and a half, which is like a really bad age to enter the summer, because you are too young to get a summer job. And even in beautiful San Diego, he felt like he was too old to have a summer camp. So he wanted to do anything else. In fact, he was a tall, so he was taller than most of the camp counselors. That probably made sense. And I said, you know, we looked around for some things to do. And I said, you know, you’re never too young or too old to be an entrepreneur. So let’s create a business around what you love to do what you really enjoy. And not just as a hobby, but something that would be profitable, that could be manageable. And I’ll teach you everything there is to know about business, which is not just, you know, it, hopefully it starts in fun. But then from there, you build out the operations and the sales and the quality control and all of those things. And so we put into Google a search with all of his different background and resources and what he was good at. He’s very charismatic, he’s natural on stage, he’s really, you know, got a really good personality, and can tell a story like no other. And what we found was, Google suggested that he be an audiobook narrator. And we thought, Okay, well, that sounds really fun. You know, we’ve heard audiobooks, we love audiobooks. So that might be a really fun side business, right, and something that you could do during the summertime well, and all this stuff time. So sure enough, we bought some equipment on Amazon and had a little seed money, and got started. And within the first month, he was profitable. And then going forward, he created enough audio books so that he has royalties that are coming in. And as he went back to school, he gets little deposits every month in his checking account that shows that he gets these royalties. And so it’s an ongoing source of income for him that grows every time he does another audio book.
That’s a great story. That’s awesome. So you’re passing on the legacy entrepreneurial legacy, which is great, encouraging young people to enter this field. And also, you know, the point that you brought up about communication and being comfortable at on the stage. I mean, those are really key skills as well. So I advise every entrepreneur to really work on those as well. So that’s great. All right. This has been a great start to the interview. So I’m sure we’ll have lots of fun. So let’s dive in into our beginner’s guide that we wanted to share with the entrepreneur. So tell us, you know, you shared a story about your son, let’s say somebody else wants to do something similar, and they want to start a side business. What should be the first step?
Yeah, great question. So I really encourage people to start with what they love doing, but also who they love working with, because most importantly, is whoever you’re going to sell to whoever, whoever is going to be your audience, they’re going to be in your life quite a lot, you’re going to have to really enjoy working with that group of human beings, whoever that is. So if you have a real passion for working with children, or you have a real passion for working with entrepreneurs, or real passion for working with authors, or maybe your passion is working with energy healers, or coaches, or you know, people who like sailboat and go sailing, whatever it is, find out who what kinds of people you really like working with, and then find out what it is that they want, or they need by asking them not by guessing or thinking, hey, I’ve got the perfect solution. But by going and talking to them and saying, you know, what do you what would make this even better for you. And that’s really the probably the first couple of steps. So find out what you really love doing and who you really love working with. And then step three would be finding out what those that group of human beings needs that you would want to do.
That’s great. Now, can you tell us a little bit of a methodology? Like, you know, you mentioned that you searched on Google after inputting the summary- some of the interest? Can you tell us some other tricks people can use? Because a lot of people times I talked to people and they say, I want to do something that I don’t know what I want to do. And I what interests me most?
Yeah. Yeah, that’s a great question. I actually, it’s funny, I, as a parent, I went to, like an open house at our high school. And the principal was talking and they said, you know, on your college application, we really want you to talk about what you’re passionate about, and what you love doing. And, you know, just talk about your passion, things that you really care about. And all of his parents were in the audience and were nodding along like, Oh, yeah, you need to know your passion. And one little kid bravely raised his hand and he said, What if you don’t know what you’re passionate about? And we all laughed, and you know, we’re smirked. And we’re like, oh, yeah, sure, you can, like everything. And every kid in the audience was like, Yeah, what if you don’t know. So that’s really an interesting phenomenon out there, right that some people are like, I don’t really even know what I’m passionate about. So that’s probably the very first step is to start working in different fields and see if you love it, or you hate it, just to get a little sampling of it, you know, go volunteer is a great way to start and get exposure in any field, there’s tons of companies who are looking for interns, or volunteers, or help. If you have, if you think you want to do athletics, maybe volunteer at a sporting event, to hand out water or something and see if that’s your cup of tea. You know, and that’s that kind of approach to it will get you in there and involved. And if you feel yourself dreading going back the next day, you know that that’s probably not going to be a deep passion of yours, at least not that aspect of it.
That’s true. And also, there’s something to be mentioned about, you know, it needs to be something that you can get into easily if it’s your side business. And obviously, you know, that implies you may not want to invest a whole bunch of money into it, then, yeah, I mean, some, you know, some something simple will be a good start, right?
Oh, I couldn’t agree more. So when we started this audio book business, for example, you certainly could buy a huge amount of equipment, and then best of everything and have spent thousands of dollars making that happen. And just you know, getting exactly the right everything. And I’m not a fan of that, because I have just over the years, I’ve had six businesses, right, I’ve had a lot of different interests. And if I spent all of my savings on one of them, I wouldn’t have been able to do the other ones, right. So I’m a big fan of being conservative on your investments up front, I will buy things second hand, there’s plenty of people who thought, Oh, I really want to do this. And three months later, they didn’t anymore, so they’re selling it cheap. Yeah. Right. That’s my style is to go look for the things that are, you know, like, if you want to do it, just get it on the cheap. See, if you can get a smaller version of that, literally, the audio book studio that we have is Harry Potter style, under the stairs under the stairs in a closet, right? They recommended that it be in a closet, a closed room. And so we didn’t rent student time or anything. We didn’t read anything, we just bought an expensive microphone for a couple hundred dollars. And that was our biggest expense. Other than that, we got a used computer, we gotta use stand, we got, you know, just things we already had around the house for baffling. We use the clothes in the closet to keep the noise levels down. And sort of did it to see if we wanted to do it. Once we got larger, we were able to make some investments, but they weren’t really in the equipment. We had everything we needed there. We made investments in marketing.
That’s awesome. Yeah, that’s enough. In the spirit of the show bootstrapping your business for sure. Alright, so once they have figured out their passion, what should they do next? What’s the next step?
Yeah, figuring out after you figure out what you’re passionate about figuring out how it will sell to somebody. So I sadly heard a lot of stories about people who say that they built a whole course. And it’s eight sessions, and it’s 12 hours long. And they’re really excited about it. And they launched it. And they, you know, specifically one guy told me the story. And he said, and I know it’s perfect. And I launched it and I got crickets, use that expression, crickets, meaning nobody responded, it was totally silence. And in digging into it, we found that what he had to offer was, in fact, a fairly good solution for what they needed. But it wasn’t actually what people wanted to buy. So one tip for your people who are out there trying to sell something. Audience members, people who are buying don’t really want to buy anything to to learn stuff, they don’t want to be taught stuff, they want to get stuff. So rather than selling something that is going to teach them how to create an audio book, you want to teach them, or you want to give them an opportunity to get into a brand new market or make money from a book they already created or something like that. So when you switch it to what they want, rather than what you have to sell, that’s really an effective piece. So my suggestion for bootstrapping is once you figure out what your passion is, figure out what the person wants to buy, rather than what you have to sell.
that’s great. goes back to the same principle of communication marketing, focusing on your customer. All right. And will you recommend, again, you know, any certain methodology or tools to collect this feedback from your customer? How can they approach their potential customers? Because, obviously, you know, they don’t have anything to sell right now. And they’re just thinking about, okay, you know, I’m going to go into, let’s say, I’m going to sell some sailing product, how can we start collecting from feedback about that?
Oh, my favorite time is, before I have a product, believe it or not, that’s my favorite time in the creation process. And again, I’ve had six businesses. So I’ve had a lot of experience with that, right. But the first thing that you want to do is go out and find what your irresistible offer is going to be. And the way that you do that is for from something magic called market research. So you go out to your group of people that you think you want to work with, whether it’s authors, or sailors or whatever it is, and you do market research with them. And you say, you know, hey, I’m, I’m not creating anything, but I’m doing some market research with this group of people. And I love to get your feedback for about 15 minutes on what you’re looking for. And then when you interview them, you ask them, what their greatest challenges are, what their frustrations are, what they would like to have to solve their problems, what that would look like, and then you say that back to them and their words, not your words, you say that back to them in their words. So you’ve told me that you’re really looking for something that’s a quick and easy solution that you can implement without a huge investment that you can do on a side while you’re working a full time job. And that you wouldn’t have to spend a whole lot of money on Does that sound right? And then when you have them say, this is the key term? Yes, that’s right. That’s right. If you can get them to say that, then you know, you’re in the zone. And then you ask them, okay, great. So now assuming that we could get you that in a course, or a class or product or service, how much would you pay for that, if it actually worked and got you the results you were looking for. And then when they give you a price, then that’s great, you put that down in your little spreadsheet, and you go to the next person. Now you do that about 20 times. And by the end, you have a nice round idea of what people really would buy. And then you can create your business based on what people want to buy from you, instead of creating something that people could Buy, and not knowing whether or not you’re going to want it.
That’s awesome. That’s a great method to collect feedback and be certain that whatever you’re building will actually sell. That’s great. Alright, and now let’s say you know, they have the feedback, they know they want to get into this field, whatever the target customer is, what is the next step in actually building that product? building that service? And then selling it?
Yeah, so the way that I work with folks when I’m helping them build their business, is to reach out to them to have them reach out to the people that they did market research with, and give them feedback on that and say, Hey, great news. We, we finished our market research, and we have some results. And I’d like to share them with you, would that be okay? And then when you call them back, and you set a time to call them back, then they say, Yeah, what happened with that, and you say, Great news, we’re creating this, this is what it looks like, this is the product or the service or the class or whatever it is. And good news, we’re doing a beta test with it. And all the first people that participated in the market research, get it at this screaming deal of the price, whatever that is. And would you would you be interested in joining the beta group. And then hopefully, those people that already participated are engaged enough which, once you’ve asked for somebody’s opinion, and input, then they naturally feel like they’ve had up they’re already in it with you, they have a part of it, and they’re invested in your success? So usually, the answer is, absolutely Tell me more about it. And then you have your first set of customers before you even actually produce the product, right. So now you have that seed money to be able to grow and build upon after that, now you are giving them a really good deal in the beginning. So maybe, if you’re selling the product for $10, you sell it to them for two, as long as you’re covering your costs and making a tiny profit, I always say no matter how little the profit is you have to be making a profit on we’re not in here is charity, we’re in here to profit, and, you’re giving it to them for a really good deal, then, you get the first bunch launched. And then from there, you learn more, and you can improve your product and go to the next.
Yeah, I mean, it’s better. I mean, giving a deal is better than selling nothing. So that’s a very good point, you know, always keep room some for some profits.
Well, I don’t want to get too deep into tax guidelines. But when you are in the implementation stage in the creation space is stage, you can keep all of your receipts and all the money that you spend, you can keep a hold of that, you can actually write any of that off on your taxes until you’ve had your first sale. And as soon as you’ve had your first sale, then you can write all that stuff up. So it’s very important to get that first sale no matter what the profit level is, because that’s when you’re officially in business before that you’re in startup mode.
No, that’s a very good piece of information here because a lot of people get excited about the prospects of starting a business, yet they ignore you know, these annoying things like taxes, and then keeping books and things of that nature, right? Which is also a very important part of the business, right?
Yes. Well, if you’ve ever been in corporate, you know, they have many different departments, right, there’s going to be in pretty much every business, there’s something called that’s delivery, right, the product that goes out to the client, there’s also something called sales, right? There’s a whole division of sales. And there’s a whole division called operations. Now that may be legal, it may be accounting, it may be human resources. But all that stuff, right has to happen in a business. And when you’re a solopreneur, which means you’re the one you’re it, if you’re a solopreneur, an entrepreneur of one, then you’re all of those pieces, and you can’t neglect any of them. A lot of people neglect sales, and they get into trouble. A lot of people neglect operations, and they get into trouble. Usually people can handle the delivery. But sometimes even that gets a little bit snagged up, you know, when they get too many orders, and they can’t fulfill on all of them. And they have challenges there. But yeah, it’s multi dimensional.
I mean, so you have to worry about each and every piece of it. Although these days, you know, with with virtual assistants and freelancers, you can get help at a very reasonable price. But yet, you still cannot ignore any aspect of this whole puzzle, right?
Oh, you couldn’t have said it better? I would just say ditto to that.
All right, let’s talk about the mindset because, you know, that’s another really important aspect for entrepreneurs. So tell us a little bit about that. What kind of mindset do young entrepreneurs should have for them to be in, be able to start a business and, you know, take it profitable level
Yeah. So mindset for me, is really, is this a hobby? Or is it a business, and it can, it can be a feel good, enjoyable business. But there’s a difference between treating it like a hobby and treating it like a business. So the first thing about mindset is really focusing on whether or not you are generating income, right. So if you’re busy color, coding your files and making sure everything looks perfect, and you know, stacking your desk just exactly right, or, you know, trying to, to make your website as perfect as possible, and you’re not generating any sales, you’re not really in business. And if you’re doing that after a period of time, because you don’t really like the sales part, you’re not in business again. So mindset is really important that you focus on, this is a business, we’re here for a reason, we’re not nonprofit, unless you are, we’re here to make money. And, you know, we’re not here to, you know, rip anybody off by any stretch of the imagination, but we’re here in business to make money to make trade. And so that’s probably the biggest mindset thing is to make sure that you’re focused on that it’s a business, not just a hobby. And then second to that is making sure that Well, one thing that I heard from a mentor of mine, and I’m a huge proponent of having a mentor, a coach, and a mastermind group, those are really key for any new sprouting entrepreneur. They don’t have to be expensive, you don’t have to dive in and spend, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars on it. But it is, really important to have somebody that can help you move your business forward. And one of my mentors said to me recently, actually, and I thought this was genius. The biggest mistake an entrepreneur can make is to not make money. And I know that sounds silly, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought that is so prevalent in this world, right? There’s so many people who, you know, somebody will come knocking on their door and say, I want to buy this from you. And maybe it’s not exactly what they sell. And they’ll say, you know, I don’t do that. And wow, somebody was just ready to hand you a check. Why don’t you just have a conversation with them?
All right. That’s obviously a good piece of advice. So what are some of the challenges that these young entrepreneurs are likely to face? Because, obviously, there is going to be lot of challenges, and it’ll be good to be prepared for them. So what can you share about those challenges?
That’s a really good question, I would say that you probably need to plan in advance for what happens if you get bored and don’t want to do it anymore. I know that sounds silly. But that happens very regularly. Right? One of the things that you mentioned is having virtual assistants and freelancers and people at your disposal to be able to offload some of your work to, I am a huge proponent of that I believe in that fully. And that’s why I said ditto when you said it. If you get into a business, and you continue to do it, and you start to get a little bored, or you’re not really interested in it, or you’re waking up on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning like to do this anymore. You’ve got to have a plan in place for what happens for those clients. Right? What happens to your inventory? What happens for your, you know, for your business, if you don’t want to do it on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday? So I would say that’s probably the biggest thing to plan for is what’s either your exit strategy, or at least your temporary? I don’t want to do this this week kind of strategy.
All right. One thing you brought up, which was, which is obviously very important sales and marketing. So a lot of people shy away from that. And obviously sales is not something that comes naturally to a lot of people. What will you recommend there to strengthen that aspect of their business sales and marketing? bring in some revenue?
Yeah. So first off, I would say that sales is not a dirty word, you just have to get your mind around the part of sales that you like, and you probably like some part of sales. Maybe you like networking, maybe you like customer service. Maybe you like handling new orders, when they come in and asking follow up questions on them to do maybe an upsell or something like that. There’s probably some aspect of sales that you do like, and I would say make sure you’re thriving. And spending a lot of time in that. If there’s, if you really don’t like any sales, you’re going to have to find somebody who does and you’re going to probably have to compensate them for doing it. Otherwise, you don’t have a business, you’re not going to sell anything. Very rarely Are you going to be able just to produce a product and have it sell itself. Even if you listed something on Amazon, you’re going to have to pay me amazon for selling it for you. Right? So you’re going to have to to either spend money on that, or do it yourself as an entrepreneur, if you can get your mind around liking sales, then I would suggest that you do that as quickly as possible. Because really, we’re always selling ourselves, even if we’re working in a corporate job. We’re kind of selling ourselves, right?
Yeah, that’s something that a lot of people cannot get their head around with, which is what you brought up, even when they are doing their job, or they appear for an interview, they are selling themselves. And, you know, we all sell ourselves when we go on a date or anything like that. So that’s something that we all need to learn how to market ourselves. And so all right. Now, is there anything else that you would like to share in terms of how people can build their businesses and start a side business? That we that something that I have not asked you already in this interview?
Yeah, I’d say a lot of people worry that they’re not going to be able to do it as while they have an existing job. And I am personal testimony that you absolutely can, not only can you it’s almost a should, right? Like if you have income coming in, you can assume from all of your friends and family who are older than you that one day, you’re not going to want to do that anymore. And you’re going to want to try something else. So it’s really kind of cool to have what we call a side hustle of something that we like doing where there’s a stream of revenue coming in on the side, maybe it’s just small. But then one day, you may be able to grow it or meet somebody who wants to grow the other part of it or, or build on it in some way, and have that then grow into a business that can have recurring revenue. My ultimate goal for people after they’ve sort of bootstrapped and put their business on the map is to get the business to a point where it’s recurring revenue, whether they’re there or not, for example, for my son, he went back to school, and he still has checks being deposited into his account, even though he’s not creating audio books at that time, right there. It’s a recurring stream of revenue. So if you can create a side hustle that makes that recurring stream of revenue, the greater you build that then one day you can retire and have that feed in your bank account. And it’s pretty cool.
Yeah, that’s great. Yeah. And the internet allows us to do that. These type of businesses were really hard to build a few years ago, but now with the power of the internet, it’s very possible. And even if you’re retired, or even if you’re traveling, you can still work on your business, as long as you have a computer and internet connection.
Absolutely. The three big reasons people get into business are usually for freedom. And it’s time freedom, location, freedom, and financial freedom, and get those three things out of a business in one.
That was a very high note to end this interview on. So thank you so much, Kimberly, for, for this interview, and sharing your wisdom and experience. I’m sure the entrepreneurs and professionals in our audience have a much better idea of how they can start a side business and drive it to profitability.
what a pleasure to be here with you today.
Links & Mentions from This Episode:
- Kimberly’s company: https://www.entrepreneursrocketfuel.com
- ZIVAOnline meditation course: https://go.tetranoodle.com/z1
- TetraNoodle consulting services: https://www.tetranoodle.com
- TetraNoodle professional training: https://courses.tetranoodle.com
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