120: Side Hustle Coaching: 10x Thinking and Standard Operating Procedures

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Last Saturday our schedules aligned and I was able to catch up with Kathryn, one of my public coaching volunteers who’s starting a gluten free baked-goods company in Portland, Oregon.

Where we left off, things were going pretty well.

She’s been pounding the pavement doing some good old fashioned cold calling to land her first clients, focusing on coffee shops in the local area. She had 2 recurring clients and around $250 a month in profit, but had just started a new job and was pressed for time.

In this conversation we get into some of those capacity issues, what it means to create systems and processes for production, and the very real possibility of taking this operation to 10x its current size in the very near future.

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In this call we focus on:

  • The wins of the business over the past two months, including customers increasing order frequency and volume.
  • Accountability for the previous goals she set.
  • Some listener feedback and suggestions related to online order processing (Adrian) and selling retail (Jason).
  • The current challenges she’s facing regarding systems and scale, and how she plans to relieve those pressures by enlisting her son or husband for help.
  • Standard operating procedures that will allow her to replace her current baking and packaging roles.
  • Some deeper reasons WHY she wants to keep hustling and building this business.
  • The potential to move into her shared commercial kitchen sooner rather than later.

And finally, we wrap it up with an accountability portion for what needs to get done before our next meeting.

Kathryn’s goals for the next 2 weeks:

  • Figure out insurance / liability issue.
  • Figure out an online ordering option.
  • Create process documentation and train either her son or husband to help out.

She’s making it happen and it’s pretty exciting stuff!

Even though she’s faced some overwhelm and exhaustion lately, Kathryn’s getting it done and is well on her way to reaching her $1500/month goal.

Do you have any input or feedback for Kathryn based on this episode? If so, please be sure to leave a comment below and I’ll pass it along in our next session.

8 thoughts on “120: Side Hustle Coaching: 10x Thinking and Standard Operating Procedures”

  1. Catherine is overwhelmed because she is trying to do too much herself. She needs to work ON her business, not IN her business… and her job is going to need to go as soon as possible! My suggestion is to have her husband video record her giving step-by-step procedures and then she can put it into a Google doc. That way someone else can both see her and read the directions. Best of luck to Catherine!

  2. Nick, Thanks for bringing up my question.

    I can definitely see not wanting to go consumer route.

    I was looking at it as more similar to her current model for businesses where customers would order ahead of time, she would charge customer, make everything, and instead of delivering individually, using the market a store front where she could deliver the goods.

    Also, I was thinking the Farmer’s Market would not be the long term startegy. Just short term. It may be good for marketing to businesses saying “I’m selling x number of units each week directly to the customers. Customers that could be visiting your coffee shop to buy as well.” There’s also the potential for meeting some local business owners.

    Finally, I may have zoned out a bit, but I thought Kathryn said with this new order, she’s at $500/month with potential for more.

    The commercial kitchen would be $500/month but she’s waiting to have a cushion of revenue before committing to that. Do you think she take the plunge now, investing her full revenue to get into the kitchen, get it certified and start building a small amount of inventory since the goods can be frozen?

    I’m envisioning the possibility with the potential of a much bigger order on the horizon, there would be delays due to setup, certification, and working out kinks so this new big order goes off without a hitch.

    Seems ideal to get in the kitchen now and have everything somewhat settled before the fun begins.

    She already sounds to be at capacity in the home kitchen. Also, with her hustle attitude, I can easily foresee a few more orders coming her way.

    Also, with building up some inventory, she could have the goods already made for when she pounds the pavement.

    I hope she’s continues to want the bakery as a full time endeavor as it does sound she’s getting comfortable with her new job. I’m getting the feeling that if she wasn’t participating in the public coaching that the bakery would have been pushed aside even more for the last couple months.

    • Ahh excellent points to use the farmer’s market/direct tactic as validation to then take to the wholesale clients as part of the pitch. “Hey there’s a proven demand for this stuff!”

      The way I understood it, the potential new client could take this to $5k a month, in which case the commercial kitchen would definitely be required. But I agree there’s going to be a learning curve in increasing capacity that quickly, so if it’s going to go that route eventually anyway, it probably makes sense to get it licensed and approved sooner rather than later.

  3. Hi-
    I thought I would chime in on the online ordering for wholesale customers.

    I am a chef and have been purchasing for restaurants and catering for more than 15 years. The easiest and fastest method that I have used over the years has simply been email to my suppliers. I usually create a simple form for the vendor, with their product codes, etc, and fill it out each time and email it. I follow this with a text to my contact person at the company alerting them to the email with the order. If I do not hear back by the end of the business day I will reach out by phone.

    I would say that Kathryn could have her master list of the goods she is offering. To customize it for each customer, simply move the items that they order to the top of the list. That way it is fast for the customer to order what they know they want. The rest of the offerings would be at the bottom of the list, so that the customer has exposure to the entire product line, and may expand the order to new products.

    By Kathryn generating the list, she controls the appearance of the order she will receive by email. This will ensure efficiency due to consistency and a clear communication channel. Otherwise, each customer may call the same item by a slightly different name, adding time on her end in figuring out what the customer is ordering.

    Just a suggestion for a no-cost solution. I like ordering this way so that I have a “paper trail” of emails for the orders I place.

    I love the podcast and am inspired!


  4. I just found these public coaching podcasts and have listened to all of them with Catherine. My wife and I own a seasoned pretzel company and a lot of the information will be very helpful to us. For instance we’ve never thought of making the pretzels in bulk and freezing them so that we have them on had when a small order comes in. Great idea!!!

    What is the rest of the story tho? It seems like this is the last podcast related to her and the coaching you did with her.

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