Business Skills Success: Taking Your Micro or Side Hustle Out of the Box!

Business Skills Success Taking Your Micro or Side Hustle Out of the Box - Photograph by Rawpixel | Kathy Ennis | LittlePiggy

Business skills can be neatly divided into two sections: functional skills, and ‘soft’ skills (though I prefer to call these ‘out of the box’ skills).

Functional skills are business-specific, practical skills – such as financial management and marketing – that your business needs in order to function successfully.

So what are out of the box skills?  These are more personality-driven.  They include things like focus, creativity, and the ability to see other people’s points of view.

A successful business needs a combination of these skills – but no single business person can possess them all!

A good rule of thumb, as to where you are with your functional and out of the box skills, is to perform a skills audit. Take into account which skills you are bringing in yourself, which you don’t currently have but would like to learn, and which you’ll need to outsource.

If you’re run a micro or side hustle business, your skills audit will be particularly important, as you won’t have an army of paid employees to call upon.

As a business mentor who has been there, done that, and got the T-shirt, I know just how hard it can be to audit yourself, especially when it comes to those out of the box skills.

Functional skills are much easier to analyse.  For example, if you’ve completed a marketing course, or you once worked as an accountant, then it’s clearer to see where your practical strengths might lie.

But when you look at skills driven by your personality, how can you really, honestly, know what you’re good at, or where you might need to improve?

This is where feedback can really come into its own.  After all, most of us have a tendency to view the negative side of ourselves really well, and that can be a bad habit that’s really hard to break.

For example, lots of micro and side hustle business owners explain that they’re not particularly creative, don’t really ‘get’ social media or that they’re concerned about how much they are charging and don’t think people will want to pay them.

If that sounds like you, take comfort in the fact that lots of successful people felt this way when they started out, and it hasn’t held them back.

But there are some out of the box skills that you will definitely need in order for your business to do well.  Discussing them with an expert, like me, will help you analyse your skills more objectively; you’ll get targeted feedback that will show you those areas you excel at naturally (we all have them) and those you need to develop (we all have those, too).

Here are some of those essential out of the box skills:

Business Success Skills 1: Critical Thinking

Though it may sound harsh, critical thinking doesn’t necessarily mean criticising everything you see or hear.  Instead, it involves thinking clearly and objectively enough to make good business judgements in order to solve problems.

It’s about looking at your business, your processes, your products and services – ANALYTICALLY.

Running a business can leave you short on time, which is where true critical thinking can become a challenge.  Yet having the patience to gather and analyse facts, ask questions, then use the information to make reasoned decisions (and changes!), could actually save you the time it would have taken to clear up the mess, after a hasty decision gone wrong!

Business Skills 2: Collaboration

I like to think of successful business owners as having a competitive spirit, with a collaborative soul.

What this means is: don’t be scared of competition!

We all have something different to offer, and even if your competitors offer a similar product or service, it won’t be  exactly the same.  So don’t be afraid to help someone else out, or even work alongside them occasionally, if it means your businesses will benefit.

In business the ‘C’ word should be COLLABORATION, not COMPETITION

Business Skills 3: Humanity

While this might sound like a strange ‘skill’, let me ask: do you reply to emails?

Here’s a recent example of a lack of humanity.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be featured on a national radio programme. After the broadcast, I was contacted by lots of people asking for advice. So, I offered everyone who contacted me a half-hour Discovery Call in order to find out a bit more about their issue, and to give them a few pointers. I blocked out two days for this, taking calls every half hour, then emailing the people i spoke to afterwards with a summary of our conversation and (as they all requested) some information on how we could work together. Of all the people I spoke to – 1 (one!) person took the time to email me and thank me for my time and the information I provided. Even after a quick follow-up with all the others – NOTHING.

Remember; humanity is treating others in the way you expect to be treated.

Don’t forget, people do business with people.

Business Skills 4: Objectivity

To be successful, you will need to develop the ability to step outside of your business and see it as others do.

Objectivity is a ‘sister-skill’ to critical thinking; it will help you to see someone else’s point of view, such as a customer, or a potential collaborator.

Developing a sense of objectivity about your business can also help you take criticism or rejection less personally.  Instead, you can see it as valuable feedback that you can either put into practice, or ignore.

I know this can be a genuine challenge, because we all love what we do – there’s that Passion word raising its head above the parapet.

But, as business owners it’s our job is to make others love what we do, too. We won’t be able to do that is we don’t develop the capacity to step outside our passion-point and objectively assess what we see. It’s hard; and we don’t like doing it. That’s why I often say to the business owners i work with:

Nobody wants to be told they have an ugly baby!

How Can I Help?

I’m always on hand to help with an objective skills audit for your business – and for yourself.

You can get started by downloading my free Skills Analysis Template, which includes a simple grid and some more insight about those essential business skills.

And as ever, please feel free to post any questions or comments below.

Kathy Ennis

I mentor dynamic, action-taking micro business owners who are not making the profit they deserve or dream of. I help them transform their good ideas into a successful business. I enable them to create simple, sensible, achievable business plans and engagement marketing strategies that turn their passion into profit.