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This 35-year-old Turned Her eBay Side Hustle into a $141 Million Company: ‘Here’s the Business Plan I Used’

People once picked up second jobs or more shifts when money was a little tight. Sometimes this occurred when they were trying to save for something like a new car, the holiday season or a vacation. However, with the cost-of-living soaring, it seems like people everywhere are picking up a second job just to cover their monthly expenses. Most of us don’t imagine that these second jobs could turn into big money-making opportunities. Be that as it may, Tori Gerbig left her job to pursue a side hustle for extra income. Now the company is worth millions and she’s sharing with CNBC the business plan she used to make that happen.

Side Hustle Turned Success

In 2011, Tori and her husband Chris began selling clothing and accessories online as a side hustle to supplement their income. The business was doing well and by 2014, she left her job in insurance sales and together they focused their energy on a successful company. They posted items for sale on websites like Facebook Marketplace and eBay. Before they knew it, their online customer base grew to over 10,000 members. Their side hustle was a success and quitting her job had definitely paid off. Tori was able to pursue her combined passions, affordable fashion and helping women feel confident in their clothes.

Taking a Leap of Faith

Without any idea what the future would hold, Tori and Chris dove in full-fledged. Tori worked the social media angle while Chris structured their operations and worked on the finances. Last year the couple averaged over 11,000 items sold each day and made $141 million in profits. She explains that their side hustle wouldn’t have been possible without a solid business plan. She states that it’s important to have a business plan early on and to be prepared to make adjustments as you go. Tori has had countless entrepreneurs ask, so she’s broken down what she believes to be the most integral pieces of their side hustle success.

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Fundamentals for Side Hustle Success

Number 1, aside from establishing a business plan, “Define your value proposition”. This means taking note of things you like and don’t like about other companies who products similar to yours. Not every company caters to a whole range of people. By taking note you can “fill in the gaps” and provide customers with a unique experience.

Number 2, Define who your “ideal customers” are. Understand what makes them happy, what frustrates them, and what their daily budget may look like. This will help you market your products and price them based on affordability for your target audience.

Number 3, “Strongest Differentiators“. Identify what sets your business apart from other competitors. Tori explains there were two things that set their side hustle brand, Pink Lily apart from others. The first is that all of their products were marked less than $50 per item, which gave them an affordability edge. She said that people also like the idea of supporting family-owned businesses. Their customers not only had affordable fashion options but were able to take part in their growing community.

Number 4, Prepare for rapid growth and adaptation. Most people feel hesitant to go all in on their side hustle. They’re afraid they won’t generate high-profit margins or will lose money, rather than gain it. Tori says to assume you’ll be wildly successful at getting first-time customers. In doing so, think of how you’ll be able to scale your budget to accommodate a rapid increase in clientele. Plan ahead for how much money you’ll need in startup costs.

Number 5, Social Media Marketing. This one tends to discourage a lot of people but is essential for success. There was a time when businesses advertised on tv, billboards, or in the newspaper. However, nowadays much of our communication and marketing occurs through social media platforms. Get comfortable with these platforms, create profiles for your company and offer incentives to your customers for spreading the word. If you want to be able to quit your day job and live lavishly off your side hustle, you’ll need to build a large following. Check-in frequently with your followers about what they like, want more of, don’t like, and want less of. This will give you an overall idea of what appeals to the masses.

Tori says, one of the most valuable things you can do as a business owner, is to engage with your customers. Allow them to feel heard, part of your world, and give them what they ask for. It isn’t possible to always please everyone all the time but reaching the majority of your customers will create customer satisfaction and in turn, repeat customers.

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