Given gift of being laid off from cushy day job, former side-gig gaining traction but feel I could be doing a better job at it. Looking for feedback on ways to effectively improve and grow.

Recently I was laid off due to my (former) largest client shutting down a healthy portion of their business on top of the company I worked for already being significantly in the red. As a result I drew the short straw and was laid off. Luckily they gave me a healthy severance package and the wife and I are pretty frugal so we have over a year worth of survival funds to rest on. I am also now on her benefits so I am covered, we have no kids, but are at a monthly deficit without my income so the clock is ticking.

All that being said, the purpose for my post is that I have a side gig that was originally just a creative outlet for my hobby but has been gaining steam over the years and this year we are poised to do a pretty decent amount of business ($70k gross last year, looking at $100-120k+ gross this year). My company is a design firm, specializing in creating artistic solutions out of steel, and we also offer a line of lighting products that combine art with function. The market we are focused on is a healthy market, but its also a niche market given the pricing of our product and services, and the cost of penetration into the client demographics that we want is pretty high. Growth since we incorporated (I have one business partner) has been from $15k gross revenue in 2013 to $70k gross revenue this last year, all done in our part time while we both had day jobs.

Current setup is that we have some distributor networks locally and nationally, we are in two galleries out in Santa Fe on Canyon Road, we have a small number of industry relevant retail outlets nationally, and I've been making trips and cold calls like crazy to try and gain some more business given this is the prime time of the year for our products. We also have a healthy social media following that I try my best to add content to, and not just advertising content but also to capture the creative process and try to have some fun with it as we don't take ourselves too seriously.

I'm looking at this whole scenario as being one of the best gifts I've ever been given in that someone else finally kicked me off the proverbial ledge, but I want to make sure I maximize the opportunity as much as possible. My questions for the community here are as follows:

  • What things do I need to consider now that my benefits from my former employer have been exhausted and paychecks have stopped to best maximize my small business endeavor?

  • Those of you who have had a similar situation how did you measure out how much more you needed to make your business work versus know it was time to go get a new job?

  • Any suggested resources to help small business? I've reached out to the local ones, but I know this sub can usually offer a gem or two.

  • How can I make cold calling and knocking on doors more effective? Looking for guidelines on proper timing between follow ups, best way to make first impressions, and any other tips or tricks from successful entrepreneurs

  • What are some of the key things I need to focus on as a one man show (business partner still has very demanding day job) as I find myself each day trying to determine what actions will have the best ROI while balancing in core business activities (bookkeeping, etc.)

Thank you in advance for anyone willing to provide me with some feedback and help!


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