056. The Side Hustle Coaching series part 1

056 | Popup Business Part 1 | Alan Donegan

A slightly different episode as it consists of a coaching call between Alan Donegan from the PopUp Business school and Tallis, who wishes to grow her business and make it profitable.

In this episode we cover:

  • First episode the year: Coaching call
  • Call between Alan Donegan and Tallis on her new business idea
  • Alan will walk her through ideas to grow her business
  • Tallis’ business: dance classes for people with Parkinson’s disease
  • Reasons why dance classes work
  • Defining who are the customers
  • Defining who would fund the business
  • Planning out Tallis’ business model
  • Alan’s advice to find funding using examples
  • How to use reports as a pitch for funding
  • Alan’s tips: finding social value, building an email list, scaling the system
  • How to show that the business idea works
  • The importance in adding value to people who fund the business
  • Where to start with PR
  • The branding process
  • The importance of having a website
  • How ChooseFI will check in every so often
  • Why and how Talis will start the business frugally
  • The importance of being very clear who your customer is and how you can help them
  • How FI helps us become entrepreneurs


Alan’s key questions:


  • Who’s the customer?
  • Who’s going to fund your business?
  • What proof do you have that your business works?
  • What makes your business different to other similar ones?
  • Don’t sell workshops to people without money
  • Sell to people who have the same desire to fix the problem as you
  • How can you give back to the institution/company funding you?
  • Use a report/survey as data to support your business
  • What social good does your business achieve?
  • How could you measure whether the idea works?
  • Build credibility by involving other people’s stories
  • Build a list of contacts of your possible customers
  • How will you brand your business?
  • How can you minimize the cost?
  • Are you clear on who your customer is and how you’re helping them?

Listen to Brad and Jonathan's thoughts about this episode here.

Links from the show:

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13 thoughts on “056 | Popup Business Part 1 | Alan Donegan”

  1. I’m not seeing the link to the episode.

    Have a good new year! 18 minutes to go where I live! My oldest daughter didn’t quite stay awake for it, maybe next year!

  2. Wow! This is like “Reality Internet” — but in a good way. What I’m learning is that I’m almost completely ignorant as to how to set up a small business. Which is what makes it fascinating — its like watching someone doing some serious rock climbing and wondering how they are able to do it.

    I’ve got to give props to Cedar Rapids — that’s where I grew up as a proud by-product of the Iowa public schools. And if you go to the band room at Washington High, you’ll even find my name on a plaque. Ok, a very small plaque.

    • Love your feedback Frank,

      I wasn’t sure about how this one was going to be received on our regular monday time slot because it was so raw and transparent. It’s definitely a change of pace for us. but your comment makes me feel much better about releasing it as a monday episode 🙂

      It really was awesome to get to work with Alan on this, amazing how many lightbulb moments we had during the call. I think it’s an episode that can really help people

  3. Great podcast as usual. The business asset class deserves a great deal of attention and the “how to” is something we all want to learn more about.

  4. Brilliant. Love what Alan continuously does to help others reach their dreams of starting a business and wow what an amazing thing Tallis is doing for those with Parkinson’s. Can’t wait to hear Part 2!

  5. Thanks for another great episode. I’m a physical therapist specialized in treating people with neurological disorders, so I had some thoughts for Tallis as she grows and promotes her business. First of all, I love the idea of using ball room dancing to improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s Disease. I’ve been known to swing dance with patients with Parkinson’s during my treatment sessions because the auditory cues from the music transforms their movements from halting to fluid. It also improves balance and reduces their risk of falling, which is a really big deal when it comes to maintaining their level of independence.

    On that note of independence, I cringed at the idea of partnering with assisted living facilities. I agree that they have money and it benefits all parties. Certainly take my advice with a grain of salt, I’m only one voice. My hesitation is that typically adults with progressive neurological conditions work very hard to maintain their independence and take pride in it. My fear is that hosting the course at an assisted living facility would take a class that is otherwise normalizing for them and would wrap it in a blanket of fear that they don’t want to face, which is the thought of losing their independence as Parkinon’s progresses. Instead, I wonder if you could partner with the YMCA or other local gyms. Taking a class at the gym feels more empowering. Or maybe you could host the class at a gym, paid for by the assisted living facility, where their clients come join but in a way that the partnership is more subtle?

    I love what you said about how dancing changes the social/emotional dynamics from caregiver and care receiver to partners who struggle equally to keep the beat without stepping on each other’s toes. This is HUGE, and it is just as important to the spouse as it is to the person living with a chronic disability. You’ll definitely want to highlight this in your advertising. As another referral source, you may see if there is a counselor in your area who specializes in helping couples navigate the shift in roles when one spouse has a newly acquired or progressive chronic disability and the other assumes the new role of a caregiver. They would probably love to know about your program!

    With regards to proving the effectiveness of your program. Alan wasn’t too far off with the stand on one foot test. I wonder if you could partner with a physical therapy clinic or department in a local hospital that specializes in treating individuals with Parkinson’s disease? A physical therapist could do some specific balance testing (like the Berg Balance Test) before and after the series of classes to see if the dancing class improves their balance enough to reduce their risk of falling. They could also help you find some appropriate quality of life questionnaires that have research to back them up. AND, if you’re offering a service that is beneficial for their patients, you also just earned yourself a referral source. Physical therapists are always trying to get their their patients involved in community activities and exercise programs! We love to know about them. 🙂

    My last thought, is if there is a local university with a doctorate of physical therapy program, the students may need to do a research study in order to graduate. If you partnered with them, you’d (1) get your name out there for referrals, and (2) have research done for free that will either verify the success of your program or show you how to be most effective.

    Thanks for letting us all learn as you start up your business. More importantly, thank you for caring about these individuals and actively improving their lives. Best of luck to you.

  6. I just got done listening to Monday’s podcast, and although I don’t have a business to start up (or even an idea…) I found it very informational and entertaining. They came up with some awesome ideas to get Tallis’ idea up and running. I happen to be in Iowa too. I have no knowledge of Parkinson’s disease or who it effects. But during the podcast I kept thinking that she could market herself with the Life Care Communities. Life Care Services (www.lcsnet.com) is a company based out of Des Moines that manages retirement communities in Iowa and all across the US. They manage Cottage Grove Place in Cedar Rapids where Tallis is located. They should have an activities director that could talk to her. Not sure if this is helpful for Tallis or not, but I wanted to share and wish her the best of luck!

  7. Yes I work in physical rehab and a berg balance test would be excellent to gadge patients recoveries. These are done often in rehab to figure out how safe patients would be with transfers and walking. You would probably have to modify some of these test but something resembling a berg would work.


    For more info on the test.

    • I also chatted with a few physiotherapist about this and they mentioned timed up and go would be a good measure. It also is a recomended measure for tracking parkinsons.

  8. Pingback: Sidehustle Log 04: March Update And A Website - Frugasaurus
  9. Just get out there and sell something to someone! People make business way to hard and just starting up and getting out there and selling something you will learn so much and make so much progress!

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