Starting an online business will help give you the freedom and security you want.
Are you worried about losing your job? About a crashing stock market? Going without a paycheck for an extended time?
Is your goal to live life with freedom and independence?
Or do you desire the flexibility to work from home?
When you create your own business you decide when and where you work, who you work with, what you create, and how much you charge. When you have your own business, you’re not at the whim of an employer and the decisions they make.
An Example of Transformation to Independence
My friend Tina (not her real name), is a yoga and pilates teacher. She loves what she does. She teaches several classes at some local studios.
The problem was she couldn’t rely on the money, classes got canceled, times were changed to when she’s wasn’t available, and owners took too long to pay.
She wanted an independent income, one that she controlled and could charge what she’s worth. It was her goal to schedule classes around her children’s school.
There were several alternatives, one was to do private coaching, which she already did.
But the income was limited to her available times, and she only got one fee per hour.
Her goal was to have a studio of her own, to give group classes, where she set the times and the prices.
Her classes were very popular, so she knew there was a need and a market for her service.
Since she couldn’t afford to give up her current income, nor could she afford the high rents, she started classes in her basement. She invited her current private students and put the word out to friends and colleagues.
Classes grew slowly, and as they did, she moved to a small space in a community center that she could rent part-time. She reduced teaching for the other studios and added more of her own classes. Now she’s earning much more than a single hourly rate.
Eventually, she’ll get big enough to be able to work only for herself.
Where do You Start?
Perhaps you’re ready to jump in and start the first business idea that comes to mind.
The better way, a way that will serve your real wants and dreams is to start by exploring what’s important.
Here you define your preferred life. What you’re striving for and what you want. Before you can start a business you must know yourself.
The following questions are prompts to help you define what you want your life and a typical day to look like. They are important, so take the time to answer them fully.
- describe what success means to you
- define your purpose and vision
- set a clear picture of what you’re going after- working from home, making a side income, having multiple income streams or creating a full-time business
- know what you enjoy doing and have the necessary skills, talent or background to do, and will enjoy learning what you still need to know
- determine if you can make money at what you love and solve a problem for your customers
- set a goal for how much income you want
Now that you know what you want to do, how does this fit with your picture of your perfect life?
Define What a Perfect Life Looks Like to You.
Next, describe what you want and don’t want in your life. Get clarity on your dreams for the future. Your ideal working conditions; schedule, environment, people and place.
The following exercise helps you define your wants and desires, so dream big.
Spend time thinking about the following questions which will form the basis of what you pursue.
- Where do you dream about living, if you could pick your ideal place- the beach, city, mountains, a foreign country?
- If you could do anything, how would you spend your time? Do you have a hobby, a certain work that you love, or a combination?
- What do you love to do so much that you lose track of the time spent?
- What things must or must NOT be part of your life? For instance, commuting or sitting at a computer.
- What kinds of people do you want to spend time with and who do you want to know?
- What do you desire to be and to learn?
- What’s important to you: money, accomplishments or experiences?
- How much money do you want or need to make?
As you define yourself, the easier it will be to recognize what path will be most fulfilling.
Now that you described your big life vision, describe how you want to spend your day?
Define Your Concept of an Ideal Day
This is not a trivial exercise.
How you like to work, where, when and with who is all part of getting control of your life.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you prefer to work from home, a cafe, a beach, or an office?
- What is the most productive part of your day?
- Do you like to work solo or do you need the energy of working with other people?
- Is there a critical element that must be part of each day?
- Do you like to be involved in your project for a concentrated period of time, or do you need frequent breaks?
Write down the answers to all the above questions, they will be important for the next step.
Here you’ve defined your Perfect life looks like and a vision for an Ideal day.
What Business Do You Want to Pursue?
Now let’s take those important concepts from the section above and find the interests, skills, tools, and passions that you can turn into a business.
What do you love to do?
Often you can find things that you can turn into an income by looking at your passions. Make a list of ALL the things that interest you and excite you.
- What hobbies do you have?
- What interests you that is not available in the market?
- What do you do in your spare time?
- What do you read about and study?
- What can you talk about for hours?
- What do you get so deeply involved with, that you don’t notice the time?
For instance, I was speaking to a potential client who had a passion for wine and a great deal of knowledge, he decided to turn his hobby into a business by developing a wine app.
Define your skills and talents
Next, define the aptitude, proficiency, and expertise you have developed.
- What specialized knowledge have you acquired?
- Languages you speak?
- Talents you have. Can you sing, dance, write, speak, act, paint, etc.?
- Crafts you are skilled in?
- Instruments you play?
- Machines or equipment you can operate well?
- What have you studied?
- What do other people tell you you’re good at?
- What education or training would you be willing to do?
Now list the things you don’t like to do or are not very good at. Make these lists as complete as possible. The skills you have and what you love to do could lead to new opportunities.
Put it together to find your business idea
Now that you’ve listed your skills, talents, and passions, let’s see if you can generate ideas to turn them into an income. You can find viable ideas by using your talents and passions.
For example, what opportunities do you have if you love to garden and always produce more food than you can eat? You can sell your vegetables to local restaurants, sell them at a farmers market, or jar them and sell them in local gourmet shops.
Maybe, your passion is sewing and history. You may make and sell historical costumes online to people who want to take part in a re-enactment event. Or sell them to a history museum that will use them for their staff. The possibilities are numerous.
Another idea is to look around your town and see what service is needed, that you can start. I live in a small town, with few stores. A local guy started a gourmet coffee shop on the main street. His shop is booming, now there’s a place for locals to gather and get good coffee. You don’t have to invent a new product or come up with a novel idea.
Ask yourself, what is useful, what provides value to people, and what need can I fill? See what you can improve upon. Maybe it can be easier, cheaper or more convenient. A billion-dollar example is Uber. There is nothing new about a taxi service or a car service, but using a smartphone to schedule a ride was enough to launch a whole new business. You don’t have to be the next Uber, but you can create a better twist on an established idea.
Spend time thinking about these answers, and what you can do with them. There’s almost no idea that can’t be turned into an income. It may not be immediately obvious or it may need some work to make it viable, but it’s certainly worth pursuing.
Once you decide on what business you’ll go after, the next step is to define your market and then what product or service you’ll offer, at what price, and how you’ll deliver it.
How to move forward
You have been reading an excerpt from my Idea Finder Course. If you’re ready to move forward on starting your business and need further help you can get the full 10 lesson Idea Finder Course here. It may be just what will help you get your business started..
Already have an idea but not sure it’s a good one? I offer a one-hour Brainstorming session to figure it out.