The books and the workshops are out there. Monetize your passion…. Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow …. Start Your Business Now ….. Making a Living Without a Job….. So how do you actually do this?
Step 1: Brainstorm. Take a moment, or hours, or even days to write all your ideas down. Do not think about what will work and what might not work.. This is your brain storming session and you are allowed to write down whatever comes to mind. Turn your censor off.
Step 2. Make a List. Take the list of ideas from your brain storming session and write each idea on a separate piece of paper or index card. Use as many cards as you need. Each idea should have its own card.
Step 3: Categorize. Look at each of your ideas, and sort them out, put them in categories. Are any of them similar? Do some of them go naturally together so they all might be done within one business? For example, you love to cook and you love to help people with dietary restraints find foods and recipes they can use. These two ideas would go in the same pile. The cards that state your love of doing stained glass and decorating your home for the holidays will go into separate piles.
Step 4: Ask the Big Question – Does This Idea Fill a Need or Solve a Problem? So take each card and ask yourself, does this idea fill a need, or fix a problem? This is crucial. People buy when you can solve their problem or fix their pain. Now you may have to educate them that they are in pain or have a problem before they will buy. For your product or service to be successful, there has to be a perceived need.
Step 5: Are You Qualified? On the back of the card make a list of your qualifications to sell or offer this service, and write down what you think the perceived problem or need is. Back to the food example, you have enjoyed cooking for family and community event for for 20 years, ok that qualifies you. You know that the local caterers will not cater to small events. Sounds like a niche for a mini-caterer.
Step 6. Reality Check. Go back and look at each pile of cards. Are some of your answers weak? Are your stained glass pieces really that outstanding? Can you really see yourself decorating other people’s houses? Which two or three ideas are the best? These are the ones your should explore. Don’t throw out the other cards, though. They may be hobbies your can do in your spare time or interests that may eventually lead to another business.
Step 7. Visualize Your Business. Can you picture what this business will look like? Make your visualization real. Try mind mapping. Here is an example for a Jewelry business and a how-to-mind map is at the bottom of this blog. If you are an auditory and visual learner, You Tube has plenty of how-to videos.
Step 8. Research. Now you may want to be more traditional and create a mini business plan. Your mind map may have given you a good idea as to whether or not you have a viable business. If not, here are some questions to ask yourself. Can you make money with this idea? How much could you potentially charge? How many clients would you need to support yourself and your business? If you are charging $10 vs $1,000 for a speaking session, you need many more appointments to make this work. Who would be your ideal client? Are there enough of these ideal clients to keep you in business? Will they be repeat clients, or once and done? This will mean you need to reach new ones every day. How will you reach these clients? Are you going to be paying for advertising or using word of mouth? Can you think of some overall expenses that will be associated with this business? The cook may need use of a commercial kitchen. You don’t need to come up with an exact budget, but a guess is helpful in determining if your idea will make a viable business. How long will it take before you start to see a profit, and a significant profit that will allow you to live?
Step 9. Put Your Research into a Written Document. This document doesn’t need to be more than 2 pages but can be as many as you feel it needs to be to get your points addressed.
Step 10. Get Some Unbiased Opinions. Let at least 3 people look at your mini plan. Ask them for honest feedback. This may be tough. Our ideas always seem great to us, after all we came up with them. Your spouse or best friend will probably not be able to give you an unbiased opinion. They may want to be supportive and be unable to tell you the flaws in your idea.
Once you have this feedback you are ready to start your true business plan. You should look at all the feedback and determine which is the best business for you. If you have more than one business idea, start just one at a time. Starting a new business is time consuming and demanding. You need to focus on one. For most people trying to juggle more than one new business at a time is a ticket to Overwhelmed! One at a time is best.